Post general kiteboarding discussion topics here!
Since learning how to kite in 2005, I have been fixing my own gear, putting back together kites I have destroyed. I've only hired somebody else to fix my kite if I'm too busy doing something else. Knowing how to fix kites saved me some bucks. I still fly my 2005 C kites and have not bought a new kite since my 2007 caution quiver.
I use just a regular sewing machine. Repairs can get a little tough when the fabric gets too thick, I end up painstakingly do manual sewing on the areas where my machine can't plow through the cloth.
I'm thinking of getting an industrial sewing machine, but they cost a lot money, $900.00 to $1000.00 for a decent portable industrial machine to plow through thick material. One way to offset this cost is for me to make some buck on the side, start taking kite repairs for local riders. This might generate fund for a new set of kites as well.
Would there be enough demand for a local kite repair dude in the East Bay? I've been uprooted from Santa Cruz and now a Concord East Bay local. My main riding spots this year would probably be Alameda, Berkeley, Sherman, TP. By the way, how tough is riding OB compared to Waddell and Scott Creek?
If there's enough demand, I'd be willing to fund my tools and start taking in kite repairs.
Thanks in advance for the feedback.
When evaluating a kite repair service, there seem to be four main factors:
1) Quality of work. Somehow demonstrate that you're at least as good as whoever else is around. This may be your biggest challenge, as there are local services that seem to be very established and respected. The more you can do to display your skills (e.g., excellent Web site with photos of work, etc.), the better.
2) Convenience of pickup and delivery. If possible, make pickup and delivery available at one of the local East Bay spots. This would be a lot more attractive than having to drive out to Concord.
3) Turnaround time. The faster the better. Hopefully, within a day or two, especially for folks like me who don't have "backup" kites.
4) Price. You should be at least comparable to other local services, and preferably a little cheaper since you're trying to get yourself established.
Is there a way you can team up with a store somewhere so people can drop off and pick kite there? Having done some of this part time and having had friends who did it full time you'll want to find other work to keep the sewing machine busy. Fixing windsurf sails, tents, bag etc is a good place to start. Also quite a few people get signage and flags made for their businesses. It's a little hard to get into as they'll want to see something you've made, and you need to buy in fabric, dacron etc and to be able to make stuff from scratch. Smoothing out cash flow when you have few repairs (e.g. winter) is the way to make it work as a longer term business.
Thanks for the tips.
Yeah, teaming up with a reputable shop might be a good way to get in the repair business. Currently, this is a hobby of mine, and I'm brainstorming of a good way for me to upgrade my tools without breaking my bank and at the same time contribute something to the kiting community.
And of course, reputation as a good sail repairer is necessary. I have none of that right now since I've only worked on my own gear, and helped a few friends. So, it will definitely take some time for me to get the confidence of the kite community if I do decide to offer repair work.
Now, its time to see if I can convince my wife that we need a bigger professional sewing machine. I think the chairs in the dining room could use a cool leather upgrade.
Happy to be a drop off center for those interested.
Kite Naked /
Benicia Kite and Paddle Sports
238 1st Street
Benicia, CA 94510
Benicia Kite and Paddle Sports
4562 East 2nd Street, Unit J & K
Benicia, CA 94510
So, in my free time I have been fixing mostly friends' gear and their acquaintances' equipment for a reasonable fee. Made enough money to buy back my old equipment, luckily shop I sold it to was only using it as backup and was happy to sell it back to me.
There is enough demand to repair gear, and for those interested, I'm starting a small repair shop starting this Fall, I guess now. My target area would be Alameda, Berkely, Benicia, Pittsburg, up to Sherman.
I currently stocked up on basic material to match fabric colors for kites, and general repair parts. I have also signed up with AirTime.com and FixMyKite.com so folks who need new bladders can chose their favorite manufacturer.
Since it is the end of the season, I don't expect a lot of people knocking on my door requesting to rush a repair, so I will not be stocking parts specific to kites or brands. I will take advantage of what local shops has, and will buy it off their hands if they have it. Or, we can always have the parts expedite shipping.
I expect to move back to Alameda middle of next year. In the mean time, for folks who will have a tough time driving to the Concord Tri-Valley area, we could arrange to meet at some convenient location for both of us.
Most shops are probably shutting down now as the season is over. I will see if Chris is still interested in becoming a drop off center in the near future.
As far as price points for repair, I came up with reasonable estimates posted on my website. Price points were based from my previous repairs, talking to people to find out what they thought was fair, and what other shops charge for their repair. I took the average prices and posted that on my site.
Since its the end of the season, its probably the best time to inspect your kite now and fix any issues you find. You don't want to be caught without a kite during a storm session this winter.
Let me know if you need help.
Good luck with that Rey great idea, LMK if we can help we have a crap load of misc used kite parts, tapes, bridles etc. I also know a very experienced sail repair guy in the area that can give you some tips or at very least be a source for various materials should you need something special. LMK
Thanks, I will let you know when I need to get some stuff from you. So far, I have been able to salvage struts and bladders. We'll see what comes knocking on my door.
Let me know when you need help.