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question about bike buying "manners"(44 posts)

question about bike buying "manners"Nomatt
May 12, 2003 10:03 PM
i am about to buy my first road bike, a Raleigh Grand Sport for 499 from my local LBS. It is a very old shop that deals with mostly higher level road bikes that are much more expensive. The shop is not a "chain" but a small city shop. The question is, is it okay to go in and try to bargain down the price? I ask because a friend said that small businesses like cash, so if i went in with 500 in CASH they might cut me a deal. Is this okay? or is it rude, especially since they usually deal with 1500+ bikes. and if it IS okay, how much is okay to start the bargaining at? 450? 475? or can i ask for them to throw in a tube or something? thanks for any replies.
re: question about bike buying "manners"SenorPedro
May 12, 2003 10:49 PM
Heres a few thoughts from a guy who has worked at a shop and bought plenty of bicycles.

First of all, shops don't make a whole lot of money on bicycles, especially if they are small. They gain most of their revenue from accessories and services. The profit margin is greater on higher priced bikes, often giving them a modicum of flexibility in the price. Low-cost bikes have the least amount of profit margin, which makes a shop less flexible on the price. Chances are that the lower-end bikes are already at the best price you can get. The exception to this rule is the instance in which a bike has been sitting around a shop for a season or two and they would like it to go away. If this is last year's model, then try some dealing.

The most appropriate course of action would be asking, nicely, if they would throw in some tubes, or take some $$ of a helmet, or whatever you happen to be needing. A shop is going to be more willing to throw in or cut the price on an accessory when you buy a bike from them.

So see what best suits you and your situation. Good luck.
re: question about bike buying "manners"Val_Garou
May 12, 2003 10:50 PM
I'd say there's no harm in trying, but I wouldn't want to come across as if I'd mistaken their shop for a booth at the local flea market, either.

I'd simply ask the owner (not a salesman) if there was a "cash price" or a discount for cash. If he says no, then you let the subject drop.

If they say yes, then you take what he offers. It won't be much. Small shops like cash for one of two reasons. One is that they have to pay a percentage of the sale to your credit card company, so they might want to split that with you--but it'll only be a few percentage points.

The other is that they can avoid reporting a cash sale to the IRS--if they didn't report buying the bike from their distributor in the first place. That's unlikely, especially if it is an old, reputable shop.

But, all this aside, paying in cash might earn you some goodwill with the shop that might not get you a deal now, but might get you recognized and pushed to the front of the line later on (tune up during the spring rush, pre-ordering stuff, etc.)

Bottom line, you're not going to hurt anything if you play it smooth, but you ain't gonna whack 50 bucks off the price, either.
Have you shopped around?Tower
May 13, 2003 3:56 AM
Have you looked at other LBS's for the same bike? It's easy to pick up the phone and call other shops and get a quote over the phone. Check internet prices too, although some shops won't match internet pricing, but some will. When I bought my Zurich, I got about 5 different quotes. The LBS I bought it from didn't have the lowest price but they had my size in stock NIB. I told them I found a cheaper price ($100 less) and they matched it.

I'd ask them what they could take off price-wise. Tell them you are on a limited budget. Also mention you are planning on buying some other accessories too, if in fact you are. Don't tell them that and just buy a water bottle. Tell them you are going to buy a helmet, saddle pack, possibly a computer, etc. Ask them to trade the saddle in on a better one. Most shops give you a trade-in or swap out credit for stuff like that.

It was stated in another reply: the profit margin probably isn't high on a low-end bike. So take what ever discount they will give you and move on.

Good luck and let us know how it turns out!
I don't think sofiltersweep
May 13, 2003 4:34 AM
You walk into a high-end shop that has single wheels costing as much as that bike- they'll laugh you out the door.

I would approach it this way- the cheaper a bike, the closer it will sell to MSRP- no matter what. You will probably receive an accessories coupon/discount if your LBS is like ANY other LBS I've ever been to. Also, you can probably receive $100 worth of tune-ups/maintenance, etc... within the first x-many months, if it is like ANY LBS around here as well.

The only way I would consider asking for a slight discount is if there are signs of any wear from test rides- and even then, I would not expect much... you'll wear the bike anyway.
Everything is negotiable...Asphalt Addict
May 13, 2003 4:58 AM
especially if there are other bike shops in the area. I apply the same tactics to everything I buy over $100 at all stores and have saved an enormous amount of money over the years. Always ask for their best price! All they can do is say no and you haven't lost anything. I have made it a sport having them try to separate me from my money. Being cheap is a good thing because the consumer's mission is not to make the business owner happy. Think like a pirate!
re: question about bike buying "manners"slide13
May 13, 2003 5:04 AM
I work in a shop so I can tell you that you probably will not get any discount on the bike. If it is a current model year, bikes in that price range usually don't leave much room for discounts. It certainly will not hurt to ask as long as you do so politely. I don't mind when people ask nicely if there is anything we can do about lowering the price or including some discounted accessories. I will let them know one way or another (almost alway discount on accessories, we very rarely will lower the selling price on a bike), if I say no and they drop the issue, then its all cool. As a salesperson I absolutly despise people who come in and expect me to discount items like they are someone special (these are people I have probably never seen in the shop, not regulars) People who come in acting all superior expecting to get a discount and saying things like "So, what are you going to do about this price for me?" in a pompus sort of way will not be getting any discount from me, regardless of wether or not I have the ability to do so on a given bike.

