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How much negotiation when buying a touring bike from an LBS?

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How much negotiation when buying a touring bike from an LBS?

Old 06-04-12, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by mm718
1. Price matching
2. A cash discount. If merchants pay a fee for credit card transactions this seems like a win/win.
3. Changing out bar end shifters for brifters at cost and no labor.
4. Minor gearing changes at cost/ no labor.
For something that hasn't sat on the floor for a while, there probably is little room.

I haven't found that merchants prefer cash (yes, it's odd but I've tried it).

Bar end shifters -> $60; Brifters -> $200 (by-by profits).

What does "minor change in gearing" mean?

Swap a cassette -> likely would be done for nothing. Cranks? Maybe not.

Originally Posted by mm718
Do these seem like reasonable requests to make the deal happen?
No.

Originally Posted by mm718
Maybe if the bike is $1200 I could say I've got $1300 and I need brifters and see where that gets me.
You may come across as just being cheap. That is, being a customer that isn't worth the trouble dealing with. You are merely identifying yourself as somebody who would go elsewhere to save a few $$ (that is, not as a repeat customer).

Originally Posted by mm718
Hopefully they won't tell me I'm out to lunch for asking for price matching and a discount on brifters. See my post #5. Selling me the parts at cost is no loss to them on a $1300+ sale. It shouldn't hurt to ask. All things are negotiable. By working with me they may gain a customer for life.
You see it as a $1300 sale. They (the LBS) see it as a $200-300 sale (for a lot of effort). The only way they can "price match" is by reducing their profit (the $200-300 number) since they can't buy it wholesale for any less.

Originally Posted by mm718
Hopefully they won't tell me I'm out to lunch for asking for price matching and a discount on brifters. See my post #5. Selling me the parts at cost is no loss to them on a $1300+ sale. It shouldn't hurt to ask. All things are negotiable. By working with me they may gain a customer for life.
Selling parts at the cost they buy them at is selling at a loss. It's a waste of their time.



Originally Posted by mm718
It's a $1300 gain for $1300 bike any way you slice it.
No. It's about only $300 "gain" for the LBS because they have to pay 80% (or whatever) for the bike in the first place!

Last edited by njkayaker; 06-04-12 at 11:58 AM.
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Old 06-04-12, 12:19 PM
  #27  
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well Oregon and NH, buy here, you save sales tax..

I rode a Ferry, UK to Norway, a fellow passenger filled out the VAT refund paperwork
and got it endorsed at the Port of departure .. as technically it was an export..
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Old 06-04-12, 02:09 PM
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Originally Posted by mm718
I am getting closer to buying a touring bike. My budget is tight and although I can afford the bike itself I want to get the best possible price with the most amount of service so that I can have extra money for the modifications and buying extra gear. I want to get a good deal but I don't want to offend the LBS.

Here are a few things I've thought of asking for.

1. Price matching
2. A cash discount. If merchants pay a fee for credit card transactions this seems like a win/win.
3. Changing out bar end shifters for brifters at cost and no labor.
4. Minor gearing changes at cost/ no labor.

Do these seem like reasonable requests to make the deal happen?
LBS aren't offended by your lowball offers. Stores here in town get them all the time but always get ignored. I do this sometimes too to see if I can score some deals, but about 99.99% of the time, they simply laughed and walk away. The 0.01% that stores do were on discontinued NOS that has some obscure brand name nobody wants and perhaps neither will you.

1,Price matching.. I don't know about your city, but in my town and the many US towns I've traveled to, they adopted a tactic to reduce or to eliminate price matching. Simple. Just carry a few models in one shop and a different model of the same brand name in another store. And then after 50+ miles away, another store will carry some same models. No one model is the same brand name, model and specs which makes price matching almost impossible. Of course, if you decide to compare online prices, then stores will simply ask you to buy there instead.
Due to the tough economic conditions, most stores carry a limited amount of stock on hand which provides good inventory control. If you don't agree with the price, someone else will. You have no leverage on this. About a decade early, this might have worked when the economy is better.

2, Cash discount. Credit card transaction is painless, plus counterfeit $US dollars are getting harder to spot. If the store is Asian run, then maybe they'll give you a discount.
Cash discount is used sometimes in Asian run computer businesses. But then again, if you're buying a hot bike model that they know they can get full price of, then you're out of luck.

3 and 4 are the same. You are just 1 of the many customers the bike store you want to buy a bike from put up the offer. Just because you think we are in a weak economy does not mean that no one is buying bikes. On the contrary, bike sales have never been better as people are steadily embracing bikes as an affordable means of transportation. Gas prices and overall increase of inflation and the cost of living means they have to cut things somewhere. I understand that you are trying to save money here, but bike dealers are smart too. They know the market trend and carry inventory to reflect the means. Which means, they rarely have excess inventory to go on a fire sale block. In good times, the excess is where you can leverage your demands, but in weak economic times, shops run their expenses pretty lean and looses even leaner. What you are doing simply tells the dealer 2 things.

1, You're cheap and the shop owner ignores you OR
2, The item has such a low demand that the shop owner will simply stop carrying it or if they do, it's on a custom order basis.
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Old 06-04-12, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by mm718
I am getting closer to buying a touring bike. My budget is tight and although I can afford the bike itself I want to get the best possible price with the most amount of service so that I can have extra money for the modifications and buying extra gear. I want to get a good deal but I don't want to offend the LBS.

Here are a few things I've thought of asking for.

