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I guess I need more tools...

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I guess I need more tools...

Old 07-09-19, 07:28 PM
  #76  
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So you've never set prices for your labor on piecework in order to make a living. Bike shop owners do. There is the divide. You don't understand what it's like to be in that kind of business. So take it from some of us who have done it, OK? I might charge $25 as a standard rate for truing a wheel, but if someone charges $45, I will not declare him to be crazy.
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Old 07-09-19, 07:29 PM
  #77  
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Originally Posted by iab View Post
2 weeks wait at this point in the season seems about right for a good shop. In May, early June, expect to wait 3-4 weeks. Why? Because people are stupid and get tune ups when the weather is nice instead of January when the wait is a day, maybe two.
By the way,

That might be true in some urban paradise, but here in rural central California where every other day this time of year is 100 degrees or more, and where absolutely no one commutes on bicycles except poor farm workers and about 1% of college students, that's not really the case... I can ride all the way across Visalia (population 125,000), where the shop is located, through all of the busiest parts of town, and meet exactly no one on a bicycle. That applies any time of year.

This shop is full of fancy new carbon bicycles and caters to hardcore mountain bikers and folks who spend their summer weekends vacationing on the coast.

But you're welcome to continue making assumptions about the state of things in the shop, or about my level of experience. Doesn't really bother me.

-Gregory
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Old 07-09-19, 07:34 PM
  #78  
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
So you've never set prices for your labor on piecework in order to make a living. Bike shop owners do. There is the divide. You don't understand what it's like to be in that kind of business. So take it from some of us who have done it, OK? I might charge $25 as a standard rate for truing a wheel, but if someone charges $45, I will not declare him to be crazy.
Well when I take it to the shop across town, which is sadly not open on Sundays, it's only $20. So as long as I wanted it done at a shop I have no alternative until summer is over and I get my weekends back again. The price of the open shop ended up being off-putting so I'll do it myself. As far as I'm concerned this is the moral of the story - call first and consider the options.

I don't need to have experience in "that kind of business" to understand that a certain amount of money needs to be made in order to keep afloat. My father was a self-employed mechanic for many years and my uncle runs a highly successful hot rod shop where I also worked briefly for a time when the stars aligned (doublezhotrods.com). I get the idea. I also know many self-employed craftsmen who do work for a living wage, and most of them struggle because they are involved in making things less in demand than bicycle repairs, apparently!

-Gregory
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Old 07-09-19, 07:44 PM
  #79  
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Originally Posted by Kilroy1988 View Post
Different versions of this story keep popping up in this thread, and I get the point. It may apply for many. I'm not an incompetent, though. I've rebuilt carburetors, changed brake rotors and replaced flywheels and re-wired headlights, etc, etc... Much more intense and knowledge-based stuff than the practically intuitive work required for bicycle maintenance. I know how to true a few spokes, I just don't have a proper stand or much time to fiddle with things right now.

I would happily pay someone some cash to do some of this work for me because I'm very busy right now, but have decided I'd rather do it myself when I find time than pay someone a quarter of my daily wages to fix a couple spokes.

-Gregory
Whatever other skills you possess are not a factor. That is where you are completely missing the point.
If you are unwilling or unable to do the job you are in fact ‘an incompetent’ and should be ready and willing to pay a premium.
You can use all the examples you want but you are still wrong.
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Old 07-09-19, 08:01 PM
  #80  
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Originally Posted by downhillmaster View Post
Whatever other skills you possess are not a factor. That is where you are completely missing the point.
If you are unwilling or unable to do the job you are in fact ‘an incompetent’ and should be ready and willing to pay a premium.
You can use all the examples you want but you are still wrong.
You are confusing being incompetent with being incapacitated. I'm currently incapable of performing the task without the proper tools or time. Hence the thread title.

I'm perfectly competent, and now that the tools are on the way I know that I'll have the tasks completed before much time goes by. If I can rebuild dead 40 year old carburetors and completely strip a rusted 1942 Lincoln Continental bolt-by-bolt (which I've done) then I know I can damn well true a bicycle wheel and remove a freewheel. I can make all sorts of valid comparisons.

It's not rocket science, literally or figuratively.
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Old 07-09-19, 09:06 PM
  #81  
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I'm not even in the bicycle business. Pneumatic air tools and collated fasteners. One of the most annoying instances I had was:

A person walks into my shop with a palm nailer he wants repaired. I look at it and say, "the repair kit is $38. A new tool is $57. You'd be better off buying a new tool." He says, "Harbor Freight sells one for $19.95. I was hoping you could repair this one for less than $10. I could keep it as a backup." I tell him to figure in an extra $20 on each job and quit wasting both of our time. If the Harbor Freight tool lasts longer than 1 job then he'll make an extra $20.
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Old 07-09-19, 09:20 PM
  #82  
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Noglider, as he so often does with his insightful and gentle remonstrances, said it best and I was hoping he'd have the last word.

