Bad Bike Shop Manners??

Discussion in 'rec.bicycles.marketplace' started by NYC XYZ, Jan 20, 2006.

  1. >> I am sure some shops wouldn't mind building one out of the box, if it
    >> makes the customer happy, and the customer is willing to wait a few days
    >> for it....

    >
    > That's what I'd figured! So I'm asking here...is this really some
    > industry-standard practice, then? As a kid I want to walk out of the
    > shop with my brand-new toy, but now I can wait another day or two or
    > more. I mean, even when I buy magazines in the bike shop I try to get
    > the "freshest" looking copy.


    But again, that just may not be practical. The dealer may already have his
    entire stock built up, with none in reserve. And depending upon his order
    cycle, it may be several weeks, perhaps even a month, before his/her next
    shipment of bikes. With freight as expensive as it is now, you can't afford
    to ship out just one or two bikes anymore. You need to build an order large
    enough that the manufacturer gives you a substantial freight credit.

    --Mike Jacoubowsky
    Chain Reaction Bicycles
    www.ChainReaction.com
    Redwood City & Los Altos, CA USA

    "NYC XYZ" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    >
    > The Wogster wrote:
    >>
    >>
    >> I am sure some shops wouldn't mind building one out of the box, if it
    >> makes the customer happy, and the customer is willing to wait a few days
    >> for it....

    >
    > That's what I'd figured! So I'm asking here...is this really some
    > industry-standard practice, then? As a kid I want to walk out of the
    > shop with my brand-new toy, but now I can wait another day or two or
    > more. I mean, even when I buy magazines in the bike shop I try to get
    > the "freshest" looking copy.
    >
    >> They do keep water and dirt out of the valve, and dirt could lead to a
    >> valve failure. Thst's rare though, my bike is missing one, and the car
    >> is missing 3, no ill effects.

    >
    > Okay. Still don't know why Evan keeps them outside the shop on the
    > sidewalk.... ;-)
    >
    >> W

    >
     


  2. SMS

    SMS Guest

    Mike Jacoubowsky wrote:

    > But again, that just may not be practical. The dealer may already have his
    > entire stock built up, with none in reserve. And depending upon his order
    > cycle, it may be several weeks, perhaps even a month, before his/her next
    > shipment of bikes. With freight as expensive as it is now, you can't afford
    > to ship out just one or two bikes anymore. You need to build an order large
    > enough that the manufacturer gives you a substantial freight credit.


    Yet there are products with even lower margins than bicycles, sometimes
    heavier than bikes, that are shipped individually across the country
    or across the world.

    If the alternative to eating a $50 shipping charge is to lose a sale
    with $200 of margin, what's the choice? Car dealers often swap
    inventory, even among competing dealers. Do bicycle shops do the same?
     
  3. The Wogster

    The Wogster Guest

    Cathy Kearns wrote:
    > "The Wogster" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]
    >
    >>Say you sell 2 road bikes a month, and can get additional stock in 2
    >>days, you might keep one of each low to medium end model in stock, of a
    >>size that sells often. Someone wants a larger or smaller size, you can
    >>order it, you sell the one you have of a certain model, you order
    >>another one. High end stuff, you carry as special order, nobody wants
    >>to keep a $10,000 product in inventory, unless you KNOW that it's going
    >>to move, very quickly.

    >
    >
    > Last year I bought my first road bike, a womens dimension Trek OCLV 5000.
    > (To match my husband's 5200...which is why I get to start with carbon
    > fiber....) Now I wander into the shop and they have 3 or 4 models of carbon
    > fiber women's bikes, and a few in my size. They had a Pilot in my size,
    > took it for a test drive, I wasn't so big on the more upright ride. Took
    > the Madronne for a test ride, very sweet, but a bit too much. Took a
    > slightly bigger Trek 5000, and loved the ride, but the guy convinced me I
    > really needed the stand over height of the next one down. Went ahead and
    > ordered it, assuming it would ride like the bigger 5000, and fit like the
    > Madronne. That was pretty much the case, but the Madronne in the size of my
    > 5000 had the 700cc wheels. Mine has the overly precious 650s, but other
    > than it looking a bit cute it's a great bike. (Anyone who talks to the bike
    > designers, yes women would prefer to have the same wheels as everyone else
    > in their riding group, so we can share tubes in case of emergencies...and
    > the pink Pilots, you have got to be kidding...) Moral of the story is you
    > do have to carry enough stock for everyone to test ride something close to
    > what they order. If I couldn't test drive the Madronne in my size, and the
    > slightly bigger 5000 I would have gone to another bike shop until I could
    > find one. You don't have to carry every style in everysize, but you gotta be
    > able to get an approximation.
    >


