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PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 5:18 pm 
King of the Skip Monkeys
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Joined: Wed Nov 07, 2007 4:34 pm
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Location: Moomin Valley
building bikes on the side seems a far better way to be than running a shop - I quite fancied it but, some of the people, jeez and this thread has set my mind at ease. No Bike shop for me!


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 5:49 pm 
Gold Trader
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Joined: Sun Jun 22, 2008 1:38 pm
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as we used to say, best way to end up with a million quid in the bike biz was to start with five mil :-)

Andy


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 5:59 pm 
Gold Trader
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Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2008 2:47 pm
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Location: Somerset
I worked in a shop for a couple of years and despite the boss being a bit of a tosser, (former PWC accountant who assumed that a bike shop could be run with no consideration for customer service) we had a loyal and informed customer base. Our mechanic was very knowledgeable (now works for Tim Flooks at TFTuned) and would happily answer questions and chat in order to ensure repeat business. I didn't know as much as he did, but did my best to give honest answers and make teas and coffees for the regulars who would often buy parts they didn't come in for whilst chatting over a hot drink. :)
Unfortunately when I decided to leave to go on my travels, the boss couldn't be arsed to do the day to day sales side so closed the doors. He wasn't a passionate cyclist, just thought he could make a wedge out of selling bikes (mental!).

Since that shop closed I have really struggled to find the quality of service that we used to offer.

My closest LBS sells high end kit (intense, lapierre, Turner etc), but when you walk in you can feel like it is an inconvenience being there. Plus although the mechanic seems very competent, I get the feeling that they would happily cut corners (bike came back from a service with barrel adjusters wound out - :evil: ) and I don't trust their work. There is an atmosphere of "unless you have a £5k rig that is less than 6 months old we're not interested". I have been in 5 or 6 times in the last couple of months and they still don't know my name or greet me with a friendly hello. I won't be using them again.

Fortunately my othe LBS (Bike in Bristol) have just extended their workshop - (they used to frustrate me despite their friendly, knowledgeable staff, they always had a 2 week wait to get your bike booked in for work). Testament to their service, but still cost them my business in the past. I will start using them again to do the stuff that is beyond my ability, but for now I am buying a stand and tools so that I can do most things myself. Incidentally they (Bike) will always try to match the prices on CRC where possible and if they can't they will knock some off. I know they probably hate doing it, but it is part of modern retailing.

I have heard it said that if you want to make a small fortune in the cycle industry, you had better start with a large one! :wink:


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 6:00 pm 
Gold Trader
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I was writing such a long post that you beat me to my quote. :oops:


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2009 1:37 am 
retrobike rider / Gold Trader
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Incidental addition to this thread, but I spent some time in my younger days selling textile-based, personnel heating devices. My boss at the time was a nice guy who had a habit of nipping out on his bike for a couple of hours which, unsurprisingly, led to his downfall.

Roll forward a number of years and I bumped into him at a bike show with an exhibitor pass, denoting him as manager of one of the big name roadie shops .... and he looked a lot happier!


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2009 10:16 pm 
Old School Grand Master
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Well I won't go in to detail, my experiences as a mechanic and then manager of a bike shop............but I think others have said here in parts all I could say about it.............interesting !....................could tell a few funny stories, very funny in fact...............save them for another thread :D needless to say though and I know this is quite common...............glad I've had a break so I can enjoy cycling again..............at 1st bike bike bike is great.............after a few years.............it was the last thing i wanted to do with my free time.................... cheap Internet sales was (our) demise really (very rural area).............makes me laugh now to think that predicted losses to the net were calculated at about 3%............in the beginning !!!


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2009 10:35 pm 
Retro Guru
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i used to use my lbs as much as possible but since extreme in holmfirth closed a few year ago there not so good round by me apart from try cycling which are a very nice set of guys. but one of my lbs had my rear shock in for 2 wks waiting for a bush fitted i ended up buying one myself and fitting it.
thwang


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2009 11:15 pm 
Sabrina the Teenage Witch
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Location: Mammoths deserve to be cloned. From what I've seen in 'Ice Age' they are jolly good sports.
BarneyRubble wrote:
...when you walk in you can feel like it is an inconvenience being there... unless you have a £5k rig that is less than 6 months old we're not interested


It seems like this in the Lake District shops. I struggled to find a bike there with a tag less than the value of my cars, combined.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2009 11:44 pm 
Retro Guru
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Location: Peoples Republic of Scunny
J i m s t e r wrote:
BarneyRubble wrote:
...when you walk in you can feel like it is an inconvenience being there... unless you have a £5k rig that is less than 6 months old we're not interested


It seems like this in the Lake District shops. I struggled to find a bike there with a tag less than the value of my cars, combined.


But my experiance of Lake district shops has always been very good,expensive bikes yes but a good attitude aswell :D


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2009 3:44 pm 
retrobike rider
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Very interesting thread and a topic that applies to how people look at shops and services now, even non bike workers can nod and agree to a lot of this.

This is the kind of thing that concerns me but we've all got wallets to watch and if ya can save like say £40 or upto 40% then you will. Cos thats a lot of money. Plus you can do your price checking online, your reviews, and actual buying, but also the choice, I'm looking to buy a DSLR camera and I'm tied between about 3 differnt brands/models and I don't even feel I can get at these on the high street then theres the scuffle of price plus only shop I've been to was a big player. Similar with bikes I guess. I end up only buying bits and pieces and skilled work from LBS's which is kind of sad cos BITD as a paper round kid I spent loads of time and probably most my paper round funds in the LBS cyclegear, prob not a big profit for all my questions but still bought 3 or 4 bikes off em. Now I'm in Manc, I reckon my LBS's are well placed for the commuting market anyway so I don't feel too worried, I have spent some money at EBC in the last couple year which may or may not be a good idea.

Trying stuff and getting advice and free labour is well cheeky I'm not really into that.
I've often pondered a market/business opp in what is happening 8) but meh got enough problems/daft ideas! :lol:

Shops like Winstanleys seem to have the cake and eat it. a shop with customer services if you get someone helpful or not..., and very very competitive online site full of diverse stuff, bargains to be had if you are realistic about your bargain. We're very happy with the mail order Giant we got, but my mates Marin had wobbly wheels and all sorts to fix. not checked on its way out IMO. baad.

All depends how you look at it, we're seeing purchasing and service in two seperate camps. and of course people want trade prices with comprehensive service. :roll:


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