I will just suggest to the OP that if he had simply said, in his first post, "The bike shop wanted $X to do Y repair, which prompted me to think I could probably learn to do it myself if I invested in a few tools and was willing/able to devote the time." , that would have been met with a collective nod of agreement and a more productive thread. After all, who would disagree with buying more tools? Yet something in the OP's tone has, I think, got up people's noses and it has gone on for 3 pages. (For me it was the word "disgusted" in the opening post. "More than I was willing to pay" OK, but "disgusted"? Really? ) Now, if the OP was pissed off and just wanted to vent, fine, but unlike the Twitterverse, not all your readers are going to agree with you and there is something in the OPs style and tone that makes me hostile to his argument, even if his facts are correct. Or as a campaign strategist quoted in the Washington Post the other day said, Telling the voters that the reason you lost was because they aren't moral enough to deserve you, is not an effective strategy to get them to vote for you next time. (quoting from memory, so no " " marks.)

A little self-deprecation never hurts, either.
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Old 07-09-19, 09:22 PM
  #83  
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Originally Posted by seypat View Post
I'm not even in the bicycle business. Pneumatic air tools and collated fasteners. One of the most annoying instances I had was:

A person walks into my shop with a palm nailer he wants repaired. I look at it and say, "the repair kit is $38. A new tool is $57. You'd be better off buying a new tool." He says, "Harbor Freight sells one for $19.95. I was hoping you could repair this one for less than $10. I could keep it as a backup." I tell him to figure in an extra $20 on each job and quit wasting both of our time. If the Harbor Freight tool lasts longer than 1 job then he'll make an extra $20.
Yeah, it really does come down to the specific details (who, when, where) to figure out whether something is worth the effort or cost. For example in this scenario, I could have bought a great wheel set that was fully tuned and used almost the exact same hubs and rims right here on the forum a couple of weeks ago... And it cost $40 less than the price that this shop quoted me to remove a freewheel, true a wheel, and overhaul both hubs.

I'm just really surprised that people are having a hard time believing that I'm confident about being able to true some spokes and remove a freewheel. I have a lot of mechanical experience working on farm equipment and automobiles, and have done most other tasks involved in bicycle maintenance, yet I'm still being called "incompetent."

I'm done arguing about it, though. The shop can charge $45 for the work and $45 for each hub overhaul - that's their prerogative... But they won't be getting my money for it!

-Gregory
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Old 07-09-19, 09:26 PM
  #84  
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Originally Posted by conspiratemus1 View Post
Noglider, as he so often does with his insightful and gentle remonstrances, said it best and I was hoping he'd have the last word.

I will just suggest to the OP that if he had simply said, in his first post, "The bike shop wanted $X to do Y repair, which prompted me to think I could probably learn to do it myself if I invested in a few tools and was willing/able to devote the time." , that would have been met with a collective nod of agreement and a more productive thread. After all, who would disagree with buying more tools? Yet something in the OP's tone has, I think, got up people's noses and it has gone on for 3 pages. (For me it was the word "disgusted" in the opening post. "More than I was willing to pay" OK, but "disgusted"? Really? ) Now, if the OP was pissed off and just wanted to vent, fine, but unlike the Twitterverse, not all your readers are going to agree with you and there is something in the OPs style and tone that makes me hostile to his argument, even if his facts are correct. Or as a campaign strategist quoted in the Washington Post the other day said, Telling the voters that the reason you lost was because they aren't moral enough to deserve you, is not an effective strategy to get them to vote for you next time. (quoting from memory, so no " " marks.)

A little self-deprecation never hurts, either.
Yes, I was disgusted. As I said at least twice before, last year the same shop only charged me $200 to completely build a wheelset, which included polishing the hubs and rims, overhauling both hubs, assembling the wheels and the cost of all of the stainless spokes and nipples.

The other day they quoted me $135 in labor just to remove a freewheel, overhaul two hubs, and true a wheel.

Perhaps I was wrong to have expectations of a more reasonable price after my other experience, but I live in an area where affluence is not common, and $135 for some minor repairs on a couple of bicycle wheels is more than my wife pays for a full tune-up on her Volvo.

