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LBS owners, riddle me this(29 posts)

LBS owners, riddle me thismr_spin
Apr 24, 2002 7:14 AM
Warning: rant in progress...

I take in my bike to your shop for a simple repair. You find a serious repair but don't have the part. You have to "special order" it, should have it in a couple of days. I say fine. I check back in a few days, no part yet. I check back a week later, still no part. I check back a few days after that, you tell me there are no parts in the country!

I go online, find the part in a matter of minutes. It should be here tomorrow.

I don't understand this. If you can't find a part through your normal channels, why would you not try other channels, such as mail order, other stores, etc.? Pass the cost on to me, I don't care. Instead, you keep my bike indefinitely?

I've gotten into the "special order" infinite loop at more than one LBS, and I'm sure I'm not alone. Where is the business sense here? Customers just want to ride their bikes, not wait for parts that are readily available if you bother to look.
re: LBS owners, riddle me thisxxl
Apr 24, 2002 7:36 AM
My best guess is that the LBS's supplier (e.g., Quality Bike Parts) has a minimum order/discount point that the LBS wants to hit, so they're "batch processing" your order with others, when they get them.

Don't really know why they don't just go online like you do.
It could be several things...floatch
Apr 24, 2002 8:03 AM
First of all, when you say "I go online, find the part in a matter of minutes", I assume you're paying retail, or near it. Let's say a stem costs 70 dollars at most shops. An online retailer might charge 65, right? The distributors the shop buys parts from charges 35. Why would a shop buy from an online retailer and pay 65 bucks for a stem when they could get it for 35 and then charge you 70 plus labor?
Shops are in business to make money. They order parts at wholesale, and then mark them up to make a profit. Where's the profit in using shop time to pay 65 bucks plus shipping to order a stem for you? They'd much rather wait to get it from their distributor.
Also, most people who bring their bikes in for repair are not as fanatical as you and I. They could generally care less about a week's wait.
Additionally, it may be the case that they never ordered your part, accidentally forgot about it, and when you came in they told you "Ah... it's on backorder, can't get it for at least a week." It may be the case that they never ordered it in the first place.
Lots of crappy guys working out there, who could care less about your repair or how long it's at the shop.
If I were you, I'd order the parts myself and develop some mechanical ability. -I'm not trying to insult you, really! It's just that I never let anyone else work on my bikes. If you find a crappy shop, just deal with someone else or do it yourself!
Probably not truepmf1
Apr 24, 2002 11:54 AM
More like shop can get it for $62 and will sell it for $124. You can get it for $65.

Quite a few folks who work for shops and post here claim shops pay just about the same cost as we pay at big mail order places like Colorado and Excel. I've seen the catalogue they order from at a LBS near me, and the prices are higher. Colorado and Excel can negotiate with mfg. LBS cannot.

Why they just don't order it and figure to make money on the labor is beyond me. The future for LBS is service (and cheap mtn bikes).
Having worked in bike shop for awhile....MrCrud
Apr 24, 2002 8:04 AM
.....Most of them are not online yet. Also, most of them are trying to protect their local distributors and markets, so they only go through the same ppl. From the point of view of a shop, it is much much easier to process a warranty claim directly from the same ppl they are used to dealing with, than through someone online that has to deal with another adds a step. More and more LBSs are getting into the possibilities the web can offer, but it's just not as simple as it sounds. Hope this helps!

Similar problem with cars...cory
Apr 24, 2002 8:07 AM
Bike dealers aren't alone...a few years ago my son hit a curb in his '95 Neon, and we took it in to the dealer (which I hardly ever do, but we needed to get some warranty work done, too). They kept the car two weeks waiting for a front hub or something, sorry, backorder, none available, maybe next week... So I mentioned it in a magazine column I write, a general complaint about THE LOUSY SERVICE I GOT FROM CHRYSLER THE WHOLE TIME I OWNED THAT FREAKING CAR, and two days later the part came in the mail free from a parts supplier 20 miles away. My dealer just shrugged, which is one reason I'll NEVER BUY ANOTHER CHRYSLER PRODUCT (until I can afford a Viper).
re: LBS owners, riddle me thisgtx
Apr 24, 2002 8:12 AM
In part it's bad timing. It's spring. Everyone and their brother has their bike in the shop now for a spring tuneup. I haven't worked in shops since the iternet became popular, but shops aren't really set up nor have the time to start calling other bike shops all over the country looking for a part--and most customers aren't willing to pay extra to arrange something like that. What part are you talking about anyway? Yeah, QBP is one of the main sources, but there are others. Still, the shop dropped the ball. If you ride a lot your life will be much easier if you have more than one bike and know how to do many repairs yourself.
Just went through the same thing..Lone Gunman
Apr 24, 2002 9:00 AM
Except I was trying to order a set of 27" 32 hole rims for a restore project. The LBS ordered rims twice and got the wrong size. Then tried to tell me that the rim I wanted was not available and possibly did not exist. This has gone on for 2 months. Last saturday I got on line and found my rims in 11 minutes and saved $30 to boot.

