Tips on negotiating with the bike shop

jgsi
jgsi Posts: 5,062
edited March 2010 in Road buying advice
As the advert says, a lot of us Brits dont have the haggle gene, but what have those who do done to get the best out of a local purchase...?
You have the basic bike nailed after much wringing of hands, but you want it 'finished' off nicely...
how to wheedle out the best wheelset
a set of decent pedals
bottle holders etc etc etc

Dont matter what budget.. from sub 1k to 3 and over.. every one wants to feel that they are getting the best value for money when that plastic card is slotted into the machine.
I just want to know how to go about it without having to walk away empty handed

Comments

  • tmg
    tmg Posts: 651
    I'd suggest you do some research before you go into the 'negotiation'

    Find out how much you can buy said bike for elsewhere, either tinternet or another local LBS. Then consider whether you want to just focus on a reduction for the bike or whether you are happy for them to throw some things in, the latter will be easier as £100 of freebies isn't £100 to them in terms of cost.

    So do your research, work out what you would like them to throw in, make sure they sell those things! and then think about how you structure things, possibly ask for more than what you want initially and work backwards, decide what your walk away point is.

    Good luck
  • Percy Vera
    Percy Vera Posts: 1,103
    "i've seen it for £x on the internet, do you price match?"
  • cee
    cee Posts: 4,553
    As a bonafide member of the haggle gene pool

    here my points.

    1. Be speaking to someone who can make the descision. Not the saturday tea boy,
    2. Cash is king. Let them know you want to pay cash. Today. "Whats the best price you will do for CASH TODAY", or even better...."Throw in the upgraded wheels, bottle holder and pedals and we do the deal in CASH TODAY"
    3. Be prepared to walk out without buying it (this is the hard bit, but if you do walk out..watch them run after you!)
    4. Most bike shops would rather give you stuff like bottle holders etc than a % discount
    5. Aim high, but be prepared to meet them halfway.
    Whenever I see an adult on a bicycle, I believe in the future of the human race.

    H.G. Wells.
  • balthazar
    balthazar Posts: 1,565
    I used to work in a bike shop, many years ago. There was little more annoying than somebody shouting "YEAH BUT HOW MUCH FOR CASH" at me... all of our sales went through the till, so it made no difference how the bill was settled.

    Our general "deal" limit, to secure a sale that day, was to allow for up to 10% of the bike value in other goods: lights, locks, helmets and so on. The profit margin on those items is much higher, so everybody wins: the customer had to buy them anyway, and they cost us less. The margin on some bikes could be fairly slim, so there simply isn't much room for haggling on the ticket price.

    That was about 15 years ago, in a 4-shop local chain: but it should give you some idea.
  • jgsi
    jgsi Posts: 5,062
    balthazar wrote:
    I used to work in a bike shop, many years ago. There was little more annoying than somebody shouting "YEAH BUT HOW MUCH FOR CASH" at me... all of our sales went through the till, so it made no difference how the bill was settled.

    Our general "deal" limit, to secure a sale that day, was to allow for up to 10% of the bike value in other goods: lights, locks, helmets and so on. The profit margin on those items is much higher, so everybody wins: the customer had to buy them anyway, and they cost us less. The margin on some bikes could be fairly slim, so there simply isn't much room for haggling on the ticket price.

    That was about 15 years ago, in a 4-shop local chain: but it should give you some idea.

    I can imagine that the profit margin on the actual bike could be small and the fact is i like the idea of supporting where possible local commerce as opposed to internet commerce. .. especially in terms of after sale support.
    The 10% idea is good to remember. if that succeeds then Look carbon pedals as well as the absolutely essential carbon bottle holders will be on the required list.
    I can understand that cash or card makes very little difference as everything has to be audited in a reputable shop.. but it does mean an upfront settlement and not finance should have a certain weight to it when making the purchase.
  • Ginjafro
    Ginjafro Posts: 572
    I always get at least 10% discount at my LBS. Though I have spent a fair amount of money there and sometimes just go in for a chat and spend nowt.
    A good LBS knows that good service and discount will always get me and others to come back. They are always open to negotiation too, so if you see something cheaper online they will always try and match it. Another advantage of a good LBS is getting first dibs on some brilliant deals, for example I got a pair of Specialized BG Pro-Carbon MTB shoes for half price as I did with a Camelbac.
    Giant XTC Pro-Carbon
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  • bigpikle
    bigpikle Posts: 1,690
    dont forget the LBS pays a % fee for accepting a credit card, so cash does make a difference as the LBS doesnt give any of it away to someone else. Its one of the reasons so many places refuse AmEx as their fees were always MUCH higher than Visa, Mastercard etc. Its not about avoiding paying tax etc - just saving another 1-2% or so...
    Your Past is Not Your Potential...
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    I just ask "Could you see how much can you do such and such for? I've seen it for £X on the internet...

