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Old 06-25-03, 07:06 PM   #1
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How long a wait for service at LBS?

I needed service after bending my rear wheel. The bike was not rideable. Called the LBS but couldn't see me for 4 days. I support my LBS, bought 4 bikes in 2 years, this one in February, and sent in about 5 or 6 friends to buy bikes. I do unerstand that busy is busy, but felt that a diagnosis in order to get parts would have been doable. I guess I'm still a little upset about waiting three hours one Saturday and being sent home afterwards saying he couldn't see me. So, I took the bike elsewhere for service...they saw me right away and ordered the parts I needed.

I like my LBS and I'm not going to challenge them to a lifetime of bitter hatred. But I was wondering if most people use more than one shop? I feel a little guilty, and feel bad about feeling guilty. Aslo is a 4 day or one week wait normal? Preveiously I had to wait over a week for an appointment to have him change my defective seat.
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Old 06-25-03, 07:17 PM   #2
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I would expect better service than that.
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Old 06-25-03, 07:21 PM   #3
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I don't have a local shop even though I can count about 8 shops off my head that are within an easy drive.

Just like anything else I shop where the service is good, fast and affordable.

I really don't need a shops service as I am my own mechanic.

at this time of the year bike shops can get OVERWELMED with repairs, so be patient. if you have to go somewhere else, don't sweat it.
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Old 06-25-03, 07:46 PM   #4
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I was loyal to one shop (from the first week they opened) until they did something like that to me. I needed a brake cable replaced. I stopped by every Saturday for three weeks until I had enough.

Now I use another place. A one man shop with a 4 day turnaround if you're NOT in a hurry. If you can't wait, he always has it done by the following night (or he stays until it's done). He has even talked me out of replacing parts prematurely. Nice.

Some LBSs forget that it's all about repeat business.
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Old 06-25-03, 07:51 PM   #5
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There are about 3 local bike shops with good mechanics.. But I go for repairs/maintenance to only 1 shop, my FBS.

In the past, I used to wait for an hour in the shop before I was entertained.. They are so busy, almost everytime I go there..

But since I often go to the shop, almost everyday except sundays, I earned thier respect and friendship not only with the mechanics, but also the owner and his family..

After every ride, I just drop by the shop to say hello.. And even if I just park the bike at the shop, they automatically examine it.. Eventhough the bike is in perfect condition(the mechanic examined it the day before, hehehe). And the good thing is, they seem to find something wrong with, a few adjustments here and there. And did I mention this was all for free and they seem not to want to take my money.:thumbup:

About the waiting: I don't wait anymore, sometimes just a few minutes.. They seems to become not too busy when I'm there.

You should know your mechanic(s). At least by first name. And he should think of you as a friend and a fellow cyclist, not a customer.
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Old 06-25-03, 08:07 PM   #6
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A 4-day turnaround to get it back to you fixed would be okay, but to take that long just to look at it is way too long. The shop I take my repairs to has a very good reputation in the area (deservedly so) and as a result they're usually at least a little bit backed up but they always take the time to talk to me and check out the bike to see what it might need. In your case it shouldn't have been that hard for someone to look at your tacoed wheel and figure out a rough estimate while you waited.
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Old 06-25-03, 08:32 PM   #7
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My shop gives a 48 hour turnaround quote UNLESS we have to order parts. Usually we have them done on the same day they're brought in but we say 48 hrs in case we do get swamped.
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Old 06-25-03, 08:46 PM   #8
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If they literally don't have time to look at your bike and evaluate it, they're in over their heads a little. At the same time, be aware that a Saturday is like any other two or three business days squished into one.

The last two shops I worked at, we would certainly evaluate any potential repair, Saturday or not, unless we were literally too outnumbered to get to all the customers. However, we used the very fair "first come, first served" arrangement under normal circumstances.

People who don't think that's fair should try walking into the dentist's office and just ask for an immediate, unscheduled routine cleaning. They'll give you a strained smile and ask if you have an appointm-- oh, you don't? Err, is this an emergen-- oh, it's not? We have an opening two weeks from today at 8:30AM, woul-- oh, you really must have a tooth cleaning RIGHT NOW? (smile gets more strained) I'm sorry but today's timeslots are all taken by people who had the foresight to schedule ahea-- Oh. Very well sir, goodbye. Have a nice day.

