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MB1, other LBS reps: OK to bring in own parts for install?(26 posts)

MB1, other LBS reps: OK to bring in own parts for install?commuterguy
Nov 19, 2003 12:19 PM
MB1, I very much enjoyed your post about Revolution Cycles. I have had my bike worked on there, and have been very happy with the results.

I had one big surprise: I wanted a longer crank, and picked up the size I wanted from Performance for a pittance. I brought it into your shop, and Pinkie (I am pretty sure) was happy to put it on. He told me I paid less for it than it would cost him (as a shop owner). I offerred to pay whatever his markup would have been (since I would still come out ahead, and I didn't want to short change him). Pinkie refused.

Did I commit a faux pas? I was entirely sincere in offerring to pay the shop's normal markup. Also, I would like to go back when my current chain/cassette combo is worn out and have SRAM versions installed. Will it be a bad thing if I bring them in myself? Please advise.

PS There is an analogous situation with restaurants and wine--some will let you bring your own bottle, so long as you pay a corkage fee to cover stemware costs, etc.
That's reasonable,TJeanloz
Nov 19, 2003 12:46 PM
If he charged you to install it, that's more than reasonable. I've never understood bike shop owners who get upset when customers mail-order things to save money. The margin is all in the installation anyway, and you can charge more for installation when the part wasn't purchased at the shop.
yup....the shop I go to does free installs...ColnagoFE
Nov 19, 2003 1:05 PM
of most of the stuff you buy from them. I would think they's be happy to charge you full labor price to install something you bought elsewhere.
isn't the wine uncorking thing only in Utah?ColnagoFE
Nov 19, 2003 1:03 PM
I've never heard of that practice anywhere else.
It's common practiceTJeanloz
Nov 19, 2003 1:10 PM
At higher-end restaurants, it's quite common to bring your own wine and pay the corkage so as not to subject yourself to the outrageous markup on the wine list. A bottle of, say $50 wine at retail will cost well over $100 at a nice restaurant (possibly in the $200+ range) - but you can bring it from your own cellar, and pay $25 to have them serve it. It's a win-win for everybody.
I've learned to do this all the timePaulCL
Nov 19, 2003 1:37 PM
I don't have a huge collection (<75 bottles) but I hate paying $75 for a $20 bottle of wine. Half the time, the waiter doesn't charge the corkage fee. He (she) knows that he'll get a lot of it back in the tip vs. only get 15-20% of the corkage fee in the tip.
but not for that reason !litespeedchick
Nov 19, 2003 1:51 PM
As I understand it, the reason higher-end restuarants allow one to bring in a bottle of wine is because you may have something special that you want to open with a great meal. A really old bottle, something rare, something brought home from a winery or other vacation, etc.

To bring in something that is available on the restaurant's wine list or that is available for peanuts at the local grocery store will not be looked upon favorably by the restaurant. ( of course, you may not care)
Yes and no,TJeanloz
Nov 19, 2003 2:10 PM
A good restaurant has as a prerequisite a good wine list. They have very special bottles - but you have to be prepared to pay for them, which most people aren't. If there is some significance to a particular bottle, then of course, you would bring it. But the corkage fee is mostly paid by wine snobs who both can't stand overpaying or have very specific desires about what they want.