    You mean the Madone? Yeah does seem to be a little much, as for tubes,
    the secret is to have a under seat bag, and carry your own spare, patch
    kit, and tire levers. You can also stuff a pair of vinyl or latex
    gloves in there as well, to keep things clean, if you need to do a tube
    swap.... Add an on bike pump, and the knowledge on how to change a
    tube, makes riding that much more fun, if your going solo.

    My wife would like the pink, she doesn't cycle though, although I wish
    she did....

    W
     
  4. >> But again, that just may not be practical. The dealer may already have
    >> his entire stock built up, with none in reserve. And depending upon his
    >> order cycle, it may be several weeks, perhaps even a month, before
    >> his/her next shipment of bikes. With freight as expensive as it is now,
    >> you can't afford to ship out just one or two bikes anymore. You need to
    >> build an order large enough that the manufacturer gives you a substantial
    >> freight credit.

    >
    > Yet there are products with even lower margins than bicycles, sometimes
    > heavier than bikes, that are shipped individually across the country or
    > across the world.
    >
    > If the alternative to eating a $50 shipping charge is to lose a sale with
    > $200 of margin, what's the choice? Car dealers often swap inventory, even
    > among competing dealers. Do bicycle shops do the same?


    $200 margin isn't $200 profit. Keep in mind bicycles require substantial
    time in assembly; not many other items you'd buy require all that work
    before they can go out the door. Car dealers tell me they can prep a car in
    20 minutes, which is 2 hours, 40 minutes less time than it takes for many
    bikes.

    For what it's worth, we had at least two customers this past week looking
    for bikes we didn't have in stock, and no bike orders to be released as soon
    as they wanted the bikes. So we sent them to another shop that did have
    them. So yes, we could have eaten the freight charges and sold them the
    bikes, but we simply cannot afford to do business like that. Pre-tax profit
    on a very well-run bike shop runs under 7%, more typically 5%. That's
    pre-tax. I'm sure there are some shops that thrive on essentially
    situational pricing (you charge customers differently depending upon your
    mood, or that they won't buy something without bargaining, or the business
    is in a cash flow crisis), but that's generally not a long-term road to
    success. Everyone involved in the shop, from owner to salesperson to
    mechanic, loses any real sense of value, in terms of what they're delivering
    to the customer, because it's different to each one.

    --Mike-- Chain Reaction Bicycles
    www.ChainReactionBicycles.com
     
  5. Jeff Grippe

    Jeff Grippe Guest

    "NYC XYZ" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    >
    > Whatever happened to the friendly neighborhood bike dealer?
    >

    By far the biggest market for bicycles is bicycles for children. This market
    (which is probably very profitable) has been sewn up by the department
    stores and the sporting goods stores. The next biggest market is probably
    cheap (but again profitable) adult cycles. Once again the department stores
    and sporting goods stores have grabbed that segment. That leaves the high
    end and repair work for the shops that remain. I think all merchants should
    be friendly.

    Rob at RBR in State College is quite friendly. He helped me make a trade in
    which he had no financial involvement. About all he got out of it was that I
    spent $80 at his shop (although I do go out of my way to say good things
    about him when I can).

    Mt. Airy cycles in MD is the same distance away from us as Rob in State
    College. They have a much larger selection of bent bikes and trike and they
    will spend hours setting them up for you to test ride. The catch is that the
    owner is independently wealthy (I've heard) and he is completely inflexible
    on price. Sometimes he prices are completely unreasonable. For example, when
    I visited him he had a Wizwheels TT 3.4 with some cosmetic problems which he
    wanted $1,795 for. I pointed out to him that a new one (at that time the new
    one was the TT 3.5) was $1,895. His response to me was "So go buy a new
    one". But it his shop and he can set his prices any way he want to. He
    really is a very decent fellow and he provides good service.

