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  1. #1
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    Is service now sacrificial?

    Fellow bi-pedalers,

    I stopped by a bike shop on my commute home the other day and spent ~$100 on new tires. I assumed that in exchange for my business they would spend a few free minutes to put the tires on for me. They checked their schedule and had time to do so; however, they were going to charge me $14 (to put on two tires, and two tires that I had just purchased there? Really?)

    Am I stuck in a utopian mindset where patronage and service go hand-in-hand and have simply missed yet another bow-down to the almighty dollar, or was this bad service? I'm curious to see what others think or have experienced...

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Hooligan Abneycat's Avatar
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    Well, any bike shop that wants to stay in business is going to find a way to entice you to shop there - its nice to be able to try and buy on the spot, but its only really worth the markup with some products, and not with others. If I could take a serious saving by buying online without any drawbacks, why not?

    At the same time, shops have to try and balance - they're running on thing margins and tight schedules sometimes. A shop which constantly charged for service no matter what wouldn't be a shop i'd go to. A shop which can offer some cost/service negotiation, advice, and access to tools (the local shop just lets me load my bike on the stand and wrench it with their shop tools when I buy stuff from them, which is cool!) would be a choice pick.

  3. #3
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    I think putting on tires (for free) that you buy from them falls into the category of "it'd be nice of them to do" rather than "it's expected of them to do" category. I wouldn't expect my LBS to mount my tires for free.

    Not only is there time involved in putting the tires on, but there is an inherent liability built in to this kind of work. If the LBS mounts the tire and the customer gets a pinch flat a couple of hundred yards down the road, we know who will get the blame and have to pony up for a new tube. These types of costs typically aren't "built in" to the retail price, so if a customer wants that service, I have no problem with them being expected to pay for it.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    I used to install them gratis when I owned my own shop but I also eventually went out of business. If I were doing it over today I'd make sure that I got paid for everything I did.
    Last edited by Retro Grouch; 04-11-08 at 04:48 PM.

  5. #5
    POWERCRANK addict markhr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by effigy View Post
    Fellow bi-pedalers,

    I stopped by a bike shop on my commute home the other day and spent ~$100 on new tires. I assumed that in exchange for my business they would spend a few free minutes to put the tires on for me. They checked their schedule and had time to do so; however, they were going to charge me $14 (to put on two tires, and two tires that I had just purchased there? Really?)

    Am I stuck in a utopian mindset where patronage and service go hand-in-hand and have simply missed yet another bow-down to the almighty dollar, or was this bad service? I'm curious to see what others think or have experienced...

    Thanks.
    Try it some time for yourself, time how long it takes, subtract 25% for experienced mechanic, multiply by the mechanic's hourly rate - you may be suprised to find that it comes to that amount if not more.

    It's a business and while changing tyres/tubes may seem nice it's time consuming and stops the mechanic or assistant from working/helping on things they're paid to do.
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  6. #6
    Sensible shoes. CastIron's Avatar
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    You can't change a tire? What's plan 'B' if you flat out there?
    Mike
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  7. #7
    Happy old man al-wagner's Avatar
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    When I buy new tires for my car I get charged extra to have them mounted. So would assume the same would go for a bike...
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  8. #8
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by al-wagner View Post
    When I buy new tires for my car I get charged extra to have them mounted. So would assume the same would go for a bike...
    Pep Boys used to have the 4 tires for $100 sale, but that was just for the tires. Installation was $25 each (another $100) and new valve stems were $10 each ($40 more) then $10 for shop supplies, for a grand total of $150 added to the sale price of $100.

    Then there was the sales tax the state of Gerogia wanted at 7% ($17.50) and a $10 per tire disposal fee ($40).

    Total $303.50
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  9. #9
    The Red Lantern Rev.Chuck's Avatar
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    We price tires based on the cost of the tire. We do not add in the cost of installing the tire to each tire. We do this to be fair to all the people that install their own tires. Even if we are busy we will do on the spot install, but for a fee(The fee is the same for while you wait or leave it service)

    would you have expected free install with sewups?
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  10. #10
    Senior Member ottawa_adam's Avatar
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    Heck, last year I bought new handlebars and a used stem from my LBS and they changed them over for no service cost. I'm sure that took longer than changing 2 tires. That said, when I bought my bike I got free lifetime service. They're still honouring it after a couple years of having bought my bike. To me, that's the sign of a good LBS.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by ottawa_adam View Post
    Heck, last year I bought new handlebars and a used stem from my LBS and they changed them over for no service cost. I'm sure that took longer than changing 2 tires. That said, when I bought my bike I got free lifetime service. They're still honouring it after a couple years of having bought my bike. To me, that's the sign of a good LBS.
    Which bike store was it that hooked you up?

