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Old 12-08-06, 02:00 PM   #1
flipflops
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tipping mechanic at my LBS

I hope I don't ignite a firestorm of controversy with this question but I just picked my bike up from my LBS after getting a tuneup. On the way home, it dawned on me that that might have been a tipping situation.

1. Should I have given a tip?
2. If so how much?
ALSO--
3. If I should have given a tip-- what do I do now? I really appreciate his good work.

A little background, he works for performance. He's really good always a quick turnaround and he hooked me up with free brake pads this time.
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Old 12-08-06, 02:08 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flipflops
I hope I don't ignite a firestorm of controversy with this question but I just picked my bike up from my LBS after getting a tuneup. On the way home, it dawned on me that that might have been a tipping situation.

1. Should I have given a tip?
2. If so how much?
ALSO--
3. If I should have given a tip-- what do I do now? I really appreciate his good work.

A little background, he works for performance. He's really good always a quick turnaround and he hooked me up with free brake pads this time.
Tipping is not usual in this industry. When tips are given, it is usually "in kind"...a six pack, home made cookies, or the like.

The free brake pads complicate the situation. He didn't pay for the brake pads, so it was really the shop that gave them to you, with him as agent.

This is probably perfectly legit, for the purpose of generating goodwill for the shop. If you had then given him a cash tip, it would have put him in an awkward ethical position, however...would that mean that he was, in effect selling you the brake pads and pocketing the money?

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Old 12-08-06, 02:13 PM   #3
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I only tip someone if
a.) their wage is based on tips (ie: waitress, pizza delivery)
b.) they went above and beyond their usual job duties

If I took the bike in to have my chain oild (which I'd do myself) and the wrench cleaned and lubed the chain, cleaned the cluster, and oiled my cables and greased my seatpost, then I'd drop a few bucks his way... maybe
If they continue this kind of service, then in the future a pizza and 6-pack might be in order after picking up a set of wheels or something
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Old 12-08-06, 02:18 PM   #4
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My local wrench goes waaaay beyond the call of duty for my wife and me. (For example opening on a Sunday morning so I could pick up my bike.) He gets a very nice bottle of Cognac at Christmas time every year.
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Old 12-08-06, 02:54 PM   #5
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The manager at my favorite LBS does similar stuff. His whole shop will get something from me this year.
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Old 12-08-06, 03:03 PM   #6
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The manager at my favorite LBS does similar stuff. His whole shop will get something from me this year.
Which LBS is your favorite? We're apparently in the same general area, and I'd love to discover another decent shop...
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Old 12-08-06, 03:10 PM   #7
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I usually find out the favored brew w/ in the shop, and drop off a sixer or half-rack (depending on crew size).
But there are only a few chores I can't do myself anymore...

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is it Beer:30 yet?
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Old 12-08-06, 03:13 PM   #8
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Bike America, around the corner from Target at the SW corner of 119th and Blackbob in Olathe (Facing the new Chick-Fil-A and other new shops that just went in)

Kevin (looks kinda like Henry Rollins) is the manager, and he's a badass. The rest of the kids that work there are cool as well, but they're kids. At least they concede that "I should ask Kevin" instead of pulling some factoid out of their posteriors. Libby also knows her stuff about a lot of things, but as a general rule, no one there will speak beyond what they know. They have other locations (Lee's Summit and near Town Center Plaza) as well. Haven't been there, too far of a ride for me when there's one 4 miles from home.

Where you from?
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Old 12-08-06, 03:13 PM   #9
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Wondering what the etiquette on this one is. The wrenches at my local work in the back of the shop, meaning I have to walk by the sales staff. Is it considered rude to not hook up the sales staff as well?
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Old 12-08-06, 03:20 PM   #10
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Not that I'm a bike shop, but I frequently do repairs for friends and acquaintances. I even give away bikes I've rescued and refurbished. Because of the potentially akward implications of taking cash I always tell people I only accept payment in liquid form. I have received some very nice bottles of wine for the cellar, but I prefer something I can open and share immediately with the donor.
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Old 12-08-06, 03:30 PM   #11
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I prefer not to get cash tips partly because of the reason Sheldon mentioned. An atta boy via e-mail to the boss is my favorite. Then the boss can decide if I'm worth paying more or I can put it in my resume when I apply at the other shop.
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Old 12-08-06, 03:49 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ax0n
Where you from?
I'm in Overland Park (OP). I haven't been to the Bike America you mentioned, but will check it out next time I'm in the area. The large one at Nall Ave in OP, tho, isn't a shop I'm likely to visit again.

