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last updated 22/04/2018

Electric bikes are the latest revolution in personal transport – and is leading the way

click images to enlarge is looking for licensees to create thriving businesses of their own is looking for licensees to create thriving businesses of their own James Munro, Ron Minkhorst, Michael Tritt James Munro, Ron Minkhorst, Michael Tritt

This article was published June 2017. To see the latest article about Electrify on Franchise New Zealand click here

Almost three years ago, Michael Tritt and Ron Minkhorst started in Auckland’s Freemans Bay. Specialising in importing and selling electric bikes, the company has quickly become one of New Zealand’s largest importers of e-bikes. Now, is looking for licensees around the country to build on this growth and create thriving businesses of their own. 

‘When people own an electric bike, they start making excuses to leave the car in the garage,’ says James Munro, Michael and Ron’s business partner. ‘They’re easy to ride and park, enable you to go further and, best of all, don’t use expensive, imported fossil fuel. They’re also fun – I’ve yet to meet anyone who’s ridden an e-bike and not had a huge smile on their face!’ 

experience meets passion

Although James and Michael are both passionate about the environmental and health advantages of e-bikes, it’s their considerable commercial experience that has made a genuine business opportunity. 

James has a corporate background, most recently leading the retail business for electricity supplier Mercury Energy. ‘After 30 great years in big corporates, though, I wanted to put my skills to use in something I’m passionate about,’ he says. ‘E-bikes are mainstream in Europe and New Zealand is following fast – we’re ideally placed to use electric bikes and cars because 95 percent of our electricity comes from renewable sources. We have a good climate and access to fantastic outdoor lifestyles. Add in changing attitudes towards sustainability – not to mention the sheer practicality of e-bikes – and the market is growing fast.’ 

Michael did a Masters in Environmental Studies before spending his career in the non-profit sector, most recently as director of fund-raising for Greenpeace NZ. ‘That gave me a solid understanding of how to market sustainable products and ideas, and how to run customer service properly for 60,000 members,’ Michael says. 

leading brand, exclusive product

The team have put all that experience to good use in the last 18 months to create a great customer support mechanism. The original small Freemans Bay outlet is now a seven-day operation, there’s a 24-hour trial offer that allows customers to experience the bike of their choice, and has become the sole distributor for an enviable portfolio of top international brands. ‘We have exclusive rights for Magnum and Prodecotech from the US, plus Kreidler, Gepida, Bottecchia and Graziella from Europe,’ says James. ‘We believe this is the best grouping of quality e-bike brands on the market from established companies at the cutting edge of design. They use the best componentry and offer us solid warranty support.’ 

‘The licence opportunity includes two separate income streams – retail and hire. Cycle tourism is growing rapidly and e-bikes are part of this; often, renters enjoy the experience so much that they have to have an e-bike of their own. Plus e-bike retailing is growing fast anyway, prompted by nationwide growth in cycling infrastructure. 

‘We appeal to a very broad cross-section of the population. There are the hard core “lycra-cyclists” who want to cruise around with their family; the commuters; the leisure seekers looking to extend their range; and those who simply want to have fun. Increasingly we are finding a market among the millennials who don’t want to run a car, and mums who will put a trailer on the bike and take their kids to school before heading on to work. 

‘In the city, bicycles are often much faster than cars in peak hours, but e-bikes mean you can get all the exercise you need and want, and fly up the hills or speed into headwinds without arriving hot and sweaty. It costs less than 20c to charge an e-bike for an average range of around 60km – some will even do 100km. If you are spending $50 a week on petrol and/or transport an e-bike can easily pay for itself within a year – even without taking car parking costs into account.’ 

keeping it affordable is looking for just 8-10 licensees to cover the whole country. ‘We want people with business experience and the drive to become masters of their own destiny,’ says Michael. ‘They should have broad career and life experience, understand retail and customers, and have the empathy to understand people’s different situations and meet their needs. 

‘A big proportion of our business is through referrals by delighted customers, so our company aim is to provide the best possible service. We’ve had thousands of conversations with individual customers and developed a lot of information as to what people do and don’t want. All that experience will be passed on to our licensees, along with systems and sales tools, marketing material and full support in setting up and establishing a new outlet. We have designed a system to minimise up-front capital requirements and directly link our licensees’ success to our own. The fee is just $25,000, and fit-out and set-up costs will vary according to location. 

‘We now need a small number of great licensees to meet and expand this fast-growing market, so if the proposition attracts you, give us a call. All but two of our regions are available, so be first off the starting block and electrify your chosen region.’    

See this advertorial on page 15 of Franchise New Zealand magazine Year 26 Issue 2

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advertiser info: franchise business opportunity

industry retail investment $25,000 number in NZ 5 and globally 5 FANZ member no
contact James Munro telephone email find out more listing

advertiser info

industry retail email phone
FANZ member no
investment from $25,000
number in NZ 5
number globally 5
contact James Munro

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