RoadBikeReview.com's Forum Archives - General


Archive Home >> General(1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 )


Anyone else have bike shop trouble when you buy online?(53 posts)

Anyone else have bike shop trouble when you buy online?sylvie
Nov 3, 2003 5:58 AM
My boy friend and I have both been riding Trek bikes we got about 2 years ago. Then he ordered a bike called a Douglas online and got what seemed like a very good price. So we started shopping for me online; and I brought a nice bike called a Mercier from bikesdirect. I think it is a great deal as I paid $895 and got all Ultegra parts and stuff. Anyway, that's not the point. Tony had put his bike together and just ridden it; but when I got my bike I took it to a dealer to put it together. He said; "nice bike but since you got it online it will be $100 to setup". I thought was too much and told him so - he said 'that's our policy'. So I took it to another dealer and ask him to set it up - he said "hey, you should return it; online bikes are no good". I told him about Tony liking his bike and the guy just says; "you need a new boyfriend"! I think this is all nuts; anyway needless to say; I had Tony put the bike together and it works fine. It took him 20 minutes and rides great. That little job cannot be worth $100. Is this common? Or do we just have jerk bike shops in south Florida? Also is it better to just not tell bike shops where your bike came from?
I'd say $100 is on the cheap side...TJeanloz
Nov 3, 2003 6:09 AM
It depends how put together the bike is when the shop gets it, but to build a frame from parts should cost at least $100 - though it is normally included when you buy the bike from the shop. Look at it this way: a tune-up costs what, $50? And that includes simply adjusting parts that are already on the bike. You're asking them to install and adjust the parts - $100 seems pretty reasonable to me. Do you expect they'll do it for free? And they're jerks if they won't?

I don't think snide remarks from the shop about the wisdom of your purchases are in order, but $100 to build a bike is. I will stick to my guns and say that in almost every case, having the bike built by an experienced (read: good) shop mechanic is preferable to having an amatuer do the same work. You don't really know what you're missing until you do it.
I don't think so.NatC
Nov 3, 2003 6:12 AM
A mail order bike is pre-built and pre-tuned. All you have to do is install the stem, pedals, front wheel, and seatpost.
Hence the caveat:TJeanloz
Nov 3, 2003 6:18 AM
My first sentence was: "It depends how put together the bike is when the shop gets it."

If, in fact, all you have to do is install the stem, pedals, front wheel and seatpost, why would anybody take it to a bike shop in the first place?

And I also find the claim that any bike is pre-tuned to be dubious at best. UPS does a hell of a job de-tuning bikes.
Yes, you're rightNatC
Nov 3, 2003 6:26 AM
It's simple assembly work that nearly any amateur can do in 10 minutes, and $100 would be highway robbery. Okay, barring any "special shipping and handling," the bike should be ready to roll once you slap the parts on.
Assuming the bike comes in pre-built condition...TJeanloz
Nov 3, 2003 6:32 AM
I would agree that if the bike comes pre-built, at most, the charge should be the same as for a standard tune-up (re-adjustment of everything). And $100 would be out of line.

If it comes in 55 peices (or however many parts there are), $100 seems like a bargain.
Who gets the blame if the bike doesn't fit?dzrider
Nov 3, 2003 8:25 AM
Watching people come back to a shop again and agzin 'cause their bike isn't as comfortable as their sofa makes me wonder if it's worth it for a shop to do the minimal amount of assembly necessary on most mail order bikes. The owner, having paid whatever they paid, can easily assume it's now the shop's responsibility to furnish the fit and performance they expect. That can be a whole lot of aggrevation for a pretty small sale.
Now that really depends.djg
Nov 3, 2003 7:26 AM
There's no official mail order bike policy out there. Certain mail-order shops do a very nice build job and then take things apart just enough to get the bike boxed for shipping. That's a five minute job at the recipient's end.