I have heard that some LBSs order parts from the same distributor and if they don't have the part they wait until that guy gets it and don't look any further as it is not worth their time, plus some places require you to order more than 1 of the part.
Just went through the same thing..SteveO
Apr 24, 2002 9:47 AM
"and don't look any further as it is not worth their time"

Thats where theyre hurting themselves, IMO. I certainly believe in helping the little guy, and keeping money local, butttt, if Im paying a higher price, for slower service at my LBS, i certainly expect a certain level of service/accommodation.

IMO, being too lazy to find alternate paths for a customer is not good service or accommodation. Certainly, the shop reserves the right to try to maximize his profit, but not at the customers expense. Honesty and straightforwardness goes a long way in making a customer happy. Happy customers return.

I, personally, would stop going to a shop which offered such inconsiderate 'service'. If the local shops cant offer quality service or honesty, what DO they offer?
Apr 24, 2002 10:25 AM
Where did you track down 32 hole 27" rims?
where......Lone Gunman
Apr 24, 2002 10:33 AM They shipped yesterday, I do not have them in hand yet, they are Weinmann rims, I have no idea of the quality and am really not expecting they are fabulous @ $11.99 per rim, but they will fit the frame that requires 27" rims and if they fail then I have a backup plan of an offer for some Wolber Alpine 27" rims @ $70 or pre built to negotiate a deal on.
i do believeSteveO
Apr 24, 2002 10:34 AM
velocity still has ' too.
freewheel and cassette.
Apr 24, 2002 11:34 AM
I bought a pair of Sun 27" rims, model CR18A, from LBS a few months back. They're similar in construction to the CR18 you can see on the sun website (same section, eyelets, sidewall), but apparently available in different sizes. They had them in stock, ~$15-$20. Nice rim.

Good luck.
Stupid LBS...Lone Gunman
Apr 24, 2002 6:33 PM
Ordered Sun rims, CR18 and of course they were the wrong size. Then they ordered some Ritcheys that also came in the wrong size. I ordered some Weinmanns, I hope they are decent. They had access to the catalogs and info, I just can't understand how they screwed up the order.
Be up-front with your LBs.Len J
Apr 24, 2002 9:59 AM
I made a deal with the LBS.

I understand that he has to make money & to do so he has to order his parts through someone like quality & group orders so he gets discounts & saves on shipping,

I think it is my best interest to have a high quality Mechanic/LBS in the area so I am willing to invest time & money (in the form of slightly higher prices) in him.

If I need something ASAP, I let him know that & he knows he can either, get it off the internet if his distrib can;t get it, or tell me he can't get it & leave me to get it on the Internet. Most times he is accomidating, knowing that I give him most of my LBS business.

Honesty works for both of us. Unfortunatly, some LBS & some cyclist don't play this way.

Be up-front with your LBs.Beaver
Apr 24, 2002 10:20 AM
Sounds like we go to the same bike shop. If I am in a rush and my LBS can't get me the part, they tell me to get if off the internet. No hard feelings either way.

But if there is no rush on the part, they tell me to wait a week or so and I have no problem with that.
Be up-front with your LBs.Dave Hickey
Apr 24, 2002 10:26 AM
I do the same. My LBS tells me to buy certain parts from the internet. That's why they are my LBS
Apr 24, 2002 10:37 AM
Finally found a place where they completely understand the situation. The are my service, and smaller articles shop.
Great way to put it.Len J
Apr 24, 2002 10:40 AM
The market is gragmenting and you have to be clear in what you expect from each channel.

LBS for service, and smaller articles shop and anything I can wait for.

Internaet for Quick turnaround.

I give my LBS first shot on most things though as I want him around.

Great way to put it.t-bill
Apr 24, 2002 10:50 AM
I hat it when the market gragments!
Be up-front with your LBs.t-bill
Apr 24, 2002 10:39 AM
You LBS obviously understands the limits of the current business model and suply chain. Each business should do what they do well, and stop there! Sounds like you've got a good one... where is it?
Bicycles Inc. in Bedford, Texas (nm)Dave Hickey
Apr 24, 2002 10:46 AM
Be up-front with your LBs!.dzrider
Apr 24, 2002 11:40 AM
Our LBS helps sponsor a team, put on 2 duathlons, leads weekly rides, holds bi-weekly spin classes in the winter offers sound advice and quality service. I want a place like that in my community and I'm willing to help support such a place. The owner isn't making so much money that I resent his wealth and I'm willing to pay a little more for the necessities of cycling to support it. So I buy my energy food, some clothes, tubes, tools, used bikes for my kids from the LBS and consider it money well spent.
re: LBS owners, riddle me thist-bill
Apr 24, 2002 10:05 AM
I undertand the point of the defenders here, but must agree with the ranters. Most of the LBS's in Chicago (those on the north side that I have been to) have no business sense! They don't seem to understand that their well-being is jeopardized by the internet - whether it be on-line retailers or auction sites. The web, if it provides no other service, is a tremendous source of information. As that info becomes more pervasive, those who do not adapt will be left behind. It is a simple fact! That process may take a while, but it will happen. Some places/employees are too in love with their own hipster lifestyles and knowledge bases to realize it!

