How Baljeet Gujral dropped his Swiss Bank job and found success with Enfield Riders
The love for motorcycles has been an integral part of Baljeet Gujral since childhood. The zest to travel and explore destinations via two wheels had been an inherent passion which inspired him to start up with Enfield Riders. Being an avid traveller, he undertook numerous motorcycle expeditions since his college days and has travelled for a decade. From his experience, he felt the need of an organized motorcycle tour company who could cater to his needs wherein he didn't have to worry about the logistics, accommodation, mechanical breakdown etc during expeditions. Not being able to find a satisfactory answer, he along with his wife Poornima who has spent 10 years as an Academician decided to pursue their passion of traveling and launched Enfield Riders to connect with like minded travellers and share the joys of riding. they've got a fleet of more than 20 Enfields and have done over 100 trips. We got in touch with Baljeet to know more about the company:
YS: How did you begin? What are the services you have?
BG: The inception of Enfield Riders happened in April 2012. We began with 2 motorcycles that we bought from our savings and used our covered parking garage as a workshop where the bikes were parked and serviced. We purely started with motorcycle rentals and today we have 4 major verticals - Bike Rentals, Motorcycle Expeditions, Enfield Service Station (Garage) and a Travellers Cafe. At Enfield Riders, we render services that help motorcycle enthusiasts, adventure holiday travelers and destination explorers to travel and explore locations via the road medium. Two years since inception, we have received an amazing response in the adventure travel fraternity wherein we are catering to avid solo riders, adventure freak couples, large groups and Corporates who have taken Weekend Getaways, Short Motorcycle Tours & Long Motorcycle Expeditions - Ladakh, North East, Bhutan, Thailand etc with us.
YS: How much have you grown in the last two years?
BG: When we started in 2012 - our first year offering was limited to Motorcycle Rentals. We had 2 Royal Enfield's in 2012 and now we have a fleet of 20 Motorcycles in 2014. In 2013, we started with Motorcycle Expeditions and Service Station. We have primarily catered to corporates like Standard Chartered Bank, CEAT, Star Union Daichi, Lodha Developers etc who have utilized our services undertaking motorcycle tours for their staff. For eg: in 2013, we conducted a 21 Day Motorcycle Expedition (3500+ kms) from Mumbai to Ladakh for Standard Chartered Bank Senior Management Staff under their Asia Pacific Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR Initiative) called Seeing is Believing wherein they raised funds for the NGO they support.
This year from May to September 2014 we have served 120 clients who took Ladakh Motorcycle Expedition with us through 8 Batches. We have an online e-commerce website where people can book their motorcycle rentals, expeditions, riding gear like - Jackets, Gloves, Helmet Cameras, Waterproof Tents etc for their trips and pay through our secured payment gateway. Apart from Ladakh, we have catered to 200+ clients in the last 1 year who have taken extreme 15-20 Days Motorcycle Expeditions with us to Bhutan, Nepal, Thailand, Goa, Rajasthan, Rann of Kutch etc.
YS: Tell us a bit about the community that you've managed to build.
BG: We have had an avid following on our Social Media Pages. Our Facebook community boasts of 45000+ followers and growing. The common love for Royal Enfield Motorcycle amongst biking enthusiasts and their passion for traveling on 2 wheels has helped us build a fan following for the brand in a mere 2 years.
YS: Tell us about your team.
BG: Our team has played an integral part in making Enfield Riders what it is today. We started with just 2 employees and today we have a 25+ team spread across Mumbai, Manali and Leh comprising of Road Captains, Ride Co-ordinators, Royal Enfield Certified Mechanics, Back Up Van Drivers etc. We strongly believe in keeping our staff happy and motivated - that has been our secret ingredient (so far) of having zero attrition in the team since inception. Getting passion-driven individuals was a grave challenge earlier, but as the team built up we had experienced professionals coming from corporate backgrounds joining us. For eg:- Our Operations Head - Deepak Chandrashekhar is a MBA Finance and has 7 Years of Corporate Experience in Media Planning. One of our Road Captains - Akshay Joshi is a Certified Chef.
YS: What are some of the most memorable moments from your startup journey?
BG: A start up journey for any entrepreneur is never easy. It was disheartening when people (friends & family) were astonished when I choose to leave my high profile white collared Private Banking Job with a Swiss Bank and choose to get my hands dirty repairing a Royal Enfield in my parking lot - turned - garage. Dropping on a 6 figure salary was never easy, but it was possible due to our love and passion towards build a brand which would be benchmarked as the Best Motorcycle Tour Company in India. Today, the most memorable and happy moments for us have been the testimonials of our clients who come as a customer and go as friends.
YS: What are the future plans?
BG: We have already extended our reach to North India where we have opened up our seasonal branch offices in Manali and Leh. In 2015, we plan to set up similar model offices in Bangalore, Pune & Chennai to expand our reach. We also plan to start with off beat Motorcycle Expeditions to North East, Cambodia, Laos, Sri Lanka etc since they are hot favourites for motorcycle enthusiasts.
Website: Enfield Riders