Category Archives: Helpful Post of the Week

Life-Changing Help for the Vintage Motorcycle Shop Owner

If you don’t know much about our business, we started out as a vintage motorcycle shop that restored, serviced, and repaired motorcycles from the 1960’s to the 1980’s. During this time, we’ve encountered 4 types of customers: those who are awesome to deal with because they are patient and realize that restorations can take a long time, those who are nightmares because they expect a full restoration to cost about $100, those who horrible to deal with because they think a restoration will only take a couple days, and those who are the epitome of the title, “Worst Customer in the World” who think both.

By taking to other vintage motorcycle shops, I’ve realized that these bad customers are way too common in the industry. They’re horrible because they make most of us so miserable to the point where we contemplate closing shop. (We did; now we just work on our own motorcycles as a hobby and sell apparel to have an income while still being involved in the industry.)

Because of this nuisance, I’ve created the following document. It can serve as a disclaimer for vintage motorcycle shops that they can share with potential customers during the estimation process. This disclaimer serves a couple purposes; it screens good customers from bad customers, it informs potential customers of what’s involved in the restoration process in a professional manner, and creates leverage for the shop owner.

If you run a vintage motorcycle shop, I strongly encourage you to use this template and use it “as-is” or change it in whichever way you’d like to and start using it in your shop. All I ask is that you let me know if it has cut down on the number of dead beat customers you deal with. Deal?

If you don’t run a vintage motorcycle shop, read it and you just might get some inspiration from it to use in your business.

Lastly, if you’d like me to create some sort of disclaimer for your business or industry, please send an e-mail to microbusinesskid@tampabay.rr.com or tweet me. Not to toot my horn too much, but I also have some time available if you would like me to consult you in your business with any decisions, ideas, or issues you may have.

* * *

First of all, we here at (your shop name here) truly appreciate your business and the fact that you’ve chosen us to work on your vintage motorcycle. We eat, sleep, and dream vintage motorcycles so we’d like to thank you for the opportunity.

Before we get to work, we just wanted to let you know some things about older motorcycles so we’re on the same page.

Vintage motorcycle restoration and repair is an art form and like all great art, takes time. We cannot simply attach a computer to your motorcycle to diagnose its problems. Mostly everything is done the old-fashioned way; by using our senses. We do mostly everything by hand and we listen to the engine and other parts to make sure everything is running correctly. We also smell the various scents that the bike gives off to figure out if it’s running too rich or too lean among other things. There is no “MMI” or school to learn how to work on vintage motorcycles. We do have previous experience as car mechanics, but most of our learning on how to work on vintage motorcycles through hands-on experience.

Due to their age, vintage motorcycles vary greatly in condition. We’ve seen some which sat outside for the last 30 years with wasp nests in the carburetors to some that have been kept in a spare bedroom for the last 30 years. You don’t really know what you get until you take the bike apart and inspect every single part. Because of this, projects may take longer than originally planned. If you pick up a motorcycle that has sat outside for 30 years and hasn’t run that entire time, it is ridiculous to think that it will only cost $200-300 to get it in show-room condition again. If that’s the impression that you’re under, we politely ask that you take your business elsewhere.

There is also a good chance that projects could cost more than originally estimated. In some instances, we may open up the engine and discover that you have a cracked piston. This is something that you would want to take care of even though it is very costly. All parts work together as a system, if one part doesn’t work correctly, nothing works. If you are trying to restore a vintage motorcycle for as cheap as possible, then good luck elsewhere. That’s not us. We pride ourselves in doing everything correctly the first time and we hope that you can appreciate this as a customer and vintage motorcycle enthusiast. According to Sailor Jerry, “Good work ain’t cheap and cheap work ain’t good.” Please keep this in mind.

We try our best to give you an honest, detailed estimate. We’re vintage motorcycle experts who are trying to make an honest living just like you are. If we say you need something that wasn’t included in the original estimate, it’s because you truly do need it to get your bike running again.

In most instances, replacement parts haven’t been produced for the last 20 years or so. Because of this, actually tracking down the parts can be time-consuming. Also, because they are no longer produced, they are getting rarer and therefore more expensive to get our hands on. A lot of the time, parts can only be found in Europe, Asia, or Australia which can cause large delays in the project than what was originally quoted.

With that being said, we will always let know if your vintage motorcycle restoration will be more costly than originally quoted before we take the next necessary step in the restoration process. If you do not wish to continue the restoration and spend more money, please let us know and you will only be responsible for the parts and labor costs up to that point.

If there are delays with your project, we will try to let you know as soon as possible. It can be difficult to evaluate the project to figure out if there may be delays because there is always a chance of unforeseen circumstances coming up that can cause delays. For example, it may take longer to receive parts than originally planned. If things are taking longer than planned and you haven’t heard from us yet, please give us a call.

We hope that we’re on the same page now after you’ve read this disclaimer. We’ve created this document to inform you of unfortunate yet common nuisances which are involved with vintage motorcycle restorations. By signing below, you acknowledge that you’ve read the entire document and realize that vintage motorcycle restorations can be more costly and time-consuming than originally quoted even though we try our absolute best to give you a precise estimate as far as price and time needed goes during the estimate process. That’s why it’s called an “estimate.”

Thanks for taking the time to go over this material. We look forward to getting started on your project as soon as possible.

