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Is buying a bike at the LBS like buying a car? Haggling?

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Is buying a bike at the LBS like buying a car? Haggling?

Old 03-29-09, 12:31 PM
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thenomad
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Is buying a bike at the LBS like buying a car? Haggling?

Say my local LBS has a bike I like but they are asking 30% over the MSRP which is clearly shown on the maker's website. Haggle? I mean, everone keeps posting about how they want the personal attention and perks of using the LBS... but what does that REALLY mean? What should I expect?

I'd like to support LBS but I'm on a budget like most others and can't afford to spend high dollars just because they are the only game in town.

So what do you experienced folks say? Any room to try and beat down the price? Instead of a lower price ask for a handfull of extras to "sweeten the deal"?
I could certainly use some add ins like pumps, bottles, gloves, jersey, seat pack, helmet whatever....
At least then I wouldn't feel so bad about paying more.
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Old 03-29-09, 12:34 PM
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There is no reason to pay above MSRP. My LBS tries to charge slightly less than MSRP.

Bikes stores are like car dealerships. Some you can haggle at, and some you can't!
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Old 03-29-09, 02:45 PM
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Yet again, demonstrating that customers still think bicycle shops make the most margin on the bikes themselves.
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Old 03-29-09, 02:59 PM
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+30% from MSRP sounds fairly good to me... for any business.

If they make more % on other things I'm not surprised. The prices of everything at my local LBS are high compared to everywhere else.
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Old 03-29-09, 03:09 PM
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Stationary inventory (bicycles) is never good for a business. So most LBS's price their bikes to sell as fast as possible as that is the return on their investment. Enough mark-up is put on the bike to cover overhead costs, such as electricity and wages for the employees. Knowing this, a good bike-shop will have already marked the price as low as they can reasonably go as they want it gone asap. But do shop around. If one shop is charging $1,000 for a whizzbang X, and another shop across town want's $1,100 - you can bet they paid the same price for the whizzbang X. So - which shop do you do business with?

<koff!>
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Old 03-29-09, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Panthers007 View Post
If one shop is charging $1,000 for a whizzbang X, and another shop across town want's $1,100 - you can bet they paid the same price for the whizzbang X. So - which shop do you do business with?

<koff!>
Not necessarily, do you even work at a shop?
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Old 03-29-09, 03:36 PM
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My LBS sells at MAP versus MSRP. It's about $40 lower that way and they don't incur the wrath of their lines for underselling. They won't dicker, except on a previous years model. They will however throw in accessories.

-R
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Old 03-29-09, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by thenomad View Post
Say my local LBS has a bike I like but they are asking 30% over the MSRP which is clearly shown on the maker's website. Haggle? I mean, everone keeps posting about how they want the personal attention and perks of using the LBS... but what does that REALLY mean? What should I expect?
We need some perspective.

Is this a $250 budget bike, or is it a $2000 high end bike? 30% does seem way excessive, but in the case of the $250 bike, that's $75 more. If the LBS provides the usual things LBSes provide, such as your 1 year of free tuneups/fixing, then I'd say $75 is a very fair markup (even $100 or $120 would be) for their incurred costs. Such inexpensive bikes have near zilch margin, and servicing say, a broken wheel or drivetrain won't be all that cheap for the shop, not to mention labor. If it's the $2000 bike being upmarked 30%, I'd be rather wary of that shop.

If it's a higher end bike, go bargain if you can. Even if it's just a few percent off, I strive to always pay less than MSRP on bikes.
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Old 03-29-09, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Tabor View Post
Bikes stores are like car dealerships. Some you can haggle at, and some you can't!
Sorry but I have to disagree.
I work in a bike shop and know that there is very little profit margin on bikes, so no room for haggling. We sell bikes at MSRP. Only last season's bikes are sold at a SMALL markdown.
Shops make most of their profit on accessories.
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Old 03-29-09, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by RonH View Post
We sell bikes at MSRP.
Good for you. If you sold your bike at MSRP + 30% you would have plenty of room to haggle, wouldn't you? My favorite LBS doesn't haggle either, but the sticker price is already below MSRP.

Also, there are bike shops that sell used bikes, you know? Just like used cars, used bikes provide a larger profit margin.
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Old 03-29-09, 08:19 PM
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Originally Posted by operator View Post
Not necessarily, do you even work at a shop?
It's called a generalization as in it's a common business model. And I'm here to help people understand a few things. Not fight with the forum nitpicker. Be careful - I'm also a well-known writer and I have written a comedy of a certain bike-mechanic in a store in Montreal. Details changed just enough to avoid a lawsuit.
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Old 03-29-09, 08:34 PM
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I'd at least ask about the price before assuming that they couldn't do anything, especially on a bike that's on the floor. Not sure if that's really haggling, but you might be able to get some $ knocked off, move a bike for them, and everyone ends up happy.
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Old 03-29-09, 08:37 PM
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Exactly what bike are we talking about here?
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Old 03-29-09, 11:00 PM
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Personally, I don't haggle with LBSs since the reduced dollar amount is minor as compared to the dollar amount involved at a car dealership. Most LBSs in my area are struggling as is, and the dollar value of the bike I purchase would not yield much in price reduction for all my effort. To haggle in a new vehicle or home purchase I would see as more beneficial since it could be worth the price of several dozen high end bikes at MSRP.
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Old 03-29-09, 11:28 PM
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Originally Posted by thenomad View Post
+30% from MSRP sounds fairly good to me... for any business.