As an empirical note, my dining club changed its wine list to offer all wines at the club's cost - instead of the former markup. Since they started that, the number of people bringing their own has gone to practically none (in fact, most people now go to the club for cheap wine).
you learn something new everydayColnagoFE
Nov 19, 2003 3:03 PM
Now what's a dining club? Is it like it sounds? A club where you pay dues and in return get discounts and special treatment at certain restaurants?
Not exactly,TJeanloz
Nov 19, 2003 3:19 PM
A dining club is effectively a private restaurant, usually with other ammenities (rooms for entertaining, guest rooms, bar, etc.). What exactly the club entails varies quite a lot from club to club. But, essentially, it's a fancy hangout in the city where one can meet friends and eat well. There are also a lot of social events associated with the clubs - at least in Boston and New York - other cities, not so much.
interesting linklitespeedchick
Nov 20, 2003 6:17 AM
and then I promise, no more wine talk on the bike board.,1275,2403,00.html
great articleColnagoFE
Nov 20, 2003 7:54 AM
I love wine, but usually never spend more than $30 on a bottle--and that's for a special occasion. I usually drink in the $5-10/bottle range and whether wine snobs know it or not--there is decent wine to be had for $10--especially if you stay away from CA wines and venture into Australian, Spanish, Argentinian and the like. I always get a kick out of looking at a restaurant's wine list and seeing how much they mark the wine up from what I could buy it for at the store. Never realized that some people bring their own wine to a good restaurant. If it was a decent bottle you could actually save a lot of money in the process--though I think I'd feel like a real cheapskate bringing in the wine I normally drink.
promise brokenlitespeedchick
Nov 20, 2003 9:26 AM
My recent faves:

Goats do Roam from South Africa - obviously a play on Cote du Rhone, it's a syrah, and the French government is trying to sue them over the name.

Echelon Pinot Noir ( US left coast, can't remember whether CA, WA, or OR)

Both of those are widely available.

Casa de la Ermita, a Spanish red(Mourvedre blend) from the Jumilla region, my newest fling.

Not sure how available...I can find it easily in NC, not in SC. Wine distribution is freaky.

I paid between $10 and $15 for all of those. I'm with you. I never exceed $15 bucks except for Caymus Conumdrum at $25 (a weakness) and Champagne (another weakness).
No more wine talk?vindicator
Nov 20, 2003 8:55 AM
Man, a board where I can talk bikes and wine is perfect!

I, too, typcically bring a bottle whenever I go to a nicer restaurant, and often gather with like-minded folks and everyone brings a bottle or three. We avoid places where we're not welcome, gladly pay reasonable corkage, and share with the floor staff and the kitchen. Everybody wins!

It is called customer service.MB1
Nov 19, 2003 1:05 PM
Smart shops offer pretty good customer service (most of the time (no one is perfect)). We charged you a fair price for the service we provided.

One problem you could have is that Revolution will only warranty the labor we provided, not the part you provided. True it is unlikely to ever be a problem with a crank but it happens sometimes.

As far as smaller parts like a chain and cassette there are so many fit and size options that it may be better to buy them from the installer rather than elswhere.

Or not, the customer is always right.
DING...DING..DING... We have a winner!cydswipe
Nov 19, 2003 5:08 PM
I'm glad to see that from an employee of a shop. I visit lots of bike shops. In 8 years I've re-located 4 times for business reasons. Some shop employees act like it's a real hassle to answer "simple" questions, sound familiar board regulars? It's like they already have too many customers, one more and they won't know what to do with all the money. Other shops, great help= great $ale. If a shop is doing something right, they get my business no matter what. When I read this post it had been seen 830 times. Not many positive replies either, what a handful of cyclists who know the owner? I'm guessing MB1's shop provides what every cyclist on this board would like from their local shop. To be treated right.
I walked into Revolution (the one in Clarendon) with my halfbill
Nov 19, 2003 1:39 PM
built Colorado-Cyclist-purchased Fondriest, because I was concerned about the way that the headset had been set into the headtube by CC. Pinkie took the frame downstairs, did something or other, straightened it all out, and refused payment. When I insisted, he kind of rolled his eyes and charged me $5.
That was cool. I don't think that very much was involved with the right headsetting tool, which he had and I didn't, but that's what we're willing to pay for, right, guys?
Sounds like a lot of LBS's . . . .Dropped
Nov 19, 2003 1:59 PM
Sounds like a lot of LBS's could learn a thing or two from Revolution. Based on what I've read here, they would have my business.
Man, I guess I should ask for a raise. nmMB1
Nov 19, 2003 2:34 PM
thanks everyonecommuterguy
Nov 20, 2003 2:29 PM
Thanks everyone for your feedback (and wine reviews).