    Jeff
     
  6. Andrew Price wrote:
    > NYC XYZ wrote -
    >
    > > Tell me, is there some bike shop etiquette I didn't observe? Is there
    > > some kind of secret bike shop salute or handshake I should have
    > > employed? Did I bother them somehow by smiling?
    > >

    > I think the all time difficult LBS guy is depicted in the Canadian movie
    > "Two Seconds".


    As far as I can tell from your description below this is the film I
    unsuccessfully tried to get the English name of because it looked
    interesting enough that I wanted to get more of the dialogue than was
    really possible with the dubbed Chinese version. Problem was that
    whoever did the version for China decided to do the title shot with
    grass script which I can barely decipher with the aid of printed text
    telling me what I'm trying to look at.

    However, the IMDB doesn't have an exact name match for "Two Seconds."
    Are you sure this is the correct name?

    > The shop proprietlor, an ex road racer with considerable attitude, confronts
    > Miss Downhill Racer with equal but opposite attitude. Breathtaking rudeness
    > from him, but there is a reason ...
    >
    > Whilst demolishing a bottle of scotch after hours in the shop, each argues
    > how their particular discpline gave true meaning to the concept of suffering
    > on a bicycle.
    >
    > Friendship and mutual respect follow - liked that bit of the movie.


    Hmmm ... admittedly I was only watching bits and snippets of the movie
    (there were other more interesting barbecue type things going on at the
    same time including roast suckling pig and hot sugar cane) but I don't
    specifically remember that part.

    Did Miss Downhill Racer become a bicycle courier for at least part of
    the film?

    -M
     
  7. NYC XYZ

    NYC XYZ Guest

    Jeff Grippe wrote:
    >
    > By far the biggest market for bicycles is bicycles for children. This market
    > (which is probably very profitable) has been sewn up by the department
    > stores and the sporting goods stores. The next biggest market is probably
    > cheap (but again profitable) adult cycles. Once again the department stores
    > and sporting goods stores have grabbed that segment. That leaves the high
    > end and repair work for the shops that remain.


    I find it odd that even high-end shops seem to carry some common kiddie
    bikes. I mean, if you're a high-end shop and you feel compelled to
    carry kiddie bikes, why not high-end kiddie bikes? IOW, I'm surprised
    folks actually go into an obviously high-end bike shop and purchase
    kiddie bikes of the sort they can get at The Sports Authority or
    Walmart.

    > I think all merchants should
    > be friendly.


    Again, except for Evan -- who can be friendly, too -- none of the folks
    I've been complaining about have been down-right rude, as in, "pay up
    or shut up." But it borders on it when they don't return e-mail,
    despite my very clearly telling them I'm already sold on a $3K or $4K
    SMGTe and I don't haggle prices. I mean, it's all there in writing!
    And I'm writing to set up an appointment! I don't know what else I
    should have done...maybe throw in my girlfriend, too!

    > Rob at RBR in State College is quite friendly. He helped me make a trade in
    > which he had no financial involvement. About all he got out of it was that I
    > spent $80 at his shop (although I do go out of my way to say good things
    > about him when I can).


    Thanks for the tip! I will certainly keep him in mind, as State
    College should be a more interesting visit than Alfred Station, New
    York.

    > Mt. Airy cycles in MD is the same distance away from us as Rob in State
    > College. They have a much larger selection of bent bikes and trike and they
    > will spend hours setting them up for you to test ride. The catch is that the
    > owner is independently wealthy (I've heard) and he is completely inflexible
    > on price. Sometimes he prices are completely unreasonable. For example, when
    > I visited him he had a Wizwheels TT 3.4 with some cosmetic problems which he
    > wanted $1,795 for. I pointed out to him that a new one (at that time the new
    > one was the TT 3.5) was $1,895. His response to me was "So go buy a new
    > one". But it his shop and he can set his prices any way he want to. He
    > really is a very decent fellow and he provides good service.


    You know, that reminds me: maybe I'm just too gosh-darn nice. Maybe
    these people expect an attitude and would respect one. I never haggle
    price! I know it sounds crazy, especially since I work as a buyer and
    I haggle prices nine-to-five (!!), but I myself never (99%) haggle
    price.

