support you LBS……..my **** bum…

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  • support you LBS……..my **** bum…
  • Premier Icon jim the saint
    Subscriber

    I do despair sometimes when you read about the poor service offered by some LBS’s and also the ridiculously high expectations of some customers as well.
    In a previous life I ran a LBS in the W.Midlands. It was a tiny, family owned affair that catered for the local cycling community. We never had the largest amount of stock but we would always stock ‘mid-priced’ stems in all sizes from both Bonty and Truvativ. The reason for this was two-fold. Obviously the stems were stocked as items to sell to customers, we had two roadie club-runs start from outside the shop so we would quite often sell something like a stem so that somebody could try out a new position. The second and most important reason was that as a LBS we needed some way to differentiate ourselves from the chainstores and online retailers, the best way I found was through the level of service we offered. When a customer bought a bike from us, whether it be a top of the range Trek full-susser or a cheap Ridgeback hybrid every bike was sized up and made to fit the customer perfectly. That we would mean we would change stem lengths and rises to suit, swap saddles around to suit different arses, etc, etc. Every customer was always encouraged to take the bike out for a test ride before money was exchanged and after they bought the bike they would get a free service after 1 and 3 months and there after they would get free labour on repairs and servicing on bikes they bought from us.
    At the same time though we would still get customers coming in wanting us to price match on products that they had seen for sale online from web-retailers that also own the distribution company for said product. I remember one customer that after all his years of loyal custom was aghast that I couldn’t sell him an Inbred frame cheaper than Brant!

    hora
    Member

    jim the saint. I know this. However when people really get into a sport they stop needing advice/become more independent and start cherry-picking. Its I guess a slow moving production line, from first interest in bikes to developing/understanding. LBS’s focus on the early/first stages upto the mid. Of course along the way you do get customers who jump in and buy a 4k bike as their first and those that will need hand holding throughout (comeback year after year for their new bike).

    Financial constraints mean those that learn/understand the different products and what suits them mean they have to squeeze the most out of their pay packet. I dont earn a huge amount and times are hard- should I pay an extra 5hours salary on a part that I could buy cheaper online? Its great supporting an LBS but why should I have to work a half day extra to pay for a part?

    I can see from both sides but again, bike shops bread and butter will ALWAYS be new customers- and mid-life cycle customers, not the experienced.

    JasonLock
    Member

    I can see from both sides but again, bike shops bread and butter will ALWAYS be new customers- and mid-life cycle customers, not the experienced.

    I think hora has just answerd Ton’s first post a 70mm stem is not something a newbie is likely to buy so hence is less likely to be stocked!

    hora
    Member

    True, one a customer starts trusting/investigating their own mechanics……thats when a LBS ‘loses’ a cashcow customer. Edinburgh bikes offering bike maintenance courses is a big no-no in my opinion. You are effectively opening a customers eyes to possibilities and the future not ring-fencing them.

    Premier Icon Mr Agreeable
    Subscriber

    Grumm, I asked my LBS if they could order in a full facer for me to try, on the basis that they would put it out on the racks if it didn’t fit. They were fine with that. I’d never buy an unfamilar lid off the ‘net as how well it fits basically determines how much use it’s going to be in a crash.

    when people really get into a sport they stop needing advice

    Good point. I mean, no-one on here ever asks for advice do they? ๐Ÿ™„

    Its great supporting an LBS but why should I have to work a half day extra to pay for a part?

    That’s a bit ironic coming from a recuitment consultant. ๐Ÿ™„ ๐Ÿ™„

    hora
    Member

    Asking advice- the more familiar you become with a hobby the more inquisitive you become (independent). I always thought a bike shop mechanic should be the only one to touch safety critical parts/fit them etc. Then I had some horrific experience with a LBS in London and realise that alot of the staff quality depends on what skill pool is available at the time/how rushed they are etc etc. One lad in particular took it upon himself to cut down my outers so that I had <45degrees of bar movement. That was when the penny dropped for me and I started building/experimenting with my own builds instead of paying CycleSurgery ยฃ120 to build a frame for me.

    I earn every penny I make honestly. I cant see how I shouldnt be frugal or careful with how I spend it ๐Ÿ™‚

    Premier Icon jim the saint
    Subscriber

    JasonLock – As I said in my first post there is no excuse for a LBS not stocking a range of stems in all sizes, rises and bar diameters (especially 31.8 as the reason that was developed was so that shops could buy stems that fitted both mtb and road bikes). If a LBS is a Trek dealership they do a range of Bonty stems in all sizes that are pretty good as far as stems go and offer good vfm. Also without a complete range of stem sizes in stock I don’t see how a LBS can fit a customer for a bike properly.
    On the other hand though I think it’s unreasonable for a customer to expect a shop to stock all sizes, in all colours, from all makes all of the time.

