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Discussion Starter · #41 ·
Discounts do absolutely nothing to add value to your business. Quite the opposite - they send the message that what you're selling isn't worth as much.....just because.

At my shop I am FAR more likely to throw something in to that person who doesn't ask for anything - that guy who despite being the fastest person on the group road ride is always the one in back nursing along the newbie, or the lady who is ALWAYS bringing in her friends and coworkers to do business with us. The whole "I'm spending money so I should get a discount" mentality tells me that the customer doesn't actually care about relationships, you just care about feeling special, or that you're "winning" the transaction. I will always rather give you more for your money (tech expertise, bike setup, route recommendations or guided rides) than simply give away things that have a set price.

It's funny - the people who ask for discounts the most are the people who would never DREAM of discounting the rates for whatever it is they do for a living. Funny how that works....
Thanks for your post, you mention some valid and reasonable things. I get it that no one is getting rich selling bikes and they need to make a living. Deep discounts are not reasonable and I can fully appreciate how unbelievably annoying it must be to have people constantly try to squeeze a few dollars out of you. Totally get that. fwiw, when they declined my requests I didn't even bat an eye, said ok no problem I understand and happily paid full price.

I suppose one thought comes to my mind that I'm asking out of honest curiosity from your perspective: I understand what you're saying regarding not seeing value in giving discounts. The problem is I think the typical consumer comes in with a different perspective and expectation. Is there a common ground and a way for everyone to walk away happy? Is a very small token discount on something like just $5 on an accessory in exchange for a $5,000 bike purchase or mounting the new tires for free (I offered to pay full price for any materials like sealant, etc) an unreasonable assumption? Just asking, not trying to stir the pot and genuinely curious about your opinion.

btw, I can only speak for myself but I give my services at work completely free of charge regularly every day! Wish it wasn't that way but it's just part of my job and the expectations that go along with it. Understand what you're saying though and admittedly my case is very rare.
 

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They offer a "team membership" for $45 per year and 4 volunteer hours (trail maintenance, assist with another event, etc.) You get a free t-shirt and 15% off everything except new bikes/frames.
Wow. That's super cool. I've only ever made it to one "trail maintenance day", mostly because I don't think there are any. I wish someone gave a schitt about all the fallen trees I've cleared off the trail over the years. I usually clear things up with a 10 inch folding saw I keep in my pack, and good sized trees can take a lot of effort, but there have been several big trees that required a chainsaw, and once there were three huge trees across the same section of trail that took 3 different chainsaws, a 6 foot pry bar, chains, straps, and a come along, all packed into a side by side that took me and my dad a few hours to clean up.

I don't do it for any accolades. I do it out of a sense of ownership and pride of the trails themselves, and out of a sense of service to everyone that uses the trails, but man... it would be so great if anyone gave the slightest hint of appreciation or respect for the work. It would be nothing short of amazing if it got me 15 percent off at the shop.
 

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I'll give a different perspective. The shop that consistently does the best wrenching work on bikes is the one that I would patronize. Helping to support mountain biking in the community gets extra credit in my book on top of good wrenching skills. On top of that, whether I like the shop owner and the people in the shop are big considerations for me.

Shop margins are tight. I'm just thankful that my area has good shops that know what they are doing with bikes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #44 ·
Why are you asking after the fact?

Is it your first recent dual-suspension bike? Having been in the same boat, I'd recommend a B-stop gauge (or make one), tubeless sealant, a derailleur hanger, spare chain link for 12 speed chain, and maybe a volume spacer kit for the rear shock and/or front fork.
Asking after the fact because it really wasn't a big deal at the time or even now. But something I started thinking about a little more after the fact and wondered if this is the new normal or an outlier. Already have a FS bike, this was a gravel bike purchase. First gravel bike after years and years of only owning mtn bikes. Definitely going to take some getting used to but so far so good!
 

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At my LBS they give free massages if you stop in. And the mechanics give you free beer. And they have the exact bike in the exact size you need on the floor and take 25% off just because you're there, you don't have to ask.
No happy ending?? Deal's off!!
 

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Want a free bottle that cost what? $2? Or the tax of the bottle? So this thread is about 20ct?

I think if you can buy a $5K bike, you can afford a bottle.

FWIW, the free bottles with the LBS logo are made of cheap plastic that will release softeners in the water. They did you a favor.

Any discount should be negotiated before sale. Can't demand additional stuff after you agreed to the conditions of sale. How would you react if the LBS asked for additional money after the sale?

