Should I invest in cutting tools for opening a shop?? BB, Head Tube facing & Cutting
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  1. #1
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    Should I invest in cutting tools for opening a shop?? BB, Head Tube facing & Cutting

    With so many bikes now made of carbon or allow, and with press fit BB's.
    How much demand is there to having tools to face or clean Head Tubes and BB threads. These tools are some of the most expensive to having a complete arsenal for all things bike related. But I'm wondering about the real need/demand??

    I've got a PS2.2 & Hozan truing stand, both pretty professional. Professional Headset/BB press tool, Sealed Bearing extractor/installation tools. Press Fit BB tools, etc..

    Instead of investing in cutting tools I was thinking of investing more in suspension tools, like replacing bushings. But there seems to be so many varieties for suspension forks that that is also hard to decide. Maybe just focus on 1 or 2 makes, Fox & Rochshox.

    So what would you all consider mandatory tools for starting a shop??

  2. #2
    Matnlely Dregaend
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    I can tell you that the only reason I have gone to a bike shop in the last ten years was to chase and face my threaded bottom bracket, so if you want to deal with idiots like me, you'll need the tools. I have never owned a bike shop, but I would think the majority of the work is small stuff - tune ups, fixing flats and broken spokes, etc. If you're building up a lot of bikes though you're going to need all the tools.
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  3. #3
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    I agree with DrSmile. I do most of my own work myself but the kind of stuff I would go to a LBS for would be things requiring expensive, specialized tools and skills like facing tools, frame alignment, etc. Whether there is enough work there to make it profitable is another story

  4. #4
    pmf
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    Wait and see. Maybe no one ever comes in with a need for one of those tools. OTOH, maybe you see a demand for them and buy them.

  5. #5
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    thanks for the info. With helping family & friends out. the area that I find in need is mostly installing tubeless, which requires a compressor, or you're blowing sealant out the side wall; suspension fork service. There are so many types it's mind boggling, but I'm becoming comfortable in taking forks apart and being able to put them back together.
    Dropout & Derailleur alignment, and headset & bb installs.

  6. #6
    Lost in Space...
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    What percentage of bikes that *real* people use are carbon fiber? Unless you are only selling high-end bikes to high-end riders, I think that your logic is flawed. There are still plenty of bikes out there that require this service, especially in light of outboard bearings which are now so common with threaded cups. The tool is what, $450 for me to buy, surely close to half of that for a shop buying at cost. You aren't being smart, you are just being cheap; I'd avoid a shop like yours that doesn't carry such a tool.

    That said, I've seen where shops share the high expense tools between locations, which is a headache when someone stops in to have a face&chase... but completely understandable given that it is expensive. You need to at least have one available, or your shop isn't much of a shop... just a retailer.

  7. #7
    Done
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    That depends on the type of shop and level of service that you intend to offer. If you don't see your shop doing a lot of frame prep work, then don't buy the tools. There is a demand for this kind of work, and you would eventually get back your investment in most of these tools over time. The countervailing argument is that you might not want to hassle with this type of low-volume work or pay mechanics who have the skill to use these tools and not destroy them or a customer's bike.

    For what its worth, I've invested in stuff like bottom bracket taps, fork steerer dies, crown race cutter, head tube facer/reamer, and a nice adjustable seat tube reamer because shops in my area don't do these kinds of jobs anymore. Or, if they do, they charge an absolute butt-load to allow me the privilege of having them work on my bike. I've practically paid off the investment in some of these tools by not having to go to the shop.
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  8. #8
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    I don't believe that I've ever had to tap my bottom bracket, or that of any bike I've worked on.

    It would seem like some of that would be limited to frame builders, and welders. So, if you choose to do frame repairs, including welding and brazing, then you should have the equipment to support it. Otherwise, you may not need the tools, and could assume any local frame builders will have their own tools. It never hurts to build up some references for jobs you may have to send out.

    There are a lot of bikes on the road with threaded forks, but few were built in the last 10 years. The choice would be which riders you choose to support.

    What I will say is that whenever I go into a shop looking for a specific item, and leave empty-handed, the shop not only looses that sale, but may well loose multiple future sales. If you want to compete against Amazon and E-Bay, then you have to beat them in service.

    For example, there are a lot of Walmart bikes on the road. No doubt they are cheap bikes, with cheap customers. But, just stock things like typical bearing sizes. It is very frustrating to go to a shop only to be turned away.

    Anyway, turn away one customer, and he may not ever come back. Then when that customer talks to his friends, he will either give you a glowing recommendation for going that extra mile, or will tell them to avoid your shop and go to the shop that actually had the tools and did the work.

  9. #9
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    running a business is not the same skill set as being a good mechanic...
    sometimes things like that are more fun as a hobby that pays for itself than as a business that you depend on to take care of your family.

  10. #10
    Done
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    Agree with that sentiment 100 percent. I think that the real question is what kind of business is he going after and does it make sense to invest in a set of somewhat specialized tools. If the market demands it, then invest in the tools. For me, if I was holding myself out as a high end shop, you would expect them to be able to handle just about any job that walked in the door. Going to a Performance Bike or other chain, I might not expect them to be able to ream a seat tube.
    It's Been Fun...See You Down The Road.

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