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I have a bit of money (including some vouchers for a popular online shop) to spend on some upgrades to my bike. Had it a couple of years and and the compromise I made at the time when buying was to get mechanical discs to keep it to the budget.

Would either like to go for an upgrade to 105 hydraulic discs or the cheaper option is trp hy/rd.

There is a great bike shop near me where I bought the bike from and get my services from but the problem is the bike shop tends to sell at full retail prices and a lot more than I can pick up parts for online.

I'm not much of a bike mechanic so don't fancy trying to install myself. Is it OK to ask a shop about fitting parts I've sourced online and pay for the labour? Not sure what the etiquette is here.

Cheers

38 comments

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bike_food [213 posts] 1 month ago
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My LBS actually tell me to do this as they readily admit they can't compete on price for the components.

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Woldsman [333 posts] 1 month ago
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You’re just going to have to ask someone in the shop, aren’t you? In my experience you will probably be out of luck. I’ve seen signs in shop windows stating even that bikes bought elsewhere will not be repaired or serviced. But you never know. 

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wicksy5508 [11 posts] 1 month ago
1 like

No its not ok.

Would you buy a steak at a supermarket and take it to your local restaurant and ask them to cook it for you?

Would you buy a beer at a supermarket and take it to your local pub and ask if was ok to drink it in there? Same beer.

Would you go Kwik Fit with tyres and ask them to fit them?

You say you are not much of a mechanic, what’s going to happen when all your local bikes shops are gone because you are buying your parts on the internet? Who’s going to fit the parts?

 

Ps not meant to be a rant and you are clearly a decent person to ask about the etiquette.

Maybe buy yourself some new cycling kit / helmet / shoes with your vouchers and buy your parts from the LBS (They will be very grateful for your business and you will be surprised how much most bike shops bend over backwards for loyal customers)

 

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kevvjj [476 posts] 1 month ago
10 likes

If your LBS is living and operating in the 21st Century and wants to remain a viable business then they should have no problem charging you a fee to fit parts purchased elsewhere. If they say no then find a shop with up to date ideas about staying in business.

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BehindTheBikesheds [3322 posts] 1 month ago
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My LBS charges £40/hr, I have no qualms taking bits in to fit if I can't/can't be bothered to fit myself, most of the things I bring in they couldn't/wouldn't be able to get anyways. given the small margins for bike parts anyway even if they aren't price matching doing the servicing/labour is one of the major parts of the business and will always be that way.

If there is to be increases in cycling and more people needing bikes serviced/bits putting on then cycle shops need to think about which part of their business they should focus on that makes it sustainable for the owner.

One of the problems I see and has been one for ages is the fact that fixing a cheap bike can cost more than the bike is worth so bike gets left to rot/taken to tip.

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Woodsman [33 posts] 1 month ago
4 likes

Sounds like a sure fire way to go out of business to me....

 

wicksy5508 wrote:

No its not ok.

Would you buy a steak at a supermarket and take it to your local restaurant and ask them to cook it for you?

Would you buy a beer at a supermarket and take it to your local pub and ask if was ok to drink it in there? Same beer.

Would you go Kwik Fit with tyres and ask them to fit them?

You say you are not much of a mechanic, what’s going to happen when all your local bikes shops are gone because you are buying your parts on the internet? Who’s going to fit the parts?

 

Ps not meant to be a rant and you are clearly a decent person to ask about the etiquette.

Maybe buy yourself some new cycling kit / helmet / shoes with your vouchers and buy your parts from the LBS (They will be very grateful for your business and you will be surprised how much most bike shops bend over backwards for loyal customers)

 

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wicksy5508 [11 posts] 1 month ago
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Does anyone commenting actually know (I include myself in this) what is the most profitable part of a bike shop ie servicing, supplying parts, selling bikes, or are we all just assuming?

 

perhaps some LBS owners would like to chime in on this, because it seems to me that £40per hour labour for one mechanic doesn’t a profit make when all other costs are factored in. (I run a security systems installation business so being profitable is obv very Important!)

