Banner

2009

April 2, 2009

Holy cow how time has flown by the past couple of weeks. We have been extremely busy both with seats already scheduled and we have been scheduling a lot of seats. Last month broke our monthly web site hit record with us averaging over 18,000 hits per day.

I have always thanked everyone for spreading the word about us. I would say 92-95% of all orders are from referrals but we are starting to see a increase from people searching the web for what we do. Plus we are starting to have a increase from people finding us in a couple magazines that have ran press releases on us so the word is really starting to get out there.

The new modifications I talked about several weeks back are still sitting on the back burner. Our weather here has been crappy to say the least. We have had more rain the past 8 weeks and it really sucks having to drive a cage all the time. Hopefully mother nature is getting this out her system so we can have some good riding weather the remaining spring and summer.

I feel like this is going to be our busiest ride in year yet. We have already had a tremendous amount of ride ins so far this year and that is with people dodging the rain and once it gets cleared up good and the temps rise a little more I expect we will be covered up with ride ins. While we have increased the number of scheduled seats per day we will be doing the same with the ride in numbers since there are two of us strictly working on seats on the time. We aren't to the place where we can double the scheduled seats but ride ins will be doubled. We offer the ride in service Mon-Fri after 1 PM and Saturday's starting at 8 AM but I would highly recommend calling to schedule these because if we are booked up and you just show up chances are you will be turned away that day.

That's going to do it for this week, short and sweet. Till next time be safe and enjoy the ride.

March 9, 2009

What a difference a week makes. Last week we were getting snow and it was freaking cold to say the least. All this snow and ice we got threw a wrench into our work schedule for Monday and I made the call to keep the shop closed. I didn't want to take any chances of someone having a accident trying to the get the shop. The morning news was showing accidents so I just didn't want to take a chance. Tuesday we hit the door running wide open and by the end of Wednesday we had gotten caught up and was back on schedule.

New modifications are coming and I am going to be dropping a couple that are already offered because these new ones are going to be better than what is being offered. Motorcycle seats is pretty much all I think about 24/7. We do a lot of work on previously modified seats that other people have worked on and most of the stuff I see is just all wrong but occasionally I will see something that was a good idea but just applied incorrectly. Harley Davidson came out with a new seat call the Hammock seat, it is a stock seat on the Screaming Eagle Ultra. It is a very old technology that is actually still being used by some furniture factories that build cheap furniture and I couldn't believe they actually put it in a motorcycle seat. Then this past week I got a seat in that was previously modified by someone else that used a different type of webbing but it wasn't applied correctly but was actually a good idea so this got me thinking about how the application of these two things could be improved and it dawned on me that applying what was done to the previously modded seat but applying it correctly but in a manner close to what the hammock seat is. So I was needing a new seat for my bike and I had one to try this on so Thursday after all the schedule seats were completed I started work on it. When I got it the seat completed and put on the bike and sat on it the first time, it brought a huge smile to my face because I realized I had just came up with something new and was going to be huge. I had Brent and Steve sit on the seat and both agreed this was a sweet sitting seat. I got to put some miles on the new modified seat this past weekend and put over 500 miles on it and it needs just a little tweaking and hopefully by next week this new modification will be available. There is some other things I have to research first before I can release it.

There is another modification that I am working on also but I haven't gotten to test it yet but should have it done sometime this coming week the bad news is the weather is supposed to go bad again towards the end of the week so I am not sure how much testing will get done so it will probably be a few weeks before it is talked about much further.

Last thing and I will be done for this week. I just want to thank Brent and Steve for their hard work this past week. Both guys dug in and worked their butts off getting us back on schedule quickly.

Till next time be safe and enjoy the ride.

March 2, 2009

As we near riding season we get a blast of winter and our first real snow accumplation of the year here in North Carolina. I am not sure about all your guys and gals but I am ready to ride. This has been a cold winter for us, the worst in at least the past 5 years...maybe is because of Global warming?

