09 Mar FLATTIRE Manifesto
This article will document our awesome journey over the past 3 years and explain the reasons behind the restructuring of our services and prices that those of you familiar with us will notice
It’s already been 3 years since FlatTire first started and boy, does time fly when you’re having fun 🙂
We set out out with the desire to make Amsterdam cycling more accessible. Noticing how shops took a few days to fix your bicycle, doing it all in a rather non-transparent way, we realized we could and should do better. Starting with a Facebook page (@Damn, a flat tire), less than two years later, we launched our mobile app and are constantly trying to make our service as simple and seamless as possible. Last year we took part in Startupbootcamp’s Smart City and Living accelerator program, where we met a lot of awesome people and got a more clear focus of what to do to get better every day.
3 awesome years later, and over 10,000 bicycles fixed, our team is growing, and with it, our experience in what owning and maintaining a bicycle in Amsterdam really means.
The ones of you who’ve been with us for a while have seen our transition from a student hobby project to a growing startup that’s at the forefront of bicycle repair innovation. We couldn’t have done this without you all. Thank you for believing in us!
Also, those of you following us closely have probably noticed that we’re moving in the direction of convenience and speed. This started with the very launch of our app, and continued with launching our Express Service last year. With this, you can get your bicycle fixed within an hour from the request time, for just 5 extra eur. There were times when we weren’t able to guarantee it due to days being too busy. However, with each passing week, we’re growing our capacity and becoming faster and faster. This was also reflected in our decision to add travelling costs for requests that were far from the city center. It wasn’t that we didn’t want to service those areas, but we realized that with our then rather limited manpower, in order to continue moving towards faster and more reliable service, we had to first focus on a more central area, and then expand outwards.
Finally, you will have noticed that we’ve changed our services and prices structure. We have tweaked with it in the past, but never as much as now. We’ll now try to explain what this change is based on.
1. Components quality: We’ve been using good parts for quite a while. After gathering quite a bit of data in the past year, we came to a rather surprising conclusion: Using very good parts is not only the most reliable solution. It is also the cheapest. A bit counter intuitive at first, but we never cease to be amazed at how a better quality anti-puncture tire, for example, will last so much longer and will resist even the medium sized pieces of glass that Amsterdam is so full of. In our short article on parts and components you can read more about our choice of brands and products.
2. No-questions-asked warranty: This is closely connected with part quality. We’ve noticed that most of you expect and demand that a repair lasts. This is of course a no-brainer, so we’ve decided to add a full no-questions asked warranty with each repair. Of course, this can be from as little as 48 hours for a patch, to 3 full month for a new tire and tube (even 6 month for the Schwalbe Marathon Plus). We know that there will be unlucky cases of cycling on a sharp nail or earring (we should write an article about all the weird stuff we’ve pulled out of tires) and get a flat tire, despite having a good quality tire. We’ll still fix it for free, as we really believe in building a trusted relationship with all of you. Also, once bicycle theft goes down considerably, which we expect to happen in the coming years, more and more cyclists will be encouraged to invest in quality bicycles. Read more about our warranty policy.
3. Quick maintenance: Our bicycle specialist can do a lot of things in literally just a few minutes to improve the quality of your ride, both in terms of comfort as well as long term reliability. From tightening a mudguard, lowering a seat a bit, oiling the chain or simply properly inflating both tires, whether your bicycle is 2 months or 20 years old, a bit of love every few months goes a long way. It only costs 3 euro! Read more about quick maintenance.
4. Expanding our area: We’ve decided to greatly expand our Area 1, and stop charging the 5 eur free for quite a few locations around Amsterdam. We’ve also expanded our Area 2 to include a bit of Amsterdam Noord, and a few other areas. We’re working hard on servicing more and more locations 🙂
5. Speed and flexibility: In the past few months we have found ourselves on quite a few occasions where we unfortunately had to refuse requests, as we didn’t have enough man power. We are growing an amazing team and we hope that all the time one of us will be around to help out 🙂
That being said, we are incredibly excited to see what 2016 has in store for us. We hope to be able to help out faster and better with each day and to find new ways of changing the cycling experience in Amsterdam for the better.
On a finishing note, we are deeply grateful to all of you who helped us get here. Not only by using our services, but also telling your friends and helping us be known.
P.S. We just released our online shop 🙂