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I'm looking at signing our work up to a Cycle to Work scheme in the UK. There are a lot of online reviews of the benefits of the scheme, but not much feedback on which are the best providers to go for.

Would anyone like to share their experiences with particular providers? Has their customer service been up to scratch?

Thanks very much.

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closed as primarily opinion-based by Batman, jimirings Apr 4 '14 at 12:26

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

This question may be closed since its primarily opinion-based and thus doesn't quite fit into the SE format. – Batman Apr 3 '14 at 23:36

I run my own company, and therefore had ready access to this scheme since I was both the employer and the employee, but I actually decided against it altogether.

Now, this was a couple of years ago, so you'll need to check whether what I say still applies, but this is what I found:

You have a twelve-month agreement where essentially the company buys the bike, and you then pay £x per month to lease the bike off them. The "x" covers the cost of the bike, but there is a tax saving to be had.

But I think you need to look at what happens at the end of the twelve month period. My understanding is that the company, not the individual, actually owns the bike. So in order for "you" to end up owning the bike, you'd need to buy it from your company (i.e. more expense). And when I looked at it, HMRC (the UK Tax authority) were making noises about the company having to sell the bike at a "fair market price". In other words, its not reasonable to take a £1000 bike, then to say that after a year it is only worth £10, or some ridiculously small amount.

Now, as I say, this was a couple of years ago. At the time I decided that the scheme was a bit half-baked, and to steer clear of it.

But I think what I'd be looking for now is to see some clarity on what happens at the end of the twelve months, how much you would need to pay to actually make the bike yours. Whether there were now concrete guidelines in place, or whether it was all as woolly as it was when I looked.

I think if looking at the different providers, that would be my defining criterion.

Sorry, I know this probably doesn't directly answer your question, but hopefully it'll give you some idea of one line of questions to ask the different providers in order to allow you to make your own decision.

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I don't think anything has changed, unfortunately, and the fair market value thing is an HMRC requirement so unlikely to vary between schemes. What may vary is the time period during which you lease the bike (because you're not paying tax on the lease). A longer lease would clearly also drop the resale value. The other differentiator between schemes was that some offered a significant amount of vouchers towards accessories as a freebie. Generally speaking it's more worthwhile if you're a higher-rate taxpayer buying a reasonably pricey bike. – Chris H Apr 3 '14 at 12:06
There has to be easier ways to help employees purchase a bike. I know when I was a kid, my step-father's employer had a deal where they could purchase a computer through their work. They got a great deal on the computers because they made such a large order, and they worked it out so the employees were able to pay it off with a small monthly deduction on their paycheque. I'm sure something could be done for bicycles. Talk to the employees and see how much demand there is for bikes, then talk to your local bike shop to determine what kind of discounts you could obtain on a large order. – Kibbee Apr 3 '14 at 12:37
@ChrisH yes I remember calculating that the more you spent, the better it worked out, subject to a limit I think of £1000. Above that, the company had to be licensed as a credit broker, which frankly was more hassle than it was worth. I avoided it completely by simply buying the bike through the company, thereby gaining the same tax advantages, but by leaving it as a company bike. Since it was used to travel pretty much exclusively between clients' offices, I could justify it. Until it got nicked. – PeteH Apr 3 '14 at 12:58
@ChrisH - Exactly, make it not only about commuting, but bikes in general. Sure, some people wouldn't use them for commuting, but the more people that have bikes the higher likelyhood that they would use them for commuting. Maybe some people don't want to commute but would rather just use it one the weekends and evenings for recreation.That wouldn't be such a bad thing. Personally, I don't think making bikes more affordable will get more people commuting, because bikes are already very affordable anyway. So if people wanted to commute by bike, the price of the bike isn't what's stopping them. – Kibbee Apr 3 '14 at 16:21
I've been on the selling end of a company-bulk-buy like that, and I think the company also subsidised the bikes to some degree (our end was that they got a decent discount off retail, their staff could buy any bike + certain types of accessories, then the company got a bill itemised by employee name). Not only did we sell 20-odd extra bikes in two weeks, we also got paid the full amount 30 days later in one hit (which is always nice). The discount we offered was 35% on bikes, 20% on accessories. – Nuі Apr 3 '14 at 22:26

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