Sorry if that sounds rather tart, but time is valuable and usually booked Small leaks may sink great ships, as Benjiman Franklin put it.
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Old 06-25-03, 08:51 PM   #9
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I suggest everyone learn as much about their own bike as possible. it's really pretty simple once you get your hands into it.

some repairs such as a cable replacement can take less than 15 minutes.
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Old 06-25-03, 09:31 PM   #10
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Yea i agree, simple derrialeur adjustments and brake adjustments are easy to learn and will save you money.
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Old 06-25-03, 09:43 PM   #11
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There's not one LBS I've ever gone to where I bring my bike in for a problem, and they won't have the time to at least LOOK at my bike to tell me what's wrong. Seriously, if they are that busy, they may not even have time to fix your bike if there's a serious problem.

I'm lucky- the LBS I got to always has time to take a look at my bike right away, and they always fix it the same day. On the other hand, the other LBS I bought my bike from is always way too busy to get a bike fixed same day- for a general tune up, they kept my bike five days! When I broke my rear wheel, they told me it would be several days to get my bike back. So I took my bike to the LBS I currently do business with now, and they had several bikes they were working on, but they squeezed my bike in and got it fixed in a couple of hours. I'm not an impatient person, but if given the choice, I'll go to the LBS that can accomodate me quicker, that's all.

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Old 06-26-03, 04:15 AM   #12
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My LBS usually gives me a 24 hour turnaround, max. Even when I had my bike stolen they came up with an ideal replacement just 24 hours later. Seems to me if they can't see you for four days, you might think about finding another shop.
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Old 06-26-03, 05:42 AM   #13
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AT my shop, we DO stock parts and lots of em so emergency ordering is usually not an issue, on thing any LBS should keep in mind, you can't sell what you don't have. I also have quite a number of loaner wheels so if it's a wheel problem that you have, you can be up and rolling in 10 minutes, the only catch is, if ya wreck the wheel, ya bought it. I feel this is fair enough. If you have your wheel work done with me, the loaners are free while you wait for your wheel.
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Old 06-26-03, 06:28 AM   #14
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I got into a crash Saturday about a half mile from my LBS so I went straight there, they looked at the bike right away, even though they were rather busy, the back wheel was bent too bad to ride so one of the mechanics gave me a ride back to my house and then went to work to get it done by the time they closed since they weren't open Sunday, front shifter and both wheels trud in under two hours and they only charged for parts, it pays to befriend the mechanics, I love my LBS and they know I'm loyal event hough I just started biking a month or so but I already bought a road and mountain bike from them and I go riding with my main mechanic once or twice a week.
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Old 06-26-03, 06:37 AM   #15
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Good advise pnj, I'll do what I have to do and not worry about it. I believe these are good people at the LBS, but they are "OVERWELMED with repairs." I am amazed at the service some of you get and that you shop owners offer.

I do still feel that my LBS could handle an amergency better and have some appreciation for loyal dedicated customers in a jam. I can't think of a single time when I didn't get what I needed from these guys. I don't mind paying more for everything I buy there because I support local business as much as possible.

I've been considering buy some tools and doing more home repair. I bought Bicycling Magazine repair book, but would have need tools for this job.

Thanks everyone!
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Old 06-26-03, 08:36 AM   #16
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Calling by phone to ask about repairs is a big mistake alot of times. When a business is very busy the telephone interrupts someone from doing repairs or sales. The phone can make it impossible to get anything done in any business. Also it's eaiser for the LBS to give you a repair date at their convenience. Best to be there in person so the can see what the problem is and how long it will take. But since they sent you home once after waiting 3 hours, they would no longer be my LBS for repairs anyway
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Old 06-26-03, 11:13 AM   #17
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We have had problems with local bike shops also.
One bike shop I try to avoid going into as most of the people there ignore you unless you look like a hard-core racer. Sometimes I get a nice salesperson, but not often enough.

The second and third shops are the same owner/name and they are alright in a pinch, but we have had some sloppy work and some problems with wheels built to custom, unless we get the right person to talk to.

