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Thread: LBS Etiquette?

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    Just Peddlin' Along SaddleBags's Avatar
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    LBS Etiquette?

    I do the Saturday morning rides with the LBS and purchased my last bike from them and have my other bikes serviced by them too. I'm looking to upgrade my components but I am at a loss. What it be in bad taste to buy components from the mail order catalogs or eBay and have the LBS install them for you (for the fee, of course)? I like my LBS and will continue to buy my bikes from them but I feel like a cheapo if I do this.
    Dr. Phil - you out there?

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    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    Have you asked the LBS what is the best price they can offer you for the components installed and out the door? You might find that is similar to the mail order price. Many shops will give a discount to a good customer. There's no harm in asking.

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    serenity NOWWW! amahana1's Avatar
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    Hmmm, good question. For me I wouldnt hesitate buying online if you get a significantly better price. If you are commited to buying bikes from this LBS then you are already giving them quite a good deal of business. If you find something online that you want to upgrade a part of your bike with, give the LBS a chance to match the price or least try and be competitive. If they quote you a price that might be within a few dollars on any online price you can find then buy from the LBS and support a struggling industry.
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    Senior Member edp773's Avatar
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    It would not hurt to ask. It will depend upon the shop and mechanics. Some mechanics or shops do not mind installing outside parts, but others do.
    I have one shop that I figure my online price with shipping included and ask if they can match it. Use some etiquette when doing this. When asking for the first time,ask when it is slow, or where most other customers cannot hear.

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    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SaddleBags
    I do the Saturday morning rides with the LBS and purchased my last bike from them and have my other bikes serviced by them too. I'm looking to upgrade my components but I am at a loss. What it be in bad taste to buy components from the mail order catalogs or eBay and have the LBS install them for you (for the fee, of course)? I like my LBS and will continue to buy my bikes from them but I feel like a cheapo if I do this.
    Dr. Phil - you out there?
    What's wrong with the direct approach? Talk to your LBS owner. Tell him what you plan to do, tell him what the internet price is and ask for his input. My bet is that he'll quote you some kind of a deal for parts plus labor and labor only.

    I don't see any reason for either party to get nasty or to feel hurt over this. In the end, your objective is to have a bike that you think is fun to ride. His job is to make you happy by making sure that you have the bike that you want. You pay a little money and he earns a little money when that happens.

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    If you're really worried what the LBS will think when you bring in internet parts, don't go to your LBS, just go to another one and have them install the parts.

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    Just Peddlin' Along SaddleBags's Avatar
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    All great replies. I'm gonna head to the LBS and see what they can do. Thanks.

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    Recovering Retro-grouch CRUM's Avatar
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    As a bike dealer, this is my advice. Go into the shop with your internet/catalog prices in hand. Give them a chance to match or at least come close to your "Ebay deal". That is all Iask of my customers. If I cannot match it I will tell them so. And I have learned to not let it get to me. The internet is here to stay. Giving the local LBS a shot is helping to ensure they do too.
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    Senior Member onbike 1939's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CRUM
    As a bike dealer, this is my advice. Go into the shop with your internet/catalog prices in hand. Give them a chance to match or at least come close to your "Ebay deal". That is all Iask of my customers. If I cannot match it I will tell them so. And I have learned to not let it get to me. The internet is here to stay. Giving the local LBS a shot is helping to ensure they do too.
    Congratulations on an intelligent and considered response. I would use your shop if I could.

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    45 miles/week Eggplant Jeff's Avatar
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    Yeah, too bad Maine's such a long ride away. Although the LBS I use is a PerformanceBike local store, and they're pretty up front about telling me to go ahead and order stuff if they can't get me what I want. Plus they'll match any price on performancebike.com even special sales .

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    Senior Member Fredmertz51's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CRUM
    As a bike dealer, this is my advice. Go into the shop with your internet/catalog prices in hand. Give them a chance to match or at least come close to your "Ebay deal". That is all Iask of my customers. If I cannot match it I will tell them so. And I have learned to not let it get to me. The internet is here to stay. Giving the local LBS a shot is helping to ensure they do too.
    Man oh Man, I wish you were in eastern Iowa

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    Just Peddlin' Along SaddleBags's Avatar
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    Went to the LBS and the only difference was about $30 for the two components. So I went ahead and had the LBS order them. Should be here by the weekend's ride(s). It's actually less than that if you factor in that I don't have to pay for shipping.
    The shop owner didn't mind if I brought in components from mail order to have them installed, he knows that his prices can't touch some of the prices online.

  13. #13
    Recovering Retro-grouch CRUM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SaddleBags
    Went to the LBS and the only difference was about $30 for the two components. So I went ahead and had the LBS order them. Should be here by the weekend's ride(s). It's actually less than that if you factor in that I don't have to pay for shipping.
    The shop owner didn't mind if I brought in components from mail order to have them installed, he knows that his prices can't touch some of the prices online.
    Spunds like you might have a keeper there. My hat's off to you for not basing your decision on just the bottom line.
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    Meow! my58vw's Avatar
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    My LBS has always come close to internet prices, actually beating them sometimes... ofcourse they are a big shop... i.e. I paid 110 installed for ultegra spd-sl's today for my tt bike... 145+ ship retail.

