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I want to support my LBS, but...

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I want to support my LBS, but...

Old 06-24-14, 01:09 PM
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Equinox
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I want to support my LBS, but...

I have a good relationship with my LBS. I think I'm a good customer. They are a smaller shop with limited inventory of accessories. I normally do my shopping on the internet because almost every store that I patronize doesn't have what i want in stock. i can order it on amazon and get it for a good price in a couple of days without having to waste time and gas going to a store.
I wanted a common helmet which of course my LBS did not have in my size. I am trying to be a good boy and support the local businessman. I had looked on the internet and I saw the price and if I had ordered it, I'd have it by now. I don't understand why it takes the LBS a week to get something I can get in two days. Anywho, we didn't agree on a price. I assume they will charge me msrp. I can get it for $20. less on the internet. That kind of bugs me.
Should I confront them? I want to patronize them, but not if it's at full boat for everything.
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Old 06-24-14, 01:29 PM
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I have the same issue, our local dealer is a Trek store and the owners are good friends of mine.

If I go into the store, I normally purchase something and if they order something, it is in the store two days later. The problem is on-line is so much more convenient, with the UPS man dropping it at your front door, prices are normally much better and no tax. Also, the selection buying online is so much greater.

If I need something big, not in a rush and I don't have to haggle about matching prices, I will still buy from the store.
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Old 06-24-14, 01:31 PM
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If you have a relationship, they should cut you a price break for most items they're not paying full freight on. If they don't, well then I'd suggest you didn't really have a relationship after all.

However, they buy through distributors so may not always be able to get it as quickly as you buying direct from an Internet seller who'll ship immediately in some cases.

Just guessing...
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Old 06-24-14, 01:35 PM
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If just $20 here and there, buy the good will and support local. If you are talking 30-50% and/or larger ticket items plus quicker/easier...yeah that's hard to stomach.
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Old 06-24-14, 01:35 PM
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it is what it is, don't fret about it.
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Old 06-24-14, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Equinox View Post
I have a good relationship with my LBS. I think I'm a good customer. They are a smaller shop with limited inventory of accessories. I normally do my shopping on the internet because almost every store that I patronize doesn't have what i want in stock. i can order it on amazon and get it for a good price in a couple of days without having to waste time and gas going to a store.
I wanted a common helmet which of course my LBS did not have in my size. I am trying to be a good boy and support the local businessman. I had looked on the internet and I saw the price and if I had ordered it, I'd have it by now. I don't understand why it takes the LBS a week to get something I can get in two days. Anywho, we didn't agree on a price. I assume they will charge me msrp. I can get it for $20. less on the internet. That kind of bugs me.

Should I confront them? I want to patronize them, but not if it's at full boat for everything.
Yes. Preferably with chain whip and go pro
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Old 06-24-14, 02:47 PM
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I had gotten to where I only bought small items from my LBS simply because of the price. I'm all for supporting them but my bank account is more important. I recently bought two brake cables, five feet of housing for my internal TT and two cheap water bottles. Total was $53.43. I almost walked out without buying. I don't mind paying a few bucks more, but at least within reason. When I got home I decided to see what I would have paid if I had ordered at Price Point. It came to $21.91 and that was with Alligator slick cables and a 25 foot roll of housing so I threw away over $30 and 20 feet of cable housing. I don't see myself going to a LBS again unless it's an emergency.
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Old 06-24-14, 03:05 PM
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I buy tubes, cables, bottles, seat bags, tools, clothing, etc from the LBS. I bought my helmet there as well, sure I paid more than online.
But they have one employee, Vanessa, who is seriously the queen of all bike product knowledge and it's worth it.
It's also worth spending a little there just to admire all the fancy stuff I can't afford.
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Old 06-24-14, 03:11 PM
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My opinion is that wherever you buy from, it's a LBS somewhere. If a local shop to me, can't keep up with pricing, there are about 40 other bike shops in town, or the internet, that could also use the business.

I also don't want a "relationship" with a store. I just want to buy the stuff that I need at a reasonable price and have someone take my money without thinking I'm going to chat them up. Like hell I'm going to pay extra so that some other guy gets the benefits of kissing up to the local shop. I usually don't have the time for that. It's the same frustration I share going to buy a new car. I really don't feel that haggling for a price is worth it for a helmet, jersey or accessories.

