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Go make a difference
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Someone please tell me this is not typical across the globe right now. Here in Atlanta, most LBS' are saying it takes two weeks to get to your bike repair. I had one shop that told me they couldn't even get to a customer's flat repair for three days.

WHAT???? I wanted to ask them how they let a customer walk out of the shop without spending 10 minutes to change the flat and show him / her how to do it themselves?!

Two words: CUSTOMER SERVICE.

Where did it go? I know it's summer, yadda yadda yadda, but please. I literally had a shop tell me this morning they could put me on a schedule to TENTATIVELY get to my bike on Aug 1. I promptly left, went 3 blocks down the road to a shop I've forgotten was even there and they said they'd have my bike back to me by 2pm tomorrow. Now that's what I'm talkin' bout! :thumbsup:

I think it's a matter of poor management. I'm a construction manager currently managing nearly $20 million of work in five countries. We have deadlines. We have meetings to review procurement activities. We have meetings to review our efforts, progress, where we're messing up -- and we correct any deficiencies. We reallocate resources. We manage time differently if need be. If you consider the average shop person, they have no management skills. I know a guy -- great wrench -- at a LBS who has a freaking engineering degree, but no understanding of how to manage people, time, or other resources. And he's a manager for one of the LBS' three Atlanta locations! I asked him to order a Race Face BB for my Atlas crankset, he said it would be 3-5 days. So, because I had a race the following weekend, I decided to call and check to make sure it had shipped. This guy was off that day. The other manager couldn't tell me if it had even been ordered, much less shipped b/c there were no notations on the order which gave him any information. It was all in the orderer's head. What if he gets hit by a bus? I don't wish that on anyone, but you have to consider these things!

Okay, this is long enough. I hope others are not experiencing this same thing. I'm off to order my new maintenance book and some more tools so I can do this this stuff myself. :ciappa:
 

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Mantis, Paramount, Campy
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Typical Here

Not 3 weeks but most of the shops I frequent have a week backlog.
It's not poor customer service. If anything its lack of man power. It's tough to sell new bikes, assemble new bikes, and repair old bikes all at the same time.

I would never walk into a shop between the months of April and September and assume they could fix a flat for me on the spot. I know going in that unless I specifically ask for it to be fixed now (ie emergancy, and expect to pay a premium) that it will be a day at least.

The people that walk in and expect service NOW are poor consumers. Sadly that's what this counrty seems to be made up of. Most of the people that get uptight about customer service have never been on the other side of the counter.
 

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That's one reason why I started doing my own wrenching. I went into my LBS about 3 years ago, asked them how long it would take to overhaul my hubs, and the owner said "About 2 weeks." I looked in the shop and saw 2 teenage mechanics throwing things and shooting each other with silly string. Then the owner said "It will cost $20/hub."

You want me to wait 2 weeks, then pay $40 for work done by those 2 monkeys? I don't think so. I went home and ordered a bunch of bike tools online.
 

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I took my bike in on Friday before the 4th (because I was going out of town and wouldnt need it) and I expected it would be a week before I got it back. They asked if I wanted to pick it up the next day. I told them to take their time b/c I would be out of town and they were very appreciative. So I would have to agree that its poor mgmt. This shop is always busy but they get stuff done rather quickly. They have even made quick repairs for me on the spot without having to wait, during the busy season. Not all shops are bad.
 

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What's that smell?
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The more time and money you spend in the shop usually equates to deals and quick service.

Showing up in a shop after months or years and wanting either a deal or quick service usally equates to neither.
 

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Old man on a bike
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Some people can do their own construction projects, some can't. Some can repair/tune up their own bicycle, others can't. I know people in the SF bay area wait far longer than a couple of weeks for most construction work. Just good ol' supply and demand at work. Am sure you've got customers in your construction work queue that think a couple weeks is way too long, too. Learn to fix your bike if you don't like the wait for available services...
 

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govt kontrakt projkt mgr
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6,171 Posts
Ive been in shops that promised a day and took three and actually released work they thought was done that was never touched.

Ive also been in shops that took care of major work while I waited or pick up the next afternoon.

I agree consumers want it now, hell I want it NOW. if i cant have it my way i'll hike and tell everyone i can think of what a sukarse shop it is.