    I always try and buy at the LBS and they usually price match but you get great service too!
  • jgsi
    jgsi Posts: 5,062
    Bigpikle wrote:
    dont forget the LBS pays a % fee for accepting a credit card, so cash does make a difference as the LBS doesnt give any of it away to someone else. Its one of the reasons so many places refuse AmEx as their fees were always MUCH higher than Visa, Mastercard etc. Its not about avoiding paying tax etc - just saving another 1-2% or so...

    That doesnt apply to debit cards tho?
    I stand to be corrected by a retail expert.
  • balthazar
    balthazar Posts: 1,565
    JGSI wrote:
    I can understand that cash or card makes very little difference as everything has to be audited in a reputable shop.. but it does mean an upfront settlement and not finance should have a certain weight to it when making the purchase.
    Of course, I didn't make that clear: any finance agreement was a different matter, and we were told never to do deals on finance sales. In fact, I understand that in many high-sale environments, "Cash" means any upfront settlement, whether by card, cheque or literally cash. In our case, though, it was invariably meant as paper money, and offered in an "under the till" style.

    I think I remember my managers telling me that the cost of receiving payment by debit and credit cards (Amex excepted) was fixed per-sale, and consequently negligible (hence their disinterest in cash); perhaps anybody in retail now could clarify? Is there a saving, to the seller, in taking cash payments?
  • Daimler
    Daimler Posts: 215
    I've built up a good repor with my LBS and I can often get a discount on nearly all things I buy with them. I get on well with the staff and they are all friendly and helpful so I'm please to use them even if their prices are a few £ more than some other places.

    At the end of the day you can only ask and they can only say no.
    No harm in that.
    Planet X RT-57 custom build
  • Velonutter
    Velonutter Posts: 2,437
    Banks will charge you when you pay cash in, some times up to to 6%, that is why so many supermarkets offer you "Cash back" as it is a way of getting money into their bank without paying stupid fees.

    The only way cash can work is with a small retailer who may have some old written off stock, that is when cash works.
  • ride_whenever
    ride_whenever Posts: 13,279
    'm currently working the the trade, obviously not working, but it's been quiet today....

    On some bikes the markup is as low as 17% so discounts on the ticket price isn't really on. Look at what bikes they have discounted, that's a good way to save money. Accessories tend to have a much bigger markup than complete bike, hence (as is mentioned above) you'll get more for aftermarket upgrades than as a plain reduction on the ticket.

    As an idea of what could be done, the other week my flatmate bought a bike off us, we tossed in just over £100 of accessories, some of which were ordered in, giving him in total about 12% discount. I'd offer a similar sort of deal to any regular forum contributor.
  • stokepa31
    stokepa31 Posts: 559
    edited March 2010
    ticket price on my scott was £1500. I upgraded the wheels to EA70s from WH R500s and took two scott carbon cages. cost me £1550 total. Thought id done well. Also get 10% off all small purchases and price match on larger items like my garmin 705.

    Long live the LBS and I would rather pay a bit more than order a bike of tinternet. I do use wiggle and CRC for some purchases especially if I want something quick and cant get in to the shop.
    Burning Fat Not Rubber

    Scott CR1
    Genesis IO ID
    Moda Canon
  • Smokin Joe
    Smokin Joe Posts: 2,706
    On the subject of cards, IIRC when I used to take them credit cards used to cost me 2.1/2% to the card company, and debit cards a fixed fee of 50p per transaction. That was nearly twenty years back though.

    Don't imagine that payment in cash is always better for the shop than finance though, finance companies pay commission to retailers for introductions.
  • relanium
    relanium Posts: 487
    I asked my LBS today if they could price match something I had seen on the internet, so he checked their website to see what they were selling the product for and asked where I'd seen it cheaper so I told him..... Then he paused and laughed, and replied by saying no way could they price match that, he said how can that bike shop be selling the product so cheap.

