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Old 11-06-02, 08:47 PM   #1
VegasCyclist
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LBS expensive?

I'm not sure where this post would go best but I'll give it a try here

Today I went to a LBS (and this is one I'm increasingly losing faith in ) anyhow I noticed a sign on the side of the wall, saying

per hour labor rate:
$50 standard work
$75 if you watch
$100 if you do the work
$150 if you try first and get it wrong

and I thought to myself, it seems a bit pricey to be $50 for a bike mech, but maybe thats a normal rate (I rarely have them do work as I do it mostly by myself) but the prices at 75 and up seem well kinda messed up to me, I can kinda understand why they would charge more if you were going to ask them to explain stuff to you, but mind you this is a small LBS, shouldn't they let you watch for free? maybe I'm dreaming about a LBS who doesn't worry about rent and other costs of running a shop but I figured they would at least let you watch for free. oh well

so is this an unusual price rate or am I just not informed?
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Old 11-06-02, 08:49 PM   #2
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haha thats funny...My shop has some funny stuff all over it but I always forget. If that is a serious sign they are jackasses. If it is meant for humour then it is good.
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Old 11-06-02, 08:51 PM   #3
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100 to do myself. LOL
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Old 11-06-02, 11:27 PM   #4
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i heard an analyst talking about the recent hardship placed on Circuit City because they stopped selling large appliances. When a refrigerator or a washer or a dryer or dishwasher goes out, you need to get a new one. so now they don't get that 'need' purchase, they only get the video games, t.v.'s, DVD's, computers, etc which are largely discresionary purchases. and during the recent economic downturn, they don't get that 'need' purchase anymore.

and i thought about how a LBS gets business. keeps business. did i need that new cage i bought today? did i need that skullcap i bought? my wife has already told me that i sure as hell don't need another bike....i saw that lightspeed tuscany today.....
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Old 11-06-02, 11:50 PM   #5
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"per hour labor rate:
$50 standard work
$75 if you watch
$100 if you do the work
$150 if you try first and get it wrong"


That's an old joke, I've seen various forms of it in many garages, plumbing companies etc. Anywhere that a do-it-yourselfer either tries to get free instruction, or a cheap fix for a botched repair.
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Old 11-07-02, 05:48 AM   #6
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thats a very old joke. seen it for years all over.

25/hr if we do it
50/hr if you watch
75/hr if you help
100/hr if you took it apart first.

thats how i've seen it.

ecco.
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Old 11-07-02, 07:59 AM   #7
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My lbs are laid back. They don't mind if I ask questions and they don't mind if I have a look either. Only problem I have is that they like bikes, I like bikes, and that makes a quick in/out visit somewhat rare. If they look after me, then I do business with them. It's a win-win for both of us.
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Old 11-07-02, 08:03 AM   #8
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We "had" a sign in our shop that read:

"Labor rates adjusted according to customers attitude!"

L8R
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Old 11-07-02, 07:14 PM   #9
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Mmmm...bike shops don't really charge $50 p/h do they?! My LBS, which going on the price of their parts is one of the most expensive around, charged me $16.50 for 1.5hrs work yesterday.
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Old 11-07-02, 09:43 PM   #10
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Do you guys know what it's like to be working on a customers bike and have them watching? It's bloody annoying!!! Those signs are jokes though, for the most part. Most of the shops here have the work room in plain sight, so it would be pretty hard to avoid the extra cost if it was really enforced.
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Old 11-07-02, 09:53 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by a2psyklnut
We "had" a sign in our shop that read:

"Labor rates adjusted according to customers attitude!"

L8R
We need one of those in our shop.
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Old 11-07-02, 10:29 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by fubar5
Do you guys know what it's like to be working on a customers bike and have them watching? It's bloody annoying!!! Those signs are jokes though, for the most part. Most of the shops here have the work room in plain sight, so it would be pretty hard to avoid the extra cost if it was really enforced.
I agree. It is very distracting when I am trying to true wheels and I have a customer looking literally right over my shoulder. I tell the customer in a sarcastic tone, if you wanna learn to do what im doing perhaps you should take a look at the repair books that we sell over there. It usually gets the point across.
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Old 11-08-02, 09:12 AM   #13
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You are right! $50/hr is outrageous! Maybe we should take our bikes to attorneys for repairs.