The fourth shop (and furthest away, of course) is where I bought my bike last year. These guys are very friendly to everyone, and truly seem to wish to further all bike riding, as opposed to just racing cycles or just bmx, etc. They have always been pleasant, and if they are not busy, will take care of minor repairs when I come in. I went in to them a week ago just this last wednesday and told them I wanted the front and rear wheels trued, the knobbies taken off and replaced by slicks (and appropriate tubes), brakes adjusted. The owner looked at my wheels and said that only the rear looked a tiny bit out, the bike was still ride-able (which is what I thought). He then walked over to about 20 bikes and said that the bad news was that all these bikes were in front of me in the wait for repairs and then suggested that I come back late saturday and drop off my bike and that he would have my bike done by sunday afternoon. I appreciated his honesty, and as I was not desperate for repairs I did as he suggested and he did as he said he would.

I can understand that if you've got a wheel that is unrideable, you are in urgent circumstances, but I personally appreciate a shop's honesty when they give me an accurate time estimation for repairs, long or short. I expect repairs to be longer "in season" at a popular bike shop. I prefer to build relationships with local bike shops/businesses in general.

I think in this case you were alright to go to another shop for the work. Have you talked to the lbs about why they had such a long turn-around, when you are such a regular?
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Old 06-26-03, 11:56 AM   #18
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foehn...I sent them an e-mail explaing why I was concerned about their handling of my emergency service needs. These are good people! I felt I needed a second source, and I'm sure the LBS owner will know why I acted that way.

hillyman.. I think your right about not phoning in ahead of time.
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Old 06-26-03, 12:03 PM   #19
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I say that people should expect to wait for two or three days anyway?I know I was told years ago that there would be a two day turn around?
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Old 06-26-03, 12:44 PM   #20
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I agree that four days turnaround in a busy shop might be expected, but just to see you and evaluate your needs is insane. As a repeat customer you have taken your bike in their before and they know you will probably be back, I would think that based on this they could make time for you.

I personally use 2 shops, but they're in different cities and I used whichever is closer to me. One has about a day turnaround time when I am in a hurry, the other knows me and knows I will always be back so they do whatever I need right then and there as I wait and I really appreciate this service therefore I do almost all my business with them even though it costs a little more.
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Old 06-26-03, 02:09 PM   #21
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Originally posted by Ba-Dg-Er
I agree that four days turnaround in a busy shop might be expected, but just to see you and evaluate your needs is insane. As a repeat customer you have taken your bike in their before and they know you will probably be back, I would think that based on this they could make time for you.
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Old 06-26-03, 02:47 PM   #22
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I busted a spoke one day when I was out riding which caused a bit of a warp in the wheel but I was still able to ride it. I was passing a bike shop in Los Gatos and went in to see if they would be able to fix it for me. They looked like they were busy but they realized I was out riding on the bike and that it would not take them too long to do it so they fixed it for me right away. I was out of the place in half an hour with my wheel as good as new.

So my advice is, if it is convienient, just go in off the street and you might get lucky and they might do your repair while you wait. However if it is a major service as opposed to a minor that probably won't fly.
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Old 06-26-03, 09:05 PM   #23
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Take the bicycle in, tell them you don't mind waiting till they have
a few minutes to estimate it for parts , labour,and time etc.
Then sit on the counter and wait.
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Old 06-26-03, 10:21 PM   #24
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I went to one bike shop for ages (as a loyal customer does) where most of the people were nice except this one bloke who just had way too much attitude. In the end it got to me and I tried a shop that supposedly only catered for serious roadies - best decision I ever made - I've not had to leave my bike overnight once yet - and as a commuter that type of turnaround is a real blessing.
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Old 06-26-03, 10:42 PM   #25
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I know how busy my local guy gets and so at times I'll ask if he can fit my bike in later in the week. He usually tells me he will do it right away or within a couple of hours.

With that kind of attitude I don't mind the very rare times that he asks me to book the bike in the next day.

I think that some shops, of all kinds, get to know their regulars and they start to think that "oh that's Bob, he'll wait while I serve someone else". That's what looses them business. If I go into the LBS and they're busy, I'm the one that tells them to serve someone else and that I'll wait, they never presume that I will just because I'm a regular.
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