Others do not, and may do a half-baked or sloppy build. As with brick-and-mortar shops (and some mail order shops are exactly that, with a mail order business on the side), it pays to know who you're dealing with.
I think her point was it took her boyfriend 20 minutes...Tom C
Nov 3, 2003 8:57 AM
so given most contractors are fond of replying to the query of how much, with the oft used "time and materials", I think she is saying, is a build worth $300 per hour? It was pricing like that, a few lousy (read indifferent) wheel builds, headset installs, loose bb cup adjustments etc. that prompted me and a legion of others throughout the years to go the DIY route. If only because the work I saw at the prices offered left me with the idea that, "I've got to be able to do as well, if not better than this." Everyone who has frequented this board is well aware of your bike shop employment and you may have been in fact a wrench worthy of the above remuneration, but there are too many stories to the contrary about professional work generally for one to not consider the alternatives of learning, acquisition of tools, practice on lesser type "rain bikes" and eventually, independence to be your own, like thousands of guys are their own "car guys", be their own "bike guy".
NatC
Nov 3, 2003 6:10 AM
1) $100 seems a bit steep.
2) You have jerks in So Fl.
3) LBS's know that your bike was mail order whether you tell them or not.
A) New LBS B) New boyfriend...Spunout
Nov 3, 2003 6:12 AM
Face it, when you buy a mail order bike you'd better be ready to do alot of your own work. If you consider shop time of around $30 per hour, you aren't getting a bad deal if they offer to warranty their work. That $100 is the money they'd make of a discounted end-of-season sale anyways.
Bike repairs are simple - follow this linkpecangap
Nov 3, 2003 6:56 AM
I am sure there are lots of web sites that cover bike repair. But it is so simple that you should never take a lot of lip off a dealer over it.
check out this great site:
http://www.parktool.com/repair_help/FAQindex.shtml
also, I bet 95% of posters on this board do thier own work anyway -- plus it is fun to maintain your own bike
re: Anyone else have bike shop trouble when you buy online?Rusty Coggs
Nov 3, 2003 6:12 AM
It's called free enterprise. You exercised your end,they did the same. Some shops could be more accomodating if they care about your future business,others probably don't give a rats behind.They know where bikes come from.
$100 is insane -- that jog is like 15 minutespecangap
Nov 3, 2003 6:47 AM
I have purchased three new bikes on ebay - Fuji, Motobecane, and Mercier. All 3 come already put together except I had to put on pedals, bars, front wheel, seat, and air tires. The first one took me 25 minutes; after that the others took 15 minutes each.
$100 is insane for that job - since the bike shop should beat my time easy.
I keep threatening ...Humma Hah
Nov 3, 2003 7:04 AM
I buy from my two LBSes whenever I can, but they consistently either don't have what I need, or screw up orders. I'll go on a rant about "and you guys wonder why people buy on-line."

It doesn't help. They can't do anything about the fact they're fundamentally incompentent.

This weekend, I'm planning to ride the Paramount into DC to buy it a Brooks saddle from a bike shop that actually stocks 'em.
I keep threatening ...djg
Nov 3, 2003 7:28 AM
Saw a couple on the wall at the Pro Shop on M Street the other day.
Exactly where I'm heading!Humma Hah
Nov 3, 2003 10:12 AM
I could get to like that place, except that it is way crowded on weekends. Its a nice ride going in from 28, as well. I can get an easy century out of it if I take the whole W&OD.
my experienceScot_Gore
Nov 3, 2003 7:11 AM
I purchased a used bike. I suspect it arrived in the same condition as yours, stem detached, cables already routed, no pedals, seat post lowered, but still in tube, wheels detached via quick release, drive train installed and ready to go, right ?

I asked the shop to assemble, inspect for damage, and check components versus manfr. spec. and I purchased pedals. It was a used bike and I wanted a pro to check it out before I released my purchase money from escrow. I fully expected to pay 30-50 bucks for the service. They did it for no charge as part of the pedal purchase.