The 2 shops I really like are Turner's Cycling and Fitness in OP, and The Wheel Cyclery in Kansas City, MO.
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Old 12-08-06, 04:10 PM   #13
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Thx for the advice. I was considering some form treat/drink type thing he could share (if he felt so inclined)-- especially with Christmas right around the corner.
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Old 12-08-06, 04:42 PM   #14
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i recently tipped one of the mechanics when he took the time to figure out what was making a squeak somewhere on the rear tire. he dropped what he was doing and took a few trips to the parking lot to hear what was going on and eliminating the possibilities. although it was recently after a tune up, i was impressed with the way he helped me personally and immediately when i came in. passed him a $10 in the parking lot when we parted.
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Old 12-08-06, 06:55 PM   #15
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Kansas City guys, If you are near the waldo area check out waldo bikes at 75th and Wornal, thats where I work. Its next door to chipotle.
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Old 12-08-06, 06:59 PM   #16
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I usually tip people if they've given me above-average service. Like my favorite mechanic at the auto-dealer. Or the gardeners. As for the LBS, having worked in one for 10-years, I'd say that sending over a pizza for lunch, or dropping off a 6-pack at happy-hour time is appreciated more than cash. It'll be shared and brings up morale for the whole crew.
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Old 12-08-06, 08:25 PM   #17
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The one time I would have tipped, I didn't even think about it at the time. I also didn't realize how much they had done until I got the bike home. I took it in to get the BB rebuilt, since it was a cottered crank and I had no tools with me. They adjusted and lubed the internal hub, lubed the seat post, oiled the shifter, and I believe they trued the wheels which barely wobbled, etc. Pretty much a night and day riding difference, given the fact it was a 1962 rebadged Raleigh Huffy Sportsman. I can't remember the name right off, but it was in Atlanta, adjacent to a huge park. Set in a small yet sophisticated looking strip mall. They were also a modern day Raleigh dealer. GREAT shop, for anyone in Atlanta near downtown!,,,,BD

Found them!

http://www.intownbicycles.com/

I also found this. Hmm, things are getting clearer to me now

Raleigh

We've carried Raleigh Bicycles since 1985.
It is one of the oldest bicycle companies around, dating all the way back to 1887! We have a soft spot for Raleighs around here having learned the business on them back in the day. We've also found them to be consistently high quality, high value bicycles over the years.
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Old 12-08-06, 08:59 PM   #18
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The shop I work at carries primarly raleighs. I think they are the best kept secret in nice road bikes, they may not have the bling factor of other names, but they are definetly nice bikes. I have probbly put a thousand of them together.
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Old 12-09-06, 11:13 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbg
Not that I'm a bike shop, but I frequently do repairs for friends and acquaintances. I even give away bikes I've rescued and refurbished. Because of the potentially akward implications of taking cash I always tell people I only accept payment in liquid form. I have received some very nice bottles of wine for the cellar, but I prefer something I can open and share immediately with the donor.
Same here. I do take donations and have a tip jar where I am hanging out. If I am not going to make a ride I will pack my van and show up at the start with my toolbox, portable table, and stand and thatís all the advertisement I need. Then I hit the rest stops along the way. Weekends and holidays will find me along a popular MUP as a rest stop with stuff like water, energy food and repair parts. I don't really make any money at this; it just helps offset my biking expenses and I am a valuable resource for the local biking community. I like riding and working on bikes and talking to others that ride as well. I donít work for a shop or work for a profit. If someone shows up with a broke bike I can usually get him or her back on his or her way. If they donít have any money or want to save what they have for planed expenses I just give them an addressed envelope and tell them to send me whatever they want in the way of a donation. If it were not for the $750 cost of becoming a 501c3 I would go for an official non profit status.
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Old 12-09-06, 11:42 AM   #20
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While I do most of my own bike wrenching, I thought I'd pass along a tipping trick I often do with good results. With tradesmen working on our house, I often tip them in advance. If you are going to get exemplary service, this is the best way to try and get it. It works most of the time. I've had a few failures, but then I don't call on that person in the future. With the bike mechanic, an advance tip, coupled with "take your time and do a nice job" would help. Thereafter, that mechanic will go out of his way to take care of you. Don't be shy, make up for your oversight with a Christmas card with the tip you forgot. Hand deliver it. bk

