Our impact on the LBS

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Buck, Mar 31, 2003.

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  1. Buck

    Buck Guest

    I've participated in this newsgroup for several years now and I know the impact this community has
    had on my wrenching skills, my purchasing decisions, and my general awareness on biking issues. I
    see newcomers every day and watch while they get the same useful advice. But I wonder how many shops
    are aware of this community and how it may be impacting their business. When we teach new cyclists
    how to recognize a good shop, we are spreading the knowledge about what comprises a good shop as
    well as spreading the word about our newsgroup. I know we have representatives from a few shops who
    participate on a regular basis, but how many lurkers are hiding out there who are taking the advice
    we give and making their shops better?

    I just wonder, how many shops out there know that we are affecting their bottom line and how many
    are doing something about it?

    -Buck
     
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  2. Jeb

    Jeb Guest

    On Mon, 31 Mar 2003 16:31:24 GMT, "Buck" <j u n k m a i l @ g a l a x y c o r p . c o m> wrote:

    >I've participated in this newsgroup for several years now and I know the impact this community has
    >had on my wrenching skills, my purchasing decisions, and my general awareness on biking issues. I
    >see newcomers every day and watch while they get the same useful advice. But I wonder how many
    >shops are aware of this community and how it may be impacting their business. When we teach new
    >cyclists how to recognize a good shop, we are spreading the knowledge about what comprises a good
    >shop as well as spreading the word about our newsgroup. I know we have representatives from a few
    >shops who participate on a regular basis, but how many lurkers are hiding out there who are taking
    >the advice we give and making their shops better?
    >
    >I just wonder, how many shops out there know that we are affecting their bottom line and how many
    >are doing something about it?
    >

    You know what I think would be a good promo for LBSs? a free or low cost basic maintenance class.
    They might lose out on a "tune up" or two but I'd bet they'd more than make it up in exposure, major
    repairs, new bike sales, parts and tool sales (which they could have at the workshop), etc etc.
     
  3. > I just wonder, how many shops out there know that we are affecting their bottom line and how many
    > are doing something about it?

    The reality is that it's a very, very tiny percentage of internet users who access usenet. In fact,
    most don't even know it's there, believe it or not. For the most part, customers get information
    from websites.

    That doesn't mean that usenet isn't influential, as the typical usenet user tends to be someone
    whose opinions are shared with others off-net as well.

    Keep in mind that cycling isn't always the only thing a cyclist is interested in, and even if
    someone has been exposed to usenet, it may not have been favorable. Or, perhaps if someone's
    interested in racing and tuned into rec.bicycles.racing and thought that was a typical usenet
    experience...

    But regarding shops and improvement, it doesn't take usenet for shops to recognize the need to
    change & improve. Customers have voted with their wallets long before the internet came along, and
    shops that ignored the needs of their customers have always been subject to the realities of the
    marketplace. To some extent the internet may speed the process, but keep in mind it's not something
    new & revolutionary, but rather a more efficient means of communicating information and ideas. We
    used to read newsletters & magazines and simply talk to others.

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

    "Buck" <j u n k m a i l @ g a l a x y c o r p . c o m> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > I've participated in this newsgroup for several years now and I know the impact this community has
    > had on my wrenching skills, my purchasing decisions, and my general awareness on biking issues. I
    > see newcomers
    every
    > day and watch while they get the same useful advice. But I wonder how many shops are aware of this
    > community and how it may be impacting their business. When we teach new cyclists how to recognize
    > a good shop, we are spreading the knowledge about what comprises a good shop as well as spreading
    > the word about our newsgroup. I know we have representatives
    from
    > a few shops who participate on a regular basis, but how many lurkers are hiding out there who are
    > taking the advice we give and making their shops better?
    >
    > I just wonder, how many shops out there know that we are affecting their bottom line and how many
    > are doing something about it?
    >
    > -Buck
     
  4. Mike S.

    Mike S. Guest

    "Mike Jacoubowsky" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:rW%[email protected]...
    > > I just wonder, how many shops out there know that we are affecting their bottom line and how
    > > many are doing something about it?
    >
    > The reality is that it's a very, very tiny percentage of internet users
    who
    > access usenet. In fact, most don't even know it's there, believe it or
    not.
    > For the most part, customers get information from websites.
    >
    > That doesn't mean that usenet isn't influential, as the typical usenet
    user
    > tends to be someone whose opinions are shared with others off-net as well.
    >
    > Keep in mind that cycling isn't always the only thing a cyclist is interested in, and even if
    > someone has been exposed to usenet, it may not have been favorable. Or, perhaps if someone's
    > interested in racing and tuned into rec.bicycles.racing and thought that was a typical usenet
    > experience...
    >
    > But regarding shops and improvement, it doesn't take usenet for shops to recognize the need to
    > change & improve. Customers have voted with their wallets long before the internet came along, and
    > shops that ignored the needs of their customers have always been subject to the realities of the
    > marketplace. To some extent the internet may speed the process, but keep
    in
    > mind it's not something new & revolutionary, but rather a more efficient means of communicating
    > information and ideas. We used to read newsletters
    &
    > magazines and simply talk to others.