    They nearly always install the parts cheep or free if I get it from them...
    Just your average club rider... :)

  15. #15
    Senior Member JBar's Avatar
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    On high end stuff, my LBS is very competitive, they install any prts, and they service our bikes (minor adjustment type stuff) on the spot at no charge. I have one of their saddles on my bike now for a test drive. The biggest premium I've ever paid over on-line was 40.00 for some shoes. Well worth it since I'm damn near impossible to fit and they ordered some for me to try. Those didn't work, but they found me some that did. They can't match 24.00 jerseys, but they're golden for almost everything else.

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    Kneel before ZOD philfart's Avatar
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    Chicago has a few shops.

    There's 3 by my work. One I has pretty bad service. Good prices if you want a whole bike, but if you want new components, forget it. I wanted to get a new seat post for my bike. I went to the shop and it looked semi busy. However this place has about 15 people working in it and it seems like nobody wantd to help me. I was told to check the service department to see if they had seat posts. I waited almost 10 minutes before somebody helped me. The sales person went to the back and came out with what looked like a no-name used seat post. They wanted to charge me $25 for it.. and it looke dused. Not even in it's original packaging. For all I know it was from some Walmart bike.

    Then there's the stem... $10 to replace a stem?!?

    This is one shop I just can't see myself going to again.

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    That's how I do it, mainly because my LBS dosen't carry FBM, S&M parts and such. He specializes in Schwinn, Specialized & Trek. He installs them though, just cuase everytime I try to install something, someting screws up.

    A stem? Dude, those are EASY..

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    Kneel before ZOD philfart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kyle90
    That's how I do it, mainly because my LBS dosen't carry FBM, S&M parts and such. He specializes in Schwinn, Specialized & Trek. He installs them though, just cuase everytime I try to install something, someting screws up.

    A stem? Dude, those are EASY..
    I know. I asked just out of curiosity. I ended up just ordering a stem from Specialized and putting it on myself.

    $10? Yeah right...

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    Ha ha ha ha ha giantcfr1's Avatar
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    Admittedly I do check the on-line shops first before I make a purchase, but I'm wondering why you should have to ask for a better price. Shouldn't the shops do their homework and start competing with the internet or alternatively start selling via the internet. It's not as if the internet is new. If the shop is too expensive find one that isn't.
    My LBS's advertised price, (the LBS I use to purchase components from) has never been beaten by the on-line shops with any of the purchases I have made.
    Steve.
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    a few things to keep in mind on the issue...

    how do you know the correct parts to purchase - is that self-aquired knowledge, or did your LBS teach you that info over the years?

    in the event that you do not order the right parts or the mailhouse ships the wrong parts, what will you do? Hope that your LBS will trade?

    if the part fails prematurely, what to do? should the LBS handle the warranty (b/c they did labor) or the mailhouse since you bought it from them? Usually the LBS gets stuck with the warranty headaches or worse, they say you have to handle it yourself.

    To avoid headaches & heartaches down the road, most good shops will discount the parts or labor if you buy the parts from them & have them do the labor.

    Is price your bottom line? There are certainly times in life when that must be the case. However, if you live a comfortable life with a bike or bikes worth more than many cars, own a house, a car, etc., I'd ask you to think about supporting your LBS that employs local folks providing health insurance among other things. Most local shops also donate heavily in your own community.

    I know there are many cases of lousy service at too many LBS, but please, do give the good ones your support.

  21. #21
    crotchety young dude el twe's Avatar
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    That's a great story, SaddleBags! You oughta post what LBS this is (and where).
    Quote Originally Posted by CardiacKid View Post
    I explained that he could never pay me enough cash for the amount of work I had put into that bike and the only way to compensate me for it was to ride the hell out of it.
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    Zippy Engineer Waldo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by giantcfr1
    Admittedly I do check the on-line shops first before I make a purchase, but I'm wondering why you should have to ask for a better price. Shouldn't the shops do their homework and start competing with the internet or alternatively start selling via the internet. It's not as if the internet is new. If the shop is too expensive find one that isn't.
    My LBS's advertised price, (the LBS I use to purchase components from) has never been beaten by the on-line shops with any of the purchases I have made.
    Steve.
    Great idea. We'll hire a guy to search the internet to make sure we're price matching on everything. That will simultaneously lower overhead while allowing us to sell many items for less than what we pay. Profitability will soar. Brilliant!

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    Canon fiend MadMan2k's Avatar
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    Almost everything I want to buy for my bike, the bike shop has one but they have one that's about twice as expensive as I want to pay... And seeing as I paid $50 for a $30 bottom bracket when I had them order it, I don't want to have them order all of my stuff.. I'll just have them install it.

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    Tiocfáidh ár Lá jfmckenna's Avatar
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    fwiw I have a 20% rule. That is if I can get something at a local store LBS or otherwise that is not 20% more than what is availiable on line then I get it. That seems fair to me. I know big companies have big buying power but if some one is charging over 20% more than that seems to be a bit much. Fortunatlly I have a good LBS where I often get parts actually cheaper than Nashbar/Performance etc... especially when you factor in shipping.

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    Out the door roadie gal's Avatar
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    When I wanted to buy a Sampson bike, I went into my LBS, where I'd bought my mountain bike, and asked first if they would check it over for me and adjust anything that might be needed. They didn't hesitate to say yes.

    Since then I have bought 2 more bikes, plus helmets, and assorted clothing, as well as 2 pairs of skis and boots (in the winter they sell cross county ski equipment) there. If they had said no to the bike, I probably would have gone somewhere else for the other stuff. I think it's a win-win situation for both of us.

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