LBS,my arse!

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  • LBS,my arse!
  • Premier Icon Sanny
    Subscriber

    With so much choice now in terms of bike bits and all together too many “Standards”, I reckon LBS’s will always be on the back foot when it comes to customers who want / demand immediate purchases and fixes. If it’s in stock, the customer is happy. If not, we can read about it here! 😀

    All I look for is to be kept reasonably informed and my expectations managed. Just because I assume that my order will be placed immediately doesn’t mean that it will be. As a customer, I should let the LBS know what my expectations are and they can respond by letting me know what they will be able to do. If they can’t deliver what they promise, as long as they keep me informed, all is good.

    At the end of the day, the customer isn’t always right or reasonable and can be a real PITA. Fortunately, they are the exception……….

    Premier Icon funkrodent
    Subscriber

    Was in one of my lbs’ the other day (I’m in Mcr so there are a few within relatovely equal distance). A guy had come in asking for a commute/touring bike and was bringing back the test bike they’d given him. It was a Cube (can’t remember which exact model) that was designed for racing. Aggressive geometry, no clearance for guards – let alone fixings for them and rack – and the wrong gearing. Totally unsuitable. The guy was basically saying “Why have you given this to me?”
    I suspect that was all that they had in at the time, but it was crazy. Ironically you’d never see the likes of Evans, Edinburgh etc do this as for all their faults their people are trained in the basics of selling, but bottom line is that to survive they have to learn how to properly serve customers and how to control expectations (ie in reference to the OPs original issue) in order to mitigate against disappointment

    cybicle
    Member

    I know what some might think – Well the guy is probably busy on a tidy up, doesn’t want to be up and down for 20p ball bearings, but you never know what good customer service leads to. Ironically at that time I was in the market for a Carbon short travel xc bike, and he had a Carbon Anthem in my size that I had been trying everywhere to locate stock of, I wasnt time wasting I actually had the cash ready to buy one at the time. There is no doubt I’d have bought that bike from him for 4k as it was the only one I found in medium locally. As it happened I wouldn’t have bought it off him in a million years out of principle after that. I went and bought an epic instead from somewhere else

    See, whilst most folk probably would be unlikely to return, the possibility of their future custom is enough to just spend a moment to sort them out, surely? A bolt fell out of my pannier rack mount, necessitating a short detour to a nearby LBS. The mechanic stopped what he was doing, and not only found but fitted a new bolt for me. For free. Not a big deal, but very good customer service. I’ve bought wheels, panniers and other bits from them. Oh, and had a few coffees there too. A good LBS is worth going back to.

    this summer i had to explain to a mechanic at a trail center in wales how a gravity dropper works and he then wanted to sell me a 27.2 reverb!

    27.2 Reverb? What is this mythical beast?

    LoCo
    Member

    27.2 Reverb? What is this mythical beast?

    😆

    If you find one I’ll have one 😉

    Premier Icon cookeaa
    Subscriber

    For the likes of us I think lbs will end up being treated as workshops/distress purchase places.

    +1

    TBH I don’t see less “Serious” cyclists or new commuters bothering with the “traditional” LBS for much longer, first place anyone looks for anything these days is google, which will take them to CRC/Wiggle/Evans/Halford’s websites and that’s where they’ll buy bikes and kit from 90% of the time… The Web has pretty much done for the LBS, this ain’t news.

    What makes more sense is something more like a “service centre” but for bikes…
    No glad-handing yuppies into buying a composite ego chariot, no working for biscuits, no glass fronted cabinet full of XTR at full RRP (Which no bugger will ever buy), and no row upon row of bikes that you can’t sell at a profit….

    Keep it simple, middle aged woman called Sue who does the bookings, fella called Mike or Dave who runs the workshops and a couple of underlings who have yet to earn the right to be called by name…

    They don’t care if you order the parts or pay their exhorbitant markup (to reflect their costs in obtaining your desired parts at short notice), the only stock they might hold should be cables, inner tubes and lubricants.

    But they’ll do a quick, professional job of changing pats, doing a full service, full build up of a frame, true a wheel, bleeding brakes… Basically whatever jobs people traditionally use an LBS workshop for, they’ll even come round and pick up your bike in a Van if you like…

    I can see it now; small business unit on an industrial estate, opposite an MOT testing centre, No frills…

    The workshop is the only element of an LBS left that is even potentially profitable really, do away all the shop front bollocks and loss making overheads and you might make reasonable business out of it.

