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How not to run an LBS - Page 2

post #16 of 107
Thread Starter 

Re: How not to run an LBS

Michael Dart <mrdartREMOVE@NOSPAMnewsguy.com> wrote:
> In news:rs8wc.54780$zN5.10013@fed1read01,
> tcmedara <tcmedara@REMOVEhotmail.com> typed:
>> Below is an email I sent today to my nearby LBS, Bike Beat in Newport
>> News, VA. They've only been open since the beginning of the year,
>> but I've had nothing but bad experiences with them. This one today
>> just topped it off. I wont be going back. Thought the group might
>> appreciate the sentiment......
>>

> <snip>
>
> Went to my LBS here in Richmond to have a crown race pulled from a
> fork. The mechanic popped it off in 30 sec with a $250 Klein crown
> race puller. I asked "What do I owe you?". He said "Heck, If I
> start charging for 30 sec work I'll lose a ton more business than
> it's worth to charge you." I said "Hey, thanks!" and proceded to buy
> $80 bucks worth of accessories I've been needing.
>
> Mike


Exactly! Wish I could have said it as succinctly.

Tom
post #17 of 107

Re: How not to run an LBS

"frank-in-toronto" <thehickNOSPAM@canada.com> wrote in message
news:qm62c010bmt2b3mo16qc891sd8autj9lad@4ax.com...
> On Fri, 4 Jun 2004 20:28:36 -0400, "tcmedara"
> <tcmedara@REMOVEhotmail.com> wrote:
> <snip>
> >the register. $5.00 for 30 seconds of work -- that's $600/hour in case

you
> >are too shocked to do the math.

> <snip>
> this has nothing to do with bikes, per se, but more
> to do with the evident fact that you expect
> shops to stock tools, parts and people for your
> usage for free! you should have tipped him
> 10 bucks even before he asked for a fiver.
> Let's see who weighs in on your side.
> ...thehick


Having worked in a shop, here's my opinion -

For something that simple, you don't charge. If somebody comes in the day
before a big race and asks us to bleed their hydraulic discs and check their
derailleurs and all that - the price is normal labor + either a large pizza
or a sixer. Usually a pizza, since half the guys there are underage and we
don't want anybody getting in trouble. We don't really expect tips,
especially for something real simple - its understood that if you do a favor
for somebody, they'll come back. Especially for repeat customers, we'll
give 'em simple parts (lost a bolt? no problem. Hell - we've even given
stuff for free to people that have never been there before, with super cheap
walmart bikes - maybe next time they need a helmet or gloves they'll come to
us).

Whats more expensive for the shop - 30 seconds of labor/a .30 cent bolt, or
the loss of a lifetime customer?

Jon Bond
post #18 of 107

Re: How not to run an LBS

> Using that calculus, then charging five bucks is really bull****. Getting
> back 70% of a capital investment in one 30 second transaction is well

beyond
> the norm.


Have you worked in a bike shop? Do you know the economics? LBSs run off of
a limited number of transactions and a small customer base. There isn't the
large volume of patrons that come flowing in day-to-day like at the Sports
Authority or other large sporting goods store. One month of bad business
could take a serious chunk out of the shop's ability to expand or even stay
afloat.

There's the push-pull of consumers wanting the low prices of online dealers
and mail-order and LBSs needing the dollars to keep the shop running:
electricity, water, rent, wages, garbage, etc. Finding the compromise is
the key.

The $5 is excessive and unnecessary, that's for sure, but there really is a
cost of doing business. Like others have said, if the shop was busy and
this "favor" was requested, then yes, a smaller charge would have been
appropriate. If they said they'd take care of you on the phone, then I
would have expected the favor for free.

> You said it yourself -- You're likely to waive off a quickie. $5.00 to
> remove a freewheel is bull****, no two ways about it. I paid the guy,

don't
> lose sight of that. I just won't be stupid enough to do it again. If

they
> (and you) can manage to run their business that way then it's their

choice.

The fact that you're this upset about it and that you're making such a big
deal about it is what upsets us. Those of us who work in bike shops feel
like you're painting us all as con artists wanting to draw customers in to
suck out the greenback blood out of them.

> I'm going across town.


Good idea - I would too. It's good you sent the letter too, as there are
some managers out there that really don't know "behind the scenes" what the
customer's impression of the shop is, and it hurts their business.