    So if Ton was willing to buy a 70mm stem from any manufacturer then his LBS’s are a bit poor. If he was looking for a stem from a particular manufacturer in a particular colour then maybe he’s being a bit picky by expecting them to stock everything a cyclist could ever want.

    Premier Icon jim the saint
    Subscriber

    Hora – When you own/run a bike shop it’s a bit more serious than a “hobby”. And if you are a Recruitment Consultant then I find it a bit ironic that you are not willing to pay a bit more for expert advice at a bike shop when the service you supply can be had for free at the Job Centre.

    I can’t obviously speak for all LBS’s but when I was a manager of a LBS my staff consisted of me – I represented the UK at the Worlds as a junior, had worked as mtb guide in Spain, a sales rep for an Outdoors kit company and had 20 years of general mtb experience. Louise Robinson – Was current female CX champion, regining Three Peaks champion, had raced for the massive Raleigh/SAAB world cup team, her dad was the first brit to win a stage of the Tour and her partner was then the main buyer for Halfords performance range and has since set up Isla bikes. Ross and Pete (the saturday lads) – both raced for England and the UK in multiple disciplines and both were pretty awesome on trials and dh bikes, I think Ross is now the manager but I digress. Dave Goodenough – A bicycle mechanic with over 30 years experience and finest wheel builder I’ve ever seen. Robin Warne – A good junior racer when younger who had stopped racing but was incredibly well informed in the bike trade, He’s now the international sales manager for Hope.
    Now don’t take this the wrong way but if you think you know more about bikes than these guys then your either Gary Fisher in disguise or your deluding your self.

    juan
    Member

    Now don’t take this the wrong way but if you think you know more about bikes than these guys then your either Gary Fisher in disguise or your deluding your self.

    LOL jim you now owe me a new screen and keyboard ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Dylan08
    Member

    Should have checked out Crosstrax – 3 different 70mm stem’s in stock and you could have collected the XL Scott Cyclocross Bike you ordered too! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Happy Trails chap!

    hora
    Member

    I don’t offer career/advice. The candidates tend to be alittle brighter than me so its a different type of service/market 8)

    Im not building a race bike. Selecting an XT wheel is hardly going to shave 5 tenths of a second off my 3mph weekend bimble?

    I see exactly where you are coming from, your frustration and your ideals. Sometimes passion isnt enough though on the high street. Why do Halfords sell alot of low end tat? ๐Ÿ™

    Sorry my posts may come across as aimed directly at the subject-matter. They arent. Im railing in part at the continual price rises coming from manufacturers etc. NOT the fault of retailers as they are last in line (and in the firing line) for their own margin. I understand about currency fluctuations but a ยฃ1,000 aluminium frame (say my 2004 brand new Santa Cruz Heckler frame manufactured with cheap far eastern labour) wasnt ‘cheap’ in the first place. 5 years ago and 1k. Someone was making a killing even back then.

    coffeeking
    Member

    My LBS (when i worked there) became an online store and bought in large quantities, but still opened its doors to the public for a cuppa and had a workshop. Unfortunately it died due to too many cases of “mates rates” and special deals for regular customers.

    grumm
    Member

    Unfortunately it died due to too many cases of “mates rates” and special deals for regular customers.

    If it was an online store buying in large quantities, surely ‘mates rates’ can’t have had that much impact on it closing down?

    Premier Icon BigDummy
    Subscriber

    Sorry my posts may come across as aimed directly at the subject-matter.

    No, this is rarely a concern.

    ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Premier Icon Mr Agreeable
    Subscriber

    It’s just struck (me)that this thread hassome classic/examples of Hora-izing?

    Guilliano
    Member

    It’s true that some LBS do have a poor range, but this is in part because the customers who know what they want won’t buy at the LBS so there’s no point stocking those parts. I’m lucky, I work in a LBS that has a much greater range of stock than Evans or Halfords. OK, we don’t have the range of brands that Evans does, but we have a better range of bikes (well over 120 different models in the showroom) and a larger range of tools, parts and accessories than I have seen in any other shop. We do lose business to the internet though, as all shops do. But we are seeing an increase in people buying mid to high end bikes who want the bike sized and PDI’d properly so they are buying from us safe in the knowledge that their ยฃ500-ยฃ2500 is being spent on something they are happy with before they part with the cash

    hora
    Member

    It’s just struck (me)that this thread hassome classic/examples of Hora-izing?