    But I catch the same "you can't spend enough on me" attitude, it seems,
    wherever I go. Even this guy Johannes of NorthEast Recumbents is hard
    to get a hold of. I'm spending $4K and it's like I've giving HIM the
    sales pitch!

    > Jeff
     
  8. Tom Keats

    Tom Keats Guest

    In article <[email protected]>,
    "[email protected]" <[email protected]> writes:

    > However, the IMDB doesn't have an exact name match for "Two Seconds."
    > Are you sure this is the correct name?


    You might have better luck searching on "2 Secondes" or
    "Deux Secondes" (or even "Deux Seconds".)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0158446/


    cheers,
    Tom

    --
    -- Nothing is safe from me.
    Above address is just a spam midden.
    I'm really at: tkeats [curlicue] vcn [point] bc [point] ca
     
  9. NYC XYZ

    NYC XYZ Guest

    GRRRREAT Q&A, folks. Many, many thanks for the education.

    I'd long suspected these businesses just treading water. I think the
    only successful (which doesn't mean mere survival) shops are those
    which own the land. Rent's probably the single biggest deduction on
    gross income -- at least it was for my dad's restaurant. It was a
    swank Manhattan joint that had lines out the door, but the landlord
    simply decided he could get more from a bank, and pop was paying
    $35,000.00 a month in 1987.



    Mike Jacoubowsky wrote:
    >
    >
    > $200 margin isn't $200 profit. Keep in mind bicycles require substantial
    > time in assembly; not many other items you'd buy require all that work
    > before they can go out the door. Car dealers tell me they can prep a car in
    > 20 minutes, which is 2 hours, 40 minutes less time than it takes for many
    > bikes.
    >
    > For what it's worth, we had at least two customers this past week looking
    > for bikes we didn't have in stock, and no bike orders to be released as soon
    > as they wanted the bikes. So we sent them to another shop that did have
    > them. So yes, we could have eaten the freight charges and sold them the
    > bikes, but we simply cannot afford to do business like that. Pre-tax profit
    > on a very well-run bike shop runs under 7%, more typically 5%. That's
    > pre-tax. I'm sure there are some shops that thrive on essentially
    > situational pricing (you charge customers differently depending upon your
    > mood, or that they won't buy something without bargaining, or the business
    > is in a cash flow crisis), but that's generally not a long-term road to
    > success. Everyone involved in the shop, from owner to salesperson to
    > mechanic, loses any real sense of value, in terms of what they're delivering
    > to the customer, because it's different to each one.
    >
    > --Mike-- Chain Reaction Bicycles
    > www.ChainReactionBicycles.com
     
  10. SMS

    SMS Guest

    Mike Jacoubowsky wrote:

    > $200 margin isn't $200 profit. Keep in mind bicycles require substantial
    > time in assembly; not many other items you'd buy require all that work
    > before they can go out the door. Car dealers tell me they can prep a car in
    > 20 minutes, which is 2 hours, 40 minutes less time than it takes for many
    > bikes.


    But what's the incremental cost of selling that bicycle versus not
    selling it. It would seem like you'd want to keep these customers from
    going elsewhere even at the cost of an occasional extra shipping charge.
    They're likely to be buying all the high-margin accessories and clothing
    from the shop that they buy the bike from, as well as returning there
    for service after the warranty. Sure you can't afford to be special
    ordering every single bike, but once in a while it would seem to be a
    worthwhile expense, if it's a high end model.

    > situational pricing (you charge customers differently depending upon your
    > mood, or that they won't buy something without bargaining, or the business
    > is in a cash flow crisis), but that's generally not a long-term road to
    > success. Everyone involved in the shop, from owner to salesperson to
    > mechanic, loses any real sense of value, in terms of what they're delivering
    > to the customer, because it's different to each one.


    Welcome to the world of retail. It's pretty rare to find a store of any
    kind that charges the same price to every customer, with all the sales,
    rebates, discount clubs, % off coupons, cash discounts, etc., not to
    mention plain haggling. I'm not sure that this is necessarily bad, as it
    enables the business to sell both to price-sensitive and non-price
    sensitive customers, increasing volume.

