The ‘Five minutes with’ series presents a company with five short, sharp and to-the-point questions about who they are and what they do. This week, we’re joined by Exact Cycle founder Harry King.
Can you tell us the history of the company?
I left my old job running a bike shop in Oxfordshire in 2016 to set up Exact Cycle. Back then it didn’t have a name, but I knew that I needed to make selling second hand bikes easier for cyclists.
The concept came about when I was trying to reduce the size of my bike collection by selling some of my bikes online. As I worked in a bike shop, I knew they all worked perfectly, however I couldn’t seem to get this message across to the people who were buying the bikes.
This was when I thought that if I could sell a bike with verification of its condition from a trusted source, then I would be able to sell my bike for more, and it would stand out from other similar bikes.
I spent the following year building the business. I developed the assessment system for assessing the bikes and formed partnerships with some of the best second-hand marketplaces in the UK. I also teamed up with National Bike register to help prevent the sale of stolen bikes.
The business was launched in February 2018 and I am currently signing up cycle retailers to become registered assessment centres.
What are you ultimately trying to achieve?
Ultimately I want to make the process of selling a bike easier and more profitable for cyclists. I also want to help bike shops get the most value from their customers.
What gives you an edge over other brands in the industry?
Having spent time running a bike shop, I understand how hard it is to keep cyclists coming through the door. Online competition is enormous nowadays, and the margins are so small. When developing this business, I always kept the cycle shop and the customer at the heart of what we do.
When shops sign up as assessment centres, they not only earn up to 70 per cent of the certificate value but they have access to so much more. When bicycles are assessed, they provide the perfect opportunity to up-sell workshop services to the customer. Shop staff can also use this as a great opportunity to start conversations with the customer about a new bike purchase. To top it all off, there is no sign-up fee or cost to the shop for becoming an Exact Cycle Assessment Centre.
Our research has shown that when a bike is sold with an Exact Cycle Quality Assurance Certificate, it can sell for up to 20 per cent more than the same bike without. Not only this, but it makes the bike stand out from those without certificates.
What innovations in the industry are exciting you at the moment?
The most exciting thing for me at the moment is the rate of progression in E-bike technology, and how accessible the bikes are becoming. Whilst I understand they aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, they represent a huge opportunity for the cycling industry as a whole. As the second-hand E-bike market develops, I believe there will be a need for increased transparency between sellers and purchasers as to the condition of the batteries and other electrical components. At Exact Cycle we are already taking steps to overcome these future problems.
What does the future hold for the company?
In the short term we will be working closely with the cycle shops that are already Assessment Centres to help them communicate with their customers, while signing up new shops who want to join our growing network.
Long term, we are going to change the way second-hand bikes are bought and sold online. People selling genuine bikes should not have the value of their bike restricted by those selling bikes dishonestly.
We also want to continue helping bike shops build relationships and get the most from their customers.