In an exclusive interview, Bhushan Karn, Co-founder, Express Bike Works reveals his brand’s USP.
Tell us about your entrepreneurial journey from inception till now?
Jigar, Niraj and I are the first generation entrepreneurs who founded Express Bike Works (EBW) in 2013. Jigar and I quit our respective jobs while Niraj opted out of his campus placements from IIM Indore to embark upon the entrepreneurial journey together. We all are passionate bikers and the idea to start a chain of express bike stores to provide quick, professional and top notch service came out of our own personal problems to maintain our bikes. We bootstrapped with our own savings along with support from friends and family and started working on the concept which has now evolved into EBW! Starting with three founders, we are now a 40-member strong team and are backed by some of the biggest names in the automotive and finance sector. We already have 17 touch points across the length and breadth of country and another 100 are planned for this financial year. We are growing more than 150 per cent Y-O-Y and going forward we have set even higher targets for ourselves.
Tells us about the brand's USP?
Our USP is to save time and water. The biggest bottleneck in servicing the bike is actually the washing part which used to take hours earlier; we have now reduced it to just two minutes. Our flagship product – World’s Fastest Automatic Two wheeler washing system features built-in water recycling system. It enables us to provide consistent, quick and efficient services to our customers at an affordable price. Apart from automatic wash, we also provide value added services like detailing, polishing, coating, oil change, express maintenance, bike health checkups, on-road assistance etc.
Why did you choose franchise model for your brand?
Our business has immense potential not just in metro cities but across all cities, towns, villages. Also, India is the largest market for two-wheelers in the world. Having established all business processes in place at company owned stores, franchising is a good and logical way to scale the business. And we have received tremendous response for our franchise model. We have already signed up about 25 franchises which are currently at different stages of development and launch.
What kind of training and support you provide to your franchisee?
Training and support is not just important for growth of franchise, but is absolutely critical for survival itself, especially for tech and services based businesses. Not only initial training, but the on-going training is equally important for franchise to maintain the growth rate and establish oneself as a brand apart from the rest. We have developed a highly comprehensive training program for our franchises which happens on-site. We provide training for not only operations of machine, but also for soft skills like customer interaction, proper communication of service commitments, explanation of benefits etc. We also have dedicated department for support in our company with one of the highest standards of service level agreements, in case of any issues.
What are your expansion plans?
We are currently present in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, Bangalore, Hubli, Nasik, Thrissur, Guntur and Dhanbad. Soon we are launching stores in Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Vizag, Coimbatore, Mysore, Kochi, Chennai, Surat and 10 other cities. We have also signed up some international franchises in Colombia and Indonesia.
What is the preferred franchise model for your brand’s expansion?In terms of growth what are you expecting in the upcoming years?
Currently, we are looking for master franchises for international markets and have signed up for Colombia, Indonesia and Thailand. We are keen on developing businesses in high bike density markets like Vietnam, Cambodia, Brazil, Africa etc. In India, we are keen on developing franchise network first and based on their business development, we shall appoint master franchises later.
We have signed up 35+ franchises pan India, which will be launched within the next few months. Apart from the existing franchise’s, we are actively engaged in discussions with 100+ other companies/individuals for further penetration and development of our unit franchise network.
While some of the franchises have decided to start with one unit and understand the nitty-gritty’s of the business before moving on with multi-unit franchises, many have directly started with multi-unit franchises. With most of the unit franchises having already tasted the fruits of RoI from their first venture, they shall soon launch multiple units and scale their business rapidly.
Investment: 11 – 13 Lakhs depending on location and space
Area: 180 – 300 Sq Ft
Return-on-investment (RoI): 100%
Breakeven: 1-2 months
Target cities for expansion: Pan India
Preferred location: Petrol bunks with high volume of two-wheeler traffic, malls etc
Year of starting franchise operations: 2015
Year of inception: 2013