And why would a shop that sells repairs teach people to repair their bike? If you need plumbing work done, does your plumber teach you for free? If someone can't or won't google for adjusting an RD, it isn't worth teaching them. You either are eager enough to learn, or have to pay. When I bought my car they didn't teach me how to change the oil and I didn't expect them to.
 

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Some of you seem to be willfully misinterpreting the OP. He wasn't too cheap to buy a bottle and didn't demand anything. He just wanted a trivial acknowledgment of his patronage.

Did he deserve it for this $5K outlay? Or should this shop consider him a walking, interchangeable wallet, indifferently kept at arm's length? In this climate, perhaps they're entitled?

To me, it's an odd request to refuse. When it costs so little to make someone happy, why wouldn't you? I go out of my way to create these moments in my shop. I'll sell a bike and then ask, "would you like me to install a bottle rack? No charge." And people light up. They made X bargain, and now they're getting X+1. The reward in goodwill always outstrips the expense.
 

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Discounts do absolutely nothing to add value to your business. Quite the opposite - they send the message that what you're selling isn't worth as much.....just because.

At my shop I am FAR more likely to throw something in to that person who doesn't ask for anything - that guy who despite being the fastest person on the group road ride is always the one in back nursing along the newbie, or the lady who is ALWAYS bringing in her friends and coworkers to do business with us. The whole "I'm spending money so I should get a discount" mentality tells me that the customer doesn't actually care about relationships, you just care about feeling special, or that you're "winning" the transaction. I will always rather give you more for your money (tech expertise, bike setup, route recommendations or guided rides) than simply give away things that have a set price.

It's funny - the people who ask for discounts the most are the people who would never DREAM of discounting the rates for whatever it is they do for a living. Funny how that works....
I also work for a small local business (fireplaces and outdoor power equipment), there is so much truth in your words. So much of our competition from the big stores is all about the race to the bottom price. Yes, you will be paying full MAP/ MSRP for what you are getting from me, but it's going to be fueled up, test ran, warranty registered, and a short operation lesson before it gets into your hands.

Same story on offering discounts, if you pay with cash or check and haven't been a pain about things. I'm gonna offer you a couple % discount on it. If your being a pain, yeah nope not even going to mention it cause it won't help make or break the sale. With a few exceptions, the people who ask for contractor rates and discounts.. I never see them again. Got a few people that are stuck in my mind for this and I have yet to see a single one of them return.

One of the hardest things for customers to understand is that if someone gives you a 20% discount but only has a 40% margin.. they just gave away half of what they could have made! That's not even factoring for shipping or anything going into ordering, receiving, assembling, or flooring the product. If you aren't making at least 30% margin, it's not worth your time to sell.
 

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Discussion Starter · #49 ·
Want a free bottle that cost what? $2? Or the tax of the bottle? So this thread is about 20ct?

I think if you can buy a $5K bike, you can afford a bottle.

Any discount should be negotiated before sale.
1) If you're not able to determine what we're talking about regarding the cost of the bottle, the tax on the bottle or something else altogether this subject might be too complex for you. But I'll try to write slower so you can keep up.

2) I can afford the bike, I can also afford the $400 bike computer I bought a few days later at another shop because they were a few minutes closer and have better parking. Had I left the other shop with a warm fuzzy feeling and felt like they really helped me out and I owe them something in return I undoubtedly would have made the extra effort to buy the $400 computer there and every other purchase in the future. I'll still shop there occasionally, the place is just fine and I don't have any major issues with them but I certainly won't go out of my way to go there. I just don't feel obligated to use them when it could have been very different with just a small gesture on their part.

3) I asked about the price before I purchased the bike. Not sure what gave you the idea I paid for the bike then asked for money back (see #1 above). Again, this subject may not be the right level of complexity for you. Specifically I politely asked "Hey, is there anything you can do on the price right now?" They said "No sorry, bikes are in high demand." I said "Yeah I figured that, just thought I'd ask." and I never brought up the price of the bike again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #50 ·
Some of you seem to be willfully misinterpreting the OP. He wasn't too cheap to buy a bottle, didn't demand anything, and didn't ask for a discount on the bike. He just wanted a trivial acknowledgment of his patronage.

Did he deserve it for this $5K outlay? Or should this shop consider him a walking, interchangeable wallet, indifferently kept at arm's length? In this climate, perhaps they're entitled?