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srchar [1534 posts] 1 month ago
3 likes

Tools, kit and accessories are the highest margin items.

If a LBS won't let you spend your money having a bike fit because it wasn't bought from them, don't buy a bike from them just to get a bike fit. In fact, if they refused, I'd assume their bike fit service was crap, unable to stand up on its own and only really value-add as a freebie with a bike.

I don't understand why they'd turn away workshop business because parts were sourced elsewhere. Would they rather, having lost your parts business, not even bother to win your workshop business? Most bike shops I visit don't even stock the (Campag) bits I want to fit.

The analogies posited above are not sensible. A bike shop does not exist solely to sell parts. It's a bit more like paying corkage to take your own wine to a restaurant, which is of course totally fine. And my local tyre place are only too happy to fit tyres sourced online, particularly if one pays cash. 

I'd love to find a LBS that bends over backwards for a loyal customer. In my experience, most are not worth my custom. OT, my opinion of car mechanics is similarly low. I don't really have the time to maintain my cars right now, but begrudge handing over £75 an hour to a trained ape who has never heard of a torque wrench.

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wicksy5508 [11 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes

[

“The analogies posited above are not sensible.  A pub exists to sell beer and a restaurant to sell food. It's a bit more like paying corkage to take your own wine to a restaurant, which is of course totally fine”

and a bike shop exists to sell bikes and parts no?

So you’d be happy with a bike shop charging corkage to fit the internet supplied parts? Because that actually seems like a pretty reasonable compromise.

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srchar [1534 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes
wicksy5508 wrote:

So you’d be happy with a bike shop charging corkage to fit the internet supplied parts? Because that actually seems like a pretty reasonable compromise.

Yes of course. This is exactly what the OP proposes to do and what you argued against:

cyclefaster wrote:

Is it OK to ask a shop about fitting parts I've sourced online and pay for the labour?

wicksy5508 wrote:

No its not ok.

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quiff [159 posts] 1 month ago
1 like

I have a local workshop (not a full LBS) whose quotes for parts are high, but labour cost is low. I always assume they're putting a massive markup on sourcing the parts, and it puts me off using them as I know I could get them online for half the price and nobody likes being ripped off. But ridiculously, if they gave me the same overall quote, but with more of the price allocated to labour (the bit that I need, know I can't do myself and value), I'd be happier paying it.    

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wicksy5508 [11 posts] 1 month ago
1 like

I think I didn’t explain myself properly,

 

corkage on the parts, plus the labour.

 

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srchar [1534 posts] 1 month ago
6 likes

Ah OK. I think that's ludicrous.

LBS, like all high street businesses, cannot compete with the Internet by selling "stuff". They need to sell services, stuff you can't deliver online. A smart LBS would not only earn money by fitting parts you bought from Wiggle, they'd also take delivery for you, for a fee. It needs to be convenient. There are guys who will turn up at your house and service your bike using parts you bought online.

The loyalty of a tiny customer base isn't worth much.

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ktache [1987 posts] 1 month ago
3 likes

You could always ask them, be nice about it, explain it to them.

My LBS, with whom I'd been building up a bit of a relationship with, wheelbuilding, I can do most spannering, but I needed 26 inch rim braked rims, the first couple ceramic, quest to find those, and NOS non disc XTR hubs.  Things that a bike shop cannot source, you can't expect them to bid on Ebay after all.  Then I found 3 mavic xc717s, onto touring non disc XTs.  The mechanic even found me a new front wheel, already built on a german bike site.  It's about trust, I suppose.

They have just built me my new bike, Surly, Rohloff, hope front hub and disks, chris king headset.  Took a while, some problems.  If Ison had it, they'd get it.  Some parts I bought.  Xtr bb, middleburn cranks, jones bar.  I JP Weigled the frame,  he built most of it, I did the finishing when I got it home.  I found the specific tyres I needed, he set them up tubeless and built the front wheel.  I think we were all pleased with the result, at least I very much hope so.  I have been making them cakes all summer.

