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Why support your LBS?

Old 09-11-19, 06:57 AM
  #101  
mstateglfr 
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Originally Posted by Loose Chain View Post
I find it harder and harder to do business with LBS. Not so much the price but the lack of selection. They simply do not have what I need. I am tired of Trek, Specialized and C'dale, Bontrager etc. From bar tape to tubes, they just have no selection. Everything is the same Chicom box factory crap. I tried really hard recently to purchase a SS 18T Shimano freewheel at the three LBS, no joy there. They are willing to order but I can do that myself, I want to walk in and put my hands on the stuff. One of the LBS has most such things down in a basement and I have to explain to them what I want and they invariably give me these dumb looks like I do not know what I am talking about, quite contrary, it is they who are not knowledgeable. Then they go down into the basement and rummage around for 30 minutes before reappearing with something Bontrager or other that in no way is even close to what I wanted or described.
You have to recognize that this request may be outside the sweetspot of brick and mortar retail shops.
A lot of what I want is outside the sweetspot of the shops around me. Its no fun, but its reality. I dont begrudge them for not carrying what they wont sell for a long time though.

I am 6'5 and finding long enough pants in stores around me is brutal. Its because my needs exceed the wheelhouse of what retail clothing stores know they can sell- so i just go online and often buy from the store's internet site since they can 'carry' less popular products there without the holding costs.

Its my own doing if I am upset a shop doesnt have something like a looseball bottom bracket or a clamp on cable stop in stock. They shouldnt be expected to carry something that is asked about 3x per year or is sought out by 1 in every 2000 customers.
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Old 09-11-19, 07:04 AM
  #102  
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
You have to recognize that this request may be outside the sweetspot of brick and mortar retail shops.
A lot of what I want is outside the sweetspot of the shops around me. Its no fun, but its reality. I dont begrudge them for not carrying what they wont sell for a long time though.

I am 6'5 and finding long enough pants in stores around me is brutal. Its because my needs exceed the wheelhouse of what retail clothing stores know they can sell- so i just go online and often buy from the store's internet site since they can 'carry' less popular products there without the holding costs.

Its my own doing if I am upset a shop doesnt have something like a looseball bottom bracket or a clamp on cable stop in stock. They shouldnt be expected to carry something that is asked about 3x per year or is sought out by 1 in every 2000 customers.

I know what you mean. For years, I had to buy clothes at the high-priced "big and tall" stores, but now I don't have to anymore. Let me tell you, it wasn't easy losing all that height.

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Old 09-11-19, 07:31 AM
  #103  
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I’m kind of done building up bikes for myself, but seem to be redoing, and repairing a lot of bikes for friends, and family. Very happy to have a LBS, that will only charge me 20 dollars, their minimum, to open up a bottom bracket, or 30 dollars to service one. Also 30 dollars, plus parts to replace one. I don’t want to own all the different tools, or worry about what fits, and all the various options for replacement. Seems pretty cheap to me, and I’m supporting a local business.
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Old 09-11-19, 10:44 AM
  #104  
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For some reason, I can never seem to get a FD adjusted. There are just too many axes of rotation/adjustment. Rears are fine as are most other repairs. I'm happy to pay $14 to get those FD working smoothly (though usually I only give in and do so after hours of cursing to myself quietly as I fail once again).
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Old 09-11-19, 11:15 AM
  #105  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
No, it really isn't. Obviously, you found the convenience of them having it in stock worth the $3.00. That's a pretty small price to pay to fulfill an immediate "need".
That's called gouging.
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Old 09-11-19, 02:27 PM
  #106  
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That is true you need to have windows to "window shop" but as a retail buyer for 10 years I can tell you if your business doesn't have an eCommerce presence you are dead in the water and most bike companies should carry as little stock as possible IMO due to the thin margins. Selling high margin accessories, classes, and service is how bike shops will service. There are way too many types of bikes, parts, sizes, and trims to stock. That is why LBS wrongly pressure someone into the wrong type of bike or wrong size since they have their budget or credit line tied up in bikes.