    Since we're talking about LBSs here, I'm going to go a little OT. I thought I'd share a story about
    the "new" Supergo. Seems that Performance bought out Supergo a few months ago. Promises to the
    vendors and employees that nothing would change have turned out to be not true...

    I just got done talking with a few of the employees outside the shop the other day. Seems that some
    of them are being written up for helping customers, even though it means a little overtime. I
    actually had one of the guys tell me that a manager came up to him in the middle of a sale, the
    manager told the customer that he (the sales guy) had to go now, and that the manager would take
    over for him. Seems said employee had punched in early, and was threatening to go into OT. Oops.

    Others had gone to lunch late, then came back a little early because there were customers that
    needed help, and have been "written up" for helping out the customers.

    Granted, I can see both sides of this one, having been both a manager of a shop as well as an
    employee, but writing employees up for helping customers is the best way to kill any kind of
    service! I've always held the opinion that you have to take care of the customer #1, then the
    employees, then the higher ups. If you don't take care of the employees, the customer service
    disappears, then the customer disappears. Once the customer disappears, the shop dies.

    How does this relate to the original topic? Well, I just told untold numbers of people that the new
    management (PBS) of Supergo has their heads up their asses, and to be prepared next time you stop
    in. I have friends that ride, and friends that don't. The ones looking for a bike may or may not be
    referred to Supergo/PBS depending on whether things are getting better or worse at the shop.

    If the management team at Supergo/PBS were smart, they'd start standing up for their employees,
    which makes the employees happy, which makes the customers happy, which makes the bottom line happy.
    A happy employee also doesn't steal, which makes shrink disappear...

    Mike
     
  5. Tim Cain

    Tim Cain Guest

    "Mike Jacoubowsky" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:rW%[email protected]...
    > > I just wonder, how many shops out there know that we are affecting their bottom line and how
    > > many are doing something about it?
    >
    > The reality is that it's a very, very tiny percentage of internet users
    who
    > access usenet. In fact, most don't even know it's there, believe it or
    not.
    > For the most part, customers get information from websites.
    >
    > That doesn't mean that usenet isn't influential, as the typical usenet
    user
    > tends to be someone whose opinions are shared with others off-net as well.
    >
    > Keep in mind that cycling isn't always the only thing a cyclist is interested in, and even if
    > someone has been exposed to usenet, it may not have been favorable. Or, perhaps if someone's
    > interested in racing and tuned into rec.bicycles.racing and thought that was a typical usenet
    > experience...
    >
    > But regarding shops and improvement, it doesn't take usenet for shops to recognize the need to
    > change & improve. Customers have voted with their wallets long before the internet came along, and
    > shops that ignored the needs of their customers have always been subject to the realities of the
    > marketplace. To some extent the internet may speed the process, but keep
    in
    > mind it's not something new & revolutionary, but rather a more efficient means of communicating
    > information and ideas. We used to read newsletters
    &
    > magazines and simply talk to others.
    >
    > --Mike-- Chain Reaction Bicycles http://www.ChainReactionBicycles.com

    Mike: Do you still require a driver's license as ID for test rides?

    Tim.
     
  6. Patrick W.

    Patrick W. Guest

    "JeB" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > On Mon, 31 Mar 2003 16:31:24 GMT, "Buck" <j u n k m a i l @ g a l a x y c o r p . c o m> wrote:
    >
    > >I've participated in this newsgroup for several years now and I know the impact this community
    > >has had on my wrenching skills, my purchasing decisions, and my general awareness on biking
    > >issues. I see newcomers
    every
    > >day and watch while they get the same useful advice. But I wonder how
    many
    > >shops are aware of this community and how it may be impacting their business. When we teach new
    > >cyclists how to recognize a good shop, we are spreading the knowledge about what comprises a good
    > >shop as well as spreading the word about our newsgroup. I know we have representatives
    from
    > >a few shops who participate on a regular basis, but how many lurkers are hiding out there who are
    > >taking the advice we give and making their shops better?
    > >
    > >I just wonder, how many shops out there know that we are affecting their bottom line and how many
    > >are doing something about it?
    > >
    >
    > You know what I think would be a good promo for LBSs? a free or low cost basic maintenance
    > class. They might lose out on a "tune up" or two but I'd bet they'd more than make it up in
    > exposure, major repairs, new bike sales, parts and tool sales (which they could have at the
    > workshop), etc etc.