--
Phil, Squid-in-Training
post #19 of 107
Thread Starter 

Re: How not to run an LBS

ZeeExSixAre <phil_leeIHEARTBASHGUARDS@hotmail.com> wrote:
>> Using that calculus, then charging five bucks is really bull****.
>> Getting back 70% of a capital investment in one 30 second
>> transaction is well beyond the norm.

>
> Have you worked in a bike shop? Do you know the economics? LBSs run
> off of a limited number of transactions and a small customer base.
> There isn't the large volume of patrons that come flowing in
> day-to-day like at the Sports Authority or other large sporting goods
> store. One month of bad business could take a serious chunk out of
> the shop's ability to expand or even stay afloat.


Never worked in a bike shop, but I used the scenario provided by a shop
owner. I can't imagine that a shop looks to recover 70% of its tool
investment everytime it gets used. That would put it in the realm of a
consumable. Tools have limited life, but they can serve more the 2-3 uses
if used correctly. I reject the calculus based on the numbers he gave me.
>
> There's the push-pull of consumers wanting the low prices of online
> dealers and mail-order and LBSs needing the dollars to keep the shop
> running: electricity, water, rent, wages, garbage, etc. Finding the
> compromise is the key.


Finding a supportable market and a profitable pricing scheme is key.
Consumers will always seek to maximize value for dollar and the shops will
seek to maximize revenue and minimize costs. If the two things match up
then you've got a viable transaction. Manage to sustain it and you've got a
business. Nelson's comment about the wrong "attitude" in the cycling public
misses the boat. That's like saying you're not making any money 'cause
everyone's buying the wrong stuff. The real answer is you've got to sell
the right stuff at the right price. Wrong stuff at the wrong price means
"no sale." That's just market economics.
>
> The $5 is excessive and unnecessary, that's for sure, but there
> really is a cost of doing business. Like others have said, if the
> shop was busy and this "favor" was requested, then yes, a smaller
> charge would have been appropriate. If they said they'd take care of
> you on the phone, then I would have expected the favor for free.
>
>> You said it yourself -- You're likely to waive off a quickie. $5.00
>> to remove a freewheel is bull****, no two ways about it. I paid the
>> guy, don't lose sight of that. I just won't be stupid enough to do
>> it again. If they (and you) can manage to run their business that
>> way then it's their choice.

>
> The fact that you're this upset about it and that you're making such
> a big deal about it is what upsets us. Those of us who work in bike
> shops feel like you're painting us all as con artists wanting to draw
> customers in to suck out the greenback blood out of them.


Not upset, just telling it like it is. Five bucks isn't gonna break me. I
called and asked if he had the tool, he said no but come on by and they'd
take care of it for me. No word on price until I was headed for the door.
I'm not saying it was intentional, just kinda cheesy. I probably would have
paid it anyway if he'd told me up front, just because I was already standing
there in the shop. I would have come to the same conclusion, however, that
my business is better suited elsewhere.
>
>> I'm going across town.

>
> Good idea - I would too. It's good you sent the letter too, as there
> are some managers out there that really don't know "behind the
> scenes" what the customer's impression of the shop is, and it hurts
> their business.


Something I hadn't thought about, but F. Plant mentions in another post --
it was a young guy working behind the service counter, not a manager or
sales guy. It may very well be that the guy didn't feel empowered to do
anything else. Not sure it changes much in the bigger scheme of things, but
at least it lets me give the wrench in question the benefit of the doubt.

Tom
post #20 of 107

Re: How not to run an LBS

"tcmedara" <tcmedara@REMOVEhotmail.com> wrote in message news:rs8wc.54780

> I can afford the $5.00, and it's not going to put you guys in the Fortune


DANG - I take everything back I've ever said about my local shop. Thy'll
install a new tube just for the cost of one! THEY ALWAYS comp me
adjustments and minor fixes. And I always send them business too.
post #21 of 107

Re: How not to run an LBS

Ozman Trad wrote:
> "tcmedara" <tcmedara@REMOVEhotmail.com> wrote in message
> news:rs8wc.54780
>
>> I can afford the $5.00, and it's not going to put you guys in the
>> Fortune

>
> DANG - I take everything back I've ever said about my local shop.
> Thy'll install a new tube just for the cost of one! THEY ALWAYS comp
> me adjustments and minor fixes. And I always send them business too.


