The mobile Velofixer offers quality bicycle maintenance at home
It became clear very early on that Amor Mistiaen was not one to sit around; he much preferred technology and mechanics. As a school-leaver, he trained as a bicycle repair assistant at Velodroom and then obtained a certificate in business management from the central examination committee. The certificate was just what he needed because, as he was using his rucksack full of equipment to fix his friend's bike, an idea came to him: mobile bicycle repairs at home. A waiting time of up to eight weeks for bike repairs was not exceptional in Brussels at the time. And he wanted to do something about it.
"My mission is to encourage more people in Brussels to move around using their bikes."
Amor quickly recognised that the most significant demand in Brussels comprised quality bicycle maintenance within a reasonable time. He also wanted to work in a sustainable manner and set to work with a limited budget. On a Bullit Cargo transport bike, at that time the sturdiest delivery bicycle on the market, he built himself a mobile bike workshop. He focussed on the Brussels pentagon and slightly outside this area.
He started work in 2011 and quickly built up a customer base that principally comprised private clients from the European neighbourhood. To his surprise, however, many businesses were also interested in his bike maintenance and repair services. They supported their employees who used their bikes to commute to work. Bicycle repair costs are 120% tax deductible. Today, companies such as Mobistar, BIM Leefmilieu, International School of Brussels, GOMB, the Danish embassy and NMBS Financial enjoy the bicycle maintenance services provided by Velofixer.
"What I provide is primarily convenience and extra motivation to use your bike."
"I want to do so by offering better products and great service." Today, Velofixer is also know as a bicycle store with a wide range of items for classic bikes, city bikes, e-bikes and folding bikes. Amor has one full-time employee who has taken over the mobile work.
The fact that Amor is also using digital technology to serve his customers efficiently is evidence of his proactive strategy and service-focus. The technical data for each bike is registered in a database during its first visit. A sticker with the phone number of Velofixer and an identification number is then applied to the bike.
"I then know what materials and replacement parts I need for any work."
This provides an efficient service for his customers but is also vital for him. "I move around using my delivery bike and can't carry too much equipment." So he only takes what he needs. Today, he completes around 15 jobs per week and each job involves between one and ten bikes. He does not provide fixed maintenance contracts, as costs are so variable. "With large organisations, I have an agreement that I will visit them on a regular basis. They can then arrange with their employees that the service hours will be paid by the company as long as the cost of the parts is paid by the employee."
The idea that the concept of the Velofixer can be copied was something Amor realised right from the start. He dreamt of a Velofixer in every large city and was rapidly emulated by Tuub and Velovelo in Gent and the Fietsfixer in Antwerp.