I'm sure it was the pedal purchase that made the difference in their minds. I was demonstrating my commitment to spend some of my money in this bike purchase with them, so they were willing to cut me a break back.

I'd say the strategy worked for them. They get the majority of my bike dedicated dollars to this day.

HTH

Scot
$100 is steep but not surprising...biknben
Nov 3, 2003 7:15 AM
I would expect to pay whatever the fee is for a tune up. A good shop isn't just going to slap the pedals, H-bar, and front wheel on and ignore everything else. They would check the shifting and brakes and give the rest of the bike a look to make sure everything is in order.

For that, I'd expect to pay $45-$60. To ask for a $100 is too high for the amount of work required and to make rude comments is disrespectful. I'd not likely go back to that store.

OTOH, many shops find it insulting that you snub them on the purchase but bring the bike in for service. The bikes you mentioned are obvious internet deals. If you are going to buy online, you need to do more of the work yourself or expect to pay a premium when you visit the shop.
I think you're right about them feeling insulted...NatC
Nov 3, 2003 7:23 AM
although I've never quite understood why they'd take it so personally. Even if you buy your bike elsewhere, if you bring it in for service that's more income than they would've made had you not brought it to them. Could you imagine getting that attitude if you took your car to a dealership from which you hadn't bought your car?
Car dealers do it all the time...biknben
Nov 3, 2003 7:40 AM
I notice it with car dealers all the time. They are a little more descrete about it. I call to schedule an oil change. They ask for my name and plug it into the computer. The computer tells them weather or not I'm a repeat customer.

To go a step further, don't schedule a brake job at a car dealership and show up with all the new rotors and pads. Most will refuse to install parts not purchased from the dealer. I bet bike shops wished they could do that.
I think you're right about them feeling insulted...hackmechanic
Nov 3, 2003 7:52 AM
Internet sales are the Sweat Shops of the bike industry. They shouldn't have dumped on you but politely explained the situation. You've come into their shop to have them put your bike together, i.e. you've come to expect them to be there for you when you need them. They depend on the sale of bikes to make ends meet. You come in with a bike that you've bought from an online retailer who doesn't have to provide followup service, maintain greater overhead to provide streetlevel access for their customers, and doesn't even have to stock a whole myriad of small parts and accessories to service the bikes they sell, because you saved a buck, but you still want the LBS to be there to sell you a patch kit, a spare tube, and tune your bike.

It sounds like a lot of money to have them put the bars on and pedals on but really it isn't. Shops carry liability insurance and a good shop, even if the bike didn't need it and was assembled properly at the mail order shop, will go through and check every nut and bolt, adjust bearings in hubs, true and tension wheels and the whole nine yards. If all the LBS did was turn the bars straight and put on the wheels and you went for a ride and the brake cable pulled through the caliper and you went through a red light and became paralyzed the first person the LBS would hear from is your lawyer and at that point they sure would have wished they charged you $100 and done a thorough check instead of $20 for the quick slap together.
"Sweat shops" is hyperbole.NatC
Nov 3, 2003 9:43 AM
Considering their popularity and success, mail order sales is apparently something that consumers wanted. That makes it a smart business model that fills a niche. That also applies pressure to LBS's to provide something that mail order shops can't (i.e., service). I'd say that ridiculing Sylvie's purchase and her choice in boyfriends isn't good service. Would you not agree, Sylvie?

I support LBS's a LOT, and I fully understand that running a business is expensive and liability is threatening. It's painful for an LBS to lose sales to mail order, but don't take that pain out on the customers you're trying to win over by laying down a guilt trip or insults. Just as in nature, a business needs to evolve or die, and death throes are always painful.

I still think $100 to assemble a pre-assembled bike is asking too much.
au contraire...hackmechanic
Nov 3, 2003 1:01 PM
"considering their popularity and success" sweat shops "is something that consumers wanted."

People want cheap P.Diddy duds just as much or more than they want cheap bikes and they buy them without concern for the industry as a whole.