    There's a shop in Berkeley (Missing Link Cycles) which does just that. They have weekly free classes
    on basic to mid-level bike maintenance. One topic per class (brakes, drivetrain, wheels, etc.) It's
    a great idea, but probably not one that many shops would be willing to do because they'd probably
    rather not give away "trade secrets". Then again, this shop IS in Berkeley, and it's even a
    worker-owned co-op if I'm not mistaken. Damn hippies! ;)

    -Patrick
     
  7. S. Anderson

    S. Anderson Guest

    "Patrick W." <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    >
    >
    > There's a shop in Berkeley (Missing Link Cycles) which does just that.
    They
    > have weekly free classes on basic to mid-level bike maintenance. One topic per class (brakes,
    > drivetrain, wheels, etc.) It's a great idea, but
    probably
    > not one that many shops would be willing to do because they'd probably rather not give away "trade
    > secrets". Then again, this shop IS in
    Berkeley,
    > and it's even a worker-owned co-op if I'm not mistaken. Damn hippies! ;)
    >
    > -Patrick
    >
    >

    You know, I've never personally subscribed to the "trade secrets" mentality. Sure there are some
    tricks and some skill involved in certain aspects of bike repair, but that's true of many things. I
    was a car/motorcycle/bike mechanic for years and I NEVER change the oil in my car. It's not for lack
    of knowledge to be sure, it's just that I simply can't be bothered. I'd much rather pay someone else
    to do it. And I suspect a lot of riders are like that too. OK, we're mostly keeners and maybe are
    anxious to do it ourselves, but I'm sure a lot of people just can't be bothered to clean their
    chain, install a new derailleur etc. I think education makes for better customers because they know
    what's involved in working on a bike. Maybe the gougers who rely on ignorance to make more profit
    will be upset, but good shops like the ones owned by some of the guys who write here wouldn't mind a
    bit I doubt. Besides, in the shop I worked in, we didn't make a great deal of cash on labour anyway.
    It was always a fine line between what people will pay and what it costs to do a good job. We
    charged $100 labour for an overhaul. To do it properly takes at LEAST half a day. You're paying a
    good mechanic $10-$15/hour..that's $60 in salary you're paying to do the job if it only takes 4
    hours. It usually takes 6-8 hours depending on how good a job you do which means you could
    conceivably LOSE money. To do a brake job on a car takes 4 hours. They charge approx. $300 labour
    for that. In the context of a car, that's not much money. How many people are going to pay $300 for
    an overhaul on a $400 bike?? It's a tough business and it's no wonder so many people have bad
    experiences because the economics of the business just don't make sense in a lot of ways, especially
    in Canada. Bikes get assembled by high-school kids because they have to be! Unless you're lucky
    enough to have access to a Vecchio's or Harris Cyclery in your neighbourhood.

    Cheers,

    Scott..
     
  8. Matt O'Toole

    Matt O'Toole Guest

    "Patrick W." <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...

    > "JeB" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...

    > > You know what I think would be a good promo for LBSs? a
    free or low cost
    > > basic maintenance class. They might lose out on a "tune
    up" or two but
    > > I'd bet they'd more than make it up in exposure, major
    repairs, new
    > > bike sales, parts and tool sales (which they could have
    at the
    > > workshop), etc etc.

    > There's a shop in Berkeley (Missing Link Cycles) which
    does just that. They
    > have weekly free classes on basic to mid-level bike
    maintenance. One topic
    > per class (brakes, drivetrain, wheels, etc.) It's a great
    idea, but probably
    > not one that many shops would be willing to do because
    they'd probably
    > rather not give away "trade secrets". Then again, this
    shop IS in Berkeley,
    > and it's even a worker-owned co-op if I'm not mistaken.
    Damn hippies! ;)

    A lot of shops do this, including profit-obsessed corporate entities like Performance and REI. So do
    independent, local shops. It just depends on the owner. Generally, anything that gets people in the
    store is good. And anything that makes you look like the guy who knows what he's doing is better.