As for self-depreciation, I already admitted to NoGlider that I cannot make it doing full-time crafting because I lack patience and tenacity. Perhaps I also lack modesty to some extent, but I'm not about to admit that I'm an incompetent when it comes to performing simple mechanical tasks. Because it's not true.

-Gregory
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Old 07-10-19, 01:01 AM
  #85  
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Missing Tools

Originally Posted by The Golden Boy View Post
But yet- still missing the 10mm socket and 5mm Allen wrench..
I have at least five 10mm combination wrenches plus another half dozen specialty 10mm wrenches; then there's sockets in 1/4" and 3/8" drives.

For adjusting 2 bolt seatposts:




I bought a bunch of Bondhus 5mm ball end hex wrenches in bags of 10 at wholesale cost. I have them in the tool bags on my bikes.



I keep extra cone wrenches in the various sizes in a drawer.

Reason being, these things get easily misplaced in the middle of a job. It's quicker and easier to grab another tool than try to find the one I misplaced. It'll show up eventually, usually when I'm doing a clean up of my work bench or shop floor.

My best bike tool investments - I bought these back in 1975.




Then there's the most important tool in my kit, the Campagnolo Frame Alignment Tool # 1:


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Old 07-10-19, 01:27 AM
  #86  
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Originally Posted by verktyg View Post

Then there's the most important tool in my kit, the Campagnolo Frame Alignment Tool # 1:


verktyg
Funny, i bought that same tool as a spoke wrench for trispoke wheels..?!
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Old 07-10-19, 04:12 AM
  #87  
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Speaking of cone wrenches, they come in handy when you are working on automotive tie rods as well.
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Old 07-10-19, 05:55 AM
  #88  
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Originally Posted by Kilroy1988 View Post
You are confusing being incompetent with being incapacitated. I'm currently incapable of performing the task without the proper tools or time. Hence the thread title.

I'm perfectly competent, and now that the tools are on the way I know that I'll have the tasks completed before much time goes by. If I can rebuild dead 40 year old carburetors and completely strip a rusted 1942 Lincoln Continental bolt-by-bolt (which I've done) then I know I can damn well true a bicycle wheel and remove a freewheel. I can make all sorts of valid comparisons.

It's not rocket science, literally or figuratively.
I get you but that’s really the same thing though. I only used the phrase ‘an incompetent’ because you had used it earlier.
It sucks that you probably overpaid some for the work but I don’t think it was anywhere near unreasonable.
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Old 07-10-19, 09:22 AM
  #89  
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Quote:So I'll be out $45 and will have to wait two weeks to pick up the rear wheel, which won't even have the new freewheel reattached yet (since I need it off when I overhaul the hub).

You do understand what is involved in putting a new freewheel on a hub, yes?

Quote:Originally Posted by Kilroy1988 Yes, I've watched it done multiple times and I even managed to do it before using makeshift tools, but that wasn't very fun.

"It sounds like you don't know what's involved. You screw it on with your hand."
What Tom said...
Kilroy, really, most of us here like to be helpful, but we need a reasonable place to start. If you are as mechanically capable as you claim, stop belaboring the point and get to work. And if you waste as much of the bike shop's time as you have spent here*, don't be surprised if their rates go even higher.

*NB, I am not referring to any time others have spent on this thread... Just your own.
Enough silliness for one thread. Best regards to all,
Eric
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Old 07-10-19, 09:46 AM
  #90  
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Originally Posted by Kilroy1988 View Post
As for self-depreciation, I already admitted to NoGlider that I cannot make it doing full-time crafting because I lack patience and tenacity. Perhaps I also lack modesty to some extent, but I'm not about to admit that I'm an incompetent when it comes to performing simple mechanical tasks. Because it's not true.

-Gregory
I wasn't asking you to admit you can't make a living at it. For all I know, you could do it. But the fact that you don't have that experience under your belt shows that you don't know that pricing your labor is tricky, and if you do the best possible job at it, you'll have some customers who think your rates are too high and some others who think they are too low.
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Old 07-10-19, 09:31 PM
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Old 07-10-19, 09:38 PM
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@thinktubes More or less. Not what I was expecting, but I stepped into it, that's for sure.

@noglider I definitely consider my pricing, but not from the vantage point of making a living. I've often had to rely on my crafting as a sole source of income since I have two college degrees and have been a full-time student much more of my adult life than a full-time employee. But no, I have never declared my craft a full-time gig in the typical sense of the phrase.

If it helps to put things into perspective, when I was busy with crafting I definitely had more people ask for quotes and not actually pay up to see a project happen than the number of projects that became a reality. My prices are clearly too high for most potential clients despite hardly making minimum wage based on my estimates - this is the primary reason why I really never seriously considered doing such work full time.

