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Old 11-08-10, 05:39 PM   #1
DnvrFox
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$80/hr Bike Shop Fee???????????????

UPDATE - EDIT

Thanks for all the responses. I have decided to go ahead with the excellent one-person-shop mechanic who charges $80 per hour, as opposed to the large bike shop with the generally less experienced and often changing mechanics.


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2 years ago a "boutique" bike shop opened up about 1 mile from me. I got to know the single-person shop owner a bit, and had him do some work on my bike. His style is when you bring in the bike he goes over every single thing on the bike, talking about safety, etc., and makes recommendations to fix anything not perfect or at least near perfect.

I have been happy with his work, BUT, today I dropped by on my mtn bike to ask about some repairs to my two road bikes. My "utility road bike" has a rear wheel that when you apply the brake it goes "Click - click - click" at the speed of the wheel rotation, and I suspect a bent rim on a 2 year old wheel. The Lemond needs, at a minimum, a middle chain ring, a new chain and a pulley in the rear der.

So, if I take the bikes into the shop, I am looking at a rather large bill - especially as he may find other things that he thinks need fixing in the name of "safety," - making it hard to say "no."

There is another bike shop just a couple of miles away that I used to use - much more of a general bike shop and much larger. I have had work done there before, and sometimes I was pleased and a couple of times I was not. They changed ownership and managers, and I think things have settled down.

I paid $285 for the Windsor several years back - mail order, and I assembled it myself. The Lemond is a 1999.

So, what say you about $80 per hour - an increase from $60/hr? The guy does excellent work, and he caters to a community of average family income above $130,000 (far above mine - but everything I own is paid for). He has an avid and loyal clientele. He worked with me quite a bit last year in getting my Lemond to a much better fit, and it is a much more enjoyable ride.

To the inevitable chorus of "Do it yourself" - please just forget responding that way. If I "did it myself" I would make such a mess that it would cost me double to have my errors fixed, and, besides, I hate it.

Thanks for any thoughts.

Last edited by DnvrFox; 11-09-10 at 06:25 AM.
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Old 11-08-10, 05:47 PM   #2
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Would he offer you a discount if you assisted with the work?
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Old 11-08-10, 05:51 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by horatio View Post
Would he offer you a discount if you assisted with the work?


Yes, that would be quite the event. We would both go insane. A very small shop - room for one person at the stand. Thanks for the suggestion, but I am all thumbs.
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Old 11-08-10, 06:01 PM   #4
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Quite a few of the shops in Colorado Springs, seem to like that, $80 shop fee rate! My LBS is more of a "Family" shop and they seem to be a bit more "worried" about that heavy of a charge with their customer level, (LOL, ya lot's of poor folks like us that live on $25,000 a year). It's really the only shop in town, well maybe Ted's Bicycles would work on your basic Wal-Mart POS. It does hurt a bit, that's why we gave up on "MOTORCYCLES" after 30 years of riding them, the shop rates were getting higher than auto shops and they've all gone too the blasted, "If it's 10 years old we won't work on it", I put "hundereds of THOUSANDS" of miles on them "10 year old motorcycles" but finally just had to give it up! At least, bicycling is fairly inexpensive next to motorcycles or I'd be "walking very slowly"!
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Old 11-08-10, 06:07 PM   #5
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If you like the service, I say it is well worth it. I don't mind paying a bit more for quality work, especially if the fella treats the bike as if it is his own. I have a guy I take my bike to who charges about the same price. The other guy in town is $30 an hour cheaper. I realize it adds up over time but even though the guy who charges more is a bit of an odd one, he does great work. He absolutely loves the bikes. Even with my limited exposure to the cycling world I can tell the difference between the two shops.
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Old 11-08-10, 06:11 PM   #6
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It doesn't matter what I think because I live in St Louis so I'm not in that market.

Ultimately, your local market will determine if his prices are appropriate for his service.
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Old 11-08-10, 06:42 PM   #7
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As important as cycling is to you, and since you're not living "hand to mouth", I say go with the higher price guy.
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Old 11-08-10, 06:51 PM   #8
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If I could afford it I'd pay it, too.
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Old 11-08-10, 06:57 PM   #9
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What does the other bike shop charge?
Do you trust thier work equally?
Which one will get the job done in the time you need/want it done?
Which one is more convienient?