It sure wont hurt to ask, as long as you do it politely and do not press the issue too hard. Attitue and manners are everything and it can get you much further then being rude. Good luck.
On the rare occasion I buy a bike (or car), my approachOldEdScott
May 13, 2003 5:41 AM
is something like: I'll be paying cash. How many hundred dollar bills will I have to hand you to just walk out with the bike right now?

For some reason that strikes me as a more upright way to approach it than asking for discounts etc. I've established that he won't have to worry about bounced checks or credit card transaction fees or haggling over accessories, and in exchange I want to be told the 'real' price.

At the 500 dollar level, that might not get you very far. But it might work: 'I have $450 in cash in my pocket that I'll hand over if you'll let me take that baby home right now.'
On the rare occasion I buy a bike (or car), my approachslide13
May 13, 2003 6:31 AM
If that works for you then cool, but to me it still sounds like your expecting a discount and from a salespersons perspective it is annoying. It is different when we are talking about car dealers, or maybe very high end bikes where lower then standard profit margins can still yeild a high enough return on investment to make it worth while. I still don't appreciate the approach.

If a person comes in and asks me something like that, I will usually reiterate the tagged price as an exact number of $100 bills needed. (bike for $1799.99 would be 17.9999 hundred dollar bills) If you came up and said, hey I really like that bike, but I think the price is a little high, is there anything you can do with that? That is going to get the most pleasing response from me personally, and if there is anything I can do I will do it usually. I don't like being treated like I'm trying to charge an higher then necessary price like I'm a crook. The price on the bike is the price unless there are some special circumstances involved (or if it is very high end, we are sometimes able to come down becuase the standard profit margins arn't as needed to make a good enough return) A bike shop is not a used car dealership ( not all used car dealerships fit the stereotype I guess and I'm sure some bike shops probably do though), don't treat us like one.

You say he wont have to haggle over accessories like that is a good thing. That is where the best profit margins are in a bike shop and if your going to get a discount, that is the most likely place. Also, we don't give special treatment for cash transactions. We almost never have bounced checks in our shop, and never on high end purchases so it isn't a concern for us. Cash, check or CC you get treated the same.

I'm not trying to be rude or anything and if your approach works, then great. I'm sure it is different depending on the shop as well. But in the shop I work, respect and politeness will get you everywhere. Acting like you expect a lesser price then what it says, will get the tagged price told to you again. Be nice to the salesperson, and the salesperson is much more likely to be nice to you....and that can get you a lot down the road, trust me.
The assumption is that car and bike prices areOldEdScott
May 13, 2003 7:09 AM
to some degree negotiable. If it's your shop's policy that they aren't, terrific. You might post that fact to clue in us poor saps who assume they are, since at 99 percent of LBSs that's the case. But I'm detecting from your post that is NOT your store's policy. It's only your policy for those suckers who don't know you have a required code of acceptable behvior. Maybe you should issue some Xeroxed guidelines before people shop.

And ...

I'm not sure why it would be annoying to be offered a stack of hundred dollar bills, from which presumably you will take your cut (commission). Must be some pretty senstive salespeople in your shop. I'm almost never annoyed at making money.

I think your own assumption that customers need to kiss your ass a little bit to get a better price is curious. If it's such a burden to your sensitive nature to be in the retail business, why bother?

As for your little sentence: 'Acting like you expect a lesser price then what it says, will get the tagged price told to you again.' will get me saying 'Bye bye' with my poicket full of hundreds unless you accompany that with a true statement that your policy is that asking price is selling price. WHich is fair enough. But if asking price is selling price only because you don't feel I've been 'nice' enough, we have a problem. Or you do, actually, not me. I can buy a bike anywhere. You're the one losing money.

FWIW, I'm always just pleasant as all hell to any bike or car salesman I deal with. 'Pleasant' doesn't mean I have to scuff my toe in the dirt shyly, cast my eyes down, and say "Oh, PLEASE, Mr. Potentially Annoyed Salesman, if it's not too much to ask, and I REALLY hate to, but could I get a teensy little break on the price here, although GOD, if I hurt your feelings or annoyed you by asking, I'll be happy to pay MORE. Here, take 50 just for the insult."