    Walks towards computer John-Wayne style then throws self at the screen pumelling clenched hands against the screen. Weeps, falls on the floor, sniffs then minces out 8)

    LBS we needed some way to differentiate ourselves from the chainstores and online retailers

    I agree. I generally don’t use my LBS to buy parts, I use CRC/Merlin/Wiggle, because they have keen prices, carry stock and deliver to my office. But I occasionally use my LBS for repairs I wont do myself: hydraulic brakes, suspension, rescuing wheels; and impulse buys.

    hora
    Member

    I have two LBS’s (bought two recent forks, a Blur 4x frame and sundries from Edinburgh Bikes so you cant accuse me of being anti-LBS in any shape or form).. Infact I bought a tyre from my other one this lunchtime. It was a few quid more than CRC but I wanted to see the tyre/check/weigh up if worth buying. The only reason why I wont use a local bikeshop is if I receive poor service. Of course service levels/experience dips from time to time and its only when there is a major let-down or fade that you walk. Then, your faced with no local bikeshop option arent you? Thats when CRC muscle in ๐Ÿ˜‰

    robdob
    Member

    That’s the main thing Hora, service. Its free give good service but it’s a mystery why so many shops are so rubbish at it……

    hora
    Member

    No offence to any bikeshop owners but in some places you walk in and you detect an undercurrent of resentment and faint hostility. Almost as though some of the staff have fallen out with their employer or dont like working there. Then we hear of this magical ‘LBS’ that we should all adhere to and protect as though its similar to the Real Ale campaign. Lets not forget there are sh1te shops out there as well you know.

    Premier Icon Mr Agreeable
    Subscriber

    I’ve got no illusions about bike shops but people tend to be extremely harsh, in a way they aren’t about online retailers.

    Imagine if you went into a bike shop and asked to try something on, or have a look at it before buying it, only to be told to **** off, or that you could view it, but only through a tiny blurry window. Or if you bought something, and when you got it home it wasn’t in your bag, then they phoned up to offer you an “alternative” that you didn’t want.

    Imagine also that you tried to order, say, some DH forks off Zepnat, and then came on here to slag them off when you couldn’t find any. Different shops have different specialisms and if you have a few locally the chances are they’ll be able to meet your needs between them.

    It also makes me despair how many people will happily spunk ยฃ3-400 on a set of forks (or more likely put it on their credit cards) and ten times that much on a bike, but will grub around the darkest recesses of the internet looking for ยฃ20 off said item. Or they will waste hours on here, or waiting for the parcel delivery man, but resent a 20 minute walk or drive to a “real” shop.

    I’ve seen a guy who took his broken frame to my LBS, and asked them to courier it back to the manufacturer, notwithstanding the fact that they were no longer a dealer for that particular brand and he hadn’t even bought it there in the first place.

    I could go on…

    Premier Icon BillOddie
    Subscriber

    Bikeshops (local or otherwise) – my views:

    I only buy shoes from my local bikeshops now (though after buying my last sets of shimano shoes in the same size I might not bother doing that either) after too many experiences of them either not selling what I need at all or “we can get one in a week” then not even bothering to order one. Don’t even buy helmets off them anymore as I know I’m a Medium in Giro or Bell.

    Not bought a complete bike for a few years though but if I did, I might buy one from a shop, but to be honest I’d be more likely to buy a frame and then use spare bits or spec it up myself.

    Has to be said in the last few years my experience of Bikeshops has been overwhelmingly poor with 1 exception:
    18Bikes in Hope, good shop with proper kit and proper stock levels for parts and clothing I want to buy (Endura and Sombrio). Might actually make the effort to use them combined with a ride as they are 1.5 hours up the M1 from me, otherwise I’ll order from them over the web, at least they’ll be in business when I need something at 10am on Sunday morning (yes they open on a Sunday!!!!) before a ride in the Peak.

    Other bikeshops I have used are Holey trail in Mach, Skyline at Afan and Bothy Bikes in Aviemore.

    Seems I tend to visit good bikeshops more when I go away from leicestershire it seems…

    Premier Icon theotherjonv
    Subscriber

    I understand both viewpoints but that is the nature of the competitive market. One thing’s for sure, if you go into a bike shop and ask for advice and get refused because ‘you might just be wasting our time and then buy from the internet’ you sure as hell won’t be getting the sale. You INVEST in the relationship and hope it comes good. In some cases it won’t, there are some folks that are imho brazen about it, but that’s their call.