Sorry if this sounds like further ranting, and I certainly don't mean to offend any LBS owners present. Hopefully those who are clued in here already realize that.
me tooterry b
Apr 24, 2002 10:29 AM
It bothers me that even when I try to patronize the LBSs, I come away reinforced in the notion that I should have just bought it on line. I fully comprehend the problems with cost of inventory and low margins that small businesses have, but often we're not talking about obscure parts.

I went looking for a Shimano 9 speed chain on Saturday, and my LBS, while having a pile of Shimano chains did not have a single one that corresponded to the current Shimano part numbers (DA=7701, Ult=HG93.) Rather, they had a bunch of old part numbers that I presume correspond to 2001, 2000 and even 1999 parts. To top it off, they were not even able to explain what the old part numbers were nor their compatibility with current revs. Of course, I could have spent less and had it in a couple of days by ordering it on line. If I can go and educate and supply myself, you'd think they'd get the picture and do the same. Otherwise, they're going to lose people like me.

Maybe that's the point though - they're still selling to people with low expectations that are not riding exotic bikes and therefore it does not matter if they evolve or not. There will always be a sustainable market composed of people riding $400 bikes with low expectations who would never consider buying parts or much less a whole bike on line. If that's the case, then I don't see much impetus for them to try and maintain a business relationship with people like the people on this board. Our needs might be to obscure and our market segment too small. Although, I find it hard to accept that a Dura Ace chain is an obscure part.
me toogtx
Apr 24, 2002 11:59 AM
You are right. Even when I worked in shops (7 over a 12 year period) I always mail ordered all my DA stuff--this is as early as the late 80s. Cheaper and faster. Most LBS customers are pretty low end. And the internet doesn't have quite the impact that many of us internet users think it does--most people don't know enough about bikes to even begin to know what they are looking for.
happens too often....surly357
Apr 24, 2002 10:51 AM
While I'm not the owner, I see this too often. A mechanic or clerk writes up an order (maybe even the right one ) and then it's given to the boss/owner where it languishes on his desk for X number of days until he gets around to ordering it. Maybe he has a minimum order to hit with a distributor, maybe a rep is coming to town in a few days for a parts order, perhaps he's doing taxes, or payroll, etc... Of course the first place he tries is out of what you want, so the whole cycle starts anew. Basically you need to have a decent relationship with a senior employee who can get things done! Someone who knows what other fill in merchandise is usually needed in order to get a minimum order up and which distributors are most likely to have quirky stuff. As in most other aspects of business, it's up to the right individual to get things done... But don't expect them to pay retail or watch ebay for a week for you!!
At least your shop don't lie to youliu02bhs
Apr 24, 2002 7:43 PM
The bike shop I bought my bike tried to lie to me when I went for the free one-month adjustment. I asked them to move the shifters to a better position. When I went to pick up my bike, the shifters were not moved. I asked them why they didn't do it. The wrench told me it's not possible because the cable is not long enough. So I went home, unwrapped the bar tape, move the shifter down a little bit and adjusted the handlebar. I haven't had a problem with shifting. Just because I'm a teenager on a budget with a cheap bike, doesn't mean I'm clueless. I never went back to that bike shop for maintenance again. Now I just buy a bike maintenance book and do it all myself.
I ordered my new speedplay pedals from a LBS, still don't have themMike P
Apr 25, 2002 3:41 AM
My old pedals are worn out. Those Wellgo R-4's. They have a little over 12,000 miles on them and no problems until lately.

Anyway, I talked to the LBS owner, letting him know I would like to do business with him if he can get them to me within a week, as I would like to be able to get a couple hundred miles on them before a ride I am doing in early May. It was a Thursday, he said they would be here the following Monday. His price, $165 plus tax. I could have ordered them that day for $135 plus shipping; would have been here in 4 days. I wanted to do business with him to help him stay in business so I asked that he order them. WEll, here it is 2 weeks later and still no pedals!!!

Now I do not have time to get used to the new pedals, x/2's, before the ride. I am a bit unhappy with the entire situation. I was looking at the extra $40 as an investment of sorts. Now it's just $40 dollars I blew on nothing.

So I guess I will just buy all my stuff on the internet. Saves me money, I know when I'll get the item, blah, blah.

I already do not let the work on my bikes any more. 1 time they took a couple chips of paint off when they released the frame from the workbench. Another time they clamped the set tube so tight it caused the paint and decals to partially seperate from the tubing. Another time they scratched up the drive side of my crank.

Oh, it looks like I may have had a little rant going there! Sorry about that.

Mike Illdoitmyself Pugh