    In my experience, exposing people to professional knowledge and tools only increases their
    appreciation of the professional.

    My sister is an interior decorator, a profession more cannibalized by dilletantes and would-be's
    than any other. People come into her store and pick her brain for hours, wasting her time and
    pulling her away from paying customers. But inevitably, they come back weeks or months later, after
    buying all their stuff elsewhere -- checkbook in hand, wanting an appointment, "It just looks so
    much better when *you* do it..."

    Matt O.
     
  9. Hunrobe

    Hunrobe Guest

    >"Mike Jacoubowsky" [email protected]

    wrote in part:

    >the typical usenet user tends to be someone whose opinions are shared with others off-net as well.
    >
    >Keep in mind that cycling isn't always the only thing a cyclist is interested in

    That's a diplimatic way of saying we tend to be vocal and opinionated on a broad range of
    subjects. ;-)

    Regards, Bob Hunt
     
  10. Ed

    Ed Guest

    We charged
    >$100 labour for an overhaul. To do it properly takes at LEAST half a day.

    I am amazed that there could be four hours work in a bicycle for a compentent mechanic. What does an
    overhaul consist of?
     
  11. S. Anderson

    S. Anderson Guest

    "Ed" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > We charged
    > >$100 labour for an overhaul. To do it properly takes at LEAST half a
    day.
    >
    >
    > I am amazed that there could be four hours work in a bicycle for a
    compentent
    > mechanic. What does an overhaul consist of?
    >

    Strip to the bare frame, clean absolutely everything, regrease and re-assemble. It also includes
    wheel truing, a check on every component for wear and tear (including trying to find replacement
    parts that are worn out..), installation of any new parts and straightening/repairing obvious
    damage. Also, as you can tell from some of the threads here, you have to check all parts for cracks
    and damage so there is no liability issue. It includes cleaning and greasing all bearings, including
    pedals and jockey wheels. Like I say, you can butcher it and do it in under 4 hours easily, but we
    didn't tolerate that quality of work. So really you were looking at 4-6 hours generally. And keep in
    mind, this isn't your job on your bike. The quality of the bikes is generally not great, you have no
    prior knowledge of the bike and the customer expects to receive a brand new bike when he returns. So
    there is a great deal of work involved. Consider how long it would take you to build your bike up
    without even having to regrease any bearings. That's easily an hour of work, including adjusting
    derailleurs, adjusting brakes, installing chain, handlebar tape etc. And also consider that you only
    get 1 shot at getting it right. This involves a test ride and subsequent re-adjustment. Four hours
    shot no problem.

    Cheers,

    Scott..
     
  12. "Mike S." wrote:
    >
    > Seems that Performance bought out Supergo a few months ago. Promises to the vendors and employees
    > that nothing would change have turned out to be not true...

    Ditto when they bought out Nashbar.

    --
    Frank Krygowski [email protected]
     
  13. Robin Hubert

    Robin Hubert Guest

    "Ed" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > We charged
    > >$100 labour for an overhaul. To do it properly takes at LEAST half a
    day.
    >
    >
    > I am amazed that there could be four hours work in a bicycle for a
    compentent
    > mechanic. What does an overhaul consist of?

    A clue might be that he said "overhaul", not "tuneup". I can imagine that, considering bikes I've
    seen in the shop.
     
  14. Mike S.

    Mike S. Guest

    "Frank Krygowski" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > "Mike S." wrote:
    > >
    > > Seems that Performance bought out Supergo a few months ago. Promises to the vendors and
    > > employees
    that
    > > nothing would change have turned out to be not true...
    >
    > Ditto when they bought out Nashbar.
    >

    Didn't have as much to do with Nashbar since they closed their NoVa shop. Knew most of the guys that
    worked there, so I used to stop in a bunch.

    Mike

    > --
    > Frank Krygowski [email protected]
     
  15. Karen M.

    Karen M. Guest

    JeB:
    > > > You know what I think would be a good promo for LBSs? a free or low cost basic maintenance
    > > > class. They might lose out on a "tune up" or two but I'd bet they'd more than make it up in
    > > > exposure, major repairs, new bike sales, parts and tool sales (which they could have at the
    > > > workshop), etc etc.

