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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2009 10:38 pm 
Old School Grand Master
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Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2008 2:36 pm
Posts: 4007
Location: uk
Just wondering how many ex- cycle workers on here who have been made redundant /and or/ shop closures over the past couple of years (and recent) due to a dramatic drop in sales......up and down business etc.............or has your local shop closed recently or now stocking a lot less than they used to ?


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2009 10:46 pm 
Old School Grand Master
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Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2008 10:49 am
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Location: A veritable floating palace
I blame shops like Wiggle, and us enthusiasts for allowing it to happen. Cheaper parts, but no service.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:02 pm 
retrobike rider
retrobike rider
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Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2007 1:53 pm
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Location: Ross on Wye - next door to the Forest of Dean
My LBS is always busy - they give great service and are often competitive on parts. Above all I know that I can pop in at any time for advice and problem solving and they take an interest in what I ride and what I do.

OK they may not be absolutely the cheapest overall if I wanted to trawl the internet for every small part, but I'd be devastated if they closed.

I guess that if we want to keep small independent shops we need to support them!


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 12:01 am 
Anglian AEC / Prison Ship Captain
Anglian AEC / Prison Ship Captain
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Location: LOWESTOFT the worlds smallest bore fest
i work in a small independent but here's the but, my boss has no real interest in the shop anymore as he feels defetted by the shop (he's under a lot of stress) its a shame cos he can be cracking guy and loves cycling a bit to much :lol: :lol: .

I try to help everyone if i can but it is frustrating when customers only use us for service work i dont mind to much but then they get very shirty when you tell them the cost of the parts and they scream at me that they can get the same part off crc and wiggle cheaper (mainly people with high end bikes do this average joe doesn't mind and is greatfful you can help them) they normally come back a week later and ask very nicley to sort out there mess and then slag are work off around town with no reason to do so other than spite that they where wrong in getting shirty.

I also get people come in to only get sized up for there mail order bikes this winds me up as they get anoid that you dont spend hours helping them get the perfect size and spec because your helping a genuine customer with there giant rock or boulder :roll:.

the best thing ever was a customer came in to have a moan at me and the other mechanic because she got the wrong shoes off line after she asked us what we used and what cleats the local gym used on there spinning bike pedals and as she got the wrong ones from the net it was are fault and she insisted we replaced them with discount at which point we reminded her that it was't are fault and if he had got them from us we would of gladly helped.

now the shop isn't doing to good at mo and we have loads of regulars and happy customers but people forget that we carn't compete with the tintinet and the way things are going i give it 3 months tops all because everyone (i cant blaime em i do too) wants a bargin but the way the current trend is going "internet sales" if you get stuck and need somthing fixing that you dont know how too there wont be many places left to go too.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 12:26 am 
retrobike rider / Gold Trader
retrobike rider / Gold Trader
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Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2007 10:35 pm
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Location: The desolate flats of Cambridgeshire
As you pointed out to me the other day, CRC were selling Mavic rims cheaper than you can get them in the trade.

It is sad though, I find nothing better than going to a LBS where people actually have an interest and can tell a tale as they sell a part.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 12:42 am 
Anglian AEC / Prison Ship Captain
Anglian AEC / Prison Ship Captain
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Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2007 1:26 am
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Location: LOWESTOFT the worlds smallest bore fest
the worst thing is people usally need an lbs to sort out whats compatible ad spec parts and to fine tune there mechs as they dont know how without the lbs you'll end up with one bike shop that charges the earth in each town either a halfords/cycle republic or an evans

and once crc run out of old stock all there prices are gonna go up :roll: try telling some people that and they say "the price wont go up its just you cycle shops putting the prices up" i just laugh to myself know when i hear that as madison has put nearly everything up by umpteen % per item as thats what they cost to import now :shock: :shock: shame really but loads of small lbs will be going over the next 2 years i can see it now :cry: :cry:


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 1:37 am 
Moderator /Lincs, E & S Yorks Deputy AEC
Moderator /Lincs, E & S Yorks Deputy AEC
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Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2007 6:16 pm
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Location: RetroModding™ since 1988
The bike shop I used to work in closed down in October last year, sales were down on the previous year, margins were tight as we were below RRP & the location was wrong, even our good reputation for servicing & my spending an entire day posting 10% off leaflets round the local housing estate didn't help much (& it bloody chucked it down)

Internet sites may or may not have been a cause of the shops closure, I think Tescos and Halfords had more to do with it, as we mostly sold bikes under £500, ~80% of the bikes sold were sub £200, which with halfords sales every 2 minutes & Tescos (less than 1 mile away) selling similar bikes cheaper made for it hard for the shop to stay open

On the upside I'm starting up my own mobile cycle repairs business :D

Blatant plug for thecycledoctor.co.uk


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 3:13 am 
retrobike rider / Gold Trader
retrobike rider / Gold Trader
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Joined: Thu Dec 08, 2005 12:29 pm
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Location: London
AndyB - good luck with your venture. I see this as a business with great potential, especially in towns where there are a lot of cycle commuters.

My impression of bike shops (and I'm prepared to be corrected by people who know a lot more than me on the subject) is that the servicing department is pretty profitable, and often lacking in capacity. For example, in London & suburbs, I frequently hear of a week and longer wait to book a bike in for a service (incidental evidence, I know).

So why not have a repairs specialist? Collect the bike from home / work. Fix. Return.

When I heard that Evans charge £15 + parts to change a tube (and seemingly, only if you rant that you *must have* your Brompton TODAY) I considered a mobile puncture repair service. For £10 + bits I would ride to your location in zone 1 or 2 and repair your tyre.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 12:31 pm 
Retro Guru

Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2007 11:10 am
Posts: 862
Location: Reading way
There have been no closures in our immediate vicinity but the ads in the Yellow Pages are getting smaller.

The trouble with bike servicing is having the right parts and storage. If you need a part tyhat is not in stock there will be a 48hr delay while the part is sourced. This does not compare favourably with motor garage services which have daily parts deliveries from local factors. Deeper stock of spares would get around this but cost and space often step in the way. Then you have to store the darn bikes whilst the customer who was in a desperate hurry suddenly has a week on holiday and cannot be contacted.

Puncture repairs are a bind as they turn up out of the blue and require that a mechanic stop the job they are on to replace a tube. Then they have to start again on the original job and time is lost so this work is priced high.

Rest assured, workshop repairs are only profitable when a nail comes in and has cash thrown at the parts. A full service is £100 labour and may take two days work once you have cleaned it up, worked out what is bust and ordered the bits, fitted them etc. Consider the mechanic's pay and that seems cheap.

As for mailorder killing the business, tough. Websites are cheap enough to build these days and can be a good sales channel for any IBD. We may not like Wiggle and CRCs pricing but they are a fact of the market and so that is that.

Vague and wandering rant ends ;)


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 2:56 pm 
Retro Guru
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Joined: Wed Apr 23, 2008 9:57 pm
Posts: 2437
Location: Kent UK
mtbfix wrote:
Puncture repairs are a bind as they turn up out of the blue and require that a mechanic stop the job they are on to replace a tube. Then they have to start again on the original job and time is lost so this work is priced high.


Why?? :? Surely they join the back of the queue? At the shop I work at they don't take priority, it's first come first served. Mind you we've been doing this for years now so no one complains. :wink:

I've now been downgraded to part-time since September last year. I've only been working at the shop for about 12 days since then. They can't get rid of me completely as I'm the only one that can build wheels. That said when it gets busier I'll be back full time.

It helps when the owner is a mate too! :wink:


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