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  1. #1
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    why support the LBS

    Okay i am a relative newbie and am going to put my flame suit now. i have a question and if it sounds stupid then just educate me.

    why does everyone say support the LBS?

    I see no point in supporting the LBS, when they try to rip people off.

    I went to my LBS to buy a 2002 giant rainier last week and the owner will not go down on price. He said the best he can do is $20 off.

    So the best he can do is give me 3% off a $700 purchase for a bike that is 1 year old.

    That is ludicious, have he not heard of this thing called the internet.

    I can purchase the same bike online for $100 off AND no tax.

    To me LBS are ignorant and think that they are a monopoly around the neighborhood. He thinks that he is the only one that can sell me a rainier. no wonder his shop was empty.

    If the LBS really wanted to stay in business, they have to think of a new business plan, they should focus more on selling many bikes at a reasonable price than to try to sell 1 bike a month on a high profit margin.

    Someone please explain why i should pay more for the same item that can be bought with a click of a button and delivered to my doorsteps.

  2. #2
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    You shouldn't. But remember the lbs will fix your bike in time of need. Treat him like crap and you will get crappy service. If the price is reasonable I will always buy locally. Unless I find a killer deal of course.

    Thats the other thing. You are paying for a warranty. While you do get a warranty online they are harder to fill and may have more rules involved. Most lbs's will take a look, rip it apart and put it back together in 30 minutes. Warranty complete.

    Supporting local is also a grass roots connection. The more money you put into the community the better the community will be.

  3. #3
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    if i cant get a part at the shop i work at then my other LBS who knows me very well will match US or CDN internet store prices and include warranty.

  4. #4
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    because, odds are, the same people that made it as easy to buy a bike as clicking on a button will not be able to help you when something breaks, or have a question about how something works, or just want to chitchat. nor will they be able to give you good information on local rides and clubs.

    i wouldnt say they're exactly ripping people off either. small bike shops don't have the purchasing power of the larger online places, thus cant receive as much of a discount from the supplier. it doesn't work that way.
    i ride bikes.

  5. #5
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    Originally posted by fore
    because, odds are, the same people that made it as easy to buy a bike as clicking on a button will not be able to help you when something breaks, or have a question about how something works, or just want to chitchat. nor will they be able to give you good information on local rides and clubs.

    i wouldnt say they're exactly ripping people off either. small bike shops don't have the purchasing power of the larger online places, thus cant receive as much of a discount from the supplier. it doesn't work that way.
    I undersand the part about purcashing power.

    but i am sure the bike shop owner can get a 2002 rainier for a lot less than the $680 he offered me. if he went to 650 i might have bought from him, his profit margin would have been less but none other the less he would have made money off of me.

    Now i have to order from the internet for $600.

    i tried to give the guy business but he must have though that he was the only guy selling bikes in the country:confused:

  6. #6
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    i just don't understand.

    These guys at the LBS got to get trough there thick skulls that they have to offer competitive pricing or they will not be around.

    Why can't they just be less greedy and give a good deal every once in a while. If a bike shop in Boston is willing to sell bikes at 20% off list to someone in another state, why wouldn't my LBS down the block do something comparable.

    my LBS wants $140 for a saris bones bike rack, but the guy from MI sells dozens of them on ebay a week for $90. guess what the guy from MI who makes a small profit margin on each sale will make a lot more money than the LBS who barely sells 1 every other month.

    I am no means asking the LBS to lose money on a sale but get with the program.

  7. #7
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    altho the LBS has to pay bills and pay his employees... if the internet companies and other actual stores can sell for cheap, then im sure that the other guy can match the price. in the states, i believe anystore will match a price in any state because they all use QBP (most of them) and pay the same cost price.