Can we assume you donate the money you save to the Sudan?

Bill "mixing threads" S.
post #22 of 107

Re: How not to run an LBS

I HAVE THE TOOL. I have every tool I need to do the
work. The only time I step in to the LBS is to order or pickup parts.
The only other time is to have wheels trued. My fleet of bkes 7
and I do it all. When the sun comes up I'll be out riding.

I MTB 2004
post #23 of 107

Re: How not to run an LBS

"tcmedara" <tcmedara@REMOVEhotmail.com> wrote in message news:<rs8wc.54780$zN5.10013@fed1read01>...
> Below is an email I sent today to my nearby LBS, Bike Beat in Newport News,
> VA. They've only been open since the beginning of the year, but I've had
> nothing but bad experiences with them. This one today just topped it off.
> I wont be going back. Thought the group might appreciate the
> sentiment......

<snip>

You should own that tool.

JD
post #24 of 107

Re: How not to run an LBS

" S o r n i" <sorni@bite-me.san.rr.com> wrote in message
news:uiewc.10776$Ha2.5149@twister.socal.rr.com...
> Ozman Trad wrote:
> > "tcmedara" <tcmedara@REMOVEhotmail.com> wrote in message
> > news:rs8wc.54780
> >
> >> I can afford the $5.00, and it's not going to put you guys in the
> >> Fortune

> >
> > DANG - I take everything back I've ever said about my local shop.
> > Thy'll install a new tube just for the cost of one! THEY ALWAYS comp
> > me adjustments and minor fixes. And I always send them business too.

>
> Can we assume you donate the money you save to the Sudan?


yes that's an accurate assumption
post #25 of 107

Re: How not to run an LBS

"tcmedara" <tcmedara@REMOVEhotmail.com> wrote in message
news:jWawc.55164$zN5.36900@fed1read01...
> ctg <n/a@n/a.com> wrote:
> > "tcmedara" <tcmedara@REMOVEhotmail.com> wrote in message
> > news:rs8wc.54780$zN5.10013@fed1read01...
> >> Below is an email I sent today to my nearby LBS, Bike Beat in
> >> Newport News, VA. They've only been open since the beginning of the
> >> year, but I've had nothing but bad experiences with them. This one
> >> today just topped it off. I wont be going back. Thought the group
> >> might appreciate the sentiment......

> >
> > What sentiment, that you feel entitled to free services? Do you
> > expect the grocery store to give you free food because you buy food
> > all the time? Free channels because you pay the cable bill? etc... If
> > anything local businesses deserve more cash, not less just because
> > customers want to feel "in" with the shop. A minimum charge for small
> > services for customers they don't know well seems to be good business
> > sense to me. I don't work for free for people I don't know well nor
> > do I expect others to do the same for me.
> >
> > Chris

>
> What's with the hyperbole and drama?


The hyperbole was to make a point, I don't see drama anywhere though...

I have no sense of entitlement, just
> good consumer sense. You bring up the grocery store example -- good one.
> Do you you offer to pay every time you grab one of those samples the old
> ladies are handing out at the end of the aisles, or do you automatically
> feel you are entitled to a free sample? Do you offer to pay your buddy
> everytime you watch HBO at his house?


A free sample that is offered to you is just that, a free sample, and
spending time with a friend is different than procuring a service from a
business, the analogies are flawed.

Read what I wrote -- I paid the guy
> his five bucks. My point is that 5 bucks is too much, in my opinion, to

pay
> for a freewheel removal. They guy should have told me the price up front
> rather than imply he was doing me a favor (of course that's my mistake),

and
> I'm under no obligation to spend any more money there. Where's the
> entitlement?


The entitlement is that you assumed it was free, unless they specified that
it was free why else would that assumption be made?

>
> The only time a local business "deserves" more cash is when they offer
> products and services that make people want to part with it. You chastise
> me for an entitlement mentatlity, but then suggest one exists on the part

of
> an LBS.


No, I don't think one exists on the part of the shop. I said that I believe
that local businesses deserve more consideration than larger businesses.
Personal preference. I'd prefer my money to go to a local business whenever
possible. Perhaps that wasn't clear.

And you have no idea if they know me or not and the bike shop is
> the last place I need to feel "in", so you're making assumptions you know
> nothing about. Sounds to me like you're projecting your own bias onto

this
> scenario.