Pretty radical business model you have going there. Hope it's working for you.
LMAO! nmTower
May 13, 2003 8:12 AM
Just trying to be Euro,TJeanloz
May 13, 2003 8:15 AM
Like all other aspects of cycling, some shops are trying desperately to get the Euro attitude - you know, the "you should be lucky enough to be so honored as to be allowed to spend your money in my shop" attitude.

Ever try to buy anything in Provence?
as you walk out the door say....the bull
May 13, 2003 9:20 AM
Thanks for letting me test ride that so I now what size to buy on the internet!!!!
The assumption is that car and bike prices areslide13
May 13, 2003 5:11 PM
In many shops around here, bike prices are not negotiable for the most part.

Anyway....I came off a little harsh there and I'm sorry. I guess I was picturing what you were saying in a different attitude then you would probably approach it with. I'm certainly not asking to get my ass kissed here, just don't treat me like I'm trying to rip you off. I get that so often, people think I'm payed on comission (which I'm not in any way) and will do anything to sell them a bike. I have had experiences with real jerks lately who came in thinking that he deserved the price of say and $800 bike dropped to like $600 just because he walked in the door. He seemed totally put off by the fact that I couldn't lower the price for him. With those people, I'm happy when they walk out the door. I hope they take there buisness on the net becuase they are almost always more of a hassle to deal with then they are worth.

I regret what I wrote in my last post, becuase if you said what you wrote and did so in a decent manner then I would be cool with it. This last week has just been a bad week with customers who have been total jerks for no apparant reason.

As for store policy. The asking price is the selling price, though we will price match ( doesn't come up often at all, our prices are pretty good ) Only exception is last years models and the occasional high end bike that is marked a little higher then it needs to be in our oppinion ( we try to price things at the standard market value, but there are times on really high end bikes where even a lower profit margin will still earn enough for the sale to be worthwhile ) In those instances, we will often make the fact that the price is slightly negotiable when we quote it to you and openly say that the more accessories your looking at the better the whole package deal will be.

Anyway, I've already made myself sound like an ass so there isn't anything I can do about that. I regret what I said, and if you came into the shop, I bet we would get along just fine (assuming you didn't know it was me:) It was just a long weekend you know.
No problem. I'm sure you have a nice shop withOldEdScott
May 14, 2003 4:35 AM
good customer relations. It's hard to convey subtleties on the Web, so sometimes things don't come across just right. Hope you have a profitable season!
I can relate...ochsen
May 13, 2003 9:23 AM
I also work in a shop. Just recently I've had someone outright tell me that I should be giving them a discount. Not ask, just demand. This is after they've come in 3 times and test rode the bike.

If you've come in that many times, and have us spend quite a bit of time fitting you to the right frame, giving you a great deal as it is and are standing at the register, I'm betting you're going to buy it whether I knock off $$ or not. They were buying one of our cheapest hybrids (not a bad bike, but very little markup). Obviously they've gone to the other local dealers and couldn't get something comparable any cheaper. I usually say "sorry" and maybe I'll double-check w/ the manager to see if there's anymore give (sure, if they're nice). There usually isn't. High-end stuff there's usually give. There's little advantage in dealing w/ someone like this when you know the only time you'll see them when they come in for their free tune-up/maintenance 6 months late.

The result would be the same if they were polite as far as discounts go, but on a social standpoint they could benefit from some manners. It might get you further if you do happen to come in for service and need it by the next day and we're pretty busy. Maybe my reply is more of a comment on how bad they were at negotiating. This happens quite a bit.

Sure, everything's negotiable if both parties have something to give.

btw, I don't work on commission.
re: question about bike buying "manners"russw19
May 13, 2003 5:44 AM
A couple of people who work in shops have given their's mine...

First off, offer to pay cash or check. Not credit card, and especially not AMEX. It depends on their merchant agreement with the CC companies, but most small businesses loose 3 to 4% on Credit Card sales. Amex can be as high as 7%. So first thing before you try to talk down the price, offer to pay cash of check. If you plan to buy any accessories, that's where you will get better deals. Your money, and the shop's, will go further there. Bikes are marked up around 33 to 35% some as high as 40%, but no more than that. Often as low as 30%. When you think about that it's not too bad. But when you factor in that it costs the shop to build the bike initially, and to pay a salesperson to present the bike, and most shops have a minor adjustment service policy on new bikes.... it all adds up to the shop not really making much on bike sales, unless they are the big money sales. But if you are looking to get a new helmet, shorts, shoes, waterbottle, cage... that's where you will see the shop move a bit and deal. At my shop, we would probably give you a free bottle and cage, and give you 25% off all the accessories you buy at the time of the sale. If you buy a helmet, shoes, shorts, seatbag.... whatever, we would probably take 25% off. That's standard for anyone who buys a bike from us. I am of the opinion that shops should not wheel and deal on bikes. How would you feel if 3 months later some really hot girl rides up next to you on a bike path and you get to talking and find out the same shop sold her the bike for $40 cheaper? At the shop I work at, we have return customers who have been with us for the entire 12 year history of the shop... those people get the "friends of the program" prices... almost everyone else gets the regular, but fair price. We believe that if we offer low but fair prices, everyone makes out in the long run. Typically that means 30% to 33% margins on bikes.

