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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 06-17-06, 12:35 PM   #1
Sin-A-Matic
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Before I write off my LBS entirely...

With all the LBS love that gets spread around here, I've been trying to make it a point to frequent my LBS for my fixed gear parts. They're nice people and I don't mind paying full retail for parts, but I'm questing their labor charges. It's enough that I don't even want to visit their shop anymore.

Before I decide to take my business elsewhere, I'd like to get a second opinion -

I inquired about having a new stem installed and was quoted $50. And I even saw the labor rates in the book when the guy looked it up, so I know he wasn't mistaken. A stem install takes me no longer than 10 minutes and that includes the time it takes me to put the fork back in and situate the headset when I inevitably let it slide out and fall on the floor.

Before that, I was charged $35 to true a wheel that was hardly out of true. And the the mechanic even told me as much. I didn't ask how much the labor would cost before leaving it, so I had no choice to pay in that case.

Are those charges as outrageous as I think they are?
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Old 06-17-06, 12:37 PM   #2
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They seem very high to me. I get charged maybe $10 to true wheels. I would just change my own stem.
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Old 06-17-06, 12:38 PM   #3
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**** that.
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Old 06-17-06, 12:38 PM   #4
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Insane,
Reason I built one of these: http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/3...0/vertical.jpg buy your parts as cheap as you can get them and spend a few of the saved dollars on tools and a couple of books. This isn't rocket science for God's sake.
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Old 06-17-06, 12:39 PM   #5
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I went to a new shop around here. I couldn't get a chainring bolt into the backing,not to mention my new thicker chairing didnt give the bolts enough bite. He wouldn't let me use his the tool for the bolt backings because it was rounded off (labor $), and we had to replace the bolts with bigger ones (parts $).. turned out to be 13$ but I think he cut it down to 11$.
Another fixed rider in there got new pedals for 18$ and was able to use a pedal wrench for free. I just wished I had bought/brought in my own tool.
30$ truing is standard for alot of shops here.
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Old 06-17-06, 12:47 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shants
**** that.
That's what I wanted to hear.


I do install my own stems, but I was picking up a shim and some spacers for a new stem and thought that I'd get it all taken care of right then and try and support them. I had to bite my tongue to stop from laughing when he looked the stem install up in the book.
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Old 06-17-06, 12:50 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turbominnow
Insane,
Reason I built one of these: http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/3...0/vertical.jpg buy your parts as cheap as you can get them and spend a few of the saved dollars on tools and a couple of books. This isn't rocket science for God's sake.
Yeah, that's what I'm going to do. There are some great shops in San Francisco, but I'm about half an hour south of the city and it's a pain in the ass to lug my bike up there in a car.

What sucks is that this LBS is about three blocks from me.
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Old 06-17-06, 12:52 PM   #8
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I would tell them that their labor prices are way out of line. It is clear that you are trying to support a local business, but they are making it damn near impossible. I think they should hear that.
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Old 06-17-06, 01:17 PM   #9
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truing is something that should be charged base on how long it takes. 15 minutes of truing shouldn't cost very much.

50 for a stem seems like A LOT. i think a headset install around here is around 30.
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Old 06-17-06, 01:51 PM   #10
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$30 for a headset install!?!? I paid $8.50 less than a year ago at my shop, and another local shop has their current rate posted at $10. You guys are getting hosed!
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Old 06-17-06, 01:57 PM   #11
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Our shop does a lot of that little stuff for free. That's the only way to get people to come back. If you look out for your customers, they will usually stay loyal.

It shouldnt take more than an allen key to replace your stem, so I'd suggest doing it yourself. If fixed gear is your primary ride, then do yourself a favor and get some basic tools. Allen keys, headset wrenches, crank puller and a pedal wrench will get you pretty far. Chances are you already have a socket wrench lying around.

-Chris
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Old 06-17-06, 01:59 PM   #12
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Wow... a stem install over here prolly costs something like $3 - if they charge at all.
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Old 06-17-06, 02:23 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sin-A-Matic
That's what I wanted to hear.


I do install my own stems, but I was picking up a shim and some spacers for a new stem and thought that I'd get it all taken care of right then and try and support them. I had to bite my tongue to stop from laughing when he looked the stem install up in the book.
I could understand the charge if you had an old style one bolt clamp stem that required removing tape/grips, levers etc to install...but for a simple stem swap. Yer gettin burned.
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Old 06-17-06, 02:32 PM   #14
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yeah, i'm talking about list prices. last headset they charged me 10 bucks. plus they let me use the tools sometimes.

i think high labor prices are indicitive of the kind of people who frequent that shop. if they are charging that much for labor, they probably stock more high end road/mtn parts and the people who buy that **** might not be bothered by paying too much for labor.

if there isn't another shop with more reasonable prices or nicer employees, i would seriously consider getting some tools.

when your doing your own maintenance you tend to do it more frequently and regular maintenance can prevent a lot of more serious problems.
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Old 06-17-06, 04:00 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrbertfixy
i think high labor prices are indicitive of the kind of people who frequent that shop. if they are charging that much for labor, they probably stock more high end road/mtn parts and the people who buy that **** might not be bothered by paying too much for labor.

Do you think its nice that your LBS is charging other people more than you? Sounds a bit like price gouging those who don't know any better.

Quote:
i think a headset install around here is around 30.
The tool is like 120: http://phattire1.stores.yahoo.net/parhhheadpre.html Do 4 headsets yourself and the tool pays for itself or do a home brew headset press. Heck, I jave used 2X4's and a rubbner mallet in the past.