No, just a common thing I see in cycling, may not be true in your case, no
offense intended.

A minimum charge for small services may or may not make sense,
> it depends on the market. When I can get better service at cheaper prices
> at another store it makes even more sense to go there.


True, but it's their prerogative to choose what they charge for.

Chris
>
>
>
post #26 of 107

Re: How not to run an LBS

> You should own that tool.
> JD


If you live in the boonies, you need 2.
When my chain/cassette started slipping, I wasn't worried because I had
spares. I removed the chain, pulled out the whip, and cassette tool. The
cassette was on tight, I know that I should have sprayed on WD40, but I
broke Park
FR-5. Screwed!
Now I have 3, Park promptly sent a replacement. I bought a new Park and
another brand; these have posts sticking out of the center.

http://www.parktool.com/tools/FR_5.shtml

http://www.parktool.com/tools/FR_5G.shtml

http://www.performancebike.com/shop/...775&Store=Bike

An issue of real importance...screw light bulbs, LBSs, and tools: How do
you get riders to get out on the trail early and clear the spider webs
before I ride?
post #27 of 107

Re: How not to run an LBS

Penny says:

>But I would never, ever not
>offer to pay.


That right there is the bottom line. When did anyone last go into a store
(which exists to make money) and ask for something and NOT expect to pay? When
did you last just walk out the door _expecting_ it to be free? That's kinda
like shop-lifting, when you think about it...
The thing to do, even if you assume it's a freebie, is to say "How much is
that?" and hope he says "Aw, fuggedaboudit!"

Steve
post #28 of 107

Re: How not to run an LBS

"tcmedara" <tcmedara@REMOVEhotmail.com> wrote in message
news:PV9wc.55157$zN5.24210@fed1read01...
| The Nelson Paradigm <paradigmpatrol@prodigy.net> wrote:
| >
| > Okay, just how do you think they (and I) make a living?
|
| By selling products and services in sufficient quantities at sufficient
| prices to produce profit. There are obviously several different ways to
do
| that. You can nickle and dime people for little things, or you can build
| long term relationships with customers who will spend more money in the
| future. I gotta think when a guy walks into your shop to get a freewheel
| removed because he's doing his own hub overhaul that you don't write him
off
| as a one-time shopper.
|
| >Almost any
| > shop has a minimum charge for labor (ours is $4.00.)
|
| Which hopefully you won't charge to some one who just needs to get a
| freewheel removed.

Probably not, but then more than half the folks still using freewheels are
those with no idea how to work on a bike and often getting that freewheel
off is not so easy a task. Does that fee still sound exorbitant when
somebody rolls the whole bike in and wants the fw off?

| >Sure, I'm
| > likely to wave off somebody with a quickie like that, but when it
| > comes right down to it, that's how they put food on the table. Quite
| > frankly, your attitude is what's wrong with the cycle buying public
| > today.
|
| Quite frankly, asserting what's wrong with the cycling public rather than
| attempting to cater to that public market is what's wrong with many LBS's
| today. Okay, I guess I'm wrong. And I'm gonna go spend my money at the
LBS
| across town that let's me be wrong. Who should I do business with, the
guy
| who squeezed me for five bucks or the guy who pulled a break lever off a
| bike on the floor when my kid broke his? Where should I go, to the guy
who
| spoke-preps the spokes I bought for free, or to the guy that keeps my bike
| for 3 weeks and then makes me call to find out they can't get the parts I
| want? Where do you get the idea that you can run a business that runs
| counter to the attitude of the public who's dollar you're after? Maybe
| LBS's should stop trying to pawn of $180 Giro helmets to every rube that
| buys a comfort hybrid and the "attitude" might change.

I can understand that with these poorly stocked shops with 50-100 bikes on
the floor and more than half are boutique bikes the general public can't
afford. (by contrast, you have to bob and weave in my shop it's so crammed
with stuff)

Repair turnaround is 24 hours unless there is some special part we have to
order - and guess what? There is a shortage of some critical stuff right
now. There are folks given the choice of leaving their bikes while we hunt
for it or take it home and wait for the call. That is *not* the fault of
the LBS unless you believe they are using it as an excuse to cover up
laziness.

| >You didn't say what you've done at that shop before. Have
| > you bought a bike? Have you bought accessories? Have you made
| > yourself known as a regular customer? Have you brought in some real
| > labor work for them to do? If not, what were you expecting.
|
| Actually, I sorta mentioned that in the email to the shop. But yes to all
| of the above -- bought my last bike at a different store (now closed) but
| same company. I was in there two days ago ordering $50.00 worth of
| dealer-only parts. It was like pulling teeth.