To me, it's an odd request to refuse. When it costs so little to make someone happy, why wouldn't you? I go out of my way to create these moments in my shop. I'll sell a bike and then ask, "would you like me to install a bottle rack? No charge." And people light up. They made X bargain, and now they're getting X+1. The reward in goodwill always outstrips the expense.
That's a very good summary, thank you. To be completely fair, honest and transparent though I did ask in general terms if they could do anything with the price of the bike. They politely said no and I politely expressed that I understood they can't lower the price and never brought it up again.

I suppose there's not one right way to run a business but at least for me when I find one like yours I'm extremely loyal for many, many years. Once we establish a good business relationship you could sell me snow in a snowstorm and I won't ask any questions and I'll go far out of my way to buy there. I hope you have many customers who do the same!
 

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I have not changed what we give away with a new bike purchase in my shops during the shortage; someday the shortage will be over. I do not want long term policy changing back and forth
What my shops give away with a new bike purchase goes to each and every customer

the OP seems like a very reasonable person with a very reasonable question

FYI margin on a $5000 bike is $1500 to $2000; a water bottle is about $2 cost
 

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I'll give a different perspective. The shop that consistently does the best wrenching work on bikes is the one that I would patronize. Helping to support mountain biking in the community gets extra credit in my book on top of good wrenching skills. On top of that, whether I like the shop owner and the people in the shop are big considerations for me.

Shop margins are tight. I'm just thankful that my area has good shops that know what they are doing with bikes.
+1

Finding a great mechanic is super rare and makes a big difference.
 

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Discounts do absolutely nothing to add value to your business. Quite the opposite - they send the message that what you're selling isn't worth as much.....just because.

At my shop I am FAR more likely to throw something in to that person who doesn't ask for anything - that guy who despite being the fastest person on the group road ride is always the one in back nursing along the newbie, or the lady who is ALWAYS bringing in her friends and coworkers to do business with us. The whole "I'm spending money so I should get a discount" mentality tells me that the customer doesn't actually care about relationships, you just care about feeling special, or that you're "winning" the transaction. I will always rather give you more for your money (tech expertise, bike setup, route recommendations or guided rides) than simply give away things that have a set price.

It's funny - the people who ask for discounts the most are the people who would never DREAM of discounting the rates for whatever it is they do for a living. Funny how that works....
Buying a bike is a business transaction for me. I'm not trying to build a relationship, I don't want to be your friend. I want to negotiate the best price for the product that I am buying. I understand that some shops offer more than just a place to buy and some customers need and want mechanics, setup and other expertise. But I'm not that customer.

I just want to walk in, hand you cash and walk out with my bike. I won't bother you again until I buy my next bike.
 

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I have always been jealous of people who have great LBS stories. In my city we have what amounts to about 4 or 5 bike shops with all the rest working as DBAs ( doing business as) one shop in particular which is the remaing 4 shops under different names but same owner. I have horror story after horror story coming from one shop who only hires kids to work on bikes and all the rest basically have a no deal on anything type style. And I mean, pre pandemic, bikes that were 2 years old sitting on the sales floor for full retail type issue. The worst of them, names whose shop name sounds like pyschopath, has an owner who literally bad mouths all brands he doesn't sell if you go in and ask to buy parts or what not. These guys will never earn my money and I wish I had a chill shop that was worth spending money and time.

One of those shops does have a good mechanic who I will frequently ask questions too and I make sure to tip this mechanic personally as a thank you for his information because I feel that his and his alone is worth something. They also have a bar so I will sit at the bar and talk shop with some of the guys who work there but and will buy small items if I need them, chains, tools etc.

All in all I hear stories of great shops but unfortunately my area does not seem to have them.
 

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I've gone to the shop with my bike to work on an issue I wasn't sure I could handle for the safety net of someone who knew what they were doing in case I messed up. I put it on the stand and used the owner's knowledge and his tools to get the repair done. When I was done I asked what the rental rate was for using the shop and his tools and was told not to worry about it. Buying the tubes, valve stems, and sealant I needed that day was enough.

I've had my brakes adjusted (back when I didn't know enough about doing it) for free. I've had bigger rotors I already had on hand installed for the price of the bracket they had to order with no charge for the install, I've had my derailleurs adjusted for free. All as I walked in while I bullshat with them. Every time I ask what I owe them for the labor, they've told me not to worry about it, I've insisted they ring something up on the register, and they don't. I'm pretty sure as a rule they will install parts for free if you buy them from them.