    All IMO of course…

    MTB Rob
    Member

    Edric 64 – Member
    A lot of them do to keep the custom, although obviously as a long term strategy it’s not going to work.

    Why not ? add a bit on to the chgeap online price and make money from the labour .Use a business credit card and clear it every month and just order off the net when you need stuff .Less money tied up in stock and possibly quicker turn around of repairs ?

    Sorry that just does not work, Parts do make up a large % of the income, but not great profit compared to labour profit, so just adding a a few quid on cheaper online parts is not worth it when you take in account of time ordering etc.
    Also I don’t think you can be 100% sure if when the parts turn up, it can be a bit hit or miss.
    and then you back to poor customer service…..

    chrishc777
    Member

    27.2 Reverb? What is this mythical beast?

    My response exactly!

    pondo
    Member

    I love the idea of the LBS, having a warm relationship and giving them all my custom, but by and large my experiences have not been good, through either a lack of knowledge, general indifference or blunt ignorance. It seems to me that people who own and/or work in bike shops are there because they love bikes, not because they love customer service.

    My two exceptions to the above, by the way, were Epic in Ludlow and Run+Ride in Hednesford, who were both excellent in my dealings with them, but not very local. 🙁

    MTB Rob
    Member

    cookeaa – Member
    For the likes of us I think lbs will end up being treated as workshops/distress purchase places.
    +1

    TBH I don’t see less “Serious” cyclists or new commuters bothering with the “traditional” LBS for much longer, first place anyone looks for anything these days is google, which will take them to CRC/Wiggle/Evans/Halford’s websites and that’s where they’ll buy bikes and kit from 90% of the time… The Web has pretty much done for the LBS, this ain’t news.

    What makes more sense is something more like a “service centre” but for bikes…
    No glad-handing yuppies into buying a composite ego chariot, no working for biscuits, no glass fronted cabinet full of XTR at full RRP (Which no bugger will ever buy), and no row upon row of bikes that you can’t sell at a profit….

    Keep it simple, middle aged woman called Sue who does the bookings, fella called Mike or Dave who runs the workshops and a couple of underlings who have yet to earn the right to be called by name…

    They don’t care if you order the parts or pay their exhorbitant markup (to reflect their costs in obtaining your desired parts at short notice), the only stock they might hold should be cables, inner tubes and lubricants.

    But they’ll do a quick, professional job of changing pats, doing a full service, full build up of a frame, true a wheel, bleeding brakes… Basically whatever jobs people traditionally use an LBS workshop for, they’ll even come round and pick up your bike in a Van if you like…

    I can see it now; small business unit on an industrial estate, opposite an MOT testing centre, No frills…

    The workshop is the only element of an LBS left that is even potentially profitable really, do away all the shop front bollocks and loss making overheads and you might make reasonable business out of it.

    All IMO of course…

    POSTED 2 MINUTES AGO # REPORT-POST

    Do YOU KNOW ME??

    I don’t sell bikes, So I do service only and custom builds, (workshop wise) and I am based in the village car and MOT garage!! 😆

    I do hold a bit of stock mainly wear and tear items, chains, cassettes, brake pads/blocks, BB, cables, bar tape, bearings, tyres, mudguards, cleaning product and lubes etc. and can order in high end parts when asked.
    All to help with a quick turn around for the customer,imagine having to order chains in 1 and 2s and as the work come in….lot of wasting time = lost money.

    Also this “service centre” has to be in a Very good location. like a big town/city where people commute or good riding area.
    When I start FTR (Finely Tuned Ride), (mobile to start with) I knew that “bike service” only would not pay the bills all year round, which is why I also do,

    Maintenance courses
    Skill courses
    Race and Event support (inc multi day cycle rides)
    Bikeability
    And I still do pick up and drop off if needed.

    I also like how much variety I do.

    I do think service/basic parts can work but like I said you would need to hold stock of the wear and tear parts for quick turn around.

    Talking of which better unpack the delivery I just got…..