Seriously, though, folks. Small businesses have to charge fair prices to stay in business. They don't buy in quantities of millions like Wal-Mart or KMart. When it comes to tecnical things like electronics, cars, or bikes (yes, they are technical) I learned long ago that you get much better service at a specialist shop with knowledgable employees. I buy a lot of stuff from my LBS that I know I could get cheaper and often faster online. Does that mean I will pass up a super deal online? No, but if there is something I want or need that my shop stocks or can get, I most often buy it from them.

When it comes to working on my bikes I do most of it myself, primarily because I just enjoy it and get a sense of satisfaction. Many time, though, I will gladly pay the shop to do things that I know I could do myself because I know I will not have time to do it any time soon.

Next time you think your LBS or any small business is expensive stop and think a minute about the fixed costs of running a business. Rent, utilities, loan payments on inventory, salaries, expensive specialized tools, etc., all have to paid every month whether you sell anything or not. Believe me, your LBS owner is probably not driving around in a Mercedes or BMW, and bicycle mechanics are as chronically undervalued and underpaid as teachers.
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Old 11-08-02, 12:10 PM   #14
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Also another note on the side of lbs. Commonly after 1 or 2 trips they start to swing deals. I rarely pay very much for labour anymore and I can stand and watch for free cause I KNOW the techs.

That or maybe that case of beer I brought the crew for keeping my bike going all year got me cheaper prices
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Old 11-08-02, 12:11 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by RainmanP

Next time you think your LBS or any small business is expensive stop and think a minute about the fixed costs of running a business. Rent, utilities, loan payments on inventory, salaries, expensive specialized tools, etc., all have to paid every month whether you sell anything or not. Believe me, your LBS owner is probably not driving around in a Mercedes or BMW, and bicycle mechanics are as chronically undervalued and underpaid as teachers.
And...... advertising, health insurance, taxes, support to that local cycling club, chamber of commerce, little league team and giving you that discount you always want because the LBS is sooooo rich
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Old 11-08-02, 12:12 PM   #16
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I don't know, and it depends on the location (costs of living vary), but I've heard $30.00. Doesn't seem completely unrealistic when you think about it. You have to pay for the mechanic ($1.50/hr+workmans comp, etc. ), overhead (rent on the shop, heat, etc.), tools, plus the shop has to get a cut.
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Old 11-08-02, 12:30 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by WorldIRC


I agree. It is very distracting when I am trying to true wheels and I have a customer looking literally right over my shoulder. I tell the customer in a sarcastic tone, if you wanna learn to do what im doing perhaps you should take a look at the repair books that we sell over there. It usually gets the point across.
No, that's OK. Take it off the stand. What do I owe you? See, rather than being shooed off by a snotty mech with a crappy attitude, I'll just head over to that other shop. You know, the one where they like their customers and like showing them how to do simple things that they might enjoy doing on their own. I guess that shop figures that knowledgeable customers will have more fun, be drawn deeper into the hobby, and spend far more money than they could make on an occasional wheel true.

I'm sorry you're having a bad day. Let me just leave you here by yourself to sort things out. I won't be bothering you again.
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Old 11-08-02, 01:33 PM   #18
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To echo what many have said already, it's very hard to work on equipment when someone's breathing over your shoulder. How many people you know complain about someone READING over your shoulder--multiply that by someone trying to do his or her job. My favorite is the guy who comes in with a really messed up bike, after trying to fix it himself, and then giving us attitude about it.

Not sure what other problems the original poster is having with his LBS, but anytime a customer asks me how something is done, I gladly pull out a bike, or his/hers, put it in a repair stand we have on the floor and show him/her. Mostly, customers just want to know the little stuff that seems incredibly esoteric, and it takes just a few minutes.

Lastly, Maelstrom has a great idea; I don't advocate tipping your mechs, but it's nice to hear as little as a "thanks." Everybody likes to hear that a job was done well--of course, we don't complain if you choose to tell us with cookies, etc. :thumbup:
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Old 11-08-02, 02:39 PM   #19
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for one, the reason I thought this sign was the real deal, is that they wanted to charge me $50 for roughly an hour worth of work (to convert 1 campy ergo shifter to a 9spd from 8 spd, even though I provided instructions and cog)