Those who I have worked with and who have paid my prices favorably compare my work to some of the best in the profession of making medieval reproductions, honestly, but it's a very small market and I have not been involved in it for long. Reputation means a lot, as we know in the cycling community as well. I'm 30 years old and have only been making things that some consider to be "high quality" for a few years now.

-Gregory

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Old 07-10-19, 10:31 PM
  #93  
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Originally Posted by Kilroy1988 View Post
@thinktubes More or less. Not what I was expecting, but I stepped into it, that's for sure.

@noglider I definitely consider my pricing, but not from the vantage point of making a living. I've often had to rely on my crafting as a sole source of income since I have two college degrees and have been a full-time student much more of my adult life than a full-time employee. But no, I have never declared my craft a full-time gig in the typical sense of the phrase.

If it helps to put things into perspective, when I was busy with crafting I definitely had more people ask for quotes and not actually pay up to see a project happen than the number of projects that became a reality. My prices are clearly too high for most potential clients despite hardly making minimum wage based on my estimates - this is the primary reason why I really never seriously considered doing such work full time.

Those who I have worked with and who have paid my prices favorably compare my work to some of the best in the profession of making medieval reproductions, honestly, but it's a very small market and I have not been involved in it for long. Reputation means a lot, as we know in the cycling community as well. I'm 30 years old and have only been making things that some consider to be "high quality" for a few years now.

-Gregory
I hesitate to step into this (but I will anyway :-). I've been self employed for 95% of my adult life, as has my father. What you learn in a hurry, is that pricing doesn't have much to do with "you", but has a lot more to do with your customers. Some percentage of people will ***** about anything more than free. Another, larger percentage will pay the prevailing rate, and be reasonably happy. Lastly, another small, but significant percentage will pay almost anything, and will be thrilled if you deliver top quality work, and are honest with them. They often have similar friends, and will pass your name along. Pro tip: Bend over backwards for the 3rd group, work for the 2nd group if things are slow, and chase away or throw things at the 1st group if they stop by or call. ;-)

2nd Pro tip: Don't work cheap, or for free. If you give someone a break initially they don't see it as generosity, they just see it as the normal rate. Then, when they come back and you charge them a more realistic amount, they feel cheated, or you give in and permanently work cheap for them and their friends. Nice for them, sucks for you. (This appears to be the root of this whole thread -- the previous owner gave you a very good rate on building and polishing a campy wheelset, then when his employee quoted you a higher, but still reasonable rate on this latest work, you felt like you were being taken advantage of. If the owner had charged you the $300-$500 that other shops might have in the first place, then the 2nd job would have seemed appropriate, and we would have missed 4 pages of economic theory. ;-)

Lastly, if your you're not getting jobs you bid at what you consider low rates, odds are, your customers are either in camp #1 , or they assume that you're not very good, because you're so cheap. Next time, try doubling or tripling your rate. It might take a few more bids, but as long as your work is good, you'll feel better about putting more time into a quality job, and they will feel that while it was expensive, it was worth it. Good work leads to more good work, and pretty soon you've got a name as someone who does good, if expensive work. The alternative is being bitter about being forced to churn out hasty work for tightwads. No one wins at that.
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Old 07-11-19, 08:54 AM
  #94  
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Originally Posted by Kilroy1988 View Post
Most of the other things require years of experience, certifications, licensing, and upper education.

No comparison.

-Gregory
Such is life. Certs, license, experience, upper ed is never a guarantee. There's the rotten to excellency in most every occupation. The goal is to find that balance and as with everything, your money, judgement of those skills and then value of your personal time.

Staying on bikey topic and one needs to step back, realize this is hobby fun. No biggie.

The truing may take time for some, others perhaps not but I think associating monetary and YOUR time to what you KNOW could do yourself has to be weighed.

Press your finger and order online a heavily discounted truing stand and related, delivered to your doorstop the next morning, use it for Job #1 and then resell for a profit. You may come out ahead. Lol

I think of one bike shop and where they've missed the mark or goofed a few others bikes. But they're always willing to admit and resolve. Also, I like to learn from observing and or tips, especially on the most latest bikes. Something I've never done or worked with but willing to roll up the sleeves. I donate to them in my own way - parts, bike or two, sometimes just a six pack. They've trusted me to where I can use the shop if wanted for my own stuff or on the owners personal bike.