Hope that helps you to understand not only what you can expect, but why as well. There are reasons some shops won't deal on their bikes, and it's not always that they are evil corporate money grubbing whores. Some shops mark low and hold their margins to be fair to all their customers. Keep that in mind if they don't deal... it may not be for any reason, but it may be for something like that. The way you can tell is to price elsewhere... if you see the same bike $100 lower somewhere else.. walk away, but if not, they are probably fair.

re: question about bike buying "manners"TJeanloz
May 13, 2003 6:43 AM
As you can see from the above posts, there are a lot of different opinions and attitudes in bike shops. A lot of people bring up profit margin, which, in my experience is higher on a % basis at the low end (a $500 bike probably cost in the $250-$280 range), but still pretty low in an absolute dollar basis. Some shops will give you a better deal, but on a cheap bike, they can't afford to make it that much better.

I would ask (and as a salesperson was often asked) if there were any room on the price. The salesperson should have a good canned response like: "we don't offer any discounts, but we do offer 15% off accessories, X free tune ups, blah blah" - making it clear that a long term relationship is more important to the shop than making a one-time sale. Maybe they will give you a discount. I would definitely NOT go in and say: "I'll give you $350 for it"; this is a reputable shop, not some Turkish bazaar.
Free Helmet from the owner a week laterpitt83
May 13, 2003 9:47 AM
I asked about a discount from the staff person who waited on me. He told me that no discount was possible; that wasn't their policy. I accepted that and bought the bike which I wanted.

A week later, the owner asked me how I liked the new bike. I told him how happy I was with it. He said, "Since you're a good customer, go pick out a helmet on us". No prompting; no asking, he just appreciates my business.

I don't have blind loyalty to that LBS, but I always check there. I order my fair share of on-line things too, but I keep the good relationship going with them. He installed a fork for me NC even though I didn't buy it there.

A good relationship works both ways. Demanding it go only your way, just once, will cripple it for life. Think about the future value and decide if demanding $40 off your first purchase is worth never being appreciated again.

Sometimes not being a jerk pays off.
re: question about bike buying "manners"russw19
May 13, 2003 10:06 PM
Just wanted to add a note... most $500 bikes cost the shop more like $380, not $280. Even at a 40% margin (really big for bikes) a $500 bike still costs the shop $355. Add in the labor to build and tune the bike.. free tune ups, and what ever other labor they give you.... cheap bikes (sub $500) don't make bike shops a lot of money. And if you go discounting them all the time, you surely may survive as a business, but you won't get rich doing so.

And to ask for a discount on a bike.. a reasonable amount to have the shop drop the price is quite a bit less than 10%, more like 5% to 6% off. Which goes back to my post... the best thing you can ask for is 3 to 5% off by offering to pay in cash, and let the shop know you would only ask that becuase you know they pay a percentage fee to the credit card companies.

I am not taking sides of haggling prices.. if you can get a better deal, as a member of a capitalist society, you owe it to yourself to do so. But realize that the profit margin is already very slim for the return on the shop's investment in you as a customer.

employee discountDoothaBartman
May 13, 2003 9:56 AM
I haven't worked in a bike shop, but I've had friends that have been bike shop employees for years and I know for a fact one guy got his Schwinn Homegrown full suspension with all the bells and whistles (about a 2700 dollar bike) for 1400 bucks. I bought a bike a couple of years ago from a friend who opened a shop and paid cost just so he could get his name out on the streets, I saved around 1300 myself. Everyone always says there isn't money to be saved on a bike at a shop, but you know all the employees are riding around on bikes they paid less than half for and the business is still up and running.

Everything in the shop can be sold to employees at drasticly reduced rates and you know the shop isn't losing any money on the sale, or it wouldn't be going on.

Of course, I work in a retail establishment myself and something we sell for 32 dollars might cost the shop 8 bucks, but that doesn't mean anyone can come in and get that item at our cost. I just wanted to add my two cents and say SOMEHOW people are getting great deals on bikes and it certianly seems to me that there IS money to save.