It's not all about the price, there are other factors.

If these guys have gotten to be too expensive for the average joe than move on.

We have shops in my area like that as well, all things being equal I usually support the shop that needs my support more, and that's usually not the guy with a big inventory of $10K tri-bikes and $120 Jerseys, nor is it the guy with the big inventory of Trek, Specialized & Giant and the 18 YO kids waiting on customers, it's the guy with the moderate inventory of kids bikes, a few nice road bikes, all manner of used bikes and a host of interesting cruisers, a small shop with a couple of happy middle aged guys working in the back. I have no idea what thier hourly rate is but I do know I like walking into thier shop.
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Old 11-08-10, 07:03 PM   #10
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cyclinfool wrote:What does the other bike shop charge? I don't know, but in the past they have been reasonable

Do you trust thier work equally? No - I trust the $80/hr more

Which one will get the job done in the time you need/want it done? Time is not a factor given that because of my surgery I am limited to my mtn bike, and winter is approaching.

Which one is more convienient? They are the same.

Only 2 shops in the area, none as you describe below.


It's not all about the price, there are other factors.

If these guys have gotten to be too expensive for the average joe than move on.

We have shops in my area like that as well, all things being equal I usually support the shop that needs my support more, and that's usually not the guy with a big inventory of $10K tri-bikes and $120 Jerseys, nor is it the guy with the big inventory of Trek, Specialized & Giant and the 18 YO kids waiting on customers, it's the guy with the moderate inventory of kids bikes, a few nice road bikes, all manner of used bikes and a host of interesting cruisers, a small shop with a couple of happy middle aged guys working in the back. I have no idea what thier hourly rate is but I do know I like walking into thier shop.
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Old 11-08-10, 07:09 PM   #11
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$80 per hour to wrench on a bike?
O.K. Somebody get over here quick and help me back up off of the floor!

My mechanic charges $79.95 per hour to wrench on my cars...and he's considered expensive!

Dnvr, I'm afraid your only viable option is to move.
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Old 11-08-10, 07:30 PM   #12
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Unlike automotive garages, most lbs's charge for actual time spent working on the bike, not what a manual says is the chargable time. My lbs charges a similar rate and last time I was in I had both wheels trued, brake assembly repaired and all new cables and housing with new bar tape. Total labour was 55 bucks. Go to the guy you trust and pay him what he is worth.
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Old 11-08-10, 07:31 PM   #13
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$80 per hour to wrench on a bike?
O.K. Somebody get over here quick and help me back up off of the floor!

My mechanic charges $79.95 per hour to wrench on my cars...and he's considered expensive!

Dnvr, I'm afraid your only viable option is to move.
You got a problem with bike mechanics actually making a living?

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Old 11-08-10, 07:45 PM   #14
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If you take the bikes in, will the $80/hr guy give you a reasonably firm estimate while you are there on what the total will be? The problems may not be as serious as you think and the mechanic could knock out the job fairly quickly so the difference between the $80/hr guy you like and the other cheaper place might not be so great.

Even better, get an estimate in total $$$ from both places. Who knows, the $80/hr guy might see it as a 50 minute job and the cheaper place sees it as a 2 hr job.
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Old 11-08-10, 07:52 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by horatio View Post
Would he offer you a discount if you assisted with the work?
Shop Rate - $80 per hour
If you watch-$90 per hour
If you help - $100 per hour
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Old 11-08-10, 07:54 PM   #16
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Thanks all for your thoughts and input..

It is likely only a small total difference between the two shops, and I prefer the $80 guy to work on my bikes. That is where I will go.
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Old 11-08-10, 07:55 PM   #17
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shop rate - $80 per hour
if you watch-$90 per hour
if you help - $100 per hour
yes!!

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Old 11-08-10, 07:57 PM   #18
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This is in no way meant as advice for what you should do. I have no idea what you should do. I can't imagine facing such a decision. A mechanic charging those rates wouldn't do much business around here. I'm sure glad I work on my own bikes.
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Old 11-08-10, 08:00 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Dan Burkhart View Post
Shop Rate - $80 per hour
If you watch-$90 per hour
If you help - $100 per hour
Yes, I believe that is how it works. l stand corrected.

