Welcome to our monthly informal survey of bike shops around Australia.
This month we also asked each shop how much they charged in the workshop for bike servicing, and whether they worked on an hourly rate or flat rate for each type of service.
The results varied quite markedly from one state to the next.
A couple of our respondents referred to the Retail Cycle Traders Australia (RCTA) guide, so we contacted RCTA Executive Officer, Graham Bradshaw for some further details.
He said that their Workshop Rates Guide is produced for members only as a member benefit. It has a long list of every bike workshop task with the recommended fee alongside. He stressed that these fees are recommended only and that members are not required to comply. Their schedule is currently based upon an hourly rate of $95, which they review approximately once every two years. He said it reflects Sydney and Melbourne metro rates and that some smaller city and regional rates may be lower.
It feels quiet, but it’s better than last year. Our sales are up from last year and so is our profit. We’re doing better, but coming off summer straight into the wet weather, it just feels like it drops quite a lot.
We’ve got Bike Force about 200 metres around the corner. They’ve just changed management and ownership. Then there’s Mercers a kilometre or who away and they’ve been there for ages.
A standard service is about $49 for a normal service, then we do an intermediate for about $79 and a deluxe which is $149. The time varies depending upon how bad the bike is, but if a normal service goes sweet, it shouldn’t be any more than about half an hour to 40 minutes.
It’s pretty steady at the moment. Adelaide’s in the middle of its coldest winter for 10 years. Cycling’s a bit of a fine weather game. I think if the weather was a bit better, business would certainly be a bit better.
We just try to be as good as we can absolutely be. We’ll bend over backwards to offer the best customer service in town. I think people vote with their feet.
We have different levels of mechanical service. We have a basic service, major service and ultimate service. We charge fixed price for those. We also detail everything that we do in those services. We also have fixed price for wheel trues and so on. We try to cover off everything in terms of what we charge.
Basic service is $80, which includes wheel trues. Usually we allow one hour for this.
People are still out and about, but they’re still holding onto their money a little bit, so to speak. Positive signs are there but I suppose people are still a little bit hesitant at the moment, certainly down here, they’re waiting for the better weather as well. It hasn’t been as aggressive as it has been, but our winters are still reasonably cold and wet.
We generally have a flat rate for repairs.
Definitely, all around everywhere, things have slowed down in the last three years. You find that people are holding onto older bikes and rejuvenating them more than a few years ago.
There’s definitely a big crowd getting the older bikes, especially from the kerbside, or tip sort of bike and bringing them back to life. Or older bikes that are in sheds, getting them back going again, there’s definitely more of a push on that. We’ll fix anything. We’ll just put a price on it. If people want to go ahead, we’ll do it.
The middle, main service we do is a $60 service, plus parts. We quote each job, but we do go through to a $150 service if it takes a bit longer and it’s bearings in the hubs and everything.
Ray Appleby Avanti Plus
Business is great! It’s a great business to be in. That’s a little bit… (tongue in cheek). It’s not the business it used to be, but it’s still a great business.
We’ve been here since 1988 so it’s been 24 years. (The main changes have been…) The proliferation of outlets. Local outlets and more recently online outlets. The blurring of wholesale and retail and the increase of information that people now have, whether it’s correct or not. There are a lot more experts, or so called experts out there.
We’ve had a huge increase in the number of people riding bikes, and more recreational people riding bikes as well.
The number of people riding bikes who don’t really necessarily know the joy of riding bikes as we used to know it. They’d probably see it as a joy in riding their little loops and going to the coffee shop and talking about the latest gear is what cycling’s about.
But I think because of the traffic and regulations, it hasn’t taken it away fully, but it’s harder to find great cycling experiences now, I think.
The pleasure of being able to get out for longer rides, to get away from the normal city loops—I think a lot of people aren’t really aware of it. We run a few weekends away where people really love to be able to ride further away from the city and ride over different terrain. A lot of the time people are locked into riding set little routes that are commonplace and accessible to cycling, I suppose.
We don’t always charge an hourly rate (for mechanical work) but we normally charge around $60 or $70 per hour. For a general service, we charge $99.
It’s been reasonably good actually. We’ve had a fairly good winter. We’ve had a couple of flat spots like most people do, but I think we did alright.
We’re branching out a little bit. We’ve done a lot of research into the ebike market so we’ve had a bit of growth in that area.
Over the last year we’ve increased trade by 15% compared to the previous year. That’s overall. The ebikes are fairly new for us, so we’ve just dabbled in it. After our research we worked out the best ones we wanted to go with, because we were already doing the Gazelle bikes, we stuck with them (for ebikes) and we’ve sold quite a few of those in recent times.
Thankfully there has been an electric vehicle show here in Newcastle. We had Gazelle come up for that and BionX. We had a lot of interest and that translated into some nice sales.
We’ve had a pretty steady workshop through the winter, which has been good. Because we focus on the urban market, I think that’s where most of our growth has been.
We have a base rate which is $59 for a base service, plus parts. And if there’s anything major like hydraulic disk brakes, bottom bracket, that sort of stuff, we charge extra.
We look at the Retail Cycle Trader’s rates and charge according to that, basically. It depends upon the bike. We do assessments of any bike that comes in. Because we do a lot of our own bikes we can be pretty picky I suppose about who we pick. So if someone comes in with an old bike that we haven’t seen before, we say, ‘We’ll do an assessment.’
We estimate for them what it will be to get them back on the road. We also look at our duty of care. We won’t work on bikes that are dangerous. We also won’t work on bikes bought over the internet and bikes bought at department stores. We have a pretty strong policy with that. We’ve followed that policy for quite a few years now.
There has been a real growth (of cycling) in Newcastle. We have a bike festival coming up called Bikefest. They’re basing it on Surfest, which is a big event that all the international surfers come to.
There’s a group here that has worked on getting all the interest groups together on cycling. They’ve got the festival coming up in October. You know how road riders and urban cyclists have that divide? Well Bernie (Bikefest Coordinator Bernard Hockings) has got them together.
We’re having the Mick Chapman Memorial Criterium at the same time, which is a really big cycling event, plus a lot of different things happening related to bikes, fashion parades and all sorts of things. So it’s going to be a really big event. It has got a lot of government support, local and state. Because Newcastle’s such a great place to ride, it’s fairly flat around the harbour, I think it’s going to be a really good fillip for us up here. We’re looking forward to it actually. There’s a website www.bikefest.net.au if you want to see more about it. Most of the local bike shops are getting involved, which is great. It’s a really good thing for cycling.
Civic Bike Shop