That matches our experience. Our theory is that people pay with sweat equity up front, $5/hour, which also helps them build their skills for maintaining their own bikes. We make occasional exceptions but understand that these are mostly going to end up as gifts, not loans. We also have a lay-away policy. Our best results are with people who genuninely enjoy the combination of mechanics and community -- people with whom we build real relationships.
On Wednesday, May 22, 2013, Edward Kirkwood wrote:
At Broke Spoke Community Bike Shop in Lexington, KY, our bike purchase policy is: People without the financial means can purchase a bike that is priced < $100 totally on credit that day with the verbal agreement that they return to shop and volunteer enough to pay their debt off. Our sweat equity policy pays folks $8 / hour in shop credit. After a review of our sweat equity accounts that we keep for each customer, we discovered that over 50% of the folks who purchased a 100% sweat equity bike never came back after that initial visit/bike purchase. Our mission is to provide better acccess to better bicycles used for transportation and to enable folks to perform their own maintenance. While our current policy is providing bikes to people, we are questioning whether we are giving folks a handout rather than a hand-up.
We would like to hear how some of you handle sweat equity bike purchases. More specifically adult purchases as we do not have a huge kid market.
Allen Kirkwood Broke Spoke