I won't feel sheepish when it is time to swap out my chain and cassette. I find that if you know exactly what you want, you can get a good deal on it at some point (esp. in the winter). It is good to know that Revolution and other quality LBSs don't mind installing my bargains.
Mine will do it too.KG 361
Nov 19, 2003 4:35 PM
Right now World Cup Ski & Bike is facing my BB on my new KG 461 and cutting the steerer. They've also build up 2 complete bikes for me that I purchased the frame and some parts online. I was happy to pay the build fee and they did a better job in less time than I could have done. Lee (the owner) couldn't believe the deal I got on the 461-he said it was below his cost-he would have done it too.
I practically have to beg the ownercdhbrad
Nov 19, 2003 4:46 PM
of my LBS to charge me when I take in a frame to change out a headset or something that needs a specialized tool that I don't have. They don't mind installing parts like that when I have purchased them elsewhere, (even let me work with them on slow days) I just wish they would charge me more than a couple of bucks to use a tool I wouldn't otherwise buy. I give them all the business I can.
Did that very thing todayMel Erickson
Nov 19, 2003 5:15 PM
Brought in a frame I bought on Ebay to have the headset and Campy bottom bracket installed. Jim asked me where I got the frame and I sheepishly said "Ebay". He rolled his eyes and made a mild comment. I quickly pointed out that I brought it in to have him do some installation and that I was in his shop the previous week looking for parts (he didn't have what I wanted). There was no problem and he was happy to get the business. He makes his money mostly on service, anyway.
I ask firstNatC
Nov 20, 2003 6:42 AM
I either call or walk in (without the bike -- you can leave it in the car outside) and say something like, "I found a new crank for my bike and am looking for someone to install it. Would you do that, and how much do you charge?" That way they can choose to do the work or not, and if they do it, they accepted the work without feeling pressured by a guy standing there with his parts in hand.
Its ok at my LBS- you just get the labor chargeCoolhand
Nov 20, 2003 6:56 AM
Often Performance et al have crappy wrenches depending on their turnover, so at the shop I work at part-time we get of lot of Performance Topo installs on random stuff or at part of full installs where they buy the big stuff (frame/fork/wheels) from us.

We will happily install single non-shop parts for the customer but they do have to pay the shop labor rate. Also, you will probably have to deal with the warranty issues for that item (as likely we don't carry it).

Regulars, like anywhere else will probably get a better deal (we may just eat the charge). I am always happy when someone comes in for an install- it allows them to see our stock and see how good our service is.

Buy what you can from your LBS, refer them business if you can, and maybe pick them up a pizza or something if they go out of their way for you. Being known as a regular is a good thing, especially for those 5 minutes before closing emergency repairs the day before a race.

The absolute best thing you can do for yourself is to...miposy
Nov 20, 2003 11:09 AM
...develop a good relationship with one specific bike shop. It can take time, but after years of working with the same shop, referring people there, buying "some but not all" of my parts there, and bringing beer and doughnuts at random times, they will do just about anything for me. Not only that, but I now have a "friend of the shop" designation in the computer and a permanent 15 percent discount.

The level of service I receive from these guys is fantastic and way beyond the call of duty. They know me, and will fix my bike or get me a part at the drop of a hat, as well as installing parts I didn't buy from them (like my Id, or my new Manitou Sherman Firefly SPV, which we all ogled together).

As a bicyclist, I believe this is an incredibly important part of my well being. Loyalty is rewarded with loyalty, and in the long run I have saved myself a boatload of cash, and a boatload of headaches.

P.s. I'd say it took me about three years to establish myself with these guys, but it was really worth it. I'm even allowed to cross the hallowed line dividing service from the sales floor, as well as borrowing tools.