The past couple weeks we have seen a spike in the scheduling. We have started scheduling a few more seats per day to try and keep us from getting real far out but at the peak of last year we were at 3 months out. While I hope we don't get that far out its a great problem to have honestly and its a good feeling knowing that we have the work and most importantly that we are doing our job right.

I am currently working on restructuring the modifications some. The more we are using our new foam we are learning even more and I feel I need to make a few changes. I think this will make the modification selection easier and overall make things a little leaner looking on the page.

That is going to do it for this week. Till next time be safe and enjoy the ride.

February 23, 2009

WOW!!! That is about all I can say honestly. With everything on TV telling us how bad the economy is all that comes to mind is WOW! with the number of seats we are scheduling. Last year I started planning for this year. Last year at this time is when we went to the scheduling format because of the number of seats we were getting. This kept our turn around time down but we got pretty far out with the scheduling at just over 3 months before it started settling down. So this year the plan was to bring in another upholsterer to help us maintain but I was worried about doing this because of all the doom and gloom the news has been telling us and I didn't want someone to quit their job then I have to lay them off because we didn't have the work. Well, as it is turning out we are actually getting more work this year than we were last year which is what I had figured would happen but with the economy in the tank as they say I wasn't sure what we would have but thankfully we are wide open and we are all working full weeks. Thanks to everyone who has scheduled and thanks to everyone for spreading the word about us, we keep getting more and more referrals from our past customers and you guys and gals are what is keeping us busy.

I don't usually rant on here but I really think this issue is something I can rant about. Myrtle Beach Bike Week. I really enjoyed going to Myrtle Beach Bike Week and checking things out and just hanging out with a bunch of fellow riders plus getting to see a lot of the new stuff that came out each year in person instead of only in a magazine. Well, as a lot of you know the great elected leaders of Myrtle Beach has decided they no longer want us there and have passed several new Anit-biker laws. One a helmet law for the city limits of Myrtle Beach. I honestly don't think they can do this but I am no lawyer but in a state which has a no-helmet required law I do not see how one little city can require this and I feel sure it can be beat in court and you could probably call these new laws profiling which our legal system has been using a lot lately with the illigal aliens and terrorist from certain parts of the world. I for one though will never go back and yes i said NEVER. The bike weeks pumped a lot of money into the Myrtle Beach economy and I do mean a lot. But this little city thinks they no longer need our money so they won't get mine and I hope they won't get you’re money either. thunderbeachproductions.com that is where we are going to start going...Thunder Beach in Panama City Florida. They want us there and they say it is a biker friendly rally. So F'k Myrtle Beach. These comments are not by no means directed to the people of Myrtle Beach but the elected officials who think that they can turn their backs on a event that has built up the city over past 68 years and have profited off it.

Well, enough of that. On a positive note. As mentioned in the previous update my dog Axle passed away. Thanks to all who sent condolences. I have acquired a new pup. He is a English Bull Terrier like Axle but instead of getting another all white one I got a black and white one. His name is Saul. He is 18 weeks old and has a personality all his own. He thinks he is supposed to be the center of attention and wants to be a lap dog which is fine for now but when he gets full grown and 50 lbs I don't think I want him hopping up on my lap. I'll try get some pictures of him posted up in the future. The movie Saw is one of my favorites...I know I am twisted so when I heard his name Saul I knew he would fit in good. His AKC name is Mean City Jig Saul named of course after Jig Saw from the movie.

Till next time be safe and enjoy the ride.

March 12, 2009

Hey guys and gals. Another week has went screaming by us and we are running wide open. As luck would have it this past week ended with gloomy wet weather so that has put a hamper on getting the new modifications finalized and fully tested. As they say if something can go wrong it will and that is a all too familiar phrase when trying to get a new modification completed and released or at least it seems like it to me.