Window shopping does't mean I buy elsewhere but it's on one of my original points that, there just isn't anything revolutionary with bikes year to year. I also love cars but everyone knows for most people they NEVER should buy a new car since it's a total waste of money. With a bike you a used bike a great option but you also can buy hold backs, closeouts, wholesale NEW with warranty at a fraction of the price. Again I think more and more people are starting to figure this out, but this doesn't stop them from window shopping.
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Old 09-11-19, 02:28 PM
  #107  
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Originally Posted by bbbean View Post
You said you liked to use LBSs for window shopping only, implying that you'd buy elsewhere. It doesn't matter whether you're talking bikes, cars, tools, or any other consumer product, it costs a merchant money to have the window and stock you're using to make your purchase decisions. If you take advantage of the fact that there is a Giant Propel in the window of the local dealer, then go online and buy one cheaper elsewhere, you benefitted from his investment.

I'm not sure what any of that has to do with cycling elitists. I'd think it has more to do with recognizing the investment all businesses make in inventory, real estate, labor, advertising, utilities, and the million other things it takes for a business to exist.

Have a great day.

BB
That is true you need to have windows to "window shop" and that does take product and rent but as a retail buyer for 10 years I can tell you if your business doesn't have an eCommerce presence you are dead in the water and most bike companies should carry as little stock as possible IMO due to the thin margins. Point being huge window displays or an array of stock for a high cost rental space is simply stupid. Selling high margin accessories, classes, and service is how bike shops will stay a float. There are way too many types of bikes, parts, sizes, and trims to stock. That is why LBS wrongly pressure someone into the wrong type of bike or wrong size since they have their budget or credit line tied up in bikes.

Window shopping does't mean I buy elsewhere but, one of my original points is that there just isn't anything revolutionary with bikes year to year. I also love cars but everyone knows for most people they NEVER should buy a new car since it's a total waste of money. With a bike you a used bike a great option but you also can buy hold backs, closeouts, wholesale NEW with warranty at a fraction of the price. Again I think more and more people are starting to figure this out, but this doesn't stop them from window shopping.
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Old 09-11-19, 05:57 PM
  #108  
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
You have to recognize that this request may be outside the sweetspot of brick and mortar retail shops.
A lot of what I want is outside the sweetspot of the shops around me. Its no fun, but its reality. I dont begrudge them for not carrying what they wont sell for a long time though.

I am 6'5 and finding long enough pants in stores around me is brutal. Its because my needs exceed the wheelhouse of what retail clothing stores know they can sell- so i just go online and often buy from the store's internet site since they can 'carry' less popular products there without the holding costs.

Its my own doing if I am upset a shop doesnt have something like a looseball bottom bracket or a clamp on cable stop in stock. They shouldnt be expected to carry something that is asked about 3x per year or is sought out by 1 in every 2000 customers.
That was an example, one of many dozens. Okay then, how about bar tape other than black or pink? Maybe Presta valve tubes that are not hugely long, or even lightweight tubes? A chain, should not be hard huh? A bottom bracket for Octalink? Pedals, maybe, huh?

Look, I am not going to buy a new bicycle every year just so I can keep up with what is being stocked for the latest 40 speed drive train "sweetspot" of marketing.
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Old 09-11-19, 06:16 PM
  #109  
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The overridding reason to support your LBS is they are always there immediately. If you need a part or something for a ride you want to go on now, thats where you get the part.
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Old 09-11-19, 07:43 PM
  #110  
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
That's called gouging.
Really? Then why did you pay it?

You're paying for the convenience of getting it instantly. The 30 cents they paid for the part is only part of the costs they incur to provide that convenience.

Pretty good chance that if you tried to buy that part online without purchasing something else, you'd be paying that much for shipping and it would take a few days.
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Old 09-12-19, 05:07 AM
  #111  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Really? Then why did you pay it?