  12. #12
    Senior Member Milice's Avatar
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    Would I expect my LBS to install tires? No, thats one of the most basic jobs there is to do. Would i expect them to install parts that I was switching out a on new bike, yes.
    But most of the times if I am buying parts i do the work my self. I was in the middle of setting up my last cross bike and took my frame to the shop because I need and odd legenth spindle on a square taper crank. I went at a time I knew the shop would not be busy, and was asked if I wanted them to throw it on I said no, explained what the problem was with clearence for the chainrings and let them know that I would like to do it there if possiable.
    Sure use the stand over there I was told. Went out grabbed my tools from the back of the truck, and went on with the work. 3 bottom brackets later I had what I wantedcleanded up, and restocked the bottom brackes I was not going to buy. The shop wrench walked over a couple of times to see how it was going.
    I would not have expected the wrench to play around with what I was doing becasue I was buying a 20 dollar part from them. It would have cost more for his time to install and remove the different set ups I wanted to try then they would have made from the sale.
    If it looks like the $3000 bikes but costs less than a decent helmet, it probably isn't a wise investment.


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  13. #13
    Senior Member deraltekluge's Avatar
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    They have to charge for the labor one way or another. If they don't itemize it, it's included in the price of the items. And if it's included in the price, that means that people who don't need or use the service are subsidizing those who do.

  14. #14
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    When I used to work at a shop, we usually helped out the regular customers and installed different components for them for free if they are willing to wait. We did it for their loyalties and gave them reason to buy things from us in the future.

    I bought a close-out frame from another dealer last year. I brought in a headset and Campy UT crankset and the shop installed that for me for free. They even cut the steerer tube for me. I went to the grocery store and bought a 12 pack for them afterward.

  15. #15
    cab horn
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    Rofl. I bought tires now they should be installed for free?

    What next? Free headset and bottom bracket installs with purchase?
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  16. #16
    Two H's!!! TWO!!!!! chephy's Avatar
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    I don't know of any store 'round here that would install a part for free just because you bought it at that store, unless it was a really small job, or you really spent a lot. Certainly the last time I bought tires from my favourite LBS they asked me whether I wanted to install those myself or wanted to pay them to do it. Swapping tires is basic, but it does take some time and effort.
    Stomping as lightly as I can...

  17. #17
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    I just bought two slicks for my mountain bike and it took me about 20 minutes to install them both. I would have been faster but it was late and I was tired. It would never have occured to me to have the bike store do it for free.

  18. #18
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    Actually, effigy, I am curious. Have you had tires installed for you gratis by other stores?

  19. #19
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    Thanks to those of you who contributed valuable perceptions; it appears the pendulum can go either way. And yes, I can change a tire

    No, I haven't had tires installed before; however, I have had racks and a U-lock mount installed free of charge after purchase (at a different shop). Perhaps that is where I got the idea. The most valuable perception I've gathered from this posting is liability. I hadn't thought of that and that's a very good point. (Thanks Sprocket Man.)

  20. #20
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    Why would you not mount your own tires? Seriously--you admit it will take just a few minutes, and it's a chance to take a look at your bike to make sure everything's the way it ought to be. No flame intended, but I literally can't imagine myself buying tires and ALLOWING the shop to mount them. It wouldn't even occur to me to ask.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Tapeworm21's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by effigy View Post
    Fellow bi-pedalers,
    however, they were going to charge me $14 (to put on two tires, and two tires that I had just purchased there? Really?)
    We'd have charged you $20.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velo Dog View Post
    Why would you not mount your own tires? Seriously--you admit it will take just a few minutes, and it's a chance to take a look at your bike to make sure everything's the way it ought to be. No flame intended, but I literally can't imagine myself buying tires and ALLOWING the shop to mount them. It wouldn't even occur to me to ask.
    I know how to mount tires, but I'm not a professional. If I've had similar service in the past, why would I pass up a few minutes that my bike could be nearer to the eyes of someone much more skilled than I; someone that might say "Hey, I noticed this..."?

    Apparently I've misrepresented myself in posting this and have created some negative light. I'm not boycotting the shop or starting a mud slinging campaign for goodness sakes. I respect shops; I respect the guys who work there--hell, I'd love to be an apprentice at one; and I don't go around freeloading. I've simply had different experiences elsewhere and those have raised the bar. What human being doesn't weigh their past experiences against the present and inquire about it? I bought the tires, I installed the tires, and I've learned some things along the way. Hooray!

  23. #23
    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    It really depends on the shop and the relationship you have with them. I wouldn't expect just any shop to give me free service, but the two shops I frequent often give me free service or extremely low cost repairs. I also send a lot of business their way, and get on very well with the owners.

  24. #24
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    IMHO, it's reasonable to pay. I bought a tyre at a lbs, for $60. I asked if they could fit it, they said yes, for $8. I thought about it for a few seconds and paid them. Sure, I could do it myself, but would I change someone else's tyre for $8? Probably not. OTOH, it's pretty lazy to pay rather than do it yourself...

    Steve

  25. #25
    Senior Member Rober's Avatar
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    $14 dollars to change two tires is a a bargain. Just pay it and be happy you did your part to help someone else make a living.

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