We are scheduling the last part of April and early May currently and as previously stated I have brought in more help this year to try and keep our scheduling a little more in hand but as it would be we are getting around 35-40% more calls this year and while we are doing more seats per day than last year we are still having a little trouble keeping up with the demand. Right now we are pretty much peaked out on the number of seats we can do per day without bringing in more help and this brings up another issue of not having enough room for more help in the shop. We are pretty much walking on top of each other now and I really do not foresee another addition to the current shop. I have been looking for a larger building but nothing has really caught my eye and unless something just pops up I figure and kind of hope we will be in this location at least another year before that step is taken.

So, with all that being said I am starting to get emails and calls asking if we have any dates sooner than what we are scheduling and the answer is "no". Then comes the, well if I send my seat in early and there is a cancellation can I get that spot? Since we have gone to the scheduling system and require the $25 deposit it is very rare that anyone cancels. If I remember correctly, we have had 2 so far this year due to the person getting laid off or having a spouse laid off from work.

I keep getting emails asking what our turnaround time is so I guess I had better address this again. The first thing you need to do is call and schedule your seat 866-550-SEAT(7328) Your seat will need to be at the shop no later than the day before it is scheduled to be worked on. Then the next day(Your scheduled date) your seat is completed and shipped back once final payment is received. So basically our turnaround time is overnight if you plan your shipping accordingly. We do not have a 2 week turn around or 4 week turn around it is overnight turn around as long as your seat is here the day before it is scheduled. Now, I do not and would not recommend overnight shipping. This can be very and I do mean very expensive for the size of box that is required to ship a seat in.

While we are talking about shipping I feel I need to touch base on this also. The shipping companies, UPS and FedEx charge shipping by the size of the box and not the weight of them. A normal sized solo seat fits in a box roughly 24" x 16" x 12" and shipping on a box this size is normally $10-15 about anywhere in the US but when you use a box 28x20x20 to ship the same seat in the shipping cost normally doubles or close to it so be sure to use the smallest box you can get your seat in safely. You do not want the seat pressing on the sides of the box but have a little padding in it to prevent it from rubbing the box because that can scar or even rub a hole in the cover that isn't a good thing.

Last thing on shipping and I will be done. When shipping your seat and I know it is convenient to use the UPS and Kinko’s stores because they are located in convenient areas. Normally they charge a pretty decent rate to ship but they will be higher than taking it directly to the FedEx or UPS terminal, the actual terminal is where you will get your best shipping rates. Now the mom and pop stores that ship via UPS and FedEx add a on to the shipping cost over the UPS and FedEx fee's because they have to so they can stay in business. I have heard of these places charging $100+ to ship a seat via UPS or FedEx so while I truly believe in having your own business and trying to achieve the American dream, these people are trying to stick it to you. Just yesterday, we had a oversized box that a seat came in the shipping was somewhere around $30-35 for us to ship it back. The person asked us how much the return shipping was and we told him and we were told he was charged over $100 to ship the seat to us...that’s freaking crazy! I highly recommend when shipping a seat to us to use the ground shipping option, this will be the least expensive and 9 times out of 10 the seat will get here just as fast as 2nd day and especially 3 day select which cost 3 times as much as standard ground shipping. I have been asked in the past, why don't you tell your customers this? I have posted several times on this in the past and I think I have mentioned this in the FAQ's also, if not I will get that changed but you wouldn't believe how many people don't really read all the information that is on the site and just read a little and call and ask the same questions that have been answered on here and are in the FAQ's. But that is what we are here for, to answer questions and help you get comfortable so you can ride all day.

Till next time, be safe and enjoy the ride. Spring is just around the corner.

February 11, 2009

This past week and this week have been really busy. The phones are ringing off the hook and we are booking more seats than ever currently. We are getting so many referals it is unbelievable, I even had one gentleman tell me his mailman refered him to us. I love word of mouth advertising, it helps us keep our cost down and there isn't a better source than from someone who our work has helped spreading the word. Thank you all for spreading the word.

Currently we are booking the middle of March, I know over the next week we will be getting calls from guys going to Daytona wanting to get thier seats done before Daytona and unfortunately that isn't going to happen. We are booked solid. We have also started getting ride ins which is somewhat unusual for this time of year so I believe this is going to be a very busy spring and summer with these. Steve, got his first ride in this past week and is really picking things up very fast which I knew he would.