But seriously, if he's worth it, pay the man his fee.
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Old 11-08-10, 08:14 PM   #20
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Some mechanics can get more done, and done better than other mechanics. I read that a pro tour mechanic can build up a Tour bike from the frame in less than 30 min. I bet he does a good job too. $80 seems high but then Denver is a metro area and well, if this shop is too expensive you can go elsewhere of course.
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Old 11-08-10, 08:18 PM   #21
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I'd take mine to the "boutique" shop. He will probably be much more attentive to it than the other shop. That being said, buyer beware. Watch what he says about safety and make sure his concerns are actually about safety not profitability.

When he gives you a list of what needs to be done, always ask to see what is happening and how it affects your safety. If he can't show it to your satisfaction, you can refuse the work. Brakes, headset, wheel hubs and wheel true/dish are some of the more common parts that affect handling/safety. Drivetrain parts don't affect safety but are good to keep in adjustment. A well tightened headset and bottom bracket don't get out of adjustment easily, but can on occasion. Chains don't stretch much and gears don't wear quickly unless you are putting thousands of miles on your bike a year or pushing it hard. Even brakes don't wear out very often. Look for a "wear line" that will tell you when to change the pads. Brakes do go out of adjustment fairly easily, but watch a recommendation to replace the pads.

If he uses "tech speak" don't be afraid of asking what it means or ask him to show it to you. That's the only way that you know you aren't being taken advantage of. You might also want to get a book on bike maintenance. Even if you never do a bit of maintenance yourself, you can learn what he is recommending that you do.

I'm sure this list of what to watch for isn't exhaustive, and others might be able to add more of what you should look for, but it's a start.
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Old 11-08-10, 08:20 PM   #22
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As important as cycling is to you, and since you're not living "hand to mouth", I say go with the higher price guy.
I agree, but don't give him carte blanche to fix anything beyond what you have requested.

If you ask to help he might charge extra! I remember a sign in a motorcycle shop back in the 60s that went something like this:

"Our Labor Rate: $10 per hour, $15 per hour if you watch, $20 per hour if you help."
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Old 11-08-10, 08:26 PM   #23
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I'll do it for $75 an hour.
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Old 11-08-10, 08:39 PM   #24
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We have two bike shops in town. Shop A is very old and well established. There are two guys who own it. The "mechanic" is a good fellow. He's a prety good wrench and they are reasonably priced, They stock some cheep line of accessories (sunglow or sunstar or some thing) and have very little in the way of clothing or parts. The other guy is an idiot. (Not really. He is actually VERY knowledgeable if you can trick him into running his mouth but he tries so hard to pay the part of idiot I'll let him win for the purposes of this discussion). His primary purpose in life is to sell you a new "comfort bike" and scowl at you if you try to order parts. They get a B.

The other bike shop is a one-man deal. He has been around for a very, very long time. He is booked solid. You have to make appointments two months out to get a tune up UNLESS you can get him talking. It might take the better part of an hour but if you get him chatting he'll usually tell you to bring the bike around and if it doesn't need to go on the stand, he bangs it out and charges next to nothing. His work is meticulous. He has almost nothing in his "shop" whatsoever, but can get damn near any thing your little heart desires. He would rather sell you $60 worth or tires than a $600 bike. A-.

Neither of these places charge any where NEAR that much. The swankiest bike shop in the toniest community in the area only hits you for sixty buck an hour. They are a "normal" bike shop in stock, service and sales BUT that's a half hour away from the casa. B+

What am I getting at? I'm not really sure any more. I guess you just have to figure out if it's "worth it" for you. You pay something weather it's cash, time or gas. If the guy has always treated you right, go there. If it's all about the bottom line, go elsewhere.
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Old 11-08-10, 09:40 PM   #25
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Look at it this way. Suppose an LBS is a Wall Street investment bank. The rule of thumb is that compensation is equal to no more than 50% of revenues. So, $80 an hour equals $40 an hour to the guy doing the work. There's about 2000 hours in a work year. Do you think your mechanic is making $80,000 per year in salary, bonus, benefits and employer-paid taxes? If so, then pay the money. If not, invest in a bike shop.
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