Shayne said:
Not 3 weeks but most of the shops I frequent have a week backlog.
It's not poor customer service. If anything its lack of man power. It's tough to sell new bikes, assemble new bikes, and repair old bikes all at the same time.

I would never walk into a shop between the months of April and September and assume they could fix a flat for me on the spot. I know going in that unless I specifically ask for it to be fixed now (ie emergancy, and expect to pay a premium) that it will be a day at least.

The people that walk in and expect service NOW are poor consumers. Sadly that's what this counrty seems to be made up of. Most of the people that get uptight about customer service have never been on the other side of the counter.
 

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Bike to the Bone...
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I think that sometimes it's typical, but not most of the time. I've had mostly good luck with service at LBS, mostly because I know where the good wrenches are, and usually (not always) phone ahead and see when they have time.

Sometimes what happens is that when a shop has a backorder, some guy comes in and whine, begs, pleads that he NEEDS his bike done ASAP. What that makes is sloppy work, I think. The shop has one of two options if they decide to please the customer:

1. Delay all the other bikes placed before this guy.
2. Make fast some repairs to have them done on time.
 

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It's about showing up.
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All the fairweather riders are out now,

and so there are lots of repairs needed. Our Sponsors shop is just jammed. I needed bikes, challenged by a season of training, out in time for the Nationals and they got it done because I asked them. I am sure someone was put further back in line because of it. I know that I can get this kind of service but only call upon it when absolutely needed.

It is very hard to walk away from a bike on the stand (for a customer who expects is at a certain time for their ride) to repair a flat (for a customer who has had an unplanned hazard event and needs it for their ride NOW). At the same time I see these guys do a flat like they were in a race. There is only so much time and you can't live like you are in a race.

These guys hump. So I brought beer and sodas. Sometimes I buy lunch. You have to see the look on their faces. I don't think I do this so I can get go service. It is more a matter of giving back to people who don't get a great deal. I get the "being a worker" thing. Been there. Hell, am there.
 

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Three weeks does seem awful long. I work PT at a local shop in a very bicycling heavy area. On any given Saturday, the work area is filled with bikes that folks bring in for tune-ups and other assorted work. Even with that, unless parts need to be ordered, most work is completed within the week, and things like tire changes are usually done on the spot, even if the shop is busy. I do sales, but even I know how to change a tire so if the wrenches are busy, I can do it. Our owner also keeps 5-6 people on staff including himself on weekends so we can handle more customers, and the mechanics only do certain types of repairs on Saturdays (like gear adjustments, brakes, chains) so we can get those folks back out riding quickly and reduces backlog. Really, if you manage well, there is no reason to have a three week delay unless you are literally the only shop for over a hundred miles........
 

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Go make a difference
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
No doubt that shop guys do hump it, I do not disagree with anyone there. To clarify, I do not make a practice of walking into a shop and demanding my widgit back in 24 hours, and I didn't this time. I just think it's absurd that backlogs are three weeks at some shops when others can turn stuff around in 24 hours.

I've been sponsored by a LBS for the last three years. The one I'm sponsored by this year was way too far out of the way (~40 miles one way) for me to consider this time due to work committments. It's one thing when I'm working in our office at the north 'burbs and quite another when I'm downtown, like I have been. Fortunately, it turns out that this shop in town -- Peachtree Bikes -- has two of my old friends from other shops wrenching it there so they may be my new favorite intown LBS.

Given the size of ATL and the number of shops we have here, I've made a practice of spending money at various shops in various parts of the metro area just to keep good relations. I've learned that this - as well as gifts like beer or cookies -- can go a long way when you're in need for a rush job one day.
 

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Yet another reason to have more than 1 bike.
 

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I agree with K2biker

Pi$$ poor management. I read all the above responses, and it makes no sense to have customers wait that long. I manage resources all the time, and most LBS management would not make it a week working for me or my company.

With that kind of backlog, the shop can hire a couple of high school kids for the summer to change all the tires and fix all the flats and do all the lube. That is not rocket science and it will off-load the mechs for the serious stuff. The only **ONLY** reason to have that kind of backlog is just not having enuf people or not knowing how to schedule. Bad management. Hire couple of school kids PT for the summer, pay them minimum, get repairs done faster, get more repairs, everyone comes out better and LBS makes more money. And the school kids get exposure to the high paced, fast and facinating world of the LBS. It is retarded to think that a backlog like that during riding season brings you anything but bad PR.

