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How screwed up the bike shop business has become,

Old 08-30-21, 07:15 AM
  #201  
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On the hourly rates in more expensive areas and cost of living in those areas, etc............just to play devil's adv. for a second.......

You say it isn't possible to pay lower skill workers $30/hr for something that otherwise would pay $12 to $15/hr. OK. How about the fact the people WITH the money in the more expensive areas don't seem to want to pay the premiums to live in those areas? You buy into a more expensive area but then expect every service and offering to you to somehow magically cost the same as if the cost of living for those folks was rural Indiana.

That's such a messed up way to be. So it's OK for you to demand to pay only for the cost of living of rural Indiana while you live in an expensive urban area. So.........how exactly are folks expected to live on a rural Indiana wage in a metro area? Spend all their money and time commuting in?

It's pretty two faced to think this but it's pretty common in the US.

"Why am I paying xyz for this?!!!".........don't like the prices, don't live there!
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Old 08-30-21, 07:28 AM
  #202  
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Originally Posted by CheGiantForLife View Post
What do people typically need a goldsmith for ?
Making custom jewelry and repairing damaged gold jewelry.
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Old 08-30-21, 08:32 AM
  #203  
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Originally Posted by CheGiantForLife View Post
What do people typically need a goldsmith for ?
This is like asking what do people typically need an auto-mechanic or a tennis coach for.
Its in the name.
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Old 08-30-21, 11:34 AM
  #204  
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People will pay a mechanic $99 / hour....
They'll pay a company $99/hour for a mechanic's time and expertise, but it's a rare mechanic who gets $99/hour. In fact, around here, it's a rare company that will accept only $99/hour for a mechanic's time.
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Old 08-30-21, 03:56 PM
  #205  
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Originally Posted by philbob57 View Post
They'll pay a company $99/hour for a mechanic's time and expertise, but it's a rare mechanic who gets $99/hour. In fact, around here, it's a rare company that will accept only $99/hour for a mechanic's time.
As I was getting ready to put a set of brake pads on a customer's car a few years ago, she asked how much the labor charge would be. I told her $50. She then asked how long it would take, and I said about half an hour. She then said, "Well then that's too much. It's like I'm paying you $100 an hour." To which I told her that she's not just paying me for my time, but my expertise. I told her that she was more than welcome to just pay for the brakes and take them home and put them on herself if she liked, and then she didn't think it was such a bad deal to pay the labor charge.
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Old 08-30-21, 04:16 PM
  #206  
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To which I told her that she's not just paying me for my time, but my expertise.
Not arguing about the cost - just pointing out that the rent collectors usually take a big bite out of our spending. Managers add some value that would not be produced without them, but much of our spending is due to top managers scratching each others' backs, exactly as Adam Smith stated they would (not that Smith was close to perfect).
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Old 08-30-21, 06:46 PM
  #207  
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Originally Posted by elcraft View Post
I face a similar problem. I am a goldsmith with over 40 years experience. People will pay a mechanic $99 / hour, but balk when I want to charge $75/ hour. There is a perceived value issue here. If a person doesn’t want to learn to do a particular repair or acquire the specialty tools to do so, how little are they willing to pay for an expert job? The cost is often pegged to the value of the initial item. Thus a BSO from a big box store might be more challenging to get to operate properly than a more quality oriented brand bike would, but the customer won’t be willing to pay for the actual time and materials.
When I need to repair or make an item in silver, I usually have to hand fabricate something as there are no pre-made components in Silver. The same item, fabricated in gold will actually take less time because there are available components in gold. In other words, a silver item, though it is worth a fraction of a comparable gold one, will take three times longer to work on. The percentage of the final cost that is Labor is considerably higher. But the customer doesn’t understand why it costs so much more to make! Again; “perceived value”!
Everyone wants to make $1,000,000/hr and pay their gardener and babysitter $1/hr under the table while grandstanding “There should be a living wage law!” Just the way it is.

I remember having dinner with a few family friends maybe 10 years ago. Lady was going on about how much she was charged for her porch step handrails. She didn’t know I was a miscellaneous ironworker.”Do you think just because he doesn’t have a degree he isn’t worth as much? Can you figure out the coping and weld it together?”
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Old 08-31-21, 12:37 AM
  #208  
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How to remedy this problem? You think this is the only industry suffering this problem? Have you not been listening to the news in the last several years? Bike shops, all retail, restaurants, you name it all have issues with hiring and retaining workers. Where did they go? Did they all die? Get abducted by aliens?

