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How To Start A Motorcycle Shop

Updated on October 24, 2012

How To Start A Motorcycle Shop!

Tips And Strategies To Get You Up And Running In The Exciting World Of Selling Motorcycles or Repairing Motorcycles As A Business:

If you want to become a professional in the motorcycle business, whether to build and sell motorcycles or to buy and re-sell them at a higher price, you will need to be aware of business laws involved.

Each City, County and State has slightly differing laws regarding business setup, licensing, insurance requirements, and so forth. A business license in a location which meets zoning regulations for a motorcycle shop or dealership will most likely be required.

Of course, for a limited time, you can work out of your garage. As your business grows, there will be no way to get around licensing and zoning.

The steps of creating a legal business are easy to perform if you do them all in the right order. They are listed in the order why should occur.

Filing Ficitous Business Name
Filing Ficitous Business Name

Filing a Fictitious Name:

To establish a name for your business, you will have to file for use of a fictitious name. This involves buying a newspaper advertisement in the Legal section and advertising your intention to use a specific fictitious name, such as “Jakes Custom Bikes” or perhaps “Magnificent Motorcycles”, as your business name.

Whatever you select, it should not be used by anyone else in your region. If someone is using the name or one very similar, they will contest your right to the name and you will have to choose another name and re-advertise. This can get expensive, so avoid it by doing your research. If no one contests your right to use that name, you will then be allowed to do business under the fictitious name you have chosen and filed.

business license
business license

Business License:

Again, these steps are in order for a reason – if you perform them out of order, you will end up wasting a great deal of time. After filing your fictitious name, you need to obtain your business license for your physical address. Perhaps you have rented a garage to operate from, or a warehouse. This is the address that would be listed on your business license. That address must be properly zoned or you will not be granted a license to do business in that location. If you have properly checked on zoning before establishing your location, this won’t be a problem.

business banking
business banking

Business Banking:

When it comes to starting a motorcycle shop, you need to set up your business banking accounts. These require both the proof of filing fictitious name and your business license in order to open an account. If you incorporated, you also need your incorporation paperwork. Select a bank and go in to talk to them about business banking. There are seldom any free-checking accounts for businesses available, but you can find a bank that charges reasonable fees.

You can find the best rates for checking accounts and CD's online…

Virtual Bank has the best rates and lowest fees, AND they are FDIC insured. We have had an account with them for 5 years. Highly recommended for business or personal checking!

motorcycle business card
motorcycle business card

Business Cards:

Many people’s first look at your business is your business card. These will be passed out to many people who have never seen your shop. Have a good design selected for your card, even if that requires asking a graphics artist to work with you. An exceptionally good picture of a motorcycle as a background, a graphic of an engine, something that states “motorcycle” should be used with clear text indicating how to reach you. Include your email address and Web URL if you have one.

Here's where to get good business cards cheap.

motorcycle business success
motorcycle business success


Your motorcycle business signs should reflect the theme or artwork you’ve used to create your business cards. This will reinforce name recognition of your business. Everyone knows when they see the Iron Cross with lettering up and across that West Coast Choppers is the company, when that certain layout of OCC is seen, no one thinks of anything except Orange County Choppers.

Motorcycle Business Marketing and Advertising:

Let people know where you are and what you can do for them. A small newspaper advertisement will help. But you have to do it right. See below for a few tips.

You should also talk to the newspaper about doing a human interest article about your new business. Free publicity is the best form of advertising.

Simple Tips: Find out where your prospects are going, what they are reading online and offline, and advertise in resources. Let people in your area know you are in business and exactly what you can offer them.

IMPORTANT: Be sure you have a method of collecting names and addresses, even if they don't buy anything. Anyone who shows interest in your products and services is a treasure chest waiting to be opened. Don't let it sit and rot. Mail to them relentlessly until they buy something. They are interested so anything you send them that you offer they will respond to and buy eventually. But if you don't mail to them, they are going to end up going somewhere else!