You're paying for the convenience of getting it instantly. The 30 cents they paid for the part is only part of the costs they incur to provide that convenience.

Pretty good chance that if you tried to buy that part online without purchasing something else, you'd be paying that much for shipping and it would take a few days.
I do wonder though if he wanted to buy spokes to perhaps build his own wheel, if a set of 24 of these would have set him back $75 or so.
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Old 09-12-19, 05:52 AM
  #112  
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
That's called gouging.
Not sure you know what the word ‘gouging’ means as it pertains to business.
You have never bought a $2 bottle of water?
You never bought a $16 pasta dish at a local restaurant?
How about a $5 cup of Starbucks coffee?
Good for you!
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Old 09-12-19, 06:23 AM
  #113  
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
The overridding reason to support your LBS is they are always there immediately. If you need a part or something for a ride you want to go on now, thats where you get the part.
Pretty much every time I hear, "We can order that for you"

Isn't this why N+1?
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Old 09-12-19, 06:58 AM
  #114  
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Originally Posted by downhillmaster View Post
this.
Never ceases to amaze me that some adults cannot grasp the concept of local business in general. The interweb is not a new thing anymore.
If you are unable to weigh the pros and cons between the two there is nothing strangers on the interwebs can do for you imo
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Old 09-12-19, 10:57 AM
  #115  
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
I do wonder though if he wanted to buy spokes to perhaps build his own wheel, if a set of 24 of these would have set him back $75 or so.
Yeah, I'm not sure what the scenario was here, but I'm guessing they replaced a broken spoke, charged him $3 for the spoke and something else for labor. Whether the "overcharge" for the spoke is fair or not would depend on what they charged for the labor.

Stuff like that would probably cause me to shop around next time, but if this was a matter where they let me jump the line and get it done so I could do my day's ride, I probably wouldn't think twice about it. Then it's just like "overpaying" for something at a convenience store--I'm paying a small premium just because it's there when I need it.
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Old 09-12-19, 11:17 AM
  #116  
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Originally Posted by Jrasero View Post
I am all about free market. If a LBS has a tool, bike, or service that I can get there at a reasonable price and I will go there. Otherwise I have no qualms about going online since most of the time it's cheaper and shipping is quick at 1 business day. The fact of the matter is that LBS or brick and mortar shops are just un needed for most people. Margins aren't great on bikes, there hasn't been massive innovation in bikes where people are buying them every year, and frankly buyers have become smarter. Since bikes change very little year to year most bikes are just a new color schemes, so buying a closeout or through a wholesaler can save your thousands. I used to think you go into a LBS and just take whatever they have and if you are lucky they will order it for you at MSRP. I think this is why so many people in the past had ill fitted bikes, since LBS used to be the only place to get bikes and accessories. Now with the internet eating into margins why would you want to pay full MSRP for a Shimano group set when you can save hundreds buying online? I once asked a LBS if I bought the group set myself and brought in my bike how much they would charge to set it up. Honestly I was expecting a high number but the answer was boggling and infuriating, since the tech replied since I bought the items online and not through them they would have to charge me 15% more. First why even tell someone that and secondly me bringing in my own goods for service is higher margin and less of a hassle than ordering them from the store.


I agree some people will always want LBS for service they can't do themselves, warranty purposes, last minute service or accessories, support local business, or just to be part of community but frankly LBS need to adapt and some have turning their shops into bases for their internet sales, or selling closeout bikes online, doing classes or training. I have no issue with LBS but I find myself using LBS to window shop now a days more than anything
One bike shop I worked at just loved the "Window Shoppers" who'd come in, spend a lot of time asking questions about this or that component or groupset or other item, handling that item or items, and then leave only to buy the item or items online. Then they'd return and want us to put the item or items onto the bike for them. Of course we charged them a premium. After all we spent a lot of an employee's time giving them advice. We had a term for such people but forum rules here prohibit its use.

