Following in the footsteps of a French initiative launched back in May, the Department of Transport announced last month that they will be issuing £50 vouchers to anyone in the UK with a bicycle in need of a service. The vouchers, issued under the “Fix Your Bike Voucher Scheme” are to be spent at local bike shops or with an independent bicycle mechanic.
The logic behind the “Fix Your Bike Voucher Scheme” is fairly self-explanatory; packing back on to trains and busses clearly isn’t an option, but neither is an increase in the number of private cars out on our already busy roads. The obvious solution is to encourage us to get out on our bikes, and the Fix Your Bicycle Voucher Scheme is both an incentive for lapsed cyclists to get their bikes out of the shed, and a way to make sure these bikes are safe to use on the roads.
Less self-explanatory is how, as bicycle shops or an independent cycle mechanic, you can sign up to make use of the fix your bike voucher scheme, or how the vouchers can be spent.
How do I register my business for the Fix Your Bicycle Voucher Scheme?
The Department for Transport launched its application service on Monday the 22nd of June. You just need to head over to the Application Portal and register as a repairer. You only have 10 days to register, and the application portal will close on the 2nd of July, so you’ll need to get your skates on.
Are there any requirements my cycling business needs to meet?
The scheme is open to both bicycle shops and independent cycle mechanics, but in order to qualify, you need to demonstrate that you hold valid public liability and professional indemnity insurance. Your policy needs to provide at least £2 million in liability and indemnity cover, and your schedule of insurance needs to specifically identify that your business carries out “bicycle repair work”.
If you are applying on behalf of a cycle shop, providing this shouldn’t be an issue. If you have your bicycle shop insurance with Yellow Jersey, you already meet these requirements, and just need to upload your insurance schedule when filling in the Fix Your Bike Voucher Scheme registration form. There are many independent mechanics out there, however, who either have no insurance, or insufficient cover, who won’t qualify for the scheme.
If you have a mobile bicycle mechanic insurance policy with Yellow Jersey, you qualify for the scheme. Just make sure you have your pdf schedule of insurance handy when filling in the form. If you don’t have the necessary insurance, we can provide you with a policy for as little as £140 (that’s less than 3 vouchers worth per year). Fill in our online quote form, and one of our brokers will arrange your quote within 1 working day.
Besides the insurance requirement, you need to be registered as a limited company, sole trader, partnership, registered charity, or unincorporated charity. You need to be registered in England with a UK business bank account clearly linked to your business, and you need to hold “the appropriate skills and competency” to carry out the work. When filling in the form on the Application Portal, you will need to select your qualifications from a drop-down, although there is space to type in a qualification if your’s isn’t listed.
What services are eligible for the Fix Your Bicycle Voucher Scheme?
The scheme is designed to get neglected bikes back up to scratch so that they can be ridden safely on the road, and the jobs you can claim for under the voucher scheme are restricted accordingly. The Department for Transport describes the work you can carry out as repairs “necessary to make cycles roadworthy and fit for purpose”, and gives some examples, but leaves it up to your judgment to decide if a repair is eligible.
The Department for Transport examples of eligible repairs include:
- Repairing or replacing tyres, tubes, wheels and related components;
- Adjusting, repairing or replacing braking system components;
- Adjusting, repairing or replacing transmission system components;
- Repairing or replacing other essential components which prevent safe use of the cycle e.g. deteriorated grips or saddle;
- Repairing or replacement of components for permanently fitted lighting systems
And their examples of repairs which are not eligible are as follows:
- Sale of replacement parts without any repair work.
- Replacement or upgrade of existing safe and roadworthy components;
- Replacement or repair of removable lighting accessories.
You will need to note down the repairs carried out when claiming back for the cycle vouchers, and each application is being checked by a human, so repairs which bend the rules are likely to be rejected.
The obvious issue is that £50 is only going to scratch the surface when it comes to the most unloved bikes, recovered from the back of a customer’s shed for the first time in years. A customer can only use one voucher per bike, and two vouchers per household, but they can pay the difference if repairs exceed £50. Be upfront with the customer on what the total cost of their service or repair is going to be, as well as what can and can’t be paid for with a voucher. There is nothing to stop you upselling additional parts and services, and if the customer feels like they are getting a good deal thanks to the voucher, they are likely to be receptive to this.
How do I calm money back from the fix your bicycle voucher scheme?
When a customer books their bicycle in with you for repair or service, you need to log in to the account you created through the Application Portal, and register the customer’s voucher code along with their name, address and bike details, and click “Add voucher to list”.
It’s your responsibility to check the customer’s ID matches the details on their voucher, so keep an eye out for anyone trying to sneak a bike through on somebody else’s ticket. The customer will need to provide a piece of photo ID (passport, drivers licence etc) along with something to prove their address such as a utility bill.
Once you are happy the customer is who they say they are, you need to confirm that the work you are carrying out is a service that can be claimed for, and that once you are finished, the bicycle will meet all legal requirements and be safe to ride on the road.
Carry out the agreed work for the customer and take any additional payment on top of the £50 voucher, then head back to your Fix Your Bicycle Voucher Scheme dashboard where you’ll have the option to “Redeem”. You’ll need to add the total cost of repair, the amount you are claiming (up to £50), and upload a copy of the receipt and a photograph of the bicycle with the work complete.
Vouchers are going to be processed “on a weekly basis”, which hopefully means you’ll only be waiting up to seven days for the money to come through.