I realize that overhead has to be figured in, paying employees, paying frieght for products to get to the store, paying royalties to the manufacturers and all that, but still, I'm of the mind a shop could cut a person a deal. I guess if they did it continually it would go bankrupt though...
employee discountochsen
May 13, 2003 10:19 AM
You're right, but in this instance we're talking about a low-priced bike, not the higher-end stuff w/ more room to work w/ than what you're talking about.
Problem with your theoryTJeanloz
May 13, 2003 10:29 AM
Most deep employee discounts are provided by the manufacturer themselves, as an "employee purchase" arangement. These transactions go through the rep, as opposed to through the shop, and are discounted from 15% to 50% off WHOLESALE. The crux is that most manufacturers have found that it is very good business to have the salespeople using their products. But what employees have can't be used as a proxy for what the shop is paying.
Problem with your theoryDoothaBartman
May 13, 2003 11:11 AM
Other bike shop employees have flamed me on this issue before. They always mention it benefits manufacturers to have salesmen pushing thier products out of personal affinity, so they are willing to cut the staff deals. It's still upsetting to "normal" people wanting a bike when somewhere in the trickle-down of the retail chain someone is selling a bike for less money than a regular consumer is giving.

Wether it's the manufacturer or the bike shop doing the discounting, there are instances when the bike simply costs less than retail, and it always irritates me when I can't meet in the middle.

It's especially horrible to digest when there's always one employee or "friend" of the shop who gets everthing for next to nothing and mentions it constantly at the trail or during the group ride. You think to yourself, "I want those same wheels that he saved X amount of dollars on, why can't I at least save half of what he saved? Apparantly the shop or the manufacturer isn't going under selling those wheels at that price, and I'm a nice guy, I want to keep the bike business in profits, how come I can't offer to pay more than this guy did but less than retail? That way everybody is happy, the shop or the factory still makes money, I save money and the shop or the representative keeps a customer."

After enough of failing at this approach I just started getting stuff online or used.
Problem with your theoryochsen
May 13, 2003 11:51 AM
Well, that's the way w/ everything that's sold. Someone else can get it cheaper than you or I just because someone knows someone else. Be it bikes, real estate, haircuts, lumber, fishbowls, you name it, someone else can get it cheaper.

I guess the only way you can solve your problem is to find friends who work at the shop. At the very least you end up w/ more friends.
I do have friends that work in bike shopsDoothaBartman
May 13, 2003 1:46 PM
The owner/manager knows who has what and doesn't extend the discount to friends of employees. If I wanted a bike and one for my girlfriend as well, and gave my friend the money for both of them that's as far as the transaction would go. My friend has to go through the owner and the owner won't do it. One time that same friend bought me a 60 dollar jersey for my birthday at whatever his cost was, but that's a little different than trying to save big bucks on something that costs several hundred dollars.

It's a bummer.
Employees and friends...TJeanloz
May 13, 2003 1:06 PM
Shops and manufacturers often choose to sponsor people who they believe will contribute to the success of their endeavor. Trek sponsors Lance Armstrong because he has influence on consumers. They also sponsor bike shop employees, because they have direct impact on consumers. "Friends of the shop" tend to generate quite a bit of full-paying business for the shop, or the owner owes them for something else.

What have you done to deserve sponsorship? If you can demonstrate your value as an influencer of consumers, I'm sure you can get a hefty discount.
Problem with your theoryrussw19
May 13, 2003 10:43 PM
Here's your solution then.... quit your regular job and go to work for your local bike shop. Be willing to work 50 hours a week at $6 an hour with no overtime. Then come talk to me about fair. When a 15 year old kid with absolutely no skills whatsoever can get a job at the local McDonald's for more money than me... come talk to me about fair and why companies shouldn't give me products at a discount. Half of the kids I know working in shops don't make enough money to pay for the bike they want wether it's at EP prices or not. But if you are selling $300,000 a year of product for a company, should they really give the average guy off the streets the same discount they give me? That's the same as me saying that because I am a nice guy I deserve to get a profit sharing check or stock options from Haliburton Oil. It's BS, and we both know it.

Your logic as to why you should get the discount or at least why I shouldn't is flawed. The reason the manufacturer is not going under even though they give me a huge discount to ride their stuff is because by riding their stuff myself, I am selling much more of their product at full retail. I deserve to be rewarded. You, on the other hand, do not. Simply because you are a nice guy or a good consumer does not entitle you to the same treatment as someone who is directly responsible for increasing a company's sales. Agian, this is not meant as a flame, but to educate you as to how the whole EP deals work, and why.

Problem with your theoryDoothaBartman
May 14, 2003 5:39 AM
I never said you shouldn't get the discount. The whole point of my writing all these posts is to simply state there IS room to fudge on a bike. Whichever way a person gets it... more power to them.
Problem with your theoryrussw19
May 14, 2003 10:25 AM
And as a shop employee I am telling you that the room to fudge that you mention is NOT THAT BIG! And you can not argue the Employee Purchase price to state your case. The employee purchase price is extended to the employee on personal use bikes... not to the shop on everything they buy. The markup for bikes is not very high. When you factor in the labor to build, the cost to ship if you special order just one bike, the free maintainence most shops give to the bike's buyer... if it's a high end bike, there is more to move on the price only because the price is higher... but the markup percentage is the same. If you want my advice on how to get hooked up at the shop then pay attention, because I am giving it to you very straight, as are other shop employees... but I am sick of argueing what I know and what you think.