If Sylvie had bought an equivelant bike from her LBS she would have likely paid as much as $150 more for the same thing (perhaps less considering the hard price on the bike via mail order probably didn't include shipping which is often a fair chunk on oversized packages like bikes.) Yes, it would have cost her more but it would have come profesionally assembled, it probably would have come with at least one free tune-up, maybe even two if the shop was good, if there were any warranty issues they could have been handled locally, and fit issues like swapping saddles and stems would have likely been handled at no extra charge.

No, the shop shouldn't have belittled her but she shouldn't be shocked at a significant fee for bringing in something to be built that she didn't buy there. "Evolve or die?" By frustrating everyone who walks into their store who buys mail order the LBS is making it very apparent to certain consumers that they are significant link in the bicycle retail chain. If they don't want to buy the bikes there then they had better be willing to pay extra for the services they do offer.

I had a guy come into my store looking for a nice bike. I spent 2 hours with him talking about different materials, manufacturers, and so on. I convinced him on a group and a frame and a model and educated him on what he should look for in a bike. He thanked me, said he wanted to think about it and would come in the following week to make a decision. He comes in a week later and tells me he found the same frame brand new on eBay and the same group online for less and that he had bought them online. I said, "good deal man, hope you enjoy the bike." Then he starts to ask me what bottom bracket and front derailleur he needs for the bike. "Why don't you ask the guy you're buying it from?" I said. Then he asks me how long the top tube is on the bike he's buying and what length stem he's going to need. "Why not ask the guy you're buying the bike from?" I said. You pay for my knowledge and for a complete bike that works and the follow-up service. If you want to buy online, fine, but don't waste my time when things come messed up and don't expect me to help you save a buck when my paycheck depends on you buying the bike in my store.

It's experiences like this one that results in the rude treatment that Sylvie got. We can only stand behind the counter for so long smiling cheerily as we get screwed by the online retailers over and over again.

By the way, he got the bike, it was too small for him and the front derailleur was the wrong clamp size.
au contraire...hackmechanic
Nov 3, 2003 1:16 PM
"considering their popularity and success" sweat shops "is something that consumers wanted."

People want cheap P.Diddy duds just as much or more than they want cheap bikes and they buy them without concern for the industry as a whole.

If Sylvie had bought an equivelant bike from her LBS she would have likely paid as much as $150 more for the same thing (perhaps less considering the hard price on the bike via mail order probably didn't include shipping which is often a fair chunk on oversized packages like bikes.) Yes, it would have cost her more but it would have come profesionally assembled, it probably would have come with at least one free tune-up, maybe even two if the shop was good, if there were any warranty issues they could have been handled locally, and fit issues like swapping saddles and stems would have likely been handled at no extra charge.

No, the shop shouldn't have belittled her but she shouldn't be shocked at a significant fee for bringing in something to be built that she didn't buy there. "Evolve or die?" By frustrating everyone who walks into their store who buys mail order the LBS is making it very apparent to certain consumers that they are significant link in the bicycle retail chain. If they don't want to buy the bikes there then they had better be willing to pay extra for the services they do offer.

I had a guy come into my store looking for a nice bike. I spent 2 hours with him talking about different materials, manufacturers, and so on. I convinced him on a group and a frame and a model and educated him on what he should look for in a bike. He thanked me, said he wanted to think about it and would come in the following week to make a decision. He comes in a week later and tells me he found the same frame brand new on eBay and the same group online for less and that he had bought them online. I said, "good deal man, hope you enjoy the bike." Then he starts to ask me what bottom bracket and front derailleur he needs for the bike. "Why don't you ask the guy you're buying it from?" I said. Then he asks me how long the top tube is on the bike he's buying and what length stem he's going to need. "Why not ask the guy you're buying the bike from?" I said. You pay for my knowledge and for a complete bike that works and the follow-up service. If you want to buy online, fine, but don't waste my time when things come messed up and don't expect me to help you save a buck when my paycheck depends on you buying the bike in my store.