  8. #8
    Center of the Universe ngateguy's Avatar
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    The guy from MI may not have a lease to pay. Remember the LBS is the guy you are going to need when something goes wrong. Find a good one and he will deal with you. Mine has fixed things for free, fitted me on a used bike ( I bought from a friend)for me for free cause he knew me and he knew I was return business. Remember the point and click guys can buy and sell at higher volumes so they can give you a better price, but where do you take it when it is broken? I like the fact that if something goes wrong there is a face I can talk to. (and how much do you really save after shipping and handling?)
    Matthew 6

  9. #9
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    which is why i like my second LBS thatll match internet prices

  10. #10
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    Originally posted by ngateguy
    The guy from MI may not have a lease to pay. Remember the LBS is the guy you are going to need when something goes wrong. Find a good one and he will deal with you. Mine has fixed things for free, fitted me on a used bike ( I bought from a friend)for me for free cause he knew me and he knew I was return business. Remember the point and click guys can buy and sell at higher volumes so they can give you a better price, but where do you take it when it is broken? I like the fact that if something goes wrong there is a face I can talk to. (and how much do you really save after shipping and handling?)
    Like i have mentioned earlier, I would love to give my money to the LBS. But they just seem to stingy and want every last penny out of you.

    If the guy from another state can survive by giving 20% discount why can't the local guy survive by giving a discount better than 3%.

    if the guy from the internet can make $$$ selling in volume why can't the LBS do the same.

    Someone mentioned that the LBS has overhead such as lease at employees to pay, but i am sure the store in MI has overhead, lease and employees to pay also.

    it just goes down to the owner of the LBS that can't except change and he has been running his business the same why since the stone ages. He doesn't realize that every joe jane or larry can buy the goods he has for a lot cheaper anywhere.

    And they wonder why they can't make any money and have to shut down.

    My LBS told me that he was the only one who was carrying the giant. i showed him the printout that i got of the web that showed 30 other dealers in NY that was willing to sell me the same bike, i also showed gave him websites that were selling the same bike for $100 less then he was. unfortunately he didn't know what the internet was.

    --- don't mind me just my rant for the day since i really wanted the rainier but now have to wait a week for it to come in the mail.--

  11. #11
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    I support 3 different LBS's in my area (1 main and two others if my main one doesn't carry what I want.) I respect my LBS's and I do as much business as possible with them, but, I live on a budget. I can't afford to buy new toys on a whim so everything must have a purpose (not "It's black!" ) therefore, cost is a concern, but so is loyalty so I've come up with a hard and fast rule: If my savings after shipping and handling is only a couple bucks less than my LBS, the LBS gets my money. But, if it's a killer deal (ie. a $30 computer for $14) kaclick-click away.

    Besides bike-porn ROCKS!!!! :thumbup: :thumbup:

  12. #12
    Footballus vita est iamlucky13's Avatar
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    Don't condemn all on the account of one. If you feel you got a bad rap at one LBS, check out the others. Each one is different.
    I've got two that I kinda like and I like them because they are very friendly, they give service for the bikes they sell, and usually offer other incentives. Neither of them seem to like haggling, but their prices compare to each other and to other bike shops. I was actually less impressed by the shop that seemed more open to bargaining, but it was a part time deal for the guy.
    As for the original question: People like to support the LBS because that ensures the existance of a conveniant place to get face to face customer service, parts, and the ability to actually touch something before you buy. Some of the guys who have been around this forum for a while can tell you it's a great benefit to know the bike shop man better than your doctor.
    "The internet is a place where absolutely nothing happens. You need to take advantage of that." ~ Strong Bad

  13. #13
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    Originally posted by iamlucky13
    Some of the guys who have been around this forum for a while can tell you it's a great benefit to know the bike shop man better than your doctor.
    It's so true!!

  14. #14
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    I love my LBS. He has made many deals w/ me on bikes and service.If i need it in a hurry he'll get it out quick even right then and there.But I've never haggled on prices w/ him. He just started giving me deals(though we buy a lot,7 of us in the fam that ride).However i'll ask for a part sometimes and he'll tell me he cant get a good deal on it and to get it froman online dealer like pricepoint,jenson,nashbar etc.He says he'll put it on but they can give me a better deal.Anyway just shop around find a good LBS whether they give you a "deal" or not.The service goes a long way a lot of times.

