Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB

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Jtw000 13 Jan 2012 03:59

Business opportunity feedback.
 
I've been hanging around Thailand for a while after arriving from London. I was planning to stay here with my other half but... long story... Anyway, back to the point. i've seen a business opportunity so want some feedback. I'm considering it seriously but is it something you guys think you'd use? When we arrived here in Bangkok from Kathmandu this place is pretty hard work. My thoughts are to set up a company that can help you unpack your bike, service, clean and fix it after the trauma of the Iran/Pakistan/Indian roads which slowly eat away your drive chain (and will to live). We could do new tyres, chains, sprockets, oil changes, plugs, cleaning, repairs, welding, upgrades (headlights, luggage, etc) gloves, helmets and other bits you need after a big trip. The building is big enough to have short term guest accomodation and motorcycle storage so people passing through could take time out to visit local sights while their bike is getting sorted for the rest of their trip. We could also help with Vietnam visas, Cambodia, Laos and offer advice, free internet and a place to get your act together. I know from personal experience that arriving here from the plane is a fairly horrible experience and nothing is easy. When we arrived my bike had been damaged in transit and my mates was falling to bits. I had to repair mine in a hotel car park and we spent days looking for a place to fix his.
Another friend had to find somewhere secure (expensive) to store his while he travelled with his partner. I figure a friendly face who can offer a few beers and, even better, a cup of coffee and some help finding the stuff we needed would have been a huge benefit to me. After Turkey getting parts for big bikes is hard work, you have little choice other than fixing things and bodging your way forwards when it all goes wrong. I kept mine going with kind words and unrealistic optimism.
Who here thinks this is a good idea? Would they use it?
Cheers for feedback guys.

mattcbf600 13 Jan 2012 12:41

Sounds like a fantastic idea - and an exceptionally cool place and help to many adventure bikers.

My only thought would be about numbers - are there enough bikers transitioning through to make it worthwhile / profitable? What about broadening the service to cars / trucks? Perhaps general tourist help for 'adventure tourists' who just want a hand off the plan and some help to get their bearings?

m

Fantastic Mister Fox 13 Jan 2012 14:25

Bangkok sounds like the best place to do it as is one of the major shipping areas for bikes with lots of opportunity to get ripped off.

Good luck

Jtw000 14 Jan 2012 03:14

Well I just did this trip myself. Arriving was not fun. Someone tried to rip us off at the airport and we both had mechanical difficulties which were tricky to get fixed. Apart from that I had big problems sourcing a chain and sprocket and a battery. Cheap accommodation and storage for a bike is hard to find too. I've spoken with a key player in the KTM-BKK export line and he agrees it's a good idea so I'm looking into it carefully.
I wouldn't go further than basic oil changes, spark plugs, chains sprockets, bearings, tyres and minor repairs but anything more than that we could just get your bike to a main dealer, again that is hard work here.
From personal experience, mine and other bikers I've met you arrive here and you're tired and a bit fed up. You've ridden hard and then had to fly which nobody wants to do, we all want to ride the whole way and you just need a couple of days to get yourself back on track. My partner also arranges visa so down the line we might even look at helping people ship their bikes back home...

Road2Manchester 20 Jan 2012 22:13

don't limit your customer base
 
Soooooo Jealous BUT Do not limit your client base to bikers.
Add cyclists to your client list, also 4x4's garage services and ANY overlanders from Europe / the west.. even back packers need a friendly meeting and rendevous point. (More coffee)
Is there enough room for a bar...bier... get contact and check out all the local to you accomodation and get networking with them for a small back-hander for recomendations and introductions is both directions. Same with eating places. Become the Hubb for the traveller and a friendly and enthusiastic friend in the know.

If you can be competitive within the local market and make your place better value for money, and still make a living, then Bobs your ladyboy.

:thumbup1:
I had the same thoughts when on Highway 101 in the states. Which is lacking a network of such places

Rixxy's 21 Jan 2012 06:50

Love the idea but i see one small problem, I just came through there, it was very easy to clear customs and get the bike out and it was very easy to find KTM who did a jaw droppingly good service for less then £350 inc parts.

It would prob work well if you ripped off the chiang Mai rider corner idea but with a garage.

Only letting you know this as its the truth, i think there is def a market, there where 4 other at KTM last week when i was there all arrived that week plus i have met about 20 others this week in Chiang Mai!

I know that guys on Africa twins have found it alot harder!!!

Jtw000 6 Feb 2012 04:59

Well things have been a bit tricky, Thailand is massively disorganised and the people are... shall we say, different? Anyway, our landlord just backed out at the last minute but we've now found a new building and we're looking to set up a guesthouse. It's going to be a mini-hotel, that's what I'm calling it because it's going to have very small, basic rooms so you have privacy and convenience like a hotel but the price of a hostel. We also have a decent office to work out of so we're hoping to go ahead with this service. I'm guessing around £100 and we'll be able to collect you at the airport in a cab, help with paperwork at the border and give a hand putting the bike back together. For the price there'll be free board from the time you get here until the bike is on the road and free that night too, obviously. I'm doing bike hire too (eventually) so there'll be free scooter use as well while you wait. This way if you turn up and have to wait 2 or three days you dont have to worry about extra cost, the room will be covered. The rooms are tiny but we will have double rooms upstairs, still basic but a bit better than the Hostel style mini rooms and if they're available well put people in there. The guesthouse will also have a lounge downstairs with free facilities, wi-fi will be free throughout but there'll be an internet cafe built in which will be free to residents to use, a small Thai kitchen with fridge, microwave, bread and rice laid on and free water from a cooler. Free local mobile phone hire so you can borrow a local sim from us, stick on some credit and save your phone bill.
We're also doing visa work from the office so visa extensions and other stuff should be possible from the base. We haven't managed to get a garage but we have a yard to work in so we'll try to arrange space for people to do their own maintenance and a list or reliable contacts for parts sourcing. If it's busy enough I'll carry basics parts but that's for the future.
We'll also sell beer!

from my point of view we're going to make very little from this, I'm aiming to do it more for the sake of my sanity as I'm basically living in a country where I don't speak the language (learning but very slowly) and this is a great way for me to meet travellers and help them out. I'm using my own experience here, £100 would for this service would have saved me about £20 overall once we did hotels, cabs and other assorted costs because we didn't know our way around.
I'm hoping we should be open in around 2 months although all of our services might take longer to come online. In the meantime I'm here this month, heading back to England to get cash next month and then back again. If anyone is coming through and needs help I'm here. I can't charge yet and I can't guarantee I'll be free but if I can lend a hand then I will.

Crappybiker 6 Feb 2012 14:49

Hi all,

Jack met me at the airport, helped me get my bike out of customs (4-5 hours) assisted in putting it back together and organised a hotel for me all free of charge...not bad for a bloke I met once at the Ace Cafe!...top bloke!..all the best with the new venture!

Jtw000 7 Feb 2012 16:20

But Crappy bought me beer. Also you need to change your name now. You're not on a GS any more, dude!


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