If they make more % on other things I'm not surprised. The prices of everything at my local LBS are high compared to everywhere else.
MSRP is what the manufacturer says an item should retail for (after all, it stands for Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price). It's not usual for a store to charge any more than that, and often they charge less. Something is definitely strange about a store asking 30% above MSRP...I wouldn't have anything to do with such a store.
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Old 03-29-09, 11:29 PM
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Oh yeah. Most everything is struggling. It's like 1929 again. Lovely. Regards my LBS, unless they priced something so high as to be ludicrous, I'm not going to haggle over a couple of dollars. They need to eat and not just Ramen Noodles.
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Old 03-29-09, 11:57 PM
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Everyone is struggling, that's for sure!

I'm struggling and still want to get a bike for my son that isn't going to fall apart or freeze up on him in a year because then I'd have to buy another, so I can't "afford" to buy a cheap bike.

I'd like to be in the market for a bike for myself soon so I'm asking for the status quo.

As for the % numbers, ok I used my son's future bike for comparison. LBS is selling a 16" Specialized for $200 while on the specialized website it is listed at $160 MSRP. (I've seen other overpricings on adult bikes too).

I'm a high school teacher and my wife has been laid off for a good bit now so every dollar does count to me... despite it being a small amount to some.
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Old 03-30-09, 12:11 AM
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Be sure that you are talking about the current year model as far as MSRP. Also some manufacturers are quite poor about keeping their web site listed MSRP prices up to date. I would check with several Specialized dealers to see if they are all asking the same price, or close to it, for the same bike model. Seeing as how you are in southern CA there ought to be multiple Specialized dealers that you can check with.
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Old 03-30-09, 12:57 AM
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Originally Posted by thenomad View Post
+30% from MSRP sounds crazy to me... for any business.

If they make more % on other things I'm not surprised. The prices of everything at my local LBS are high compared to everywhere else.
Sounds like you need to find another bike shop. Where in I.E. do you reside? I'm in ******side a.k.a. Riverside.
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Old 03-30-09, 01:12 AM
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I paid MSRP for my Trek 7.3 FX last week. However, my LBS is having their big once a year sale this Friday and all bikes are on sale for atleast 10%. They told me that they will refund me the difference on Friday, and I'm just going to use that money to grab some accessories.

I wasn't able to haggle on the price but I got 2 free tune-ups, 15% off all labor for the life of the bike, 15% off a helmet, free installs on my water cage/cycle computer/anything else I wanted at purchase, and a free maintance class. I think it was a decent deal, and my LBS is always up for answering my questions now whenever I come in.
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Old 03-30-09, 07:44 AM
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Originally Posted by thenomad View Post
As for the % numbers, ok I used my son's future bike for comparison. LBS is selling a 16" Specialized for $200 while on the specialized website it is listed at $160 MSRP. (I've seen other overpricings on adult bikes too).

I'm a high school teacher and my wife has been laid off for a good bit now so every dollar does count to me... despite it being a small amount to some.
Does the shop give you a warranty or free repairs with the bike? That $40 probably doesn't even cover their costs if they do, plus the cost of having the bike take up floor space. It does suck, but it's probably a necessary markup.
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Old 03-30-09, 07:59 AM
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You can definately haggle...hell, you can haggle at wal-mart! (did you know if you bring advertisements from another store into wal-mart that shows a lower price, they will match that price?)

Before Circuit City collapsed you could bring price quotes back and forth between Best Buy and Circuit City haggling for things like a TV.

I know businesses need to make money, but you cabn always try. They can always say no, right?
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Old 03-30-09, 08:28 AM
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Go ahead and ask. There are two shops that carry Brand G here. One marks up on paper, and then verbally reduces it if he thinks that the customer will buy. Probably thinks that's good customer service. The other shop posts their prices, which equals the 'discounted' price at the other shop.

I ended up buying from the second shop. Closer to the house, they don't turn their noses up at me for not looking at the high end bikes, don't mind me just hanging out. Every other shop in town gives off the impression that unless I'm going to drop some $$ in their shop, I have no business breathing their air.
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Old 03-30-09, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by hnsq View Post
You can definately haggle...hell, you can haggle at wal-mart! (did you know if you bring advertisements from another store into wal-mart that shows a lower price, they will match that price?)

Before Circuit City collapsed you could bring price quotes back and forth between Best Buy and Circuit City haggling for things like a TV.

I know businesses need to make money, but you cabn always try. They can always say no, right?
Sure you can try, but I've learned that mom and pop operations don't last long very long when trying to go toe to toe with the big chains, since they don't have volume of sales to operate on a small profit margin. Again, the price reduction on the purchase price of my bikes won't amount to much, and the extra dollars I spend there comes back to me in one way or another since the LBS and it's employees make purchases at the retail business I work at.
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Old 03-30-09, 09:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Crast View Post
Does the shop give you a warranty or free repairs with the bike? That $40 probably doesn't even cover their costs if they do, plus the cost of having the bike take up floor space. It does suck, but it's probably a necessary markup.
This is $40 over MSRP, not $40 over cost.
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