Yesterday was a sad day at the shop. The guys who rode in when we were over at the old shop would often see our two dogs Axle and Mari. They are English Bull Terriers and have a very unique shaped head, if you have ever seen the target dog or are old enough to remember Spuds McKenzie that is what they look like. I had always wanted one of these dogs ever since I was little and watched Black Sheep Squadron. Pappy Boyington had one on the show and I just thought they were the coolest looking dogs. I finally found a local breeder and purchased Axle and brought him home when he was just 6 weeks old. We found out Monday his heart was failing him and when I got to the shop yesterday I found him dead laying in his favorite spot where he use to soak up the sun. I laid him to rest down by the pond where he loved to go swimming in the summer. He is missed already and will be for a long time.

Till next time be safe and enjoy the ride.

February 2, 2009

It's been a couple weeks since my last update and we have been wide open. I want to thank Brent and Steve for all the hard work at the shop first off, the phone has been ringing off the hook and emails are pouring in and everyone is staying right on top of things which is very good because customer service is top priority.

I am always trying to think on what we can do to improve our services, keep cost down and make our modifications the best value on the market and the past couple of years I have came up with new modifications. This year I haven't been able to come up with anything new but just improve the modifications we already offer. I feel like we can always improve what we do and I am thinking 24 hours a day on how to make things better. Since switching foam suppliers back in August we have learned a lot about the new foam and the main thing I have learned is this is the best damn memory foam I have ever worked with.

One thing that is currently in the development stages is a custom seat designed by me. I am making a seat to sit the rider down on the frame rails or at least as close as humanly possible to get there. Last weekend I make the first pan for a popular metric bike and once I have this seat worked out I am going to do one for a Street Glide/Road King and then we will start testing the waters to see if there is much interest in this type of seat. It will be a solo only seat and I am hoping it will be comfortable enough to not be classified as a bar hopper seat but most likely that is what it will be categorized in, going this low there just isn't much room for foam.

With the addition of the new office and cover facility I was hoping that taking this stuff out of the main shop would open up some much needed space which it did but we are already getting crowded again in the shop. I wish we could get into a larger building but that would just cost too much right now and I do not want to lease a building or pay rent so we are trying to make do with what we have and utilize every inch of the shop. Its amazing that when the shop was built and the first day in it I was thinking....maybe I went too big but I quickly learned you can never have to much room.

We are getting a lot of new cover orders this year and we have already passed the number of covers we did all of last year so this part of the business has really boomed for us and I see it getting even bigger as time passes. We have actually started getting seats in that are just for recovering with no foam work and that is a first for us because usually everybody wants to change the seating position. I look for the re-covering to become really big and take us to the next level.

Thanks to everyone spreading the word about us. We have been keeping notes on how people find out about us and I would say 85% is word of mouth which is slightly down but that is due to the number of people who are searching on Google and finding us is up.

We love hearing from our customers and we recently got a customer testimonial that made me really happy. Chloe Conner had contacted us about her seat a while back and we discussed what we could do to help her with her seats comfort and getting her feet more securely on the ground. Well, she sent us a before and after picture and they are posted on the customer testimonials page. It still amazes me to this day that we can do what we do. To me working on the seats comes natural and I really don't think we are doing anything spectacular but getting customer feedback like hers and seeing the results makes me proud that we are providing our services and at a great value. I have had numerous people tell me we should charge more than we do but it's not all about money to me, it’s about helping our fellow riders and that is why Mean City Cycles was started to begin with.

That’s going to do it for this week. I hope everyone has a great week and is wishing for warmer temperatures because it’s been cold. So till next time be safe and enjoy the ride.