If they can't make money without charging more, they need to consider expanding or some other way of making it work. Businesses cannot survive based on kindness alone. They need to find a viable business plan to compete with other stores and internet pricing. How they do it really isn't my problem, I just need stuff for my bike.
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Old 06-24-14, 03:29 PM
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My general rule is that I will support my LBS as much as I can, but I will not screw myself in doing so. If the price is significantly higher or shipping is unreasonable then I will go online. No reason to feel guilty you will buy something from them down the road.
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Old 06-24-14, 03:50 PM
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The LBS is always good for brain-picking on certain matters. It helps to have multiple LBS to get multiple opinions. A few of mine are quite open about why they don't deal with household-name-brand-X any more, or what does/doesn't work in the newest release stuff and why the old stuff is better/next stuff is worth waiting for etc. But then, I can get a lot of that info from sources like BF anyway. And if I get the new guy/part time student, as often as not I'll know more about what I'm asking him for than s/he will.

And I remember the places that fixed my wheel right, quickly, and the places that didn't.

If their price is ballpark, and they have the thing I'm looking for, I'll buy local. For tubes and spokes and cables and that cool jersey design I haven't seen anywhere else, I'll buy local. But if they don't have it, or the tape they have isn't the right colour, or I know Amazon can get it to me a day later for a fraction the price, I'm going online.
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Old 06-24-14, 04:16 PM
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You're lucky it's only $20 over what you could get it for online. I'd be pretty happy with that.
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Old 06-24-14, 04:32 PM
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My most "L" LBS is in a tiny town and they don't carry a huge inventory (or have room for one; the store is in a small old house) but they are extremely knowledgeable, they do quick and accurate service, and support local charities, offer and participate in local rides, etc. They are a Trek dealer and stock mostly Trek and Bontrager items when those are offered. It's worth paying a little extra to patronize them and help them to do well enough to be there when I need them. They also offer a 10% discount for members of the local bike club, which costs $10 per year in dues, which I have already made back several times over in discounts. They apply the discount to everything, including labor. Besides, I like having them there if I want to go in and look around. They do not carry clothing for full-size adults like me, so I have ordered and gotten merchandise from them in about three days. They don't charge extra for shipping, which most mail order places do.
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Old 06-24-14, 04:53 PM
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i generally buy local for everything, bike related or not... but then agian when the prices online are 1/3rd the cost and the shipping is free the internet takes over.
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Old 06-24-14, 06:26 PM
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People spend more for beer and drinks at the local bar than what they could buy and drink at home. Most don't think twice about it.
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Old 06-24-14, 07:07 PM
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Originally Posted by TinkerinWstuff View Post
People spend more for beer and drinks at the local bar than what they could buy and drink at home. Most don't think twice about it.
I'm not trying to get the Wrench to come back to my garage after close and dial in the aero position on my single speed.
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Old 06-24-14, 07:15 PM
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A couple of years ago, a bicycle store opened up about a mile from me. There prices aren't bad (a local chain), but often they don't have what I need, e.g., touring tires, generator lights, etc.
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Old 06-24-14, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by TinkerinWstuff View Post
People spend more for beer and drinks at the local bar than what they could buy and drink at home. Most don't think twice about it.
Or some of us go to the bike shop and have a beer with the owner. Sometimes it's his beer, sometimes I'll bring a 6 pack.
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Old 06-24-14, 07:37 PM
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Honestly, it boils down to supporting them with the dollars that count. Margins on the big hard goods are terrible. For example a bike has minimal profit it in (sometimes less than 10%). Wear the typical shop makes it's money is on the consumables and service. Service is just what we think of it as, and if you can do it yourself great. If you can't, or like me, can but value my time more than the costs of the LBS labor, then use the LBS for service. But also, for your bike consumables. Tubes, Tires, Gloves, Shorts, Gels, Water Bottles, and other miscellany. These items are all VERY high margin. Say you spend $500 a year in consumables, or you buy a $1500 bike, in value to the shop, your $500 in consumables goes further than that 1500 on the bike. One the margins are such that a good shop should be putting about 250 into the operating coffers off that 500, or about 250 off that bike. Two, those consumables mean you are in and out of the shop more then once for that bike. Foot traffic is to be desired at all times. Why? we are pack/herd animals. If we see people going into stores, we are more likely to also go in. Foot traffic also encourages incidental/impulse purchase (often high margin soft goods or consumables)
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Old 06-24-14, 07:48 PM
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Originally Posted by dru_ View Post
Honestly, it boils down to supporting them with the dollars that count. Margins on the big hard goods are terrible. For example a bike has minimal profit it in (sometimes less than 10%). Wear the typical shop makes it's money is on the consumables and service. Service is just what we think of it as, and if you can do it yourself great. If you can't, or like me, can but value my time more than the costs of the LBS labor, then use the LBS for service. But also, for your bike consumables. Tubes, Tires, Gloves, Shorts, Gels, Water Bottles, and other miscellany. These items are all VERY high margin. Say you spend $500 a year in consumables, or you buy a $1500 bike, in value to the shop, your $500 in consumables goes further than that 1500 on the bike. One the margins are such that a good shop should be putting about 250 into the operating coffers off that 500, or about 250 off that bike. Two, those consumables mean you are in and out of the shop more then once for that bike. Foot traffic is to be desired at all times. Why? we are pack/herd animals. If we see people going into stores, we are more likely to also go in. Foot traffic also encourages incidental/impulse purchase (often high margin soft goods or consumables)
Most dealer margins are in the neighborhood of 40% of the MSRP.
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Old 06-24-14, 08:07 PM
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I probably stop at my "local" LBS (18 miles away) a few times a month to talk bikes and maybe drop a 10 spot or more on something I need be it a chain, lube, tube, gloves, etc. Maybe 200$+ a year. I love the consignment area as I've scored some deals there. Of course they don't have everything and an Internet search is easy, cheap. But I like the guys at the shop and it's about bike culture. Besides, they like me and occasionally they'll do a rush wheel true job/BB swap or similar. One is always cruising for quality used bikes and he'd for sure hunt to order if I asked. I send friends there as well.
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Old 06-24-14, 08:15 PM
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Originally Posted by wallrat View Post
My opinion is that wherever you buy from, it's a LBS somewhere. If a local shop to me, can't keep up with pricing, there are about 40 other bike shops in town, or the internet, that could also use the business.