    Patrick:
    > > There's a shop in Berkeley (Missing Link Cycles) which does just that. They have weekly free
    > > classes on basic to mid-level bike maintenance. One topic per class (brakes, drivetrain, wheels,
    > > etc.) It's a great idea, but probably not one that many shops would be willing to do because
    > > they'd probably rather not give away "trade secrets". Then again, this shop IS in Berkeley, and
    > > it's even a worker-owned co-op if I'm not mistaken.

    Matt:
    > A lot of shops do this, including profit-obsessed corporate entities like Performance and REI. So
    > do independent, local shops. It just depends on the owner. Generally, anything that gets people in
    > the store is good. And anything that makes you look like the guy who knows what he's doing is
    > better...

    Teaching customers how to fix their flats, adjust derailleurs and brakes, and so forth can only
    encourage them to ride more. Many folks are timid about getting more than an hour from home;
    empowerment is a wonderful thing.

    --Karen M. who learned basic repairs when my mother wouldn't let me go riding
     
  16. > That's a diplimatic way of saying we tend to be vocal and opinionated on a broad range of
    > subjects. ;-)

    Yes, that's another way of saying it! Thank goodness we moderate ourselves fairly well though. There
    are a number of formerly good-for-information groups that have become completely worthless since the
    start of things in Iraq, notably rec.travel.europe.

    This really is a pretty friendly bunch of people. Once in a while someone new comes along who has to
    be broken in, but things usually turn out for the best.

    --Mike-- Chain Reaction Bicycles http://www.ChainReactionBicycles.com
     
  17. > Mike: Do you still require a driver's license as ID for test rides?

    Yes, no other way to make sure of someone's identity and make sure they come back. Even that's not
    totally foolproof, as a shop nearby had a $3000 bike stolen a few weeks ago because the guy passed a
    phony ID. It's really not all that difficult to spot most of them.

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

    "Tim Cain" <[email protected]_know_what_to_cut_timcain.co.uk> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    >
    > "Mike Jacoubowsky" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:rW%[email protected]...
    > > > I just wonder, how many shops out there know that we are affecting
    their
    > > > bottom line and how many are doing something about it?
    > >
    > > The reality is that it's a very, very tiny percentage of internet users
    > who
    > > access usenet. In fact, most don't even know it's there, believe it or
    > not.
    > > For the most part, customers get information from websites.
    > >
    > > That doesn't mean that usenet isn't influential, as the typical usenet
    > user
    > > tends to be someone whose opinions are shared with others off-net as
    well.
    > >
    > > Keep in mind that cycling isn't always the only thing a cyclist is interested in, and even if
    > > someone has been exposed to usenet, it may
    not
    > > have been favorable. Or, perhaps if someone's interested in racing and tuned into
    > > rec.bicycles.racing and thought that was a typical usenet experience...
    > >
    > > But regarding shops and improvement, it doesn't take usenet for shops to recognize the need to
    > > change & improve. Customers have voted with their wallets long before the internet came along,
    > > and shops that ignored the needs of their customers have always been subject to the realities of
    the
    > > marketplace. To some extent the internet may speed the process, but
    keep
    > in
    > > mind it's not something new & revolutionary, but rather a more efficient means of communicating
    > > information and ideas. We used to read
    newsletters
    > &
    > > magazines and simply talk to others.
    > >
    > > --Mike-- Chain Reaction Bicycles http://www.ChainReactionBicycles.com
    >
    > Mike: Do you still require a driver's license as ID for test rides?
    >
    > Tim.
     
  18. Ken

    Ken Guest

    "Mike Jacoubowsky" <[email protected]> wrote in
    news:[email protected]:

    >> Mike: Do you still require a driver's license as ID for test rides?
    >
    > Yes, no other way to make sure of someone's identity and make sure they come back.

    Do you take other official ID like a passport or California state ID card (same IDs the TSA will
    take at airports). I agree that a valid ID is important, but some bicyclists don't drive.

    Ken
     
  19. > Do you take other official ID like a passport or California state ID card (same IDs the TSA will
    > take at airports). I agree that a valid ID is important, but some bicyclists don't drive.

    Absolutely. I thought about mentioning that California state-issued ID cards were OK as well, but
    figured what the heck, might be interesting to see what sort of controversy I stirred up.

    It would be nice if you could let someone out on a testride with nothing more than a handshake, but
    I learned first-hand that you can't. A couple years ago, I had someone test-riding a $700 road bike
    in our enclosed parking lot behind the store. I was with him in the parking lot, checking out his
    position on the bike. A car entered into the parking lot (which is gated and requires a code to get
    in) and, while the gate was open, the guy just rides on out and that's the last we saw of him.

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