    Premier Icon nedrapier
    Subscriber

    Used to be, you had 1 1/8″ headsets. Now you’ve got loads of different types

    But before that, there was 1″, 1 1/8″, 1 1/4″, threaded or not. Industry found a level, the extremes died off and and 1 1/8″, ahead style and everyone(ish) was happy. Fingers crossed that’ll happen again.

    My guess is that it’s unlikely to, as there’s more money in the whole pot to sustain lots of standards. A bit of rationalisation would be nice though, just so long as it’s stuff that fits my bike that stays!

    tumnurkoz
    Member

    Woah, this stirred a hornets nest! The LBS in question is in USA and it is NOT their fault! Just had a rant out of frustration. I was absoulutely being impatient for a very specific part (@bencooper-yes, tapered headset, lower cup-1 1/8th steerer to 1.5 bearing!), they were happy to order it in and i’m happy to put up with the delay (it’s raining, so the trails are closed!)

    Nowadays we (wrongly)expect everything instantly, in my work we call it ‘expectation management’

    Perhaps the only future away from the internet is to offer what it can’t-physical work, ie fixing/repairing stuff. You can’t order that online.

    I always thought of having a ‘showroom’ where you can go to ‘touch and feel’ items, then order online in the showroom (from any vendor-links provided). The vendors would collectively pay a small fee(%?) to exibit the items in the showroom.
    Lets face it, that’s what happens anyway most of the time. Why not legitamise profitise it?

    mduncombe
    Member

    my lbs is Bad Ass Bikes 🙂

    had my road bike worked on and Box the owner wouldn’t let me have it back with out doing a test ride in addition to the one the mechanic had already done. he leapt on the bike weaved through the shop and off up the combe before i could blink. never seen my bike move so fast! when he came back a few more little tweaks and off he went again, weaving between the displays in the shop like there was no tomorrow. when I did get to ride it myself the bike was like new, setup perfectly.

    TooTall
    Member

    the bike was like new, setup perfectly.

    The very best service my Turner Sultan has ever had was by Box at Bad Ass Bikes. Can’t say enough good things about that place.

    hooli
    Member

    I guess the only option is to vote with you feet, if you get bad service then go somewhere else. Eventually they will either get the message and change or close down.

    I like to support anything local, pub, butcher, village shop etc but I will only give them so many chances to get it right. My LBS has had its chances…

    cookeaa – Member

    For the likes of us I think lbs will end up being treated as workshops/distress purchase places.

    +1

    TBH I don’t see less “Serious” cyclists or new commuters bothering with the “traditional” LBS for much longer, first place anyone looks for anything these days is google, which will take them to CRC/Wiggle/Evans/Halford’s websites and that’s where they’ll buy bikes and kit from 90% of the time… The Web has pretty much done for the LBS, this ain’t news.

    What makes more sense is something more like a “service centre” but for bikes…
    No glad-handing yuppies into buying a composite ego chariot, no working for biscuits, no glass fronted cabinet full of XTR at full RRP (Which no bugger will ever buy), and no row upon row of bikes that you can’t sell at a profit….

    Keep it simple, middle aged woman called Sue who does the bookings, fella called Mike or Dave who runs the workshops and a couple of underlings who have yet to earn the right to be called by name…

    They don’t care if you order the parts or pay their exhorbitant markup (to reflect their costs in obtaining your desired parts at short notice), the only stock they might hold should be cables, inner tubes and lubricants.

    But they’ll do a quick, professional job of changing pats, doing a full service, full build up of a frame, true a wheel, bleeding brakes… Basically whatever jobs people traditionally use an LBS workshop for, they’ll even come round and pick up your bike in a Van if you like…

    I can see it now; small business unit on an industrial estate, opposite an MOT testing centre, No frills…

    The workshop is the only element of an LBS left that is even potentially profitable really, do away all the shop front bollocks and loss making overheads and you might make reasonable business out of it.

    All IMO of course…

    You’re close.
    I can’t see an industrial unit working though. In my experience local visibility makes a huge difference. When I moved from a backstreet location to village centre my takings doubled instantly. A sizeable proportion of my customers ride bikes because they do not have cars.
    It is still worth having a selection of bikes up to £400 as there are plenty of peple who regard a bike at that price as a luxury item to treat themselves to or want to distance themselves from toyshop bikes.
    A selection of accessories is worth the investment too with lights, locks and pumps being the fastest movers.

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