Well, that certainly changes the equation from a minor irritant to a 'camel
straw'

| >
| > They had to buy that shimano tool. Even the good one Park makes only
| > lasts so long. It's fine on honest-to-goodness Shimano freewheels
| > but it wears quickly on other brands or if the freewheels is almost
| > 'welded' on. Once that thing slips, it's pretty much done for.
| > You said it yourself - you didn't have the tool. It sells for around
| > $7. Why don't you just buy one next time.
|
| Using that calculus, then charging five bucks is really bull****. Getting
| back 70% of a capital investment in one 30 second transaction is well
beyond
| the norm. Ironically, I would have bought the tool if it had been
| instock -- LBS markup and all. Hmm, inventory on hand -- there's a novel
| concept. (Perhaps that's something else that's wrong with today's LBS's,
no
| inventory to speak of, just a bunch of flashy high profit retail ****.)
Now
| I'll order it on line, just so I don't have to go back to the shop. I
guess
| that's what's wrong with the cycling public -- we're willing to buy things
| elsewhere when the service is better and the parts are cheaper. I love
bike
| shops, honest. I just don't like being treated like a mark when I walk
in.
|
| You said it yourself -- You're likely to waive off a quickie. $5.00 to
| remove a freewheel is bull****, no two ways about it. I paid the guy,
don't
| lose sight of that. I just won't be stupid enough to do it again. If
they
| (and you) can manage to run their business that way then it's their
choice.
| I'm going across town.

Possibilities:

( 1 ) shop has a minimum labor charge and the kid didn't want to bend the
rules.
( 2 ) the kid was skimming the labor and really shouldn't have charged for
the work


---
__o
_`\(,_ Cycling is life,
(_)/ (_) all the rest, just details.
The Nelson Paradigm =^o.o^=
http://intergalax.com
http://intbike.com
_______
Checked by AVG anti-virus system (http://www.grisoft.com).
Version: 6.0.692 / Virus Database: 453 - Release Date: 5/28/2004
post #29 of 107

Re: How not to run an LBS

In news:AXawc.55165$zN5.12525@fed1read01,
tcmedara <tcmedara@REMOVEhotmail.com> typed:
> Michael Dart <mrdartREMOVE@NOSPAMnewsguy.com> wrote:
>> In news:rs8wc.54780$zN5.10013@fed1read01,
>> tcmedara <tcmedara@REMOVEhotmail.com> typed:
>>> Below is an email I sent today to my nearby LBS, Bike Beat in
>>> Newport News, VA. They've only been open since the beginning of
>>> the year, but I've had nothing but bad experiences with them. This
>>> one today just topped it off. I wont be going back. Thought the
>>> group might appreciate the sentiment......
>>>

>> <snip>
>>
>> Went to my LBS here in Richmond to have a crown race pulled from a
>> fork. The mechanic popped it off in 30 sec with a $250 Klein crown
>> race puller. I asked "What do I owe you?". He said "Heck, If I
>> start charging for 30 sec work I'll lose a ton more business than
>> it's worth to charge you." I said "Hey, thanks!" and proceded to buy
>> $80 bucks worth of accessories I've been needing.
>>
>> Mike

>
> Exactly! Wish I could have said it as succinctly.
>
> Tom


In reading the other posts I realized you may have assumed too much by
turning for the door. You'll notice I asked "How much?" fully expecting to
pay for the service. I left it up to the mechanic to decide whether or not
to charge me.

Mike
post #30 of 107

Re: How not to run an LBS


> the register. $5.00 for 30 seconds of work -- that's $600/hour in case

you
> are too shocked to do the math.
>


That's nothing.......I charge $800/hr to work on Sundays. AND customers pay
it. Look, You made a false assumption. I do it, everybody does it. That
$5 probably was not a big deal. They did provide a service. I would have
removed it for free. (depends on the customer) If it eats your
lunch......never go back to the shop.

TJ
www.gvii.net/hundtoft
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