Cheers
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Old 09-12-19, 12:21 PM
  #117  
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Originally Posted by Miele Man View Post
One bike shop I worked at just loved the "Window Shoppers" who'd come in, spend a lot of time asking questions about this or that component or groupset or other item, handling that item or items, and then leave only to buy the item or items online. Then they'd return and want us to put the item or items onto the bike for them. Of course we charged them a premium. After all we spent a lot of an employee's time giving them advice. We had a term for such people but forum rules here prohibit its use.


Cheers

Listen I have worked retail for the past 10 years and know all too well about customers wasting your time, but never have we penalized them for it. Sure missed sale opportunities suck but imagine if you can't make up your mind at a restaurant and a server then taxes you 15% on your bill or you go to buy a car and you take 4 hours so the finance manager says you can't have any incentives and tacks on 10% extra just to spite you. That is really what it comes down to is spite. Money is money and the hustle is real and if that takes you talking up a few customers more than you would have liked and not ultimately getting the sale but making money for your bike shop then where is the foul? While you can learn a ton about bikes online and through forums nothing beats seeing and testing it in person. Frankly the last 4 cars I have bought were never test driven and I relied 100% on reviews but every bike I have ridden has been tested but not necessarily bought at a LBS in the end.


I also love building computers and Microcenter is like the Holy Land for me and others and commonly there is a handful of dudes who just love to chat and talk shop when all I am trying to do is grab a part and bolt. Do the employees get paid extra to answer questions and talk shop, NO? Countless people come in and do this and then literally say to the employees face, ah I will just go on Amazon or Newegg. Luckily Microcenter has price matching, has good stock/selection, and prices are good to begin with, and have a great return policy. You can't say the same about a bike shop. I have never been to a bike shop that price matches, has amazing stock, or know one that would allow you to return your bike as ridden even lightly.


Most people know dealer margins for cars are like bikes which are uber thin and a lot of the times they loose money and only make that back through manufacture incentives and sales goals, thus dealers rely heavily on parts and accessories. If someone got the bike at the price they deemed appropriate I guarantee you they buy more that day. Oh need pedals, helmet, rack, cages, oh and by the way we can install it here today. Bicycle retailer has the average profit margin of bikes at 36% and accessories at 48%. They found that high profits main reasons for success is smaller retail fronts averaging 2075 square foot, high profit stores generated at least 11% of their income from repairs and labor while low profit only registered sub 7%. Also high profit stores sometimes do fail to cover the cost of the bike, but make it up through higher margins, because dead inventory takes up too much space and eats at their credit lines

In the end if you want to be a dick and charge a penalty for a customer "window shopping" which has happened since the dawn of consumerism then at least be a proper sales person and don't tell the customer you are charging them "x" more due to circumstances that favor them or are not in their control. Sorry but I am not sorry the bike industry can't seem to get their crap together and this allows people to look at other avenues in getting bikes and parts cheaper

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Old 09-13-19, 04:50 PM
  #118  
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When people come into our store collecting information to help them make a purchase online, we give it to them. They are not our customer anyway, so what does it matter? Eventually they will get it from somewhere.

In the past it pissed us off, but no longer. Do we go the extra mile and provide instruction? No. Do we try to sell them something we have that we believe in and know. Yes, but mostly it is a fail as the customer typically has a preset idea of what they want, and is simply looking for additional info to solidify their choice. We just give them the facts.

Interestingly enough, several of these "window shoppers" have become strong advocates of our shop and send their friends in for service work and purchases. Unlike the cigarette commercial, "...rather fight than switch." we'd rather switch than fight, and make a little bit of profit at the end of the day.
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Old 09-13-19, 05:04 PM
  #119  
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I wish I knew anymore.

I'm like the OP, and prefer for a variety of reasons to support the LBS. I've lived a lot of places that didn't even have one, or if they had, it was one really bad one. So three years ago when I moved somewhere that had a number of very well regarded shops, some that had even made national publications, I was really, really excited.