That was all pre pandemic though. I wouldn't dare expect the same treatment with how busy they are now, and I've gladly paid for stuff they used to do for free and I've waited three weeks for repairs when I used to get them done while I waited.

I've been in there recently and seen really fat people who obviously don't ride much at all come in with their super old bikes with rusted out chains and siezed up derailleurs get their chain lubed, the stuck links massaged, the derailleurs lubed and adjusted and their computers reset to the correct tire size. They've asked what they owed and were told not to worry about it. Same thing with a regular who picked up his old floor pump they got working again. I see that sort of stuff all the time.

That's a lot of money being left on the table... I don't think the owner is independently wealthy to the point he doesn't need to generate revenue with the shop.

It begs some questions, like are some shops so anal about installing stuff because they're struggling to stay open, or are they just less interested in serving the customer to keep them coming back for future purchases? Or is the difference just in general attitude and philosophy?
 

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I suppose one thought comes to my mind that I'm asking out of honest curiosity from your perspective: I understand what you're saying regarding not seeing value in giving discounts. The problem is I think the typical consumer comes in with a different perspective and expectation. Is there a common ground and a way for everyone to walk away happy? Is a very small token discount on something like just $5 on an accessory in exchange for a $5,000 bike purchase or mounting the new tires for free (I offered to pay full price for any materials like sealant, etc) an unreasonable assumption? Just asking, not trying to stir the pot and genuinely curious about your opinion.

I understand your point but what other stores are expected to do these things? Does a car dealership throw in free floor matts when you buy a $30,000 vehicle? Does Home Depot offer you free work gloves when you buy a bunch of expensive tools? It seems bike shops are held to a different standard than most other types of stores.

Things that most shops do give away when selling $5,000 (or $500) bikes is free service and warranty support, usually for a year. This is a tangible sum for the shop that hasn't seen much acknowledgement here, not that I've seen anyway.
 

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I understand your point but what other stores are expected to do these things? Does a car dealership throw in free floor matts when you buy a $30,000 vehicle? Does Home Depot offer you free work gloves when you buy a bunch of expensive tools? It seems bike shops are held to a different standard than most other types of stores.

Things that most shops do give away when selling $5,000 (or $500) bikes is free service and warranty support, usually for a year. This is a tangible sum for the shop that hasn't seen much acknowledgement here, not that I've seen anyway.
They will throw in all sorts of stuff if you ask. Free parts, free work, etc. Plenty of stores will negotiate prices.

I don't think warranty support is valid point. The manufacturer requires you to go thru the dealer. I much rather deal straight with the manufacturer.
 

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They will throw in all sorts of stuff if you ask. Free parts, free work, etc. Plenty of stores will negotiate prices.

I don't think warranty support is valid point. The manufacturer requires you to go thru the dealer. I much rather deal straight with the manufacturer.

Maybe the auto business wasn't the best example, historically a shyster industry but they do seem to be coming around and many are now embracing more legitimate business practices.
I've only bought one new car and they didn't give me anything. My feelings weren't hurt. My mom bought a new car in 1977 and I remember being shocked that she paid an extra $140 for factory floor matts. I guess maybe because she was a woman (wink wink, nod nod). She bought another new car a few years ago and they didn't offer any free stuff then either.

Anyway, what about Home Depot? Safeway? Autozone? REI? I spend lot's of cash there, where's my free $hit??!!
 

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I understand your point but what other stores are expected to do these things? Does a car dealership throw in free floor matts when you buy a $30,000 vehicle? Does Home Depot offer you free work gloves when you buy a bunch of expensive tools? It seems bike shops are held to a different standard than most other types of stores.

Things that most shops do give away when selling $5,000 (or $500) bikes is free service and warranty support, usually for a year. This is a tangible sum for the shop that hasn't seen much acknowledgement here, not that I've seen anyway.
I think that the whole "swag" trend that started years ago has become a sticking point with a lot of people. Shops and suppliers from pretty much every industry started handing out free junk as advertising, which was cool as a consumer. I like getting free water bottles and shirts just as much as the next guy. The problem is that it seems expected as part of a transaction now for a lot of people. Getting swag made people feel appreciated as a customer, and now when it's not included people feel like something is missing. When I worked in a shop people were always asking if the got any swag with their purchases.

I don't really care either way personally. Usually the stuff you got was low quality or not very useful. I think shops are to blame in situations like this though. If you're going to be handing out free stuff to customers with every purchase, don't be surprised when people get jaded when you randomly decide not to do it anymore.
 
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