A rolling billboard. Initially business was slow, but has been steadily picking up. The truck is a rolling billboard and generates a lot of customers. It’s covered in a black vehicle wrap that sports flames, the company’s name and phone number and a list of some of the services it performs. Additionally, they advertise on Craigslist and frequent motorcycle events and hangouts where they pass out brochures and business cards. But according to Melissa, word of mouth has been their most important source of new business.
Splitting Lanes caters to a wide swath of Southern California that includes Orange County, Los Angeles county and the Inland Empire — portions of San Bernardino and Riverside counties. It’s a sprawling area with a combined population of about 17 million and is the core of California’s motorcycling population.
The Garcias group their service calls by geography in order to minimize travel time. If there are more appointments than can be covered in a single day, Anthony parks the truck in a central location, unloads his own motorcycle and rides home. He returns to the service site in the morning.
The service menu. Because Anthony performs all service inside the self-contained truck. Most businesses don’t mind if he parks in their lot while working on a customer’s bike. The service menu includes tire, chain and sprocket changes, brake and clutch service, cooling system maintenance, suspension set-up, exhaust installation, Power Commander installation, carb rebuilds, crash repair estimates, and much more. For more intense jobs, such as a major tune-up, valve adjustment or engine rebuilds, Anthony bring the bike to his home shop and returns it to the customer when finished.
Splitting Lanes hourly rate is $85, which is about average for the area. However, for most work he’ll usually quote a flat charge that works out to something less than the hourly rate.
Most customers are older professionals, people who have money and motorcycles but no time to work on them. At least one of their regulars has a 12-bike collection for which Anthony is responsible. The Garcias also have signed a contract to do the maintenance work for the Laguna Beach Police Department motorcycle fleet. The lineup of brands Anthony works on is across the board — from Harleys to Ducatis — and includes everything from customs to sportbikes.
While the benefits to the consumer are huge — not having to take time off work to get their bike serviced or deal with the hassle of arranging transportation to and from a dealership — the Garcias also benefit by not having to pay a lease, utilities or staff salaries. Of course, there are liabilities such as the ever-increasing cost of fuel and the staffing issues of being a small shop. There are also business-related hassles — distributors like Parts Unlimited and Tucker Rocky won’t do business with him, he says.
Anthony and Melissa would like to acquire more trucks and expand the business to San Diego county, and possibly out of state. Anthony likes the fact that he has more control over his hours. He can group his appointments and if someone cancels, move immediately to another job. He can even work from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. if he wants, or he can schedule less or none for a specific day.
He’s confident they can build and shape their business model into a consistently profitable enterprise. To find out more about Splitting Lanes, navigate to www.splittinglanes.com.