I first went to shop 1 to get a significant part warrantied. It had already been to two other shops, and I had been unable to service it. (I'm a very good mechanic.) The shop told me they would, and a week later called me to tell me I could get my bike. When I got there, they handed me a bill for $100 for the repairs, and told me that no warranty was necessary...it had been serviced and was functioning correctly. When I said that wasn't what I had asked for, they basically said that if I wanted my bike back, I'd pay the bill.

The part didn't work though, so I took it to shop 2. That shop wouldn't give me the time of day because I'm not one of the regular "bar-flies" or hangers-on around there. When someone finally acknowledged my existence, the just said "well dude, guess you shouldn't have bought that." And that was it. Refused to help.

So now I won't spend a dime at the two most prominent shops in the area. Too bad for them, because I bought my wife an expensive bike last year. Online. But shop 1 basically robbed me, and shop 2 treated me like crap.

As for shop 3, I go there occasionally. They're nice enough, but their prices are astronomical, and make "Mellow Johnny's" in Austin (not a cheap place) look like Performance or Nashbar (RIP) by comparison.
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Old 09-14-19, 05:39 AM
  #120  
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Love my local bike shops. Only problem is, which one do I go to? Got a wealth of them around Minneapolis.

Amazon can suck my left one
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Old 09-14-19, 06:31 AM
  #121  
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Originally Posted by SnowJob View Post
Love my local bike shops. Only problem is, which one do I go to? Got a wealth of them around Minneapolis.

Amazon can suck my left one
My experiences above were in Minneapolis.
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Old 09-14-19, 09:00 AM
  #122  
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Originally Posted by Jrasero View Post
....That is why LBS wrongly pressure someone into the wrong type of bike or wrong size since they have their budget or credit line tied up in bikes....

THIS! A local Giant dealer tried to convince me that a medium he happened to have in stock on clearance was the right size for me, I'm 5'6" with a short waist I'm a S or 50/52 cm by any reasonable account and I'm likely never buying from that shop again.
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Old 09-16-19, 06:21 AM
  #123  
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I'm late to this thread, so here's my reason for supporting my LBS: My rear wheel developed issues. The rim was failing at the spoke connection points. The LBS hounded the manufacturer into replacing both wheels with a new, and better set for no cost to me. Second incident: I crashed in April and headset was a little loose as a result. I took the bike in and they fixed it free, under a recall warranty I didn't know about.

Service. Get that from the interwebs. BTW, my LBS is Riverside Cycles, located in Newburyport, MA.
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Old 09-16-19, 09:11 AM
  #124  
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Originally Posted by himespau View Post
For some reason, I can never seem to get a FD adjusted. There are just too many axes of rotation/adjustment. Rears are fine as are most other repairs. I'm happy to pay $14 to get those FD working smoothly (though usually I only give in and do so after hours of cursing to myself quietly as I fail once again).
My latest charge to get an FD adjusted was $20. Adding up all the time I spent pfutzing with it before I took the bike in, I was trying to save about half the minimum wage in my time (and I get paid well over minimum wage!). Why did I wait so long?
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Old 09-16-19, 09:50 AM
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himespau 
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
My latest charge to get an FD adjusted was $20. Adding up all the time I spent pfutzing with it before I took the bike in, I was trying to save about half the minimum wage in my time (and I get paid well over minimum wage!). Why did I wait so long?
Yeah, that's me every time. I have the tools to do it. Theoretically, I have the know how to do it, but I just waste a lot of time most of the time. When I have gotten it done, I'm definitely way less than minimum wage in the amount I saved.

Similarly, I have a toilet that is running intermittently. I've changed the flapper and the gasket. The next job is for me to pull the tank. The last time I did that, I tightened it back too hard afterwards and cracked the tank. Since it was a high flow toilet (for which I couldn't find a tank anymore), I had to jury-rig a solution with a tank for a low flow toilet (doesn't always get a great flush as a result). This time, I think I'm going to suck up my pride and call the plumber. Especially since I'm getting knee surgery tomorrow and won't be bending over for a while.
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