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How to Set Up a Motorcycle Shop

Updated February 21, 2017

Owning a motorcycle shop is a bike rider's dream come true. Not only do you get to be your own boss, you also get to spend your day talking with others who share your passion for riding motorised bikes. However, it isn't always fun and games. Opening your own motorcycle shop can be stressful. You may have to fire your best employee. Changing careers is an important decision that requires much thought--your livelihood depends on it. Weigh your options. If you have a strong work ethic and patience, then opening a motorcycle shop may be an exciting career choice for you.

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  1. Decide if you are going to sell or repair motorcycles. Most shops do both, but you have the option of doing one or the other. Customers will likely return to your shop for needed repairs, which could mean an increase in your bottom line.

  2. Create a business plan for your motorcycle shop that consists of important information, such as monthly expenses and your cash flow. You should also state your intentions, if any, to expand or offer any additional services that will increase your profits. If you need to view an example for formatting ideas, visit the U.S. Small Business Administration online.

  3. Seek start-up funds by applying for a small business loan at a bank or credit union. Depending on the loan criteria, you may be able to use the motorcycles you sell as collateral. If a loan is not a viable option for you, apply for private and federal grants. Ask family and friends for monetary support. Network with acquaintances and coworkers to find new investors. Visit a few bike rallies and mention your new business to fellow riders to potentially find an investor who shares your passion.

  4. Build, buy or lease a building for your motorcycle shop. If you plan to both sell and repair motorcycles, you will need a building with plenty of space to display your bikes and service them and to complete paperwork with the buyer. Owning a building will allow you make customisations that you may not find in an existing building. Leasing will allow you to pay rent without worrying with costly structural repairs.

  5. Visit your local courthouse or municipal building to apply for licenses, permits and federal tax identification numbers for your motorcycle shop. Obtain these documents for the legal operation of your business. You may need to obtain a business license from the city, county and/or state in which your motorcycle business operates; however, these regulations vary according to state.

  6. Purchase the motorcycles that you want to sell in your shop. Consider offering a variety of bikes that comes in different colours, sizes and brand names. To help boost your sales, consider selling bikes that vary in prices. Offering something for everyone may help you develop a broad customer base, which means that your motorcycle business will continue to grow.

  7. Obtain the equipment you need to service motorcycles. You will need hand tools, chrome polishes, rust removers, screws, tires, motor oils, glues and other items. Don't forget that this space must be adequately separated from the rest of the sales floor for insurance purposes. You could face a lawsuit if a customer wandered into the service area and sustained an injury.

  8. Hire employees to help you run your motorcycle shop. They should be knowledgeable of motorcycle mechanics and have great customer service skills. Your mechanics should have obtained experience and/or an education dealing with motorcycle repair. You will most likely not be able to provide much on the job training, which is why your repairmen should already have expertise in this field.

  9. Think about creating a website, renting a billboard and placing print ads in the local newspaper to advertise the grand opening of your motorcycle shop. The ads should contain vital information such as the date of the event, store hours, contact information and any current sales. These are just a few of the many ways in which to advertise your motorcycle shop. You may also want to consider purchasing mailing lists to e-mail newsletters or snail mail postcards to customers announcing the arrival of new bikes.

  10. Tip

    Keep your business plan professional and free from errors. Investors will view this document to make financial decisions, and its professionalism reflects upon you and your business.


    Keep prices competitive. Overly expensive bikes equal little sales.

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Things You'll Need

  • Business plan
  • Funding
  • Building
  • Licenses and permits
  • Equipment
  • Employees

About the Author

Meka Jones, from Cherokee, Ala., began writing in 2009. She is a faculty member at Shelton State Community College and has written for "Shoals Woman Magazine" and various online publications. Jones is pursuing a Ph.D. in exercise physiology at the University of Alabama and holds Master of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees in physical education from the University of North Alabama.

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