    My favorite discount was one that the Bicycle Outfitter once had, where
    they had 15 or 20% off everything in the store, during the hours that
    the Super Bowl was on. It was the one time to buy stuff that rarely goes
    on sale, such as Rivendell bicycles.
     
  11. Jeff Grippe

    Jeff Grippe Guest

    > You know, that reminds me: maybe I'm just too gosh-darn nice. Maybe
    > these people expect an attitude and would respect one. I never haggle
    > price! I know it sounds crazy, especially since I work as a buyer and
    > I haggle prices nine-to-five (!!), but I myself never (99%) haggle
    > price.
    >


    I didn't think of it as haggling on the price. It was simply that I knew the
    price of the new bike and the one he had was "well used". There were a few
    dings, missing paint (small chips), etc. Also it was my first trike and if I
    could spend a bit less that would appealed to me. Since I knew the price of
    the new TT 3.5 (at that time), I couldn't see paying $100 less for a very
    well used older model.

    But on the other hand, this guy setup almost a dozen different trikes and
    let me take them on a mile long test ride that he had mapped out. You really
    can't beat that kind of service.

    Jeff
     
  12. NYC XYZ

    NYC XYZ Guest

    Jeff Grippe wrote:
    >
    >
    > I didn't think of it as haggling on the price. It was simply that I knew the
    > price of the new bike and the one he had was "well used". There were a few
    > dings, missing paint (small chips), etc. Also it was my first trike and if I
    > could spend a bit less that would appealed to me. Since I knew the price of
    > the new TT 3.5 (at that time), I couldn't see paying $100 less for a very
    > well used older model.
    >
    > But on the other hand, this guy setup almost a dozen different trikes and
    > let me take them on a mile long test ride that he had mapped out. You really
    > can't beat that kind of service.
    >
    > Jeff




    Okay, "haggling" probably has too many negative connotations, but I
    recognize that one has to pay for great service, for the shop being
    there in the first place to provide the service, etc., etc., etc. Of
    course that's all up to the proprietor to work out, and I'm not saying
    it's my concern as such; no, I'm just saying that I "recognize" that
    and so I guess it just doesn't "occur" to me to even try to get a
    "better" price. I don't believe I'd get more than, what, 3% off, and
    what's 3% when all things are considered?

    I know that sounds "defeatist" of me as a consumer, but I just like
    rewarding intangibles as tangibly as I can. Perhaps even "rewarding"
    is the wrong word, as if they were just prostitutes of some sort. But
    much as these guys piss me off, I think that LBSes in general should be
    supported, and this is my way of putting my money where my mouth is.
     
  13. >> $200 margin isn't $200 profit. Keep in mind bicycles require substantial
    >> time in assembly; not many other items you'd buy require all that work
    >> before they can go out the door. Car dealers tell me they can prep a car
    >> in 20 minutes, which is 2 hours, 40 minutes less time than it takes for
    >> many bikes.

    >
    > But what's the incremental cost of selling that bicycle versus not selling
    > it. It would seem like you'd want to keep these customers from going
    > elsewhere even at the cost of an occasional extra shipping charge. They're
    > likely to be buying all the high-margin accessories and clothing from the
    > shop that they buy the bike from, as well as returning there for service
    > after the warranty. Sure you can't afford to be special ordering every
    > single bike, but once in a while it would seem to be a worthwhile expense,
    > if it's a high end model.


    On an inexpensive bike, it's not incremental profit, it's incremental loss.
    That holds true up to about the $400-$500 area for the better shops; there
    are some that can probably make a profit on a $300 bike, because they put so
    little time into them.

    On a higher-end bike yes, we will special-order one in-between larger
    shipments if need be, because it's less-expensive to do that than to carry
    so many in stock that there's no possibility of running out in-between major
    shipments.

    >> situational pricing (you charge customers differently depending upon your
    >> mood, or that they won't buy something without bargaining, or the
    >> business is in a cash flow crisis), but that's generally not a long-term
    >> road to success. Everyone involved in the shop, from owner to salesperson
    >> to mechanic, loses any real sense of value, in terms of what they're
    >> delivering to the customer, because it's different to each one.

