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ZAMM Fanatic
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Discussion Starter #1
Ever since I first saw a Baxley ground-loading trailer, I've been thinking there's a business that could be built around them: Motorcycle rescue / towing.

The trailers themselves are 4-5X the cost of a standard 3-rail trailer, but can load a flatted, full sized bagger without any real effort, or risk. In 2 minutes or less.

Compared to some tow operator dragging a big bike on a dolly up onto a flatbed.....waiting for it to come crashing down....

My idea has been to set guys up all over the country with the trailers if they're available and willing 24x7 to go rescue broken down riders. Some sort of franchise operation perhaps. They'd have to have a tow-capable pickup...

Insurance, of course, will be a humongous issue. But that'll be solved, there's ALWAYS a way when $ can alleviate a problem...

The bigger issue I haven't come up with a solution for is ADVERTISING.

How could you let rider, say, within a 50 mile radius know that you're set up to tow bikes, and only bikes, without the usual storefront, yellow pages ads, etc.

It's gotta hit riders touring THROUGH an area, not just locals.

Having been stuck out in the middle of nowhere, and told by multiple tow companies 'We don't tow MC's..." I know there's a real need.

I know Subway pays for their stores to appear on GPS maps..... maybe something similar could inform riders: Local MC tow company...

Perhaps giving an "incentive" to local MC repair shops for "referrals" since broken-down bikers are going to call them FIRST... hey, do you change tires?

Ideas, anyone? Anyone here LIKE to have such a business in YOUR area, to supplement your other job(s) / income?

Which points out another issue; there's no way to stop ANYONE from just jumping in and doing the same....the franchise has to offer SOME benefits, like
all the calls from, say, Geico policyholders who need a rescue....
 

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Hey Wade,

It sounds like a great idea. I know a couple of good marketing guys i can bounce this off of if you would like. i may even be interested once you get the bugs worked out. never hurts to have another stream of income.

Let me know if you want my to run it by my marketing friends.

TCMJim
 

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Wade

when i bought my Yamaha a few years ago, I had it towed in LA to my house. There was a guy who already had the set-up you described. It was a low flat trailer specifically designed for motorcycles. It worked tremendously well, was much easier to use than a standard towing trailer, and with much less possible damage to the bike (i.e. none).

So ... bottom line is that there are some people already doing this. But I couldnt tell you how many.

its not necessarily a "put-down" on an idea when you find that other people are doing it the question might really be ... why arent a LOT more towing people doing it?

cheers,
dT
 

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I think the real market is away from high population areas. I have used a towing service twice. The first time a guy showed up with a flatbed and we all 3 got together to struggle to put my bike on it. It worked out but was not a pretty sight. The next time I was out in the boonies and there was no competent bike towing service available nearby. I worked with the towing guy who routinely towed cars for over an hour to just get the bike to a point where he could carry it. He had it hanging off a typical hook using a couple of towing straps that we had doubled up to get a proper purchase on the hard points on the bike without having it drag on the ground. We then tied it off to prevent it swinging around loosely. I didn't even like watching that one drive away, but it came out just fine at the other end.
 

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FTW ┌∩┐(◣_◢)┌
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Easiest idea where towing companies could easily winch a disabled bike up is inventing some sort of training wheels system that could be clamped onto bottom of frame and small enough in size so they can be stored in the flatbed's side boxes (if truck has the side box). It would keep the bike up while winching it up the bed and wouldn't require extra man power to help the bike and keep it from falling over. Could even have a strong magnet that you simply place under frame.

Would come with adjustable plate to adapt to any size motorcycle to insure proper stability. Both training wheels could be adjusted to different angles as well. Or perhaps a set of training wheels (for front and rear) which sound better as "aid wheels" that can be hooked up to the forks and swing arms for max stability while being winched. Along with adjustable wheels so device can adapt to any size motorcycle.

As far as recovery with say accidents, they can drag the bike up on it's side, insurance is going to cover all damages associated with incident anyways minus a breakdown call.
 

