Friday, June 11, 2010

Surviving the Recession

In this recession I keep seeing several things more and more. I am seeing more motorcycles on the road. With Gas prices continually rising, the savings (and fun) of riding a motorcycle make a lot of sense. More bicycles are sharing the streets with the cars. If you live close enough and enjoy riding, why not save even more money, get in shape, and avoid the high cost of paying for parking? And I have noticed more people running a business from the comfort of their home, for example, the garage mechanic.

There are great reasons to use the garage mechanic in these times. With the recession (depression?) in full swing and no real end in sight, many people are tightening their budgetary belts and trying to find new ways to not only save, but earn money. Our communities are seeing a flood of newly unemployed people, many of which will never be able to get the same jobs again or continue their career where it was so rudely cut short. These same people are resorting to finding new ways to pay the bills and take care of their families. With little or no money the only option is to run a business out of the home. These situationally created entrepreneurs work hard to get new customers and to do quality work for less money than if you had the same work done at a shop. In fact they are more likely to work harder for you and your business than the shop because they need to pay their bills and put food on the table and only through that hard work can they gain the trust and the business of more people. Have you ever been to a big shop and been treated as though you don’t matter to them? We all have. Yet I have had work done on my car out of someone’s garage and they treated me, not only with respect, but as though I was the only customer they had or wanted. What a refreshing feeling. The garage mechanic also will most likely not charge you tax or make you pay a premium for their hourly wage.

I do work out of my garage on bicycles, and I like giving my customers a degree of service that I know for a fact they don’t get from the big shops. I will take the time to ask them questions about their bicycle that the shop just doesn’t care about. I will spend a few more minutes setting up the bicycles suspension for my clients, with the actual client as the test subject, as it should be. If I need to spend an extra 15 minutes cleaning a part to make sure the bike works correctly, I’ll do it no extra charge. I take personal pride in watching the customer get on the bike for a test ride and come back with a huge smile because the bike works perfectly. And I don’t charge a high price for this service. Because I don’t have to share my earnings with the shop, I get to share those savings with my clients.

In fact it is exactly these things that make it a win-win for everyone involved. The customer saves money, often gets their bicycle (car, motorcycle, whatever) back quicker, gets that personal service, and gets the satisfaction of knowing they are helping a family or individual survive the recession. The mechanic gets that much needed money to survive, gets to set his/her own hours, gets that very personal satisfaction of a job well done, and has time for the family that a regular 9-5 job would not provide.

The next time you need a bicycle tune up, or repair, try asking around a bit and see if you can find someone to work on your bike outside of the usual shop….you might just be surprised.

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