"Worker shortage." I am SO SICK of hearing this baloney repeated by the media. We don't have a worker shortage. We have a WAGE shortage! Workers aren't taking jobs because the pay is too low. Market forces at work, plain and simple.

Universal basic income would go a LONG way to remedying this situation. If we don't do something, we're basically leaving about half of our workforce behind. Making lame excuses about "the global economy," or "highly-skilled workforce," or "gotta get a STEM degree" or any other manner of rationalizations aren't going to solve the problem. Race to the bottom economics are to blame for wages no one wants to work for.

No kid today with half a brain would consider a "career" as a bike mechanic. But if it were suddenly a lucrative career that paid the bills and provided for a worker? Hey, maybe then the smart kids WOULD consider this as an option. If you think about it, we're devaluing so many of our career choices, we're ending up with unemployed, homeless on one end, and the professionals on the other, with nothing in between.

And every parent wants their kid to be "the best." With this mindset, we're basically saying, "Yeah, any job that you have to clean, fix, or build is A NO GO!
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Old 08-31-21, 12:40 AM
  #209  
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Originally Posted by Milton Keynes View Post
As I was getting ready to put a set of brake pads on a customer's car a few years ago, she asked how much the labor charge would be. I told her $50. She then asked how long it would take, and I said about half an hour. She then said, "Well then that's too much. It's like I'm paying you $100 an hour." To which I told her that she's not just paying me for my time, but my expertise. I told her that she was more than welcome to just pay for the brakes and take them home and put them on herself if she liked, and then she didn't think it was such a bad deal to pay the labor charge.
Great anecdote. Thanks for sharing. I experienced the same many times. "Oh so I'm fast, skilled and have all the proper tools, and will get you out the door quicker, so I should be PENALIZED?" Screw that!

The arrogance is another way quality service people are chased out of their jobs.
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Old 08-31-21, 01:27 AM
  #210  
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Originally Posted by ARider2 View Post
Bike shops no longer carry cool stuff for people to browse anymore because it does not sell. The product does not sell in bike shops because people buy the stuff for a few dollars less online. As a result most bike shops are stocking fewer items and as time goes on it will only get worse. Performance bike may have had a huge selection of stuff but apparently it was not selling enough for them to keep their doors open.
I'm not disputing any of that, I'm just saying why I don't go to them anymore. There's nothing to look at. The 90's MTB explosion/pre-China WTO era was actually the best time when there were tons of small component manufacturers making cool parts. I could spend all day in the shops just drooling.

There's a shop in Japan that reminds me of shops here in the 90's.


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Old 08-31-21, 04:33 AM
  #211  
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Originally Posted by LV2TNDM View Post
How to remedy this problem? You think this is the only industry suffering this problem? Have you not been listening to the news in the last several years? Bike shops, all retail, restaurants, you name it all have issues with hiring and retaining workers. Where did they go? Did they all die? Get abducted by aliens?

"Worker shortage." I am SO SICK of hearing this baloney repeated by the media. We don't have a worker shortage. We have a WAGE shortage! Workers aren't taking jobs because the pay is too low. Market forces at work, plain and simple.

Universal basic income would go a LONG way to remedying this situation. If we don't do something, we're basically leaving about half of our workforce behind. Making lame excuses about "the global economy," or "highly-skilled workforce," or "gotta get a STEM degree" or any other manner of rationalizations aren't going to solve the problem. Race to the bottom economics are to blame for wages no one wants to work for.

No kid today with half a brain would consider a "career" as a bike mechanic. But if it were suddenly a lucrative career that paid the bills and provided for a worker? Hey, maybe then the smart kids WOULD consider this as an option. If you think about it, we're devaluing so many of our career choices, we're ending up with unemployed, homeless on one end, and the professionals on the other, with nothing in between.

And every parent wants their kid to be "the best." With this mindset, we're basically saying, "Yeah, any job that you have to clean, fix, or build is A NO GO!
Good post. If people are refusing lower paying service jobs, what are they doing instead now?

The "career" angle. Does bike mechanic have a certification process?
To me, it feels on par with snowboard service or lawn mower service.
It's a skilled job, but feels like a junior level trade that has less complexity.
Sort of like house painting vs. building a deck.
Not to knock it, just trying to understand the public perception.
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Old 08-31-21, 04:35 AM
  #212  
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Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
I'm not disputing any of that, I'm just saying why I don't go to them anymore. There's nothing to look at. The 90's MTB explosion/pre-China WTO era was actually the best time when there were tons of small component manufacturers making cool parts. I could spend all day in the shops just drooling.