Good luck-
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Old 07-11-19, 09:06 AM
  #95  
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@Kilroy1988, thanks for more of your story, but I'm not sure you're getting my point. Maybe you are. I can't tell.
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Old 07-11-19, 12:24 PM
  #96  
conspiratemus1
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Originally Posted by cdmurphy View Post
I hesitate to step into this (but I will anyway :-). ...The alternative is being bitter about being forced to churn out hasty work for tightwads. No one wins at that.
That was all outstandingly good, every word. So glad you stepped in.
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Old 07-11-19, 01:44 PM
  #97  
radroad
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Originally Posted by Kilroy1988 View Post
As a professional craftsman I can state with certainty that that is not the case. However, the wheel is hardly out of true - I've seen the work being done and know that it will take the guy 2 minutes to set it on the stand and get it right, and another two or three minutes to find the tool he needs for the old freewheel and get it off. I'm not used to paying $45 for five minutes of work. I can have a custom Bob Jackson frame built for the price of two hours of labor at that shop rate!

-Gregory
Just do the work yourself and stop complaining.

The shop owner has to cover his lease, employee salaries, cost of tools, time to train new employees, bookkeeping, wholesale bicycle and accessories and clothing purchases, launch and maintain a website, invest time in social media, organize local events such as rides and/or free repair days, etc. Etc. meaning dealing with social media such as yelp responding to bratty customers who expect both free and excellent repair work.

I rarely visit bike shops and have had countless doofus mechanics blow repairs, and I still can't defend your ridiculous sense of entitlement.
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Old 07-11-19, 03:38 PM
  #98  
Kilroy1988 
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Originally Posted by radroad View Post
...and I still can't defend your ridiculous sense of entitlement.
You don't have to, because you and I have totally different set of experiences and background. In a town where I can get a full tune-up by a European automotive specialist for $100 or where I can find any number of industrial mechanics who work themselves silly for $20 or $30 an hour, I'm absolutely taken aback by a $135 bill for a few little repairs to some bicycle wheels.

You're welcome to think otherwise. Doesn't bother me or change my mind.

And by the way, I stopped complaining after my first post. I'm over it. I'm picking up the wheel I left at the shop and have canceled the work order, and it's no biggy. I'm just replying to people in the thread because it seems like the respectful thing to do.

@cdmurphy Thanks for taking the time to write your thoughts on the cost of labor! Some good perspective and I appreciate it.

@noglider I get your point, but I'm not sure what you want me to say. I haven't had to do it myself, but it's not like I can't fathom the difficulty of pricing labor. Just like not every potential client has been happy with the quotes I gave them for my crafting, I was dissatisfied with the quote I was given for what I personally consider to be some rather mundane repair work.

It really just boils down to that, and I don't think I need to be labeled "entitled" just because I feel that I am being overcharged for something, as some people have suggested. At the end of the day, the value that I attach to anything is a personal decision. In some cases I may find others who agree and we'll do business, while in other cases a mutual agreement cannot be made and no transaction will take place. Whatever reasons I have for valuing something at more or less than a particular asking price is really my own business, though I've been fine with sharing my reasons here for others to discuss (and in some cases criticize).

If the shop can find enough people willing to pay their prices in order to stay in business and perhaps even be successful, that's fine by me... It doesn't mean that I also have to consider their prices reasonable - especially if I know of a nearby shop that charges less for the same services, or am capable of performing the work myself and consider the trouble of doing so to be worth less than the asking price. Both examples apply in this case.

-Gregory

(p.s. As courteous as I'm trying to be by replying to people here, whether they agree with me or not, I'm done with it now. This conversation is clearly controversial and the idea of labor being worth X or Y is a very interesting topic in and of itself, but the replies have become too personal and too diluted. I do not feel it is right to continue "bumping" this thread to the top of the forum. Half of what's been said here is a load of rubbish as far as its educational or moral value is concerned, and more than half of that probably came from my own keyboard. Cheers.)

Last edited by Kilroy1988; 07-11-19 at 05:08 PM.
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Old 07-12-19, 10:41 AM
  #99  
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Originally Posted by Kilroy1988 View Post
was told the labor for truing one wheel and replacing the freewheel would be $45, and that overhauling both hubs would be $45 each. This sounded ridiculous.
That is ridic. But I do understand it.

You need to find a poor soul like me in your neighborhood that would do all that (and probably more) for a 6-pack of Fullers ESB and bag of herb.
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Old 07-15-19, 11:58 AM
  #100  
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Watch You Tube videos on how to make a cheap truing stand if you don't want to turn your bike upside down, as suggested. Practice on a cheap wheel first until you get the knack. DIY saves a lot of money and gives you the experience to service your own bikes.
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