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Old 12-09-06, 03:13 PM   #21
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Y'know, y'all are making me feel guilty! I'm gonna start tipping the LBS guys now (beer, pizza, etc). They are informative, patient with my goofy questions, all that. Even here in Dallas, the "LBS" is a (so far) 3-store "chain," they still act like a LBS! But I still haven't seen a word about the "sales guys in front, the wrenches in back" question. What about that? The sales guys (okay, 1 guy among about 5) is a primo duomo, but I don't mind that too much.
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Old 12-10-06, 10:58 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheldon Brown
Tipping is not usual in this industry. When tips are given, it is usually "in kind"...a six pack, home made cookies, or the like.



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+--------------------------------------------+
I agree with Capt. Brown. I can do pretty much anything on a bike unless I don't have the tools for a specific job. My LBS is pro-level yet they never charge me to chase out a BB or align a derailleur hanger. They also do not charge me for small parts or miscellaneous hardware.

I respond by dropping by with the occasional six-pack, usually an unusual brew that they hopefully haven't tried yet (last time was Red Stripe - Jamaica, mon!).

The result is they are always happy to see me and my bikes are always fixed right; truely a win-win situation.

When in doubt always err on the side of generosity. It can't hurt.
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Old 12-10-06, 11:15 PM   #23
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I think like other have said, if you bring your bike in to be aired up, and the mechanic throws it up the stand, does a quick checkover, lubes the chain, and maybe adjusts your brake real quick, yeah, a few bucks his way wouldn't hurt.

If he throws something your way for no charge (i.e. brake pads) directly throwing him some money kight be a little awkward for him. In this case, I (as a lbs mechanic) would rather prefer something for the entire crew, (i.e. maybe some cookies next time you come in).

Yesterday, while at the shop, someone who us at the shop have ridden with, came in to get his chainguide adjusted and brake lever bent back after he had a crash. He left his bike, we fixed it and was ready the next day. He came back and asked how much he owed, and we said no big deal, don't worry about it. He went to the gas station a couple doors down and get a round of chocolate milks for the crew (there was 3 of us), very much appreciated!
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Old 12-10-06, 11:17 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmfnla
I agree with Capt. Brown. I can do pretty much anything on a bike unless I don't have the tools for a specific job. My LBS is pro-level yet they never charge me to chase out a BB or align a derailleur hanger. They also do not charge me for small parts or miscellaneous hardware.

I respond by dropping by with the occasional six-pack, usually an unusual brew that they hopefully haven't tried yet (last time was Red Stripe - Jamaica, mon!).

The result is they are always happy to see me and my bikes are always fixed right; truely a win-win situation.

When in doubt always err on the side of generosity. It can't hurt.
Couldn't agree more. If you treat your shop right, they will remember.....
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Old 12-11-06, 06:10 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bikedued
The one time I would have tipped, I didn't even think about it at the time. I also didn't realize how much they had done until I got the bike home. I took it in to get the BB rebuilt, since it was a cottered crank and I had no tools with me. They adjusted and lubed the internal hub, lubed the seat post, oiled the shifter, and I believe they trued the wheels which barely wobbled, etc. Pretty much a night and day riding difference, given the fact it was a 1962 rebadged Raleigh Huffy Sportsman. I can't remember the name right off, but it was in Atlanta, adjacent to a huge park. Set in a small yet sophisticated looking strip mall. They were also a modern day Raleigh dealer. GREAT shop, for anyone in Atlanta near downtown!,,,,BD

Found them!

http://www.intownbicycles.com/
That's good to know! I bought my latest bike from that same shop. I live out-of-town, but they carried the Jamis line, which includes some nice steel frame bikes. I brought one home with my after a wonderful ride into and around Piedmont Park.
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