I wouldn't expect anyone but me to create a full length Nokon gear to a rohloff, bathing everything with ACF 50.  Hour and half of threading for each cable, and messy.  But I'm not going to fit a headset (not anymore) or make me a wheel, and I've always had various LBSs tension and true my wheels, no matter where I got them from.  Oddly enough the wheels made at this LBS have never needed trueing, and the first set of non ceramic 717s died before going out of true.  At some point I'm going to have to move, I will miss them.

I've never wanted anything done in a hurry, and I've never demanded a discount.  I also understand that the mechanics have a lot less to do in the winter months and so bike shops are more ammeanable to do work on stuff you've purchased somewhere else then, but at the same time I wouldn't want to take the piss.  I think I have gravitated to LBSs that have understood my particular obsessions.

 

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AfterPeak [161 posts] 1 month ago
1 like

My LBS even has a price for putting a bike together from scratch via sourced parts or a bike box. They want people in the shop. While you are in there maybe you pick up a tool or some cliff bars (other bars available).

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cyclefaster [4 posts] 1 month ago
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Thanks for the replies. Will pop in this week and ask about it. Just wanted to check what was the done thing!

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hirsute [1042 posts] 1 month ago
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My LBS, the mechanic wanted to fit parts bought elsewhere as he knew they couldn't compete on parts, only the manger didn't agree.
Mechanic set up his own repair shop.
Seems a sensible way to work in this online age.

Many restaurants will allow you to bring a birthday cake for the end of your meal.

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peted76 [1533 posts] 1 month ago
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My LBS is happy to do this, a lot of shops make their money on servicing and repairs now.

My LBS does have a Shimano Price Match deal in place which has proved handy though. I'd much rather get them to price match and buy through my LBS, often they are better on the 'manpower costs' for any work done when I do this.. so it's win win.

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PRSboy [549 posts] 1 month ago
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A local car audio shop to me  has two labour rates, depending on whether they supply the hardware or not.  Seems fair enough.

 

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newrider7 [2 posts] 1 month ago
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If a bike shop offers bike building and maintenance (as not all but many do) there would obviously be nothing wrong with bringing your own parts (unless it was some seriously jerky shop, the likes of which wouldn't deserve your business in any form).
As others have said above there are probably more bike shops now than ever that are primarily, or in some cases wholly focused on the building/maintenance of bikes.
Another good point made above is that some of the shops may not even really be able to compete much with best online prices for the parts anyway. 
Chances are they will be delighted if you bring all the parts. Appreciative of your good organisation and your CUSTOM in buying their building services.

As for the two labour rates system mentioned above by PRSboy..well, maybe in the world of car audio (of which i know nothing about) you can afford to have such a policy but I for one would walk straight out of any bicycle shop which stated it offered bicycle building services and who asked me for higher rates if bringing my own parts. Plenty of other bike building shops who would be glad to have my business instead (and be more deserving of it).

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gbzpto [133 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes
wicksy5508 wrote:

Does anyone commenting actually know (I include myself in this) what is the most profitable part of a bike shop ie servicing, supplying parts, selling bikes, or are we all just assuming?

The coffee and cake if they have turned themselves into a cycling hub. Then the servicing. I have a bike shop in France there is no money in selling parts. In fact even with trade accounts its cheaper for me to buy from the internet companies than Shimano direct for example. I have a very healthy hire business as well bird that more based on my location

 

perhaps some LBS owners would like to chime in on this, because it seems to me that £40per hour labour for one mechanic doesn’t a profit make when all other costs are factored in. (I run a security systems installation business so being profitable is obv very Important!)

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gbzpto [133 posts] 1 month ago
1 like

The coffee and cake if they have turned themselves into a cycling hub. Then the servicing. I have a bike shop in France there is no money in selling parts. In fact even with trade accounts its cheaper for me to buy from the internet companies than Shimano direct for example. I am happy to fit parts brought in and charge 50 euros an hour. If you buy a limited range of items from me for example a cassette I will fit free of charge so it would probably work out cheaper. I have a very healthy hire business as well but thats more based on my location

wicksy5508 wrote:

Does anyone commenting actually know (I include myself in this) what is the most profitable part of a bike shop ie servicing, supplying parts, selling bikes, or are we all just assuming?