secondly I had a episode with them, I went to have my wheels trued, and it turns out I built the wheel wrong. I went to pick them up and rebuild them, and they told me they were laced wrong, (although this was not the only problem). I took the wheel back rebuilt it and returned to the shop and asked if they could check to make sure they were right, the guy said another mech would check them (turns out he was the only wheel builder, but no one ever told me that) anyhow I still made a mistake, so I returned to the shop for the 3rd time to try again, I asked them if they could tell me exactly what was wrong (as they really never had before) there were two mechs there, one said 'without getting into a wheel building class, it's hard to say, and it's very intricate...' the other mech said, that the problem was the spokes are going to the wrong side of the rim. so again I went and rebuilt and returned. I asked if they could make sure they were right, and the only wheel builder said no still, but he wouldn't show me what was wrong, he only looked at them and said they were wrong. Then he said, 'you know you should just have us build them for us, the nipples are pretty chewed up anyhow and to true them I'd have to charge you for building anyways.' so I asked how long building would take and they said it wouldn't be till tuesday (and this was thursday). I left with my wheels in hand and rebuilt them again (eventually got it right). the point is that they never showed me what was wrong even though I asked, it's not like I never go in there (I've spent a lot of money with them) and was going to order some more parts that day. I also had prepaid to have the wheels trued, ($20 for two wheels) building costs $25 per wheel so I would have had to spend $70 to get my wheels true.

Basically no one would really show me what's wrong, (all they had to do was spend 5 minutes telling me the problem) but no one did, mainly because only one mech really knew, but they never told me that! so in the end when I saw this sign, I figured with this lbs it could be serious.
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Old 11-08-02, 03:20 PM   #20
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Let's guess that it takes a customer base of 5000 people to keep a bike shop in business. Could be more or fewer. I don't really know.

Let's use the number 5000 and imagine 10 minutes of free advice for each, while the owner pays the salaries of the advice givers, who are chatting with you for free.

That's 961 minutes per week or 16 hours for which the shop earns no money. In the mean time, there are people's cycles waiting there, who are willing to pay. These folks are getting angry and impatient and thinking about taking their bike to another shop because thier service is delayed by 16 hours each week.

I'm still guessing. But, I think the shop would last about 3 weeks before going out of business.

Give 'em a break.
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Old 11-08-02, 03:45 PM   #21
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So how much does it cost for a shop to lose
customers due to the fact that they won't answer
a relatively simple question?
Next question: How much will said shop earn due to
secondary sales etc. because they DID answer a
question?
The LBS I deal with actually answered questions
about wheels I was building, gave me some suggestions
and for their trouble got to sell me tools,
truing stand, rims, hubs, tires, glue etc.
While I could get almost all of this stuff cheaper
I will continue to support my LBS because of
their answering a few simple questions.
Besides, how many customers actually ask about
building wheels? can't be all that many.
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Old 11-08-02, 04:05 PM   #22
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I almost always take my bike to a chain in Carlsbad, because the mechanic there is top rate and really takes care of the stores' customers.. I meet cyclists about town and they rave about this mechanic. I trust him completely. I go twenty-four miles out of the way because he is so good. I want the best for my bikes..
Anyway I was riding about Temecula two days ago.. There is one of the few independent cycle stores left . Hardly any left anywhere here in San Diego area..
But to my surprise, they had a tremendous variety/brand of bikes and new bikes at very reasonable prices.. Not that another store will cause me to consider using another store, because its' mechanic is top notch.. However, I did think the independent had a greater offering of bikes..
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Old 11-08-02, 04:13 PM   #23
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Lotek.. This store I previously mentioned- its' mechanic spends a lot of time talking to customers about bikes and bike needs. I know we take up a lot of his time. This person is really a bike fanatic. He races probably 250 miles a weekend. He loves cycling.All his cycling friends use his store. He is just a store employee...
Anyway, I know his time benefits the store. His helpful nature frequently leads to the sale of something. I hope the store realizes this.. The mechanic has a vested interest in the stores-well being... they should realize his helpful nature is really in his own self interest..
I have used stores where the mechanic is not involved with the customer.. Seems they are not very busy..
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Old 11-08-02, 04:42 PM   #24
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well the end result in the whole thing is, that I felt stupid for making 3 trips and getting no results, plus embarassed in front of mechs and cyclists cause I couldn't get it right on my own, regardless of the shop making money it made me feel like I didn't want to go back there, but maybe I am overeacting.
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Old 11-08-02, 06:51 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally posted by VegasCyclist
Basically no one would really show me what's wrong, [deletia] mainly because only one mech really knew, but they never told me that!
Well, it's not just your bike mechanics. I'm constantly amazed by the pains some will take, even unconciously, to avoid admitting they don't know.

Regarding the other sub-thread, I know I don't generally work well with someone looking over my shoulder. It messes up my concentration. And if it's someone who's trying to second-guess what I'm doing and critique... well, it sux. If I want to watch, I'll ask if it's okay. It just seems like courtesy. Plus, I don't want to p!ss off the guy working on my bike!

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