Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Getting knives sharpened

Over the holidays I finally got around to getting all of our knives sharpened.

You can hone a knife at home, but that only goes so far. Taking knives to a shop and getting them sharpened is like getting a brand-new knife for $3-5 a piece. But it isn't very convenient to do: you need to bundle them all up in some kitchen cloths so you don't cut yourself and scratch them together.

There aren't many places where you can get your knives sharpened. And the places that do exist aren't that easy to find. One time a couple years ago I dropped our knives off at the local butcher shop; they sent them out to the service they use. It worked well, but took about a week to get my knives back.

At the shop that I found, Arrow Triboro Tool & Saw Inc., the owner said that he knew of one guy that use to go door to door sharpening knives, but that it doesn't pay.

I wonder if an enterprising bicycle delivery guy could make a decent business picking up and dropping off knives. The main bicycle delivery business is probably around lunchtime and the evening, so mornings and afternoons are probably open. A person could generate business by posting fliers on telephone poles, or leaving fliers door to door, with a phone number and email address. The offer could be: your knives get picked up in the morning, and get dropped off sharpened in the afternoon or the evening.

You need to pay when the knives are picked up, so the delivery person has no risk of not getting paid. The delivery could be in the afternoon, or if you don't want the knives left out, it could be in the evening when you are home. The delivery fee could be $1 per knife, or a $5 minimum. With the pickups concentrated in the morning, I think you could do 6 pickups in an hour. It would take another hour to do all the deliveries, so a 6 x $5 = $30 divided by 2 hours you could make $15 per hour.

Ideally you would build a client list and set up a plan to pick up knives once a quarter for sharpening.

The delivery person might also get a cut from the knife sharpening shop given the volume that they bring in.

I'd certainly be happy to be a customer of this pickup/dropoff service.

From Innovation Bootcamp post Nov 1 2011

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