January 19, 2009

Two full weeks into 2009 and we are getting real busy again. We have scheduled over 100 seats since the beginning of the new year and if things goes as previous years we will be getting a lot more seats scheduled. We have been keeping track of all the scheduled seats this year and after the first two weeks word of mouth referrals are the highest it has ever been and that means a lot to me. Knowing what we are doing is helping other rider's along with saving them money is what this business is all about. So to all our past customers who are out there spreading the word about us, Thank You!

Starting today we have brought in our third full time employee. As mentioned in my last what's new update Steve will be working his first full time day with us. He has a lot to learn yet but his previous upholstering experience, motorcycle riding experience and determination to be the best is going to make him a a tremendous asset to us and all of our customers.

This past week started out horribly but ended up on a good note. It all started Sunday actually, I went to the shop to get some things ready for Monday and right away I noticed there was a problem. I flicked the light switch on over in the office and no power but it was on in the shop so I started checking breakers and the office's main breaker was tripped. I reset it and as soon as I sat down at my desk it went off again. This time during the reset something in the main box arched and then it all went down hill from there. Monday morning half the power to the shop would come on and go off with no breakers tripping. We ended up having to get the main box replaced and by 5 PM we had power back on. So we feel a day behind right off the bat and battled all week long trying to get caught back up which we finally did Saturday.

Well, that should do it for this update. Till next time be safe and enjoy the ride but most of all stay warm.

January 3, 2009

My first update since we are in the New Year. I hope everyone enjoyed the holidays. Christmas day weather here was perfect and we hit a high 66 degrees and I actually got to ride some Christmas day. Could you ask for a better present than that?

2009 marks our 5th anniversary. It is hard to believe that Mean City Cycles has reached this milestone. I honestly never thought it would but a lot of hard work, long hours and a determination to make butts happy seems to be a good combination for a business to grow along with our customer service which is considered by many to be the best. This year does look like it is going to be a challenge though with the economy turning south like it has but one good thing is the sun will shine on everyone again and its just a matter of time before things start picking back up for everyone.

We are getting geared up to start doing some motorcycle shows and events this year. My buddy Matt has made some motorcycle seat stands that we have mounted stock seats to and will be modifying these seats for people to sit on and get a first hand feeling of what our modded seats feel like in person. Our first show will be the Easy Riders show in Charlotte NC January 23-25. I am really excited about getting to do this and look forward to meeting a lot of people. The next date on the calendar will be in April I believe and that will be Thunder Beach in Panama City Florida. We will be set up with our display and if all goes accordingly we will be modifying seats there also.

This past week business has really started picking up. We stay pretty busy about all year with November and December being our slowest time and January through August being our busiest. Currently we are booking around 1 1/2 weeks out which isn't too bad and I have planned on bringing in another upholsterer this year. I have known Steve Belcher for about 6 or 7 years and this past year I started bringing him in part time to get familiar with what we do better. Steve has around 20 years of upholstering experience and will be a big asset to our team. He also rides and understands what makes a good sitting motorcycle seat.

Emails. If you send me This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it a email and you do not get a reply try sending emailing me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . I reply to every email I get which this week was just over 150 emails. I still hear that some people do not get my replies and this has to be due to a spam filter catching them. The This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it account don't seem to have this problem. Also be sure your email reply address is correct, I get 5-10 returned emails stating that the email account isn't a active account or some other type of error. If you do not get a reply in 24 hours I would say that there is a email problem of some sort. Usually I reply within 4-6 hours of receiving a email and normally it is quicker than that.

My last thing to touch base on before I finish this update. We are getting around 20-30 calls a day right now and this will be picking up over the next few months. We have added another phone line to help handle the calls. Our three phone numbers are 828-428-1521, 828-428-1535 and our toll free number is 866-550-SEAT(7328) Hopefully this will help keep people off hold better and allow us to get through more callers a day.

Okay, that will do it for this week and it’s time for me to get back to work.

Till next time be safe and enjoy the ride.

Testimonials

Recover
After 65K on the seats they needed to be recovered. Sent then to Mean City Cycles. After getting them back I could not be more pleased with the look and feel of them. Many thanks for the beautiful job...
Tom Riddle


promo