If you or anyone else for that matter wants to save a couple hundred bucks in the bike shop... buy a bike and all your accessories there at one time. Then pay cash or check, not credit card, and ask for a big discount on the accessories. You most likely will have better luck that way. Bike shops don't make a huge amount of money selling bikes... it's the accessories that they also sell and the labor from fixing bikes that keeps them in business. Big dollar bike sales are great, but most shops don't see that many of those type sales.. nowadays people shop online or thru mail order... the fact is that there are few shops anymore that sell 5 to 10 $4000+ bikes a month. If they do, those are some lucky shops. Most shops move the most bikes in the $350-$500 range. The markup on those bikes is anywhere from 33% to the rare 40% markup. So they may be making as much as $100 on the bike. But lets say they didn't have it in stock but ordered it for you (this happens everyday at small shops) they just shelled out another $25 to ship it to them. And then someone builds it, then they paid someone to sell it to you, then you get a service tune-up which cost the shop money, then there is all the other random overhead associated with putting a bike on the floor. It all adds up to net the shop maybe $30 in profit on a $350 bike. I can't tell you how I know that.. it comes from years of working in shops... you either can believe me or not, I don't really care anymore... but that's why you won't get a discount on a $350 bike in a shop, no matter how you ask or demand or try to explain to the shop's owner how good of a customer you will be. If you are a good customer and the shop feels it's to their benefit to turn no or a minimal at best profit on the sale of a bike to you, then that is between you and the shop. You should thank them everytime you buy something by buying it there instead of saving an extra $5 by ordering tires mailorder.. it will keep that shop in business longer so you may have a chance of getting hooked up again.

But back to my point... if you want to save a few hundred bucks... buy a bike, any bike, but buy a helmet, water bottle and cage, lights if you ride at night, shoes, shorts, jersey, socks, car rack, spare tubes, a seat bag and a tool kit at the same time you buy a bike, then ask the shop to take 25% off the accessories. They will think about that, but they won't even consider taking 25% off the bike unless it has been on the floor for over a year and they need to move it. Your best bet of getting a discount is not on the bike, it's on the accessories. If you go into the shop thinking you are going to get a huge discount on your bike just because you asked or offered to pay cash, be prepared to hear the word "no" and don't be surprised. Be surprised if they say yes. Not the other way around.

Who said we're having an arguement?DoothaBartman
May 14, 2003 7:47 PM
Check out my first post, read it over a few times if you have to and I think you'll see I didn't want to start an arguement. I said all that about shipping and assembly and overhead and taxes and royalties before you enlightened me. I also said I got a bike a cost just because my riding it on the streets at group rides and races could get the word out there for a new shop, a sort of psuedo employee purchase if you will.

I think I understand more than you're giving me credit for and I think you're creating the arguement. I enjoy discussion, which is what this all is, and sometimes a debate, which I suppose it could be, but I've got no arguements.

Is there anything wrong with my whining about not being able to buy a bike for the same price someone else pays? Isn't this a general discussion board? Haven't I just seen a new topic posted about "why everything in cycling is so expensive"? I think I should be able to state my woes about the price of bikes without getting flamed. My original post was a response to a person wanting to save some money, and I stated a way a person I knew saved some on a bike. What's wrong with that?

I suppose when you say "I know what you think" you are refering to what I'm about to say:

The "simple" fact still remains. Somehow, bikes can be had cheaper. It's a simple statement, that's all. Wether you realize it or not, you have taken much time to back up that statement for me. If you choose to staple an arguementative connotation to it, it's your right, but I don't see why you're mad at me or feel it's an arguement...
The problem with the problem with the problem is thatdjg
May 14, 2003 6:02 AM
it just seems nuts.

You want to meet in the middle of where? As TJeanloz pointed out, employee deals are in many instances negotiated through the manufacturer or distributor as a form of marketing. A salesman who can truthfully say "I ride this bike" may sell this bike, again and again. To the extent that's so, employee deals may not represent any sort of baseline for deal-making with regular customers. Think of it this way: the low price available to the shop guys could be ZILCH, NADA--it isn't, in part because it does no good to any manufacturer to have each and every salesperson collecting a free stable of bikes to which he's got no attachment (and in part because they don't have to go that low to get the exposure they want). Super low--or free--employee pricing COULD make sense to the mfg. as marketing, but what couldn't make sense to the manufacturer is to contemplate a population of customers very reasonably willing to pay, say, a good 20% more than the nothing charged to the sales staff.