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Most of the motorcycle shops around here have their own rescue trailers. Most of the towing companies around here don't carry the necessary equipment to properly secure a bike.

The trailers that I have seen are really low to the ground and they basically can just ride the bike up onto the trailer via a ramp pretty easy (or push if it ain't running).

You may get some slack from your local motorcycle repair shops if they have their own rescue squad. They aren't going to like you stepping in on their turf.
 

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Some local shops might be interested in subcontracting the towing work. (Especially if they can have a piece of the towing bill) That would be free money for them and maybe steady work.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
sort of training wheels system
I'm told that's what most tow operators already have. A dolly they drag up onto their flatbed. I don't know if they carry it with at all times or only on MC rescues. It's gotta be time consuming to use safely.

As for MC shops, most prefer work be brought to them. Some have a gopher they can send out, but considering the high-risk easy-fail$$$ nature of towing, is he really the right guy?

Rocket City Harley in Huntsville already uses a Baxley for recoveries/rescues. I'm just surprised EVERY MC shop doesn't have a ground-loader.

Here's a design similar to a Baxley. Lots of guys re-invent the Baxley, build a half dozen, can't make a profit, and go under. My guess: It's hard to sell a $$$ trailer when MOST people can get by just fine with a used $500 3-rail, simple job.

 

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Charlie Tango Xray
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My guess: It's hard to sell a $$$ trailer when MOST people can get by just fine with a used $500 3-rail, simple job.
Most U Haul trailers have wheel chocks on them now. Last spring (during a snowstorm) I was able to rent a trailer in the afternoon, drop my new motorcycle off for its first service and pick it up the next morning for less than $25.
 

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Gone.
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The Baxley looks like a lot of clever engineering and extra expense that doesn't make things much easier then a plain old flat bed trailer with a drop ramp and one of those ride-on front wheel chocks. It's a very cool design, but I think the cost vs. benefit would keep it from selling well. How many tows would it take to pay for one, I wonder?

The last shop I worked at had an enclosed trailer, 6x10 I think. You just rode the bike up the ramp and hit the chock, and that would hold it upright while you stepped off and strapped it down. If the bike wasn't running you just started back a little bit, got up some steam, and pushed it up the ramp. It did have a hand operated winch mounted in the front but I never saw that used. Most customers seemed to appreciate that it was enclosed too.
 

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There is an absolute need for more motorcycle only towing companies, with equipment that is 'bike' safe, that are available 24-7 and are reliable.

MC dealers in my area all have their trailers for picking up and/ or delivering bikes to customers, however they are closed at night and Sunday and Monday.

Part of my Consumer electronics business/ Computer/ IT business is to host websites. A well designed website linked to all search engines will absolutely be the best solution: We have seen websites that we design and host increase a customers business drastically in a month or so. We can design and maintain these interactive sites remotely all over the world.

Advertising is where it's at!

Sam:)
 
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If you decide to try this out I would recommend doing it local to start with and a minimal investment and see how it works out first. Heck, you may not even like it. As Porky already stated, having a well designed website linked with search engines will help you out tremendously.
 

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It's also important that your website is mobile phone-friendly. Many websites have a redirect to a mobile version if they detect a phone browser.

A lot of people may be using their phones when they need a tow.
 

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Charlie Tango Xray
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Also be sure you want to answer calls at all hours of the night. When we've tried using snowmobile recovery services, (when we've really needed them, out late on a cold night, several hours from home) no one would answer the phone. We would usually get a call back the next morning after we recovered it ourselves. :rolleyes:
 

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A tow service would be nice but what is truly needed is an emergency motorcycle tow service. 24/7 will take dedication to truly want to help. I hate traveling on Sunday and Monday for that very reason. Who's available to help? An emergency tow service should be able to pick up, store for a day or two and then deliver as well.

The need is there. However, you can't just depend on one geographical area to be able to stay busy I wouldn't think. One or two pickups won't keep you in business. And being able to cover more than a 250 miles radius of service seems near impossible. But I'd love to be able to just call AAA and get the right kind of tow vehicle 24/7.
 
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