Do not make the headline of your ad the name of your company. Nobody cares. Make the headline of your ad the main benefit that you can provide your prospective customers. The objective of placing display ads and yellow pages ads is to flag down the person that is most likely to want what you have to offer. This is the job of your headline. Your company name does not flag anyone except family and friends who happen to see your ad because they know who you are and say, "Hey, I saw your ad. Pretty cool!" This does absolutely nothing for your business. More on this in a moment.

motorcycle marketing
motorcycle marketing

Motorcycle Business Marketing Continued:

You must have a motorcycle business website or you will be out of business faster than it took you to get started.Just be sure you optimize your website around the main keywords your prospective customers are looking for.

List on eBay and other motorcycle auction sites. This will, of course, gain exposure as well. But be sure to create an About Me page so that people interested in your stuff go to your website (and hopefully you have a free newsletter or ebook to offer them so that you can capture their names and addresses.)

Get a Facebook Fan page built that is eye catching and gets people to provide you with their contact information.

Use Pay Per Click advertising on Facebook, Google Adwords, and Bing. Drive that traffic to your lead generation capture page (this is where you get your prospective customers contact information in exchange for something of value like a free ebook, report, guide, video etc.)

Have some t-shirts made up for you and your employees or friends. Choose an outstanding design that will make people remark and allow you to talk about your business. Use them as promotional items in your marketing: Contests, special bonuses for buying xyz product, or the first 100 people get a free t-shirt on name of special day, etc. etc.

If you have motorcycle business cards, perhaps the same design will work for business shirts. If not, get a graphic artist to design something truly eye-catching and have some shirts produced.

If you agree to get 25 or more shirts, the cost per t-shirt can be very low by using your local screen-printer or finding an online source. The cost is minimum compared to the visibility you obtain from the shirts. You can also sell the shirts in your shop, give one to people who purchase over a certain sum, and certainly give a free one to anyone who buys a motorcycle. This provides still more visibility.

These are just some marketing ideas on how to start a motorcycle business and get the customers coming in. For more motorcycle marketing tips and ideas read this article.


The Truth About Branding Your Motorcycle Business:

There are many ways to advertise your business. But you must invest in effective direct response marketing methods that get customers in your doors right away. Spend less money on brand advertising (blasting your company name on every advertising medium you can think of. This puts tons of money in one persons hand…the advertising agencies and advertising reps you deal with. It does very little if anything for you!)

Spend your hard earned money on effective direct response marketing -- The only form of marketing that gets instant and long term results. Branding your business only results from what your products and services DO for your customers, what other people say about your business, and who you are. It does NOT result from blasting your company name all over the place.

Brand advertising is a huge waste of money, it’s expensive, and it’s very risky. It can work, but if you have huge amounts of money like the Coca Cola’s and the IBM’s of the world. You need customers now. Direct response marketing is the only form of marketing that works to get a constant flow of new customers in your door.

repairing motorcycle
repairing motorcycle

How to Buy and Resell or Build and Sell Motorcycles!

It wouldn't make sense to have your doors open for business and do not have stock. Where do you get stock for a motorcycle shop? You can buy parts, both new and used, and build custom or stock bikes yourself. You obtain Builder Certificate for Transfer of Title, which enables you to sell the hardware to a buyer.

You can buy low priced motorcycles at auction, clean them up, check them out, repair as necessary and sell those. Many great motorcycles are obtained this way because car dealers accept them as trade-ins and then don't want to have to deal with them. They dump them on the auction market and often these motorcycles sell for very little.

You can contract to build to a buyer's specifications, requiring little in-store stock except a few completed motorcycles to show that you can do the quality of work required. You can work one-on-one with local car dealers who sometimes get a motorcycle in as a trade- in, offering to buy the motorcycles for small sums. Locating stock could become a book in and of itself.

buy and sell motorcycles
buy and sell motorcycles

The Obvious Trick:

The obvious trick is to buy low and sell high. Sometimes you can do this using eBay or online listings; sometimes you will have to build. Whatever works best for you in establishing a business is the way to proceed. Repairing motorcycles with a few built bikes for sale on the side could be your initial answer.

Will you be the next Jesse James or Arlen Ness? Probably not. That doesn't mean you can't make a real profit in the buying and selling of motorcycles. And you can certainly enjoy the ride while you do!

I hope you found this guide on how to start a motorcycle shop helpful. If you did can you share it? Thanks :-)

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