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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 3:40 pm 
Section Moderator & South West AEC
Section Moderator & South West AEC
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Joined: Mon Jun 25, 2007 3:33 pm
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Location: new forest
i tend to agree with cannondale king and mtbfix

i left the bike trade last june, i finally had enough, i had lost my enthusiasm for it, got sick of fixing other peoples stuff and just watching my stuff collect dust. i also got bored of having the same tired old argument of us verses mail order. i can totally understand when owners get soul destroyed by it all.

but as far as the current situation goes i think good shops will survive by being niche market specialists and being good at their jobs and the crap shops will die regardless of internet mail order.

not that the internet hasn't massively changed they way people shop, of course it has. and you have to admire their growth aswel even if you don't like it. it is more convienient/cheaper and you don't have to go anywhere. it's a hard battle to fight.

what always frustrated me was customers who knowingly waste your time by getting all the info and advice then buy the same thing from wiggle/crc/evans etc, you see it on the local club ride and you can't help but think tosser. i know i did.

also the other problem is the internet doesn't give the shop the opportunity of competing, it's open 24/7. atleast when it was a copy of mbuk slapped across the counter 10years ago you could say you'd try and match it and their hours were the same, now the shops don't get the same chance.

i had a conversation with a rep several years ago, the subject being exactly what is happening to the trade now. i think long term shops will become more like quickfit mechanic shops, it's the only thing the most customers can't do.

the way i would do it is this:-

bikes, shit mark up, high stock cost
spares, ok mark up, medium stock cost
accesories, ok mark up, medium stock cost(if you are sensible)
clothes, not great mark up but can be very high stock cost

so l would bin the bikes and clothes, let the mail order guys have it, you'll save a fortune on stock costs and you'll never get into that "will it fit me/is it the right size/ have you got the other colour/what can you chuck in" conversation again. concentrate on workshop, that way you retain the most profitable parts of the shop and on what you are doing you are making more mark up and profit, you are turning over less but the profit is higher. but you can only do this if you have a known and good reputation for mechanical ability.

if you turn over 500,000 in the bike trade you probably make profit about 25,000 (for the owner) after wages and bills, for someone who makes it their life like my old boss that isn't that great really and don't forget that for the first 5-6 years that you'll not make anywhere near that so the profit will be lots less.

the bike trade also depends on young guys having an interest in it, it keeps the sport fresh but they also need to be trained properly, not just in the products either (i was trained at john lewis) they need to be told when to tuck in their pants so the old guy who likes to be called "sir" walks in he can't see their spotty arsecrack.

i always try and buy from smaller dealer if i can (not just the bike trade) i think it's always the smaller dealers who have more individual specialist knowledge in their chosen field.

but if your local shop has gone bust it isn't just his fault, look in the mirror, it's yours aswel.

that's just my opinion, so there. :D


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 7:47 pm 
retrobike rider
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Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2008 12:28 pm
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Location: rutland
good read there jonnyboy and others

the owner of the shop i had was losing interest , he wanted to get into property stuff so was reluctant to let me order as i pleased . he couldnt see that certain stuff wasnt selling ( like andy i too was in the sub £200 market so had a shop floor covered in crappy full suss :roll: )

servicing kept it afloat ( bearly ) i had a strong customer base probably due to my no bullshit approach to selling . ie if i didnt have what i knew they needed i would tell them where to get it instead of making up some rep spouted gumpf about how great xyz is when it wasnt . those people would come back , often to say thanks because what i advised was brilliant but also to buy something that i did have . they wold then tell friends of the good service so in a short time i had a good following

sure the internet might be killing off sales but i remember when people were saying magazine mail order was too . theres nothing to stop a shop setting up an online store of course . cyclesport in town has a succesful mail order side , if i go in wanting something in a particular colour and is not in the shop then someone goes up the road to their warehouse and brings it back

i gave wrench priority to woever needed it most ie the fatty with a puncture had to go into town for a walk for an hour whereas the guy on his way o work could hang around while i did it straight away . one night after hours while i was in back putting together one of my own bikes with a few regulars a pretty girl comes in with a broken rear axle . was i going to tell her to pick it up in the morning after she got a taxi home and back the next day , no i changed the axle there and then , 10 mins later she was gone and happy

ive been into too many shops where the staff has the wrong attitude ( or too baggy troos :lol: ) and they make it seem like its below them to help and that comes across to someone who is in cycling in the first place imagine how it would make someone who is buying their first bike or who has no knowedge on bicycles feel

its bad that xesh is the only guy in his shop that can screw a wheel together . its bad that as the years go by knowledge is being lost but i supose its no diferent than a newly qualified mechanic not knowing how to tune a carb


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 8:01 pm 
Anglian AEC / Prison Ship Captain
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jonnyboy666 i couldn't put it any better if i tried i hate the customers that just use you for info as of late i have been giving wong info to those people that are blaintanly just there to pick your brains before they go mail order and laugh when to myself when they want me to sort it out i know its wrong but it is fun :lol: :lol: :lol:


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 8:31 pm 
Section Moderator & South West AEC
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Joined: Mon Jun 25, 2007 3:33 pm
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Location: new forest
the best one i did was when a guy came in and asked for brake pads for his bike, standard cantilever brakes, young guy, mid 20's dressed like a bit of a numpty and needed a haircut, sorry a hairstyle. we all know the type, armchair engineer.

anyhooo, i got the pads, about a fiver a set, he wanted front and rear, he then asked me to fit them, i said that would be and extra £10 mainly coz looking at the heap of a bike he had it was obvious to me the cables were in a shit bent rusty flattened off state making the job a sod and he'd already made it clear "i don't need any cables" he said £10 was too expensive couldn't i do it for free. i said "no sorry, it's workshop so i have to charge" hoping he'd say ok and pay or no and take the pads and go, he said "can you tell me how to do it?" :roll: so i thought for a second and said "sorry i won't because that defeats the object unless you pay me for the information" quite stunned he replied "so you won't tell me how to fit them?" :roll: "i have been trained properly and tested, my boss buys tools and pays me a wage and labour charge is a mark up on my wages etc so you either pay me to fit them or you pay me to tell you how to do it, either way it's £10! do you work for free?"

every customer is different and that is not how i was with all customers but the guy was a penis so i made the exception!

he took the pads. i felt quite arsey, but i knew he wouldn't pay for the fitting, why should you do something for free? frankly, what is in it for me? i know that is a bit rude or arsey but think of it this way, does anybody go to work for free? do you do it out of the goodness of your heart? f**k no! you do it for money coz you want a house/car/holiday/kids/bikes/toys/or whatever! goodwill is an exception if it is a regular good customer though but any job you do is basically for money but we hopefully get jobs we like or are interested in and if we do it's a bonus, i feel lucky i didn't lose interest in bikes, just the retail trade.

another good comeback when they ask for discount is say "ok i'll give you 10% off but i want the shop hoovering, the forecourt sweeping, and teas made for the staff and all the bikes dusted" if they do that it's worth 10%, and yes i did say that to people, the trick there was to say it with a big smile, they know you're joking but makes them think they've been cheeky asking! :D


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 9:24 pm 
retrobike rider
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Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2008 12:28 pm
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Location: rutland
yep sounds familiar

it is actually bloody hard work in a bike shop on your lonesome

" can i have some new pads please "

" yes certainly , you have the older canti style of pad with a stud so its these at £x "

" oh and how much if you fit them ? "

instantly turns into eyeball quote challenge , throw in some quick maths , timescale , remember your chips are going cold , its nearly school chucking out time so theres the hanging around asking questions to deal with , what other problems will appear once you start , are they going to be arsey having to pay more when they pick it up later , is it covered in shit , how many times will you have to wash your hands , do you overquote if it looks like a massive hassle or to account for the hidden sheared bits , oh itl cost you £x

all in the space of 3 seconds :lol:

" do i wait ? i need it to get home "

:roll: come back at half 4

at 5.20 you wish you said pick it up in the morning :lol:


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 10:27 am 
Old School Grand Master
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Location: uk
I am glad i put this thread up.................didn't think it would spark such long answers............... :D


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 10:33 am 
Section Moderator & South West AEC
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sorry i do ramble on a bit!! :lol:

but the problems and the failings of the bike trade can't be summed up in a couple of sentences.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 11:11 am 
Retro Guru

Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2007 11:10 am
Posts: 862
Location: Reading way
In all fairness they are not the problems and failings of the bike trade alone. I left the trade once and the BS was the same in an office environment (albeit one was paid better).


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 11:17 am 
retrobike rider / Gold Trader
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Love this thread - some really measured responses


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 11:42 am 
East Midlands AEC
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Joined: Thu Oct 05, 2006 7:45 pm
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Location: Derby, UK
Quote:
theres nothing to stop a shop setting up an online store of course


this is our LBS in Derby: http://www.ukcyclestore.com/


Quote:
i felt quite arsey, but i knew he wouldn't pay for the fitting, why should you do something for free? frankly, what is in it for me? i know that is a bit rude or arsey but think of it this way, does anybody go to work for free? do you do it out of the goodness of your heart? f**k no! you do it for money coz you want a house/car/holiday/kids/bikes/toys/or whatever!


in a similar vein my wife is a careers advisor and she has a circle of friends who do various jobs. We asked one to do some decorating for us - she charged X amount. Then when it came to her wanting some careers advice - would she pay? No. :evil: Just because there's no tangible outcome doesn't mean she should do it for free :? My wife's too soft. I think she should charge as she's very good at what she does. Careers advice is a bit of a cinderella service. Call herself a 'life coach' (essentially what she does) and she could rake it in :roll: :lol:


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