  15. #15
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    Get to know the guys at your LBS they must know you buy your first name know your voice over the phone. They must have your number in there personal directorery they must have your e-mail add. And you must be in the store once or twice a week just to visit them or to braus. This helps you in many ways you get to make friends with people that play a very important role in your life. They give you free services they loan you parts while yours is on order, they give you discount aswell as let you pay at the end of the month or even let you pay for the more expensive items over time with out chargeging you intrest. They will understand the urgentse if you need your bike the next day after a service.
    But remember u need to be loyal to them aswell in more than one way. You must support all the local races that they might sponsor.
    You must defiend them in any club politics. Fore evey relationship, no matter what kind of relationship, it is a two way street so don't espect any output form them if you haven't put in any input tawards the relationship.

  16. #16
    Senior Member bikerider's Avatar
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    Originally posted by johndoe
    why does everyone say support the LBS?

    I see no point in supporting the LBS, when they try to rip people off.
    I see no point in generalizing to such a degree.

    I went to my LBS to buy a 2002 giant rainier last week and the owner will not go down on price. He said the best he can do is $20 off.

    So the best he can do is give me 3% off a $700 purchase for a bike that is 1 year old.

    That is ludicious, have he not heard of this thing called the internet.

    I can purchase the same bike online for $100 off AND no tax.
    I don't see the problem. Just as you can make an offer, he can refuse it and vice versa. I don't think that any shop is obligated to discount anything and he may have been unwilling to do so for you because he thought you would be even more trouble as a customer down the road. I don't see how this could be construed as ripping you off.

    Besides, when was the last time you bargained for food at the grocery store, or on a shirt at the GAP? I prefer not to start chiseling with a small business that actually provides service. Somehow, I doubt that this "rip-off" artist drives home in a Porsche at the end of the day.

    To me LBS are ignorant and think that they are a monopoly around the neighborhood. He thinks that he is the only one that can sell me a rainier. no wonder his shop was empty.

    If the LBS really wanted to stay in business, they have to think of a new business plan, they should focus more on selling many bikes at a reasonable price than to try to sell 1 bike a month on a high profit margin.

    Someone please explain why i should pay more for the same item that can be bought with a click of a button and delivered to my doorsteps.
    There are a number of reasons to shop at a good LBS.

    Some people actually like to ride bicycles before they buy them. If you decided to buy the Giant Rainier after testing one at a shop then they provided a service to you for which they received no compensation (hardly ripping you off, huh?)

    A bike shop should make sure that the bike you buy fits you properly. They might also be willing to make minor changes (seat, stem, etc) for you at the time of sale for free or for a significant discount. Also, the bike will be assembled.

    Most LBS's offer a 30-day free 'tune-up' where they make minor adjustments to compensate for the inevitable 'breaking in'.

    If something goes wrong with the bike which would be covered under warranty, dealing with a LBS is usually a lot easier than a mail-order outfit.

    Many LBS mechanics will take the time to show you how to maintain your bike, though they are under no obligation to (though I do know of a shop here which offers free group classes on bike repair). This can be quite valuable for a person who wants to learn to maintain their bike.


    In other words, the extra money is going towards service. For most people who ride, a good LBS is indispensible. Having a good rapport with them can be very helpful when you are in a bind. For some, the lower prices with mail-order trumps all the advantages of a LBS. Since most people still need their bikes fixed for them, there will always be a demand for local bike shops. Now, since you have both options available then why are you complaining?

  17. #17
    WallaWalla! Rotifer's Avatar
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    tell him to go **** himself. We will help you.
    Jeff

  18. #18
    cycle-powered nathank's Avatar
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    If the guy from another state can survive by giving 20% discount why can't the local guy survive by giving a discount better than 3%.
    ok, first, a LBS has many costs and overhead that an internet retailer or mail-order place does not:

    #1 they provide service! this means you can test-ride a bike or a saddle or whatever before oyu buy it. this means you can bring you bike in for repairs or get things fixed on warranty w/ minimal or no paperwork and no shipping (example, a friend oredered a suspension fork from a mail-order company. it came w/o elastimers. he called and they said he was full of sh*t - that theye were in there and he was lying - and he had go to the LBS and buy the elastimers)