It's experiences like this one that results in the rude treatment that Sylvie got. We can only stand behind the counter for so long smiling cheerily as we get screwed by the online retailers over and over again.

By the way, he got the bike, it was too small for him and the front derailleur was the wrong clamp size.
au contraire... she saved $600 to $900 -- not $150collectorvelo
Nov 3, 2003 2:26 PM
I think you mis-calculated on the raw saving of buying a Full Ultegra bike online. I could be wrong, I have seen full Ultegra bikes for $1000 in shops; but most are more like $1600 or $1700. If she paid $895 for a Full Ultegra Bike that is over a $150 saving in most areas (although I admit some shops are closing out 2003 Ultegra bikes at $1000)
Not all full Ultegra bikes are FULL Ultegra bikes.hackmechanic
Nov 3, 2003 3:12 PM
Ritchey wheels, Tektro brakes, TruVativ cranks, all bring the price down. Regardless, in the long run the savings aren't always simply calculated in monetary terms.
Well, I suppose that's one way of adapting...NatC
Nov 3, 2003 4:50 PM
"By frustrating everyone who walks into their store who buys mail order the LBS is making it very apparent to certain consumers that they are significant link in the bicycle retail chain."

Drive away all people who buy mail order, good idea!!! If your store intends to make life difficult for everyone who buys from mail order, don't you think that'd alienate a LOT of customers? I bet Sylvie will avoid going into those two LBS's for a long time, particularly the one that heckled her.

How many people on this site can honestly say they've NEVER purchased ANYTHING from mail order or EBay? I'm guessing the percentage is in the minority. That guy that bought an ill-fitting bike and incorrect derailleur will someday need to buy more stuff. He's going to remember you as the guy who kept telling him to go ask someone else. "Oh yeah, that shop is frustrating. I think I'll go somewhere else."

Instead of trying to frustrate people, why on earth wouldn't you want to figure out a way to reel them back in instead?
Agreed...dgangi
Nov 3, 2003 5:47 PM
Why would anyone piss in the face of a potential customer? I do not understand why the LBS would get so irate at a customer for bringing in business.

Let's see...poke fun of the customer's new bike (really smart). And then ask a lot of money to assemble a mostly-assembled bike.

So the LBS didn't get the margin on the bike? Big deal?? At least they got the chance to make some easy money on a quick walk-in job. And if the LBS did a good job assembling the bike at a fair price, where would Sylvia go in the future for service on the Mercier? That same LBS.

But now that both LBS's pissed her off, she will go to neither.

And when her friends talk about getting a new bike, what will Sylvia say? "Stay away from these LBS's as they are run by a bunch of a&&holes". So not only will Sylvia stay away, so will dozens of other people that she tells.

That's a smart way of adapting...piss off your potential customer base.

Thx...Doug
Depends what they have to do.djg
Nov 3, 2003 7:20 AM
If it's a matter of screwing on the pedals and adjusting the deraillers, 100 bucks is pretty darn high. If it looks like they're going to have to rebuild the thing--or anything close to it--then 100 bucks is fair if not actually low. Frankly, if it looks like a shoddy build they might be concerned about only doing the bare minimum required to get the bike rolling and out the door--they might consider that irresponsible.

Now why the heck won't your boyfriend do this for you?