There's a shop in Japan that reminds me of shops here in the 90's.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rH07rceWHVQ&t=2s
Blue Lug is such a cool place! I would love to visit there,in person,just to drool...John
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Old 08-31-21, 06:47 AM
  #213  
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Originally Posted by LV2TNDM View Post
Great anecdote. Thanks for sharing. I experienced the same many times. "Oh so I'm fast, skilled and have all the proper tools, and will get you out the door quicker, so I should be PENALIZED?" Screw that!

The arrogance is another way quality service people are chased out of their jobs.
I didn't get to the point where I would have offered to work slower, but that would have been next on the table. I'd have gladly done her brake job in half an hour and then either screwed off for another half an hour or worked on other jobs to bring in more revenue and then tell her that her car was done. Doesn't make much difference to me if she sits there for half an hour or two hours if she's going to complain about a labor charge. You'd think people would want to pay a little more for prompt, fast service.

I think the thing that really irritated me about it was that she would not have gotten her brakes replaced cheaper elsewhere, so complaining about the price was ridiculous.
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Old 08-31-21, 06:54 AM
  #214  
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Originally Posted by philbob57 View Post
Not arguing about the cost - just pointing out that the rent collectors usually take a big bite out of our spending. Managers add some value that would not be produced without them, but much of our spending is due to top managers scratching each others' backs, exactly as Adam Smith stated they would (not that Smith was close to perfect).
If I could make enough on the profit from a set of brakes alone to cover overhead for the shop, then I'd do it. But paying utilities, bank loans, wages, insurance, replacing broken tools, etc all comes at a cost. But people do deserve to be paid for their time & expertise.

And I'm the only manager, so I have to scratch myself on the back.

So I'm not going to knock bike shops. I can do regular maintenance and some light mechanical work on my bike, but when there's something I need fixed and I don't know how to do it, I rely on those with expertise in that area.
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Old 08-31-21, 06:55 AM
  #215  
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As long as the person is honest and does the job right, I don't mind paying for labor and materials.
Under those circumstances, I don't even mind over paying.
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Old 08-31-21, 10:52 AM
  #216  
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I'm struggling to find a local bike shop that can service my bikes competently. I've basically been forced into servicing my own bikes over the last decade, which is not my preference. I'm going to try another shop next week a little further away, so hopefully 10th time lucky! I suspect low wages are the main issue with lack of quality bike shop service. It's probably not attracting the best people.
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Old 08-31-21, 11:31 PM
  #217  
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Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
I haven't been in a bike shop in a couple of years. Ignoring the issue of how much money you can save by buying online, the shops near me don't carry anything cool anymore. If they did I'd spend a little money and support them. The Trek dealer here may as well rename the place Bontrager Bike Shop. I used to spend all kinds of time just browsing inside the shops drooling over stuff but no more.

Performance Bike was actually the best shop, they had a huge selection of stuff but of course they're no more.
Similar to the bike shops here in t own that only carry one brand of bikes and few parts. Part of the reason for the low stock is t hat they don't want a lot of money tied up in stop t hat may not sell quickly. One shop that I used to frequent tells me that they can order the part and have it in a week. That's all well and good if I don't need the part immediately. I can order the part online and it gets delivered to my residence thereby saving me a second trip to the bike shop just to pick up t he part. Also, before they'll order anything most bike shops here require a substantial deposit that's usually 50 of the selling price. To make it worse some shops need a certain minimal amount on their order before they can submit it to their distributor.

I miss t he days when I could go into the shops and compare the various bikes, components or other accessories. It sure does seem like most bike shops in this region are becoming one brand only shops. Is it any wonder that more and more people are turning to online buying? It's vicious circle = low stock in brick and mortar stores = more people buying online = even less stock in brick and mortar stores = even more people buying online and so on.

I'd really like to support my local bike shop and if I don't need a part right away I'll let them order it for me rather than buy it online. I'm hoping that when I do need that shop to do a repair for me that they're still around to do it.

Cheers
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Old 09-01-21, 01:38 AM
  #218  
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Originally Posted by Miele Man View Post
Similar to the bike shops here in t own that only carry one brand of bikes and few parts. Part of the reason for the low stock is t hat they don't want a lot of money tied up in stop t hat may not sell quickly. One shop that I used to frequent tells me that they can order the part and have it in a week. That's all well and good if I don't need the part immediately
Yeah you can order stuff from them but I used to go to the shops just to browse even if I didn't need anything. Just look for stuff that catches my eye to blow money on. They used to be places for all the local riders to just hang out but they're pretty much empty all the time now. But I guess that goes for everything, such as malls. The internet has killed all of that.
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Old 09-01-21, 02:16 AM
  #219  
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Originally Posted by LV2TNDM View Post
How to remedy this problem? You think this is the only industry suffering this problem? Have you not been listening to the news in the last several years? Bike shops, all retail, restaurants, you name it all have issues with hiring and retaining workers. Where did they go? Did they all die? Get abducted by aliens?