    Having repair staff and knowledgable sales employess costs lots of money. as i understand LBS earn almost nothing on repair - i.e. it is mostly an overhead cost and they subsidize in order to earn money by selling new bikes. think about how much it costs to service you car, then think about your bike -- the /hr īrate is much lower and before you talk about complicated, bikes can be pretty complex relative to their worth...

    if the guy from the internet can make $$$ selling in volume why can't the LBS do the same.
    as to the volume thing: how can your LBS possibly sell in volume like an on-line/mail order company who does business all over North America and International too?? as to overhead comparisons: a LBS needs to pay for location, needs to have showroom space to display bikes and parts, needs a service department -- an Internet company need a cheap office with some phones and computers and maybe a warehouse or maybe not - maybe they order direct from supplier when an order comes.

    as far as saving on the TAX, well, that's basically a political loophole that the government has failed to close in relation to the Internet (not saying i'm for or against it, but it's not any choice of your LBS)

    if price is all you care about then buy online/mail-order - fine. BUT DO NOT go to the LBS, ask all kinds of questions, test-ride a few bikes and then go save $100 on a $1500 bike on the Internet and then later take it to the LBS for service. then YOU are ripping the LBS off: using their service and not paying!

    as a few others have stated, i support the local bike shop unless i find super super deals: i.e saving 50% or something is hard to pass up - but when i do, i DO not use the LBS for service/product "hands-on"/information and then buy elsewhere - get you info from the Internet (like say this forum)
    why drive when you can ride?
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  19. #19
    cycle-powered nathank's Avatar
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    and just to provide a little more info: this type of situation is not limited to Bike Shops but is pretty common these days as the combination of efficient distribution, greater mobility (driving), and high-volume/discounting have come together--- for instance the success of massive chains like Wal-Mart who succeed by offering super-low prices by offering a smaller selection of products at massive volume in really cheap storefronts with incredibly low service while paying employess virtually nothing (Wal-Mart has again successfully kept out unions by firing potential organizers which should be illegal but b/c of the "pro-business" climate it's going unntoticed)

    ever noticed that you pretty much can't buy a bike for less than $300 in a Bike Shop? why? well, b/c of all the reasons above, a LBS cannot meet the price of a Wal-Mart --- so small businesses either go out of business or find a niche market which is usually high-end

    on the good side, compared to say 20 years ago, in the US you can buy more for less b/c of Wal-Mart and discounters. on the bad side, SERVICE has greatly deteriated and local businesses have had to restructure and for the most part only concentrate on the high-end sales and customers who are willing "to pay for service" --- so if you need good sales advice for a low-to-mid-range item (be it a camera, bicycle, camping equipment or whatever) you pretty much have to go to the Internet or stick to the manufacturers (advertising) info --- try asking at Wal-mart about the differences between 2 cameras or bicycles - 90% of the time they will say "this one costs 30% so it's better" or "this one has feature x and y and this one does not" - do you need x or y? what does it do? ask how well the shifting works on the bike? or what upgrades you could do? they don't have the training b/c the discounter doesn't pay for it (unless they're unusual and educate themselves on their own dime)

    ok sorry, hope this isn't too long and boring --- i'm not really saying if it's good or bad, although i do personally miss having quality local businesses in my community so i try to speak with my $$$ by buying at small businesses when their service is good and prices reasonable...

    on the other hand i do think most of the huge discounters treatment of employess is horrible (if i remember right, Wal-mart starting offering it's first "real" health insurance program for employees last year i think) and i DO NOT support them at all b/c of their worker treatment - no i don't mean slave labor or anything, but unskilled dead-end jobs for millions of Americans with virtually no benefits or worker training or anything... and don't talk about "job-creation" - most of these jobs existed before at small businesses where worker treatment was good and included benefits and training - but most small businesses are not smaller or out of business... ---- i admit Wal-Mart is good at what it does, but i don't like what it does, so i spend my $$$ elsewhere!
    why drive when you can ride?
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  20. #20
    bici accumulatori pinerider's Avatar
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    Why support the local LBS? Don't support it and you won't have a local bike shop.
    ...!

  21. #21
    Senior Member CycleMON's Avatar
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    Don't let a bad experience with that particular LBS put you off from other shops, try to find another one within your vicinity. You will need to build a relationship with a LBS to get repairs done to the bike you ordered online; you can't send the bike back to the online store for repairs.