 

perhaps some LBS owners would like to chime in on this, because it seems to me that £40per hour labour for one mechanic doesn’t a profit make when all other costs are factored in. (I run a security systems installation business so being profitable is obv very Important!)

Avatar
gbzpto [133 posts] 1 month ago
3 likes

They are not overcharging you on parts. Their trade accounts will be more expensive than wiggle etc.

quiff wrote:

I have a local workshop (not a full LBS) whose quotes for parts are high, but labour cost is low. I always assume they're putting a massive markup on sourcing the parts, and it puts me off using them as I know I could get them online for half the price and nobody likes being ripped off. But ridiculously, if they gave me the same overall quote, but with more of the price allocated to labour (the bit that I need, know I can't do myself and value), I'd be happier paying it.    

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Simon E [3811 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

No-one commenting knows the shop's attitude, they are just guessing.

I would jot down some prices, pop in when it's not too busy, explain that part of the reason is that you are using a voucher (providing it's a significant element of the cost) and see what they say. I suspect that the response will depend on your relationship with them and their general policy.

I think I have a good relationship with the team at my local shop. I have occasionally asked them to fit things I've bought online, mostly s/h or hard to source items like NOS chainrings.

gbzpto wrote:

They are not overcharging you on parts. Their trade accounts will be more expensive than wiggle etc.

I believe this is often the case. Wiggle/CRC source many OEM parts and/or through 'grey' markets.

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slappop [79 posts] 1 month ago
1 like
wicksy5508 wrote:

Would you buy a beer at a supermarket and take it to your local pub and ask if was ok to drink it in there? Same beer.

That's actually a thing. Many restaurants will let you bring your own wine. They'll usually charge a 'corkage fee' for that to cover their fixed costs. Similarly, a bike shop should charge you the necessary 'repair fee' for them to be able to make a profit from their labour.

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alansmurphy [2248 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

 

I've also mixed and matched. Took a new derailleur to the LBS and they were the cheapest online for the hanger. As I didn't know if the hanger was the correct one and the shop didn't have the range of cassette I wanted it worked perfectly to buy a part and get reasonably priced labour...

 

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kil0ran [1643 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes

One option might be to look for a local cycling/sustainable transport collective - there was one where I used to work and you could pop in and fit your own stuff with a little help from trained mechanics. 

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alotronic [633 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes

My LBS fitted a whole groupset without any qualms at all - small neighbourhood shop, nice guy, happy to take my money, doesn't sell those kinds of parts. I go back and buy bits and pieces off him when I can. Just ask.

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Xenophon2 [102 posts] 1 month ago
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You should simply ask them if they're willing to do so and how much they charge.  I've known extremes from one shop (when I was doing a Brompton conversion) where the owner simply told me that he'd be happy to install any components at a regular hourly fee but only if I brought him everything and was willing to assume the risk if something didn't fit, he simply didn't want to do any research.  Another shop told me no, adding that neither were they willing to order any 'exotic' components nor indeed perform any work on a bike that hadn't been purchased with them and unceremoneously showed me the door.  A couple of repair and maintenance outfits are building a business model around simply charging by the hour in order to do whatever tickles your fancy, offering a cheaper rate and 'guaranteed suitability' if you order components through them.

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jonathanfmcgarry [62 posts] 1 month ago
4 likes

Just ask them nicely. My LBS couldn't compete with the Internet his workshop subsidised the rest, he's not renewed his lease and now has a successful mobile business. You're obviously concerned to do the right thing by your local independent trader, if only more people were, so do ask and make the most of the type of service the Internet can't provide. And of course if they're not used, they won't turn a profit and if they're not making money they'll soon be out of business and you'll have no one to fit the parts.

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