"Worker shortage." I am SO SICK of hearing this baloney repeated by the media. We don't have a worker shortage. We have a WAGE shortage! Workers aren't taking jobs because the pay is too low. Market forces at work, plain and simple.

Universal basic income would go a LONG way to remedying this situation. If we don't do something, we're basically leaving about half of our workforce behind. Making lame excuses about "the global economy," or "highly-skilled workforce," or "gotta get a STEM degree" or any other manner of rationalizations aren't going to solve the problem. Race to the bottom economics are to blame for wages no one wants to work for.

No kid today with half a brain would consider a "career" as a bike mechanic. But if it were suddenly a lucrative career that paid the bills and provided for a worker? Hey, maybe then the smart kids WOULD consider this as an option. If you think about it, we're devaluing so many of our career choices, we're ending up with unemployed, homeless on one end, and the professionals on the other, with nothing in between.

And every parent wants their kid to be "the best." With this mindset, we're basically saying, "Yeah, any job that you have to clean, fix, or build is A NO GO!
So much nonsense
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Old 09-01-21, 05:58 AM
  #220  
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Originally Posted by Milton Keynes View Post
As I was getting ready to put a set of brake pads on a customer's car a few years ago, she asked how much the labor charge would be. I told her $50. She then asked how long it would take, and I said about half an hour. She then said, "Well then that's too much. It's like I'm paying you $100 an hour." To which I told her that she's not just paying me for my time, but my expertise. I told her that she was more than welcome to just pay for the brakes and take them home and put them on herself if she liked, and then she didn't think it was such a bad deal to pay the labor charge.
I don’t remember who it was… But some famous photographer (maybe it was Ansel Adams) was having a gallery show. Someone walked up and asked him how long it took him to make a particular photo. The photographer replied, “1/125th of a second, and 30 years.“
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Old 09-01-21, 07:10 AM
  #221  
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Originally Posted by Miele Man View Post
Similar to the bike shops here in t own that only carry one brand of bikes and few parts. Part of the reason for the low stock is t hat they don't want a lot of money tied up in stop t hat may not sell quickly.
...
I miss t he days when I could go into the shops and compare the various bikes, components or other accessories. It sure does seem like most bike shops in this region are becoming one brand only shops. Is it any wonder that more and more people are turning to online buying? It's vicious circle = low stock in brick and mortar stores = more people buying online = even less stock in brick and mortar stores = even more people buying online and so on.
Cheers
It doesnt help the cause when shops have to heavily discount bikes from a prior model that are in stock because the new model has been released and is the exact same thing, just with different paint. Less inventory is carried so they dont have as much tied up in stock that may need to be discounted for not actual good reason other than 'its how things are done'. Going with a single main brand and agreeing to buy X bikes from them and/or give X floor space to the brand can help the shop, if they sign on with a brand that helps out with overstock at the end of the model season.


Related note- its absurd that consumers expect a discount on bikes, especially towards the end of a model year when the upcoming model has nothing substantively different/better. Brands moving away from model years is a good thing.
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Old 09-01-21, 07:20 AM
  #222  
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Excess bikes isn't going to be a problem for a couple of years now.

The pressure to go to a single brand is immense from the big brands. My lbs was a trek dealer when they were allowed to carry other brands. Then they got a new salesperson and the pressure started. It got too much and they dropped them. But Trek and spesh really want to own shops, and they have ways to make it difficult for shops to continue so they are using them. Spesh in particular wants to sell through their own dealers or motorsports dealers. I don't really think that's going to work out for them, and I don't think the sterile single-brand shops are going to work for them either. These companies aren't that old, and they can go away. Seen any new Peugeots lately?
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Old 09-01-21, 08:34 AM
  #223  
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Good thread but lately many posts have lots of political issues included. This needs to stop or either the thread gets closed or moved to P&R. This may sound harsh to new members but if there aren’t checks, threads often become nothing but political in short order. Thanks
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Old 09-01-21, 09:41 AM
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People don't seem to be able to take their political comments to the P&R forum, which is the only place they are allowed.

Closing for moderator review.
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