Different shops have different attitudes towards mail-order stuff. Some think it's some sort of sin and don't want to touch it, others are glad to have the service work.
You're lucky they didn't laugh at youMR_GRUMPY
Nov 3, 2003 7:42 AM
What does "set up" mean ? If it means a total build, $100 is cheap. That shop sounds like the kind of place that I would like to work part time at. If you buy mail order, you better be able to work on the bike yourself, or be willing to pay for the work done.
I agreeDropped
Nov 3, 2003 7:56 AM
Mail order isn't the place to buy your first bike. Don't buy mailorder unless you know how to do at least some simple assembly. Otherwise, expect to pay a premium for a shop to do it.
Why didn't "Tony" build it in the first place?gcbgcb
Nov 3, 2003 8:02 AM
Troll.
I do not think you read her post.pecangap
Nov 3, 2003 9:37 AM
She clearly says that her boy friend set the bike up and it took him about 20 minutes -- which seems right to me for anyone with basic skills. she even comments that she as already riden the bike.
Why would anyone be upset with this girl? Her question is reasonable I think. And maybe the bottom line is; if she thinks $100 is too much she should just do what she did - have it set up for less.
On the other hand, She saved about $500 to $800 on the bike so many bike shop owners may think paying $100 for 10 or 15 minutes work is fair.
But I think we can all agree with the posters who are pro free market -- if you do not like a price, ask for a lower one, if you do not get it, go somewhere else. Which is why I think I see so many bikes in group rides Austin that were bought online.
I do not think YOU read her post.TJeanloz
Nov 3, 2003 9:45 AM
Tony put together HIS bike in about 20 minutes. HER bike was disassembled, and she took it to a shop to be assembled.

And 20 minutes would be lightning-fast for a build from the standard manufacturer's condition.
Reading comprehension.NatC
Nov 3, 2003 9:56 AM
Sylvie, were you referring to your bike or Tony's?

"when I got my bike I took it to a dealer to put it together. He said; "nice bike but since you got it online it will be $100 to setup". I thought was too much and told him so - he said 'that's our policy'. So I took it to another dealer and ask him to set it up - he said "hey, you should return it; online bikes are no good". I told him about Tony liking his bike and the guy just says; "you need a new boyfriend"! I think this is all nuts; anyway needless to say; I had Tony put the bike together and it works fine. It took him 20 minutes and rides great."
I do not think YOU read her post.Tom C
Nov 3, 2003 10:03 AM
Where in her text does she say her bike is completely dissasembled? I just went to bikesdirect.com and punching in several choices they state the bikes come "90% assembled" implying the usual bar, pedal etc. set-up.
Why didn't "Tony" build it in the first place? TROLL?sylvie
Nov 3, 2003 4:39 PM
I appreciate all the responses I got; but I did not understand this one. I appreciate all the responses I got; but I did not understand this one. First, my bike came on Friday and Tony had left to drive to Jacksonville for the big Florida V. Georgia football game. I thought I could surprise him on Sunday when he came home (my mistake it turns out) Troll? If you mean I am one of those ugly creatures with long noses from Norway - I assure you I am not! Is you mean I am a girl that hangs out at bars and will do about anything for a beer - I assure you I am not that either!
little job?ColnagoFE
Nov 3, 2003 8:55 AM
If it was so little then why not do it yourself? I'd say $100 was more than reasonable.
re: Anyone else have bike shop trouble when you buy online?asgelle
Nov 3, 2003 10:02 AM
What was never made clear was what the shop would do for the $100. It may be true that all that was needed was to slap on the pedals, stem and seatpost, but the shop I go to goes way beyond that for a bike set-up. They lube cables, adjust brakes, deraileurs, and headset face if necessary, check bottom bracket and adjust, chase and face as needed, check spoke tension and raise tension and true the wheels. Clearly, the boyfriend did not do all that in 20 minutes. So the question really is what do you want done to a new bike and who do you want to do it. By the way, the shop I go to has no problem working on mail order bikes. They know they can't stock everything and figure this gives customers the best of both worlds: a good product at reasonable price and first class service.
Sounds like a good shop...NatC
Nov 3, 2003 10:07 AM
deserving of your business. Hey, just out of curiosity, could you give them a call right now and ask them how much they'd charge to assemble a mail order bike? Then let us know please.
Not a fixed rateasgelle
Nov 3, 2003 12:26 PM
I called the shop and this is what they said. The cost varies depending on the condition of the bike and what needs to be done. They inspect the items I mentioned above. If not much needs to be done they'll do it for $30 (the cost of a basic tune up). If more substantial work is needed, they charge based on what was done. The price can go up to $100. For reference, a compete build from bare frame is $100.
Thanks for checking.NatC
Nov 3, 2003 5:07 PM
Those rates sound reasonable and customary.
My shop charged me $10litespeedchick
Nov 3, 2003 12:21 PM
Sure, it was mostly assembled, but I expected them to charge me more. They know how much business my husband and I give them with a mtn bike and road bike each. I will say, that if they were still Litespeed dealers I would not have bought the bike elsewhere (or I would have been too embarrassed to bring it in).

