Despite it being a sector of the business that pulls higher margins than anywhere else, it is often said that many cycle retailers undercharge in the workshop. Mark Sutton talks to a few retailers about their approach to repairs...

IBD WORKSHOPS: Margin dis-service?

Full service charge:
£70 labour plus parts.
Drivetrain service charge: £35, including necessary braking tweaks.
Tube replacement: £4 labour plus tube cost.
Bike-in-a-box build: £20

“High Street shops in Bristol tend to charge a little more than our prices and on the whole, I wouldn’t say the industry has a problem with undercharging in the workshop.

Typically, I won’t charge more for a mucky bike. However if I can see several minor tweaks to be made – such as a alignment of bars, saddles or mudguards – then I may look at the price of the job in terms of labour cost. This is all discussed with the customer on an appointment basis though.

As a workshop only business, which sells reconditioned bikes on the side, I’m now considering dropping the sale side of things as the mark up is so poor. This would leave our business able to focus on the massively busy repairs aspect. It wasn’t long ago we shifted to a premises with three times the room of the prior building and that’s all on the back of the success of the repair business.

I also now employ an additional mechanic to assist me with the volume of repairs and reconditioning.”

Full service:
£120, including full strip, refit
and full regrease.
Drivetrain service: £60, including brake tuning, safety check and wheel true.
Safety Check: £45
Tube replacement: £10 for wheel removal and fit plus the tube’s cost.
Bike-in-a-box build: £80

“From experience, I’d say plenty of cycle shops do still undercharge, although just two years back, so did Swinnertons. In fact, our prices were 50 per cent lower across the board, yet the increase has done nothing to dent custom. Quite the opposite, our workshop is very busy.

We do carry Shimano Service entre Plus status and I think that gives our customers the confidence that we’ll restore a bike to its former glory. We aim for a 24-hour turnaround, meaning we’re always busy, yet the mechanics are all Cytech qualified and up to the job. We’ve recently taken on another member of staff to handle the volume of work. An important role considering the workshop generates around 20 per cent of our shop’s revenue.”

Full service charge:
£35 for a basic checkover, £70 for a comprehensive taking apart greasing and rebuild.
Drivetrain Service: £35
Tube replacement: £8.50, including price of tube.
Bike-in-a-box build: £35 charge

“We put prices up around 15 months back realising that we were operating on too low a margin. This has had no effect on the footfall of customers seeking repairs and we’ve had a steady flow of traffic since.

We installed a bike cleaning booth not too long ago by knocking down a wall in the shop, and so we now offer this service when a customer books a bike in for a full checkover. As rough estimate, I’d say repairs, all completed by myself, bring in 20 per cent of our revenue.”

Full service charge:
£50 plus parts.
Drivetrain service: Individually priced based on
condition and work needed.
Tube replacement: £5 plus the tube’s cost.
Bike in a box build: £37.50, however BSOs are turned away

“Some companies, even larger outfits, overcharge in my opinion. But I think the industry still tends to sell itself to customers a bit cheap. Then again, this all depends on the affluence of your patch.

Our set-up is slightly unusual in that we have a separate store for repair work, our old shop, which has a good 12,000 square foot of space to pack the work in. At present we have around 25 bikes in for work.

If a bike comes in covered in muck, we’ll add a £10 charge to get it clean and workable, but for the few unlucky enough to have picked up dog muck, then we have to refuse the work.

A good 20 per cent of our revenue is made up from the repairs business.”

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