I don't buy the argument that if you don't spend a lot of money at the shop you don't get good service. You should never treat your least customer radically different from your best, that is just bad management. You have no idea if that guy that is coming in for a quick item or fix is checking you out or not. Most places wouldn't even know Floyd Landis if he walked in the front door (assuming he can still walk that is).

I have had the same kind of sh1te pulled on me in a LBS, and I just take my $ elsewhere. I do most of my own work now cause I got pi$$ed off at the LBS. Now I am more self-sufficient, and the LBS is out the dollars I would have spent. I have my new LBS that is, in my opinion, very responsive and I like them very much even tho I have never purchased a bike from them, just parts (ok enuf parts to assemble about 2.5 bikes). They make me look bad at times when I bring them something that I kludged, but they do it in such a mocking and depreciating way that I keep coming back. If I ever buy another bike, assembled, I will buy it from them. I don't buy parts from them that I can get cheaper on the Internet, and they understand that.

Responsive is all I want out of an LBS.

YMMV. Of couse, what the he11 do I know?

Rick
 

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Formerly DMR For Life
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Three weeks isn't bad there is one shop in town that earlier this month was booking tune ups 4-5 weeks in advance....now there is a good reason for this there is a severe labour shortage here...(there have been stores that had to close because they couldn't find people to work)... Mcdee's is even paying 10 or 11 bucks an hour...that and there are 8-10 shops for a city of a million people and a metro area of closer to 2.5-3 million

My bike now only goes into the shop for stuff I can't do. i.e. facing, reaming, and chasing bb's and headsets...major purchases are made online...unless its less in the store (which is unlikely)

DMR
 

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He be a moose too.
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My LBS had a 2 week backlog earlier in April (and they have a good number of full time mechanics) but they will do a much faster repair for a serious rider though most of the year the turnaround is pretty fast.

I know that you shoud treat everyone well, but if you have a person who rides their bike every day and if they don't have it, that person's (i.e. my) life will be genuinely impacted without their primary bike for two weeks, they'll take care of you. When I bring in one of my secondary bikes, I wait the two weeks and am ok with it.

'Guin
 

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I think it mostly depends on the shop. There is one shop in town that I would probly have to wait 3-5 days to get my bike back. But the shop I usually use I can take it in before my ride and exepect it to be ready in under an hour(I just had a new crankset and shifters done in an hour at no cost). It really depends on and managment and desire of the shop. if they want to fix bikes they will. If they don't they will put it off.

Doug
 

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Gravity Rides Everything
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1,126 Posts
problems-
people want their shiz right away
bike mechanics don't make much money
bike shops dont' charge much for work
people don't want to pay much for work
bike shops operate on a thin profit margin.


end result-you gotta learn to work on your own stuff if you're serious.

i was a shop monkey for 2 years. we'd truly do our best to get people out the door ASAP. flats and such were always on the spot. There's really nothing you can do when the shop gets full of repairs though. we could do six tune ups a day, and that was it. it got rushed between that and selling stuff and unloading shipments and everything else.

it's a tough business. there's certainly some shops who will cater to you more than others, and i'd like to think that shops i have worked for do that, but there comes a point when changing flats all day isn't as profitable as concentrating on sales. it's a fine balance.
 

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What I don't get is that if you're good enough to race , you should be good enough to do all if not most of your own wrenching :skep: :confused: It's like I believe if you drive a car you should be able to change a flat before you're given a drivers license - same with a bike, 'cept it takes about 1/5th the time as a car. I change flats on rides I do 'cause I can't stand sitting around waiting for people to change flats and make it look like it's rocket science or something.
 

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Cars Are Evil
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When I wrneched, we would always change flats on the spot, or within 30 minutes if we were swamped with people in the store. Just wasn't worth the paperwork and phone calls to check it into the queue, and it made people happy.

There's a lot of slackers in the bike business. It's not exactly the career of choice for organized, motivated people. If you need stuff fixed fast and deadlines met, do it yourself.
 
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