I think LBSs' get a lot more credit than they are worth. Even in a city the size of Houston, I am lucky if I can actually find the part I need when I am at a shop.
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Old 06-17-06, 08:27 PM   #16
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I went in last fall to one of my LBS to ask the price of installing a headset into a SS MTB frame I was building. They asked first what brand of headset? I said King. Then they said $50. I said your kidding right. They said nope King's are the most expensive to install. WTF? I ghetto put it in myself just fine (rubber mallet). A headset press is one of my next tool purchases. The majority of tools I have bought have already payed for themselves. I have nothing against most of my LBS. But, why pay the shop to do it when I can buy the tool, do it myself and save money.
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Old 06-17-06, 08:52 PM   #17
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i think the reason they are charging soooo much is that fewer people are relying on LBS to do maintance, so they have to up there prices. or there just getting more greedy?
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Old 06-17-06, 09:01 PM   #18
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I just got my wheels trued at my LBS, it was the first time they've been trued (probably about 400 miles on them), and on the rear they did have to do some slight retensioning. I was originally told $10 for each and by the time they were done (20 minutes later), they were charging me $60 for the set. I felt a little ripped off. Was $60 a fair price or did I get screwed?
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Old 06-17-06, 09:12 PM   #19
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Screwed.
Especially if they quoted you $10 each and did not consult with you prior to doing the "$60 work."
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Old 06-17-06, 09:16 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nothing
I just got my wheels trued at my LBS, it was the first time they've been trued (probably about 400 miles on them), and on the rear they did have to do some slight retensioning. I was originally told $10 for each and by the time they were done (20 minutes later), they were charging me $60 for the set. I felt a little ripped off. Was $60 a fair price or did I get screwed?
What? Your shop charges $180 and hour for labor?! I shudder to think what they would charge for a wheelbuild. Incidentally my LBS charges $25 labor for a wheelbuild, and $10 for a true. Both fair prices, but I'd rather do it myself.

If you buywheels from many shops, the first truing is free, much like the 30 day tuneup on new bikes.
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Old 06-17-06, 09:22 PM   #21
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Shops I go to:

Truing - $8-12
Wheelbuild - $15-20
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Old 06-17-06, 10:03 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by turbominnow
Insane,
Reason I built one of these: http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/3...0/vertical.jpg buy your parts as cheap as you can get them and spend a few of the saved dollars on tools and a couple of books. This isn't rocket science for God's sake.
Do you use cone wrenches for everything? Pedals?
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Old 06-18-06, 07:49 AM   #23
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This thread is crazy. I won't post all of our repair rates, but I will list some guiding principles:


Flat rates for repairs, no matter how long they may take.
Always stay under the estimate, even if by a few cents.
Try to finish the repair a couple days before it's due.

A couple of responses to some comments in this thread:

A stem install can merit a high charge if it doesn't have a removable faceplate. We don't get any fixies in our shop, let alone brakeless ones, so if it's a quill stem without a faceplate, it's going to take at least 10 min to undo the tape, probably compromising the tape if it's ishtty Cinelli or other cork ($10-15 for new tape), 10 min to remove the components, 10 min to put the components back on, 10 min to dial everything in. This is, of course, allowing minimal time for customer interaction and distractions from other employees and the phone.

Wheel truing...yeah it might take an employee 5 seconds or 20 minutes, depending on how round the rim is, whether the proper length spokes were used initially, whether the spoke tension was EVER equilibrated, whether the spokes are seized to the nipples, how dirty the wheel is (I like to clean them so the customer doesn't have to be embarassed by his/her laziness), etc. We charge $10 for a wheel true and $20 for a re-tensioning. A build is $40 because we don't skip any steps: proper spoke measurement, rim and hub spec, spoke prep, washers (if needed), nipple spec, and competent equilibration and truing parameters. Some shops like to vastly overshoot this because they claim to have higher standards or undershoot if because they feel a deal is in order for the customer who would otherwise do mail order. We figure that if we give a competent, round wheel to a customer with a lifetime guarantee of trueness and against spoke breakage (assuming we spec the rim, hub, and spokes) then $40 is a friggin' bargain. $20 can be added for tying and soldering.

Headsets. What to say. Do any of you own a tool to face either your bottom bracket shell or head tube? I doubt it. Any competent shop will and will know how to use such a tool. Without this facing, especially on high end headsets/bottom brackets, their performance and lifespan may be compromised. Also, the professional headset press, for example, is both expensive and well suited for the job. For those of you letting a jury-rigged washer/nut pole thing anywhere near a King, WHAT THE UFCK ARE YOU THINKING? Spend $100+ on a headset and potentially allow a makeshift $5 tool to ovalize or otherwise deform your bike jewelry? Very miserly and idiotic.

All that having been said, we base our prices on a $60/hr rate, which used to be much lower and the numbers showed that our repair area was eating isht as far as return on investment. Now that we modestly upped our prices, our customers are still happy and respect the work we do, and we are able to stay afloat while making our 1-2% margin.
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Old 06-18-06, 08:55 AM   #24
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12XU, you seem defensive about your prices, but I don't think anyone would call them unreasonable. There have been prices mentioned in this thread that clearly are unreasonable though. $60 an hour is reasonable. $60 for a wheel true that took 20 minutes is clearly not. $40 for a wheelbuild with a lifetime trueness guarantee is great, if the person who posted about the $60 wheel true had bought his wheels at your shop, the truing would have been free.
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Old 06-18-06, 10:07 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sin-A-Matic
I inquired about having a new stem installed and was quoted $50.

I was charged $35 to true a wheel that was hardly out of true.
Replacing a front-loading stem on a fixed gear bike certainly shouldn't cost $50.00 labor. $50.00 to replace a quill stem on an STI or Ergo equipped road bike would be on the low side.

Wheel trueing is another of those jobs where the price should reflect what the mechanic actually did. To tweak a couple of spokes is one thing, to check and retension every spoke is something entirely different.
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