Thomas Treloar’s business The Rolling Fix has established a profitable niche over the past seven years. Unlike most other mobile mechanics who go house to house, Thomas usually works in the underground car parks and bike parking facilities of the large office towers in Sydney’s CBD.
Working with major corporates and building managers to a schedule of repair days that are confirmed and promoted well in advance, Thomas can then efficiently service a line-up of bikes, often the carbon fibre high end bikes of the mamils who work in each building.
But of course, with the virus causing working from home to become the new normal, his traditional CBD office tower work dropped to zero overnight.
So Thomas went on the road, visiting family homes from Cronulla to Penrith to Manly, a vast swathe of suburbia, to resuscitate long neglected bicycles that had not seen the light of day for years.
“There were so many cobwebs that I ended up buying a dust broom, I ran out of rags!” Thomas said.
“The parents are so grateful when I get their family on the road. They sometimes send me photos or videos of themselves out on the road after I’ve fixed their bikes. People are happy to pay. I charge $199 for a service fee per bike, plus a $50 call out fee if there’s only one bike, which I waive when there’s two or more bikes.
“Most bikes need a new chain and new brake pads, at least. It has been an issue getting parts, which would normally come the next day, so I’m having to carry more stock.
“I’m taking bikes home to work on them at night to try to keep up, but I’ve still been one to two weeks behind.”
Despite the huge demand, Thomas has no ambitions to continue with home visits once the virus situation has returned to normal.
“I’m currently working many more hours to get the same revenue,” he said. “The corporate repairs are a much more streamlined process.”