–  The proud owners of (Your shop name here), (Your name here)

Customer Signature: X                                                                                                   Date:

(This is in no way a binding contract. This signature solely represents that you acknowledge that you’ve read the document and understand it fully.)

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Muhammed Ali, Robert Downey Jr., and 40 Useful Sites to Learn New Skills

I try to share useful information, links, and quotes that I find during my quest in business every Monday that helps keep me going or helps me grow as an entrepreneur in hopes that it will help you as well.

Came across this on StumbleUpon and it hit a nerve. This is true in all aspects of life; especially business. There is a lot of boring, tedious stuff that you have to do to eventually have a successful micro business. I tried out for professional soccer teams a couple years ago and my training schedule was hell….6-7 days at the gym a week and 4-6 days of soccer a week. On top of a full-time job and running a business. Don’t ask me how I was able to do all of that because I have no clue. It’s a lot of hard work but it’ll pay off one day as long as you keep on going.

  • Top 40 Useful Sites to Learn New Skills As you learn more about life and things in general, the more useful you are to the world because you’ll be able to start, grow, and manage your micro business that much better. I check out a couple of the sites mentioned from time to time and it really is useful information.

Business isn’t always pretty. Sometimes you have to suck up to others and please people you don’t necessarily like. There will also always be other people in your way when you’re trying to do something incredible. Stroke their egos, make them think what they’re saying is valuable to you, and keep on doing what you were already doing!

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Cheeseburgers, Hacking Your Brain, Life Secrets and Tips, Becoming a Morning Person, and House Sitting

Mondays at the Micro Business Kid consist of the Helpful Posts of the Week. They’ll highlight interesting, helpful things that I’ve found throughout the previous week.

  • If you want an example of a great website lay out which provokes customer interaction, look no further than this one. If it doesn’t make you want to have a cheeseburger, you have no soul….or are vegetarian, which is cool too.
  • How Apple and Other Retailers Subtly Seduce You in Their Stores– A good read if you have a physical storefront and a good read if you’re a consumer. Basically, everyone should read this.
  • How to Hack Your Brain according to LifeHacker. I believe that a business is limited by the mind of it’s creator. This is a good article to read if you want to expand your life and take your business to the “next level.”
  • 50 Life Secrets and Tips according to High Existence. AKA ridiculously simple ways to become a better person and entrepreneur.
  • If you’re anything like me and its difficult to wake up before noon, this is an article you’ll definitely want to check out! How to Make Yourself a Morning Person by Meghan Casserly.
  • How to See the World by House Sitting according to Married With Luggage. You may or may not know, but a goal of mine is to be able to move to Europe in 2-3 years and explore it as much as I can and as cheaply as I can. I’ve looked into house sitting a bit and came across this site. If you thought traveling Europe was expensive and impossible, think again.

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How’s This For Motivation?

I’ve had great difficulty getting motivated lately. Along with an annoying cough. I came across this and thought it was great. Another way of putting it is that you don’t have to live your life the way anyone else is telling you you should. It’s your life. Make something out of it. Don’t wait for permission.

You really can do anything if you persevere, are intelligent, and a little lucky. But if you think you can’t do amazing things and don’t even try, there is no way that you will ever be successful. I’ve recently realized that you have no chance to succeed if you don’t even start.

This is where most growth happens. It’s also where your micro business will grow the quickest. Usually, the things that you don’t really want to do, are the things that you need to do most. It’s funny, there’s really no such thing as a “comfort zone;” it’s all mental. As you carry out more and more things that are outside of your “comfort zone,” it will expand and those things that seemed difficult at first will become really simple after a while.

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Thoughts on Writing More, Destiny, Growing Balls, the Dollar Shave Club, and Ralph Waldo Emerson

Today begins my new posting schedule! I’m excited because this finally means my posts are more consistent which is good for you and good for me! Mondays will consist of the Helpful Posts of the Week. They’ll consist of interesting, helpful things that I’ve found throughout the week. Expect around 5 helpful links, pictures, or anything else a week.

  • If you’re a writer, you’ll want to read this. They’re simple suggestions on how to increase the amount of words you write each day. I’m coming to terms with this, but I’ve realized that I’m becoming a writer. Between coming up with blog posts, writing copy for our business, communicating through e-mails, and other things, I write a lot of words each day! You will also do a lot of writing for your business; especially if you have an online business.
  • Another post from Chris Guillebeau. I’ve learned a great deal from him and will continue to. Check out his new post, On Destiny, Influence, and the Impossibility of Being Self-Taught. It’s awesome stuff!
  • “Our inward power, when it obeys nature, reacts to events by accommodating itself to what it faces – to what is possible. It needs no specific material. It pursues its own aims as circumstances allow; it turns obstacles into fuel. As a fire overwhelms what would have quenched a lamp. What’s thrown on top of the conflagration is absorbed, consumed by it – and makes it burn still higher.” – Marcus Aurelius. If this quote gets your juices flowing, check out Julien Smith’s new blog post, The Simple Guide to Growing Some @#$%ing Balls. TRULY inspiring stuff!
  • I’m a huge fan of StumbleUpon lately. I came across this company last week. It’s the Dollar Shave Club. If you want to see a great example of a great website, business plan, and marketing, be sure to check out the site. The video is hilarious and makes me want to do business with them. Can you create a video like theirs to entice customers to do business with you?

Hope this helps start an incredible week for you and your micro business!

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