    >
    > Welcome to the world of retail. It's pretty rare to find a store of any
    > kind that charges the same price to every customer, with all the sales,
    > rebates, discount clubs, % off coupons, cash discounts, etc., not to
    > mention plain haggling. I'm not sure that this is necessarily bad, as it
    > enables the business to sell both to price-sensitive and non-price
    > sensitive customers, increasing volume.


    It may be rare, but that's us. We have no club discounts, no team-in
    training discounts, no %-off coupons, no cash discounts. The product is the
    same price to everyone, no exceptions. If we cannot establish that we're
    worth "x" price, the customer will go elsewhere. That's fine; not everybody
    wants to do business the same way. But it encourages us to be competitive
    and deliver the best-possible service we can, because we're establishing
    that *we* believe the product has a certain value, so we have to support
    that.

    We do however want to support various events, so besides direct
    contributions we also offer 5% of a customer's prior-year purchases in the
    form of a check to whatever charitable ride they're doing. We also do a 10%
    discount on parts purchased with the bike.

    > My favorite discount was one that the Bicycle Outfitter once had, where
    > they had 15 or 20% off everything in the store, during the hours that the
    > Super Bowl was on. It was the one time to buy stuff that rarely goes on
    > sale, such as Rivendell bicycles.


    You're probably aware that they changed hands; one of the problems they had
    was that they trained customers to wait until they had their sales. They had
    prices that were pretty high the rest of the time, but fewer buyers. That
    can lead to the need for even more sale events to generate cash, which
    further discourages people from shopping otherwise... a vicious circle that
    makes it difficult to stay in business.

    There are many successful business models out there; I'm not suggesting that
    what we choose is better than someone else's. It just happens to work for
    us, probably mostly because we're absolutely consistent. It also works great
    because the customer who comes in saying his friend bought a bike from us
    and got X$ off on it and he wants the same deal... well, we know that isn't
    the case. We end up not wasting nearly as much time chasing customers who
    are more interested in bargaining than in actually riding a bike. Yes, there
    are people for whom the thrill of the negotiation is more important than
    anything else. Me? I lose several years off my life everytime I have to buy
    a car.

    --Mike Jacoubowsky
    Chain Reaction Bicycles
    www.ChainReaction.com
    Redwood City & Los Altos, CA USA
     
  14. If you're ever in the Roc Hill, SC area, check out College Cycles.
    Robert will fit your requirements quite nicely, I believe.

    - -
    Comments and opinions compliments of,
    "Your Friendly Neighborhood Wheelman"

    My web Site:
    http://geocities.com/czcorner

    To E-mail me:
    ChrisZCorner "at" webtv "dot" net
     
  15. Andy Morris

    Andy Morris Guest

    Mike Jacoubowsky wrote:
    >
    > Presta valve caps serve no reasonable purpose that I can see. They
    > certainly aren't air-tight. The best they might do is keep the area
    > clean so you don't blow grit into your tube, but I've never seen that
    > cause any trouble.


    I thought they were there to stop the end of the valve chaffing the tube
    when it was rolled up.

    --
    Andy Morris

    AndyAtJinkasDotFreeserve.Co.UK

    Love this:
    Put an end to Outlook Express's messy quotes
    http://home.in.tum.de/~jain/software/oe-quotefix/
     
  16. Fritz M

    Fritz M Guest

    Johnny Sunset wrote:
    > Since I was the only
    > rider on a bicycle with a front fairing and fenders, I only got wet
    > above the shoulders. The rest of the riders were soaked everywhere.


    And... what next? They all melted?

    RFM
     
  17. Fritz M wrote:
    > Johnny Sunset wrote:
    > > Since I was the only
    > > rider on a bicycle with a front fairing and fenders, I only got wet
    > > above the shoulders. The rest of the riders were soaked everywhere.

    >
    > And... what next? They all melted?


    Someone implied that recumbents would be worse than uprights to ride in
    the rain regarding the rider getting wet and dirty. I posted a real
    world example that indicated the opposite was the case.

    If there had been lightning, the upright riders would have worked as
    lightning rods for me. ;)

    --
    Tom Sherman - Fox River Valley
     
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