    Think about this: it will probably cost you more in the long run to repair the bike. You must also realize that the owner has to make a living.
    I try not to say too much, for fear of putting my foot in my mouth when it should be clipped to my pedals.

  22. #22
    Jubalayo Unogwaja! Bokkie's Avatar
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    why does everyone say support the LBS?
    It's a relationship. You the consumer, the lbs the provider. If the provider does not honour the integrity, then you the consumer must go elsewhere. Most lbs are friendly and attentive. Example, my Gemini 1000 is on prominent display at the lbs. It attracts a lot of attention. So far, the lbs refuses to let anyone else test ride it, because it is sold - by agreement at least. I get it on Sunday.

    Second, I phone them the other day to confirm I'll collect on Sunday and to ask them if they got the message that I would not be buying the Eggbeaters from them, nor the Shimano shoes, nor the Camelbak Mule - as I got all three locally. I explained that I want to see and feel the three items that they could only get on the day I come in to collect the bike, and that might be too late if I want to change my mind. They of course were sad that I bought elsewhere, but they understand why. That does not affect the relationship. If anything, I would drive 30mins to get to them rather than drive 2mins to two other lbs down the road from where I live.

    If you feel good about the lbs, do business with them. My only gripe with my lbs is that they are too enthusiastic about bikes and that makes it difficult to leave! They always offer me coffee, let me spend time with my 'baby' and generally are very sincere. There is a local lbs elsewhere that only if they were the last lbs in the world would I do business with them and then only grudgingly. They are too big, basically don't care, and are neither friendly nor knowledgeable. I would not recommend them.

    The one I travel to is super. Worth the drive. As the consumer, that is my choice.

    There are good deals on the Internet for sure. All internet sales are virtual - until you get the goods. Then the problems can begin, not will begin, but can begin. If something goes wrong, what do you do? How long does it take end-to-end? The lbs will usually look at it there and then. Does not mean they will fix it at that time, but at least you have a one-on-one communication. You can detect mood swings, emotions, bluff, when you go one-on-one, but on the internet you don't have that and cannot always predict what might happen.

    So if they are stingy and won't budge more than $20 and if you think there is a better deal elsewhere, then do that. Noone expects you to support the lbs because they are the lbs, in much the same way a community would not support a doctor with a reputation for botched surgery.

    You'll get to know the ones you like.
    If your bollocks ain't sore, yer ain't on yer boike!

  23. #23
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    Okay heres the info.

    I recently bought a 2003 Giant XTC2 and a 2003 Giant Yukon from a LBS.

    I got a great deal, and the best service ever.

    The owner measured me, game me great tips.
    Told me to come back for free tune up etc. etc.
    Also told me that he would ride with me anytime to see if i was riding correctly.

    If i wanted something that he didn't have on hand he would gladly order for me.


  24. #24
    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
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    I've worked in four LBS's. If you don't like the prices, YOU try making a living at it Every dollar going through the LBS's hands has to generate about 35 cents average profit before there is anything for the shop's owner to put in his/her pocket. This is called overhead.

    The prices you see on the Internet do nothing to alter that inevitable truth, and if you whine, you are just putting an invisible tatoo saying CHEAPSKATE across your forehead. Only bicycle-shop employees have the special power to see this tatoo... if you begin working at a bike shop yourself, you will suddenly see it quite clearly.

    I posted a thread a while back that may be good reading: How to be a bad customer (satire) Glad to hear you did end up buying from your LBS, because the assembly and service by the dealer is a prerequisite for a valid warranty with most bicycle companies.

  25. #25
    WallaWalla! Rotifer's Avatar
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    Yeah, wrenches recognize a cheapskate but they should also recognize the serious rider. You walk into a good shop in Spokane, Pullman or Seattle and they know. If you need a tire they pull out the box with kevlar bead tires for $9.95 or one of those seats that someone made them switch out because it "hurt their butt". Unfortunately we only have one LBS here and it stinks, they're bad mechanics, expensive and fat.
    Jeff

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