I also don't want a "relationship" with a store. I just want to buy the stuff that I need at a reasonable price and have someone take my money without thinking I'm going to chat them up. Like hell I'm going to pay extra so that some other guy gets the benefits of kissing up to the local shop. I usually don't have the time for that. It's the same frustration I share going to buy a new car. I really don't feel that haggling for a price is worth it for a helmet, jersey or accessories.

If they can't make money without charging more, they need to consider expanding or some other way of making it work. Businesses cannot survive based on kindness alone. They need to find a viable business plan to compete with other stores and internet pricing. How they do it really isn't my problem, I just need stuff for my bike.
+1

A bicycle shop is a business, not a charity. It is no different from a clothing store, jewellery shop, bookstore, or electronic goods shop.

If I can conveniently get good prices in any of those places for whatever I'm in the market for at the time ... great. If not, I move on to the next place ... which may be another shop a few blocks away, across town, or on the internet.

These days, with the increased convenience and lower prices of internet shopping, if bicycle shops want to stay in business, they need to focus on something the internet cannot provide ... service. Outstanding, good, friendly service. We should not need to bring a case of beer to a mechanic to encourage him/her to do a good job tuning or repairing our bicycles ... that service should be provided to the absolute best of their abilities with pride and without bribes. Same with customer service in the sales part of the shop. We should be provided with excellent, knowledgable, helpful customer service. That kind of service may encourage us to return to the shop because even if their prices are higher than the internet, we would know that along with those prices we are getting the best service possible.
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Old 06-24-14, 08:18 PM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by SundayNiagara View Post
Most dealer margins are in the neighborhood of 40% of the MSRP.
As an average, I would agree, but it varies from product to product (e.g. certain brands of sunglasses for example)
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Old 06-24-14, 08:26 PM
  #24  
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When it was time for a new chain, I wanted a silver one and found it online..........but I wanted to support my LBS so went there to buy one....and ended up with an ugly brown chain again

And i just remembered the time they decided to place a political poster on their front window, terrrrible idea if you are trying to appeal the most people
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Old 06-24-14, 08:29 PM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by Astrozombie View Post
When it was time for a new chain, I wanted a silver one and found it online..........but I wanted to support my LBS so went there to buy one....and ended up with an ugly brown chain again

And i just remembered the time they decided to place a political poster on their front window, terrrrible idea if you are trying to appeal the most people
was it a hammer and bisickle?
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