Deals to special friends--that's up to the shop. In my experience, they're all over the map. And sometimes fictitious. Super special and you just cannot build it into your business plan. A little special and it's just a form of volume discount.
employee discountraptorUW
May 13, 2003 1:26 PM
>Of course, I work in a retail establishment myself and something we sell for 32 dollars might cost the shop 8 bucks, but that doesn't mean anyone can come in and get that item at our cost.

then you should understand exactly why it doesn't happen in the cycling industry. why should bikes be any different?

funny -- this reminds me of a favorite tactic for a few rare occasions dealing with the most irate & demanding of customers. when bullied for a discount, i would simply inquire as to what the customer did for a living...after that, i'd tell them i was looking for a discount on his product/service. most of the time, they'd just shut up. by the way, the flip side of this is that we'd also have great customers with whom we'd happily trade via the same agreement.
employee discountDoothaBartman
May 13, 2003 2:08 PM
I cut friends my 30% discount, and if a person simply asks, I usually cut 10 or 20 percent, but in my store we're dealing with small sales, the most expensive thing we sell is 160 dollars. People usually don't look for discounts on small sales. Does anybody go into a grocery store expecting to get milk for less than 2 dollars a gallon?

I was just stating the fact, without meaning to really complain, that there is a margin on bike sales that some people can tap into. I also made the observation that overhead, shipping, payroll, taxes and royalties need to be paid and that accounts for MSRP over cost.

It's just annoying because the sale of a bike is at least a several hundred dollar expense, and when you get into the nice ones, there's more money to be saved on even a measly ten percent discount than there is in a typical retail shop offering the same markdown. It seems to me that the bikes should give the biggest discounts to get you hooked on the sport, then the treatment that you got on the sale keeps you coming back and the accessories should be marked up to make up the loss on the bike. On smaller sales, the price isn't such a threat and wouldn't be so upsetting.

Your tactic would be well met by me. I'm happy to network, that's how everyone gets the "hookups". You scratch my back I scratch yours...

How come no one mentions fine jewelry in discussions like this? I talked a salesman down over a thousand dollars on my fiance's engagement rock and I'm sure they still made money. Of course, they probably inflate thier initial asking prices expecting people to haggle, letting them "talk the price down" making them feel like they accomplished something, which is likely to ensure a return customer. How come all retail establishments don't go ahead and do this? It's all just psychological anyway, you feel good if you THINK you saved money.

In other countries, prices on items at markets are simply the beginning to negotiations. If an American pays the price on a sign for an item without discussion and walks away, the vendors all laugh hystericly saying "That guy was a freakin idiot..."
employee discount is EARNED by the employeeelviento
May 13, 2003 2:25 PM
It's a form of compensation. Or usually called a "perk". Perks make an otherwise badly paid job more desirable. So whichever way you look at it, this is not free discount.
employee discountrussw19
May 13, 2003 10:33 PM
You have no real idea how employee discounts work... not to be rude either, but from your post, it's obvious that you don't work in the shop. Employee purchases don't affect the individual shop one way or the other. When you have an employee order an employee purchase bike, it is a transaction between the bike company and the individual employee... not the shop. When I order a bike E.P. I pay for it plus all the shipping on my own credit card. The shop is not involved in the deal. They make or loss nothing. It is between me and the bike company. And bike companies do better if shop employees ride their stuff over their competitors. If I ride a Trek and work at a shop that sells Trek, Cannondale, and Litespeed... and a customer looking at all three of those bikes asks me what I ride... the reply of "I ride a Trek" goes a ways to sway that customer. Also anyone who works in a shop recommends the stuff they use. It is in a company's best interests to get you on their product.

So, here's how E.P. works. Most companies offer EP prices of like 20% off of wholesale (dealer cost) that means that the company is not making much of a profit, but it keeps the employee happy. Here's the math on how that works.....
Let's say I want to buy a Fisher Sugar Team Issue. It costs you, the consumer, about $3950 (advertised price, but we will use this as a good example) It wholesales at around $2950(keep in mind this is a very high end bike, but still at the same profit margin of 33% markup) and it cost me at EP price $2360 plus probably $25 shipping. So yeah, I can get a $4000 bike for about $2400. It's a huge deal... but the shop doesn't see a penny. They are out of the equation.

Also I have to question your statement about a friend getting a $2700 bike for $1400. Either that retail price is jacked way up, or they didn't pay that low. A more realistic price is a $2700 retail bike should wholesale at around $2000 and EP at more like $1600, not $1400. But if he really got that deal, good for him. It still had nothing to do with the shop. It was between him and the bike company. But employee purchases are made between the employee and the company, not the employee and the shop. It's not like all bike shops have a policy that they will sell bikes to lose money just because a kid works for them. That is where you are confusing employees riding EP priced bikes and the shop still being in business.. it has nothing to do with the shop. Also in my shop... if you buy a bike EP, you build it yourself on your time, not the shops. It's not fair to charge the shop for your labor on a bike they don't see a dime on.