Hopefully you live in a town with several shops...keep looking 'til you find a good one.
100 bucks is the going rate nmLive Steam
Nov 3, 2003 1:13 PM
100 bucks is the going rate - I would gladly do it for $50collectorvelo
Nov 3, 2003 2:30 PM
let's see, if i could do bike setups at $50 a bike; 3 an hour; 8 hours a day; I would have more fun than my current work AND get $1200 a day. Is that right? did I do that math right?
What if you could do 1 per day,TJeanloz
Nov 3, 2003 2:46 PM
And you had to pay the rent on the shop?

There isn't that much demand for mail-order bike building.
YOU GUYS SHOULD GET OFF THE BAND WAGONngl
Nov 3, 2003 3:33 PM
until you hear BOTH sides of the story! Hasn't your parents told you that yet! I am not saying she is right or wrong, but, give it some thought... IF she saved big dollars buying on-line why is she crying over the extra few dollars the LBS wants to charge... If you don't have the mechanical skills to put it together and do your own sevice work, take it into consideration before buying. Secondly, she spent more time travelling to bike shops than it took to slap the bike together in the first place. I'll tell you one thing... I sure wouldn't want to be speeding down a hill on a bike some one uncrated and slapped together in 20 minutes!!! So whats your final comment Sylvie. You haven't responded yet.
Be calm. No one is disagreeing with you entirely.Live Steam
Nov 3, 2003 6:39 PM
I think TJ was sort of agreeing with you. It's easy to say, hey I'll do it for less and still be profitable until one looks at the real picture. Rent, electricity, gas, phone, advertising, yadda-yadda-yadda. I am a small business owner. It all adds up and profits are quickly consumed by the aforementioned realities of a "real" business. Heck if you can do it out of your garage and attract enough clientele to sustain a business, more power to you.

I didn't see initially that her bike had a prebuild setup - headset, BB, cabling, etc, already installed. That is typically how an LBS receives most "complete" bikes. My $100 going rate comment was for a build-up from scratch. Much more work is involved and would certainly take a few hours. I've done a few for myself and help my friend and his brother in their shop when I have time and they get over-run. They get $100 for a complete build. I often ask them about their liability concerns when not only building up a new bike, but when working on these old crates that look like rolling disasters waiting to happen. They cringe and say they have bills to pay. Anyway, maybe $100 was a little steep in this instance. If it were my shop, I would have tried to persuade her pay a nominal charge of maybe $25 and then snookered her with some salesmanship to get her to purchase a decent helmet, shoes, a saddle bag and miscellaneous other items :O)
100 bucks is the going rate - I would gladly do it for $50hackmechanic
Nov 3, 2003 3:19 PM
Factor in insurance, rent, phone, fixtures (cash register, computer, signage), heat, electricity, benefit packages or cost of benefits if you don't have a package, tools, accountant fees, monitered security, and then take 30% of what you have left for the government in business, property, income taxes. Then consider that not all "mostly assembled" bikes are mostly assembled correctly. Then realize in a seasonal business you have to make enough in 6 months to live for 12 (does not apply to all regions but certainly applies where I am) Would you still gladly do it?
I really appreciate all the responses - well almost allsylvie
Nov 3, 2003 4:55 PM
I appreciate all the responses I got. And I am very overwhelmed that so many took interest in my posting. However, I was feeling a little mad when I posted it and I might have thought it out better. And I left out some information. First, my bike came on Friday and Tony had left to drive to Jacksonville for the big Florida V. Georgia football game. I thought I could surprise him on Sunday when he came home (my mistake it turns out). Second, the site that Tony got his bike from told him $40 would be fair to setup the bike. The site I got mine from said $30 was fair. And after watching Tony do it by just putting on the handlebars, pedals, seat, and front wheel on my bike - that made me even madder. HOWEVER, I admit I never knew there was an option of totally taking the bike apart and then rebuilding it better. Maybe that is what the guy that told me $100 had planned to do. But much to my delight, we went for a ride this afternoon and came across a bike shop close to the beach; we went in and got some stuff there and the guy turned out to be real nice. I told him my story and he said he would have charged us about $25 to do basic setup. He was impressed with both our bikes and the value we got -- but he said he never carried road bikes anyway. I feel a lot better now, thanks for all the responses and especially the link on how to fix bikes; I think I have learned a lot.
I would have to agree that $100 is high, but,,,,,,,russw19
Nov 3, 2003 8:05 PM
But it would depend on what you have to have done.