    In my line of work (a chemical manufacturer) we pride ourselves on technical support and service. Our situation is even worse – a lab chemist will call up our sales people who will visit several time, provide free samples for them to evaluate, take our tech service chemists in to support the development process, and hopefully develop a new product with some of our chemicals in it. the chemist signs off on the formulation who then hands it on to the purchasing group who screw us down on price and terms compared to 2 or 3 other suppliers who make the same stuff. In most cases the contract goes to the lowest bidder, and we lose out a lot of the time to low cost Asian sources. In some cases our service is seen as a factor and we needn’t be lowest to win the bid – but we can’t be far off. Increasingly, the bid goes to the lowest price except we then get a chance to price match it at the end of the bid process and have last bite at the business if we want it.

    So what do we do? Act sulky next time the phone rings in case they might be another internet shopping time waster? No, we try even harder to provide even better levels of service and we find creative ways to make our (non-lowest) price more palatable. Like – in bike shop equivalent terms – loyalty discounts, free fitting, the odd consumable thrown in for trade price, and so on.
    Sorry, but it’s a fact of life in C21

    hora
    Member

    I’ve seen a guy who took his broken frame to my LBS, and asked them to courier it back to the manufacturer, notwithstanding the fact that they were no longer a dealer for that particular brand and he hadn’t even bought it there in the first place.

    That is abit ‘special’.

    theotherjonv in my line of work, I can spend hours on an assignment where a client is merely using an external source to benchmark against internals (the sneaky ones dont tell you this). I still have to provide a certain level of service regardless. If it doesnt come off it doesnt come off- such is life. It all comes down to service, without the ‘Ive spent time on you now buddy you better take it to the till’ attitude.

    aP
    Member

    To be honest, if I treated my clients the way some LBS treat their customers I’d be out of business very quickly. Just because its a shop doesn’t mean that you treat those coming like morons. I spend a lot of money on bikes, I like to get proper service, if I don’t get it in a shop I don’t buy it from there.

    Premier Icon theotherjonv
    Subscriber

    precisely my point Hora. Some of the attitude I’ve seen in bike shops transferred to ‘the real world’ would only result in lost business – or business never gained. It might be the 3rd, 4th time you tender for the business that you finally get it but don’t neglect the benefit of doing it right every time. It’s far easier to lose a customer than gain one.

    Premier Icon snowslave
    Subscriber

    Tinternet = cheap and v convenient, big range. It’s just SO EASY.

    Chain bike stores like EBC, Evans etc = slightly more expensive, slightly smaller range, convenient high street locations, long opening hours etc etc. Kinda easy.

    To support an LBC as a punter you have to first deliberately ignore the above, go in when you should be at work or play, expect to pay more, know you will have less choice, less convenient location etc etc. It’s not impossible to survive as a small retailer, but to get around the above you need to be friendly, flippin good with your service, knowledgeable, have excellent quality control, maybe develop into niches/new markets etc, and really make the customer feel loved, run rides and get your face around town, etc. If you don’t, you’re no different than the chains and they’re cheaper and more convenient, or tinternet even moreso.

    Tough environment, but no different than any other industry facing the same challenges imho.

    hora
    Member

    snowslave, true. In all our jobs we have countless competitors all vying for the same business yet we are told we should support our local LBS regardless. As Ive said, I have two local bikeshops that I still regularly pop into for the odd items. Oh and before I bought my new full suss frame I enquired about a new Heckler frame from my LBS (they didnt have one in the company)

    JasonLock
    Member

    jim the saint – Member
    JasonLock – As I said in my first post there is no excuse for a LBS not stocking a range of stems in all sizes

    I have worked in the shop for 3 years now and have NEVER sold a 70mm stem, as I previously mentioned we would love to carry more stock but due to rising internet sales we only now carry more common sizes. When I personally buy a new bike I have allways had it as it comes stock, ride it then adjust as suits. In my honest opinion everyone likes there own personal set-up and it is impossible on a short test ride for the CUSTOMER to tell if the bike is 100% set up correctly for themselves (on more expensive bikes we will try and get a demo bike for the customer to ride!). By the time a customer has decided the stem is a wee bit to short it is second hand, of course we will lend out second hand stems for them to try before they buy another stem! I think it’s more of a roadie thing!

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