Assembly labor price variations

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Goldenset, Nov 2, 2003.

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  1. Goldenset

    Goldenset Guest

    Hi all,

    I've been doing some research in the past few weeks visiting shops in the bay area about assembling
    a bike that I pieced together. I received varying labor quotes from $100 - $300. The odd thing is,
    some of the shops recommended here were among the highest. Even one of the places I bought the
    components from said it shouldn't cost more than $100 to assemble everything together.

    I do have some quality components (or at least, what's quality to what I can afford on my tight
    budget). Aside from the obvious, what sets aside a $300 dollar assembly vs. a $100 dollar one. Is
    such a hike justifiable? It's also odd that the shops in the San Francisco were among the lower
    quotes, not exactly reflecting what I thought would be expensive leasing or rental costs for the
    shop. The other quotes I got, though recommended, were located area more tuned probably to customers
    with fatter wallets. I must say that I did get concerned when the quote depends on "what type of
    components" I have. I mean come one, components do vary in quality but that shouldn't necessitate a
    different labor charge right? I'm starting to get a little paranoid about the stuff I bought won't
    actually be on the bike (visible parts, of course), after reading a few posts here and a couple of
    other forums.

    I'm set in paying for the fitting also, which is not included in the assembly rates that were high.
    I'm not a (really) low-baller as I started buying some gear today from local shops (though I
    could've bought this online). I'm just on a tight budget.

    Can someone please shed some light and understanding on such varying rates?
     
    Tags:


  2. Doug Huffman

    Doug Huffman Guest

    The bicycle market is moribund. Look into 'capitalism' and 'commercialism' to find the reasons.

    "Goldenset" <[email protected]> wrote in part in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Hi all,
    >
    >>
    > Can someone please shed some light and understanding on such varying rates?
     
  3. "Goldenset" wrote:
    > Aside from the obvious, what sets aside a $300 dollar assembly vs. a $100 dollar one.

    At least one shop in my area charges $100 just to "prep" a frame (chase BB threads, face BB, prep
    fork crown and head tube to receive headset, etc.) If one shop is doing all those things, and
    another is just assembling components, there should be a difference in price. Other things that may
    or may not be included in "assembly" are: Tension/true/stress relieve wheels, add grease to hubs and
    adjust, etc.

    Of course, some shops may just resent the fact that you didn't buy from them, and try to gouge you.

    If a shop is charging $300 for assembly, I think the least they could do is include a
    "free" fitting.

    Art Harris
     
  4. Labor rates vary every bit as much as the quality between the service departments at various shops.
    However, it's not always a one-to-one correlation; sometimes a very expensive shop may not do as
    good a job as a less-expensive one. Your best bet is to obtain recommendations from friends who have
    used the various shops and see what they think.

    Regarding the type of components influencing cost, that can be relevant. For example, there's a lot
    more involved in building up a mountain bike (particularly when dealing with disc brakes and fork
    options) than a road bike. And even on road bikes, there are reasonable variations... if we were
    smart, we'd be charging more to set up a DuraAce triple, for example, than Ultegra. Why? Because the
    setup is considerably more finicky and they're much more likely to come back to us for further
    adjustments down the road.

    There will also be significant differences in how shops treat a frame when it comes in the door.
    Some feel a need to reface and prep all surfaces (at considerable expense) even though this isn't
    always needed. In this case, more work is being done (justifying greater expense), but there's some
    question as to whether it actually creates a higher-quality product, or just makes the customer feel
    better because they've done more.

    Regarding fit, that's a tough one. A better shop will not just fit the customer statically, but take
    care of things down the road as well (because what looks great on paper and feels OK initially might
    not be so great as you get into longer rides etc.) That requires a sense of ownership on the part of
    the shop doing the fitting (which is how we look at things when we sell a bike) *or* is something
    that you may have to pay quite a bit of money for. In fact, a high-end fitting if often as much as
    (or more than) the cost of assembly. In general, I'd first approach the shop you got the frame from,
    as everything builds out from that base, and you'll be less likely to have someone tell you "Sorry,
    you don't really fit this bike."

    Finally, if possible, you're best getting as many of the components from the shop that will be doing
    the work. That way you'll be in a better shape if something goes wrong, because there are fewer
    responsible parties.

    --Mike-- Chain Reaction Bicycles http://www.ChainReactionBicycles.com

    "Goldenset" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Hi all,
    >
    > I've been doing some research in the past few weeks visiting shops in the bay area about
    > assembling a bike that I pieced together. I received varying labor quotes from $100 - $300. The
    > odd thing is, some of the shops recommended here were among the highest. Even one of the places I
    > bought the components from said it shouldn't cost more than $100 to assemble everything together.
    >
    > I do have some quality components (or at least, what's quality to what I can afford on my tight
    > budget). Aside from the obvious, what sets aside a $300 dollar assembly vs. a $100 dollar one. Is
    > such a hike justifiable? It's also odd that the shops in the San Francisco were among the lower
    > quotes, not exactly reflecting what I thought would be expensive leasing or rental costs for the
    > shop. The other quotes I got, though recommended, were located area more tuned probably to
    > customers with fatter wallets. I must say that I did get concerned when the quote depends on "what
    > type of components" I have. I mean come one, components do vary in quality but that shouldn't
    > necessitate a different labor charge right? I'm starting to get a little paranoid about the stuff
    > I bought won't actually be on the bike (visible parts, of course), after reading a few posts here
    > and a couple of other forums.
    >
    > I'm set in paying for the fitting also, which is not included in the assembly rates that were
    > high. I'm not a (really) low-baller as I started buying some gear today from local shops (though I
    > could've bought this online). I'm just on a tight budget.
    >
    > Can someone please shed some light and understanding on such varying rates?
     
  5. Goldenset

    Goldenset Guest

    Mike and Arthur,

    Thank you very much on your feedbacks. I particularly appreciated Mike's details. Some frame prep
    was mentioned and I didn't know how important that is. Since the last time I built something from
    scratch, it was a BMX in the mid-80's. :p I don't recall doing any kind of frame prep then. As you
    can see, my experience is limited for any comparison since the last (road) bike I had was already
    assembled. Plus, shimano and campy were just coming out with shifters a the brakes then (yeah, it's
    been that long).
     
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