1. Price matching
2. A cash discount. If merchants pay a fee for credit card transactions this seems like a win/win.
3. Changing out bar end shifters for brifters at cost and no labor.
4. Minor gearing changes at cost/ no labor.

Do these seem like reasonable requests to make the deal happen?
Ask for whatever you want - the worst that can happen is the LBS says no. You're more likely to get a deal on accessories than asking about hard cash. The credit card fees may give you some leverage but probably not a whole lot. If you go for accessories you get the true win-win because the LBS can give you, say, $100 worth of accessories at a cost to him of maybe $60 (I'm guessing on the numbers, the point is that your saving is based on the sticker price while his cost is based on trade price).

If you want him to match the price of an online box shifter you'll probably not get anywhere because he has overheads that they don't. Even if he does match their price you'd then have to expect him to match their service as well, i.e. you get the box and a bill and sent on your way.
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Old 06-04-12, 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by wahoonc
Whole bikes are not marked up very much. Accessories, parts and labor are where bike shops make their money. I had this conversation with my LBS, who BTW I have a 30+ year relationship with and have purchased over a dozen bicycles from over the years. What they told me is if they sold their entire inventory of bicycles at standard markup it would just barely cover their cost of doing business, basically no profit, overhead only.

I don't go into a business expecting a discount nor asking for one, if I don't like the price I don't buy from them, pure and simple. If they offer me a discount or have a discount program in place that is fine. For some unknown reason people seem to think that small business owners are all millionaires and exist to do nothing but offer discounts and give things away for free. Do you go into Walmart or the grocery store and ask for a discount? I have owned several small retail businesses over the years and this is one of my pet peeves. Small businesses drive the US economy, but consumers could care less, all they want is the cheapest price, be careful what you ask for.

How would you feel if your employer came to you and said "we are only going to pay you enough to just cover your living expenses"? That is what you appear to be asking for.

Aaron
Having been in business myself, I have to agree. Looking at my cost of goods and the selling price looked pretty good in the beginning. However, factoring in rent, state fees and taxes, employee benefits, and a myriad of other hidden and unexpected expenses, we hardly had enough to live on. After five years, we closed and started earning a living the easy way, working for somebody else. Until you've been in business, it is really hard to understand how difficult it is to make ends meet.
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Old 06-04-12, 04:18 PM
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When I bought my LHT I was a first time walk-in customer. We talked, a lot, and came to a very fair deal. I never asked for a discount, but I got one if you consider the whole package. And they gained a customer for the long term. I don't remember the final number, but the racks, fenders, and labor plus the bike was way less than LBS for the LHT and online for the accessories.

I negotiate as a large part of my job and much of what you gain is in the way you deal with people. A six pack of micro brew every now and then helps as well.....

I can now go into the shop and get favors, advice, and a non-requested discount.

BTW, why do you want change the gearing on your future LHT?
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Old 06-04-12, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Clarabelle
Having been in business myself, I have to agree. Looking at my cost of goods and the selling price looked pretty good in the beginning. However, factoring in rent, state fees and taxes, employee benefits, and a myriad of other hidden and unexpected expenses, we hardly had enough to live on. After five years, we closed and started earning a living the easy way, working for somebody else. Until you've been in business, it is really hard to understand how difficult it is to make ends meet.
We too are out of the retail business. I and my bride can make more money working an overtime weekend than we would take home in a slow week at the retail business and no headaches. I much prefer to have someone hand me a FULL paycheck at the end of the week than having to chase down dead beat customers and deal with credit card companies and banks.

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Old 06-04-12, 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Clarabelle
Having been in business myself, I have to agree. Looking at my cost of goods and the selling price looked pretty good in the beginning. However, factoring in rent, state fees and taxes, employee benefits, and a myriad of other hidden and unexpected expenses, we hardly had enough to live on. After five years, we closed and started earning a living the easy way, working for somebody else. Until you've been in business, it is really hard to understand how difficult it is to make ends meet.
I had owned a small business before and I have had customers like the OP who seemed to think that I was making the big bucks and that I had the freedom of being the boss of the company and I could certainly do better price wise even if I had to sell it at cost or at a loss. Then when I offered the reason which being the overhead, these people had no shortage of lame accusations that I could do better with my overhead. Suffice to say, the suggestions they gave were helpful but really unrealistic. One even suggested I should cheat the taxman! Yeah, not that he does not realize the implication if you did as a business! Most people who think like the OP are basically salary wage earners who are just having a tough time making ends meet these days. I totally understand this. But of course, they just do not realize how much tougher it really is own a business and making enough to live on.
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Old 06-04-12, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by pacificcyclist
I had owned a small business before and I have had customers like the OP who seemed to think that I was making the big bucks
The OP (and others) see the transaction from one side. They see the LBS "gaining" $1300. The LBS sees a gain of (something like) $300.
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Old 06-04-12, 05:38 PM
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LBS makes about 20~26% of the MSR price. And that doesn't include any expense or service they are providing.

Service is the most important part of your bike purchase.
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Old 06-04-12, 07:27 PM
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If your budget is tight, buy a Windsor Tourist from Bikes Direct (9 speed Tiagra brifters) for $600 and pay the shop do the final assembly and parts swap out (like the cassette). That will still leave you with room to buy any accessories you might need.
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Old 06-04-12, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by sonatageek
If your budget is tight, buy a Windsor Tourist from Bikes Direct (9 speed Tiagra brifters) for $600 and pay the shop do the final assembly and parts swap out (like the cassette). That will still leave you with room to buy any accessories you might need.

Good point.
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