Personally, if you drove north to Gainesville and brought me your bike, I would have done it for $65. But I also would tear everything off you bike and start from scratch, and it's very likely that if you took your bike to a competent shop, they would do the same... hence the $100 fee. If I am going to send a new bike out the door of my shop, whether I sold it or just assembled it for you, it still is my work, and my name and reputation on the line when it comes to your bike build. I would not assume that the person who hung the parts on your bike did a single thing right, so I would re-do everything. I would start by stripping the bike and prepping the frame, then reassembling everything and readjusting everything too. Any shop with good mechanics should do the same. I am 100% sure your boyfriend didn't do that. Not if it took him 20 minutes to do so, plus I doubt he has access to all the tools he really needs. I worked as a pro mechanic for Mavic for 2 years and have one heck of a home tool kit, but even I don't have a bottom bracket facing tool.

So here's the steps I would take on your bike...
Chase and face bottom bracket shell and head tube. Open up hubs and add grease (most factory hubs are too dry from the factory) then readjust cones, take off tires and tube, and true the wheel and make sure it's round too. Grease headset if not a sealed cartridge unit, same for BB (if Ultegra or 105, it's sealed...) check the cassette lockring, install derailleurs and brakes (remember, I already stripped the frame) install wheels, align brake pads, check chain length, install bar and stem, adjust headset, run cables and housing, set lever height tape bars, install pedals, double check crank bolt tightness, grease post, set seat angle (and anything else I am fogetting to type) and test ride.

Now, if at this point you have no idea what I am talking about, then I am happy, because it meant I went that extra step that you wouldn't have expected and I also just earned the $65 to $100 I should charge you for this. If I did everything I said, I would have been working uninteruped on your bike for at least a full hour. More if I had to pick up the phone or help customers... that's what makes it worth the money. Sure you can do it yourself.... you could rebuild your own transmission in your car if you wanted to, but you really should pay someone to do it right if you want it done right. I am willing to bet at least 95% of the people on this board could assemble a bike, but I also bet less than 20% would take the time to do it right like I would if I were charging you for it.

I am not trying to be arrogant, but you get what you pay for in the bike world, and I am a professional. And I bet any of the more competent home mechanics on this board will agree that what I just described is well worth what I would charge you to do so. The key here is not how well the bike came pre-assembled, but if I can trust the person who did it.... if I am going to charge you and stake my rep on your bike, then I am not trusting the person who hung the parts on it to have done anything right.

Russ
Oh, and by the way...russw19
Nov 3, 2003 8:09 PM
If you brought in a 90% assembled bike and a 12 pack of Newcastle, I would finish assembling your bike for you on my own time after hours and test ride it. But if I were charging you even 1 dollar, then I am charging you 65 and doing it right. Forgot to make that point....

I would do it for beer, but I would also just hang the parts and make it very clear to you that is all I did, but if I were taking ANY money for it, I am doing it right!

Russ