Last thing I want to point out... it would be a very rare occassion (other than some ridiculous closeout purchases) to see a product in a bike shop marked up 400%!!!!! I have NEVER in 16 years of working in a shop seen something (not even tubes for christ's sake) marked up 400% That's the profit margin you are talking about when you use your $8 product selling for $32 in a retail establishment. That's an unheard of profit margin in a bike shop, which is exactly why we are having this thread about not asking for bike discounts.

All the above is said to educate, not to flame or anything else of the sorts....

employee discountDoothaBartman
May 14, 2003 5:51 AM
Yes, it was very educational, and I assumed in previous posts that it was clear enough I understood it was either the shop OR the manufacturer letting the bikes go at a discount, so somewhere down the line a discount could be had. That's what the whole post is about, saving money on the bike. It's possible... somehow. I guess a guy just has to work in a shop. If there was a way to pay the factory more than they sold a bike to a shop employee, they'd still make money anyway, probably what a retailer pays to get the bike to their shop. You said yourself the factory "isn't making much of a profit" on your EP bike, so at that price, they can still make money... It just seems to me, in a perfect case scenario, I'd be able to call the factory and say, "Hey, I'll give you this much more for what you let that same bike go for to the shop employee" and everybody would be happy, but it just doesn't work that way.
wow thanks for the replies. I have another solution perhaps? . .Nomatt
May 13, 2003 12:32 PM
It seems from all your comments i wont get the shop to budge on the price of the bike itself. most of your suggestions say that i should look to get some free/discounted accessories.i have helmet etc. already though. what about THIS solution : the sales tax here is 5.5%, meaning that the tax on a 500 dollar bike is 27.50 . what if i ask the shop to pick up the tax if i pay in cash? this seems like a way for them to get their markup and me to get a couple bucks off. any comments???? thanks
i believe that is actually illegalColnagoFE
May 13, 2003 12:50 PM
sure they could discount the bike by that amount and it would be the same for you dollar-wise, but to say they are paying the tax for you is illegal from what i remember. i dont think they will give you that much off the bike though. a $499 bike is not gonna be a big deal money wise to most shops. just pay up and see what kind of service and such you might get with a new purchase. maybe they will throw in a bottle cage or two if you are nice.
Actually, that is a pretty good tactic...SenorPedro
May 13, 2003 3:44 PM
We have done that a few times before at the shop, in fact when I bought my first bike from the shop they did a deal like that for me.

It does depend, however, on how the shop runs things. It is only illegal if the shop takes your $$, then doesn't report the sale and give the state its dinero. Otherwise, they are giving you a 5.5% discount.

-A good approach, I would give it a go.
wow thanks for the replies. I have another solution perhaps? . .russw19
May 13, 2003 10:58 PM
Being that they still have to pay the state sales tax on the transaction.. it's still just them discounting the bike. Only if it's a $500 bike and your tax rate is 5.5% the total sale is $527.50. The state still gets $27.50 in tax. If they discount the bike $25.00, the total sale is now $501.13. The shop sells the bike for $475 and the state takes $26.13 in tax. The state still takes the same percent tax, but the shop discounted the bike.. so the actual tax is lower. It just means at the end of the day that the shop sold the bike for $475 instead of $500.

Seriously.. if you want to see a return on your bike shop investment.. ask for half or 40% off the accessories. Accessories often have a 100% markup. That means that your $150 Giro Helmet only cost the shop $75. So that's where you will see your discount.. here's why.. it doesn't cost the shop jack to build that helmet. They may spend a few hours of labor per week paying an employee to organize and display helmets, but they don't have to build them and they don't have to service them. And I don't care what kind of head shape you have, I can fit you for a helmet 10 times faster than I can fit you for a bike. If you really really really want to see a discount.. ask for it on accessories, NOT the bike! Trust me, I have been doing this for 16 years now... you will get a discount on parts and accessories before you get one on the bike.

You are SOOO Cheap!!!shamelessgearwhore
May 14, 2003 7:59 AM
It's not even worth the bandwidth that this link is taking up debating about saving freaking $25 on a $500 bike! What are you thinking?
I AM sooooooo CHEAP, whats it to ya ???Nomatt
May 14, 2003 9:52 AM
Well, for your information, a college student does not have a lot of cash lying around for food, books, etc, especially one with a girlfriend :) , and ESPECIALLY does not have a lot of money to spend on a bike. 25 dollars to you might seem like nothing, but to me that is weeks of food/entertainment. Also, if you CAN save money, why not! So there is "what i am thinking", Shamelessgearwhore.
Date a girl with rich parents!nmthe bull
May 14, 2003 6:32 PM