    So I ask myself why can't LBS match prices!
  • stokepa31
    stokepa31 Posts: 559
    relanium wrote:
    So I ask myself why can't LBS match prices!

    guess it comes down to what they can buy it in for. volume purchases attract big discounts for the big boys
    Burning Fat Not Rubber

    Scott CR1
    Genesis IO ID
    Moda Canon
  • as a lot of big stores like crc, wiggle have a large share of the buying public (im not talking about dinky items such as £10 brake levers) but more higher end kit like £200 disc brakes

    therefore this means they prob have as much buying power from the manufacturer directly as the uk distributors do - its all comes down to money (hence why there are lots of grey items available)


    look at rockshox and hayes on merlin (all grey product) but in all honesty they prob by a similar $ amount as fisher and hotlines can offer them out at the factory gate


    simple business stats - your a manufacturer (of course your not going to turn away order of 20K plus every 3 months) doesn't matter who you are - money talks big


    DA
  • fletch8928
    fletch8928 Posts: 794
    I have to say before I start i am a mountain biker.

    I have a strange gene in me when it comes to haggling, I ask for the best price then just hold my lip until they get close.
    The last bike i got was priced at £1500. I told them I was putting £1000 of it on cyclescheme and what else do you want off me? 5 mins later and I shook hands at £175. I was happy.
    My lbs who i use for most things price match everything. a couple of examples are Lake mx140 boots £150 down to £105, 2 pairs of shorts £120 down to £55, camelbak £65 down to £50. I don't even ask. I even feel sorry for them as they dont stock bikes I am comfy on so i havn't bought one off them.

    A few years ago there was a programme called Don't get done get Dom, his principles of haggling were
    1, Ask the persons name (hi I'm Dave...)
    2, Know what you want.
    3, Ask for the best price they can do it today?
    4, Once thats done start asking about add ons.
    5, Total price is ?? whats the best you can do?
    6, "we can do that for £1200? I really wanted it to start with a 8
    He usually got damn close too
    fly like a mouse, run like a cushion be the small bookcase!
  • grim3ur
    grim3ur Posts: 46
    That bike shop was stupid because cyclescheme costs them money 10% I think , they still in business?
  • fletch8928
    fletch8928 Posts: 794
    I know it cost them £100 on top of the discount. hence I was happy. To give them credit and a not so stupid name the sales lass did say it wasnt the cheapest but they were going to be down because of cyclescheme so she added £75 on. kinda split the difference but not in my favour. i was expecting to pay £1250 and would have shook at £1300. You dont mention that though.

    They are still in business. I ought to call in next time i am passing.
    fly like a mouse, run like a cushion be the small bookcase!
  • mrushton
    mrushton Posts: 5,182
    I don't aggle because the shops I deal with generally give me some discount on stuff anyway. So, they'll service/repair a bike but not charge for labour or do me a deal on some Assos etc. I'm happy and so are they. One owner of a shop I go to gets fed up of internet tyre kickers who use him as a price gauge and when they buy the item off the web 'cheaper' and it's faulty he generally adds something extra on for his time. He understands that if I want bike X and he can't supply it but I'll go to him for wheels,shifters, repairs etc so he gets some of the action.
    M.Rushton
  • bigpikle
    bigpikle Posts: 1,690
    what about local clubs and discounts?

    My LBS gives 10% of all stuff and 20% of their main range of bikes to club members. Well worth the joining fee 8)
    Your Past is Not Your Potential...
  • jgsi
    jgsi Posts: 5,062
    Bigpikle wrote:
    what about local clubs and discounts?

    My LBS gives 10% of all stuff and 20% of their main range of bikes to club members. Well worth the joining fee 8)
    20% ?
    The shop must be selling at hell of a loss then.. mentioned previously that profit margins are tight.
  • passout
    passout Posts: 4,425
    My tip is speak to the owner who is more likely to care if a sale is made or not - more an issue in the bigger shops and chains. Think about after care too.
    'Happiness serves hardly any other purpose than to make unhappiness possible' Marcel Proust.
  • cal_stewart
    cal_stewart Posts: 1,840
    shotgun and mask
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  • balthazar
    balthazar Posts: 1,565
    JGSI wrote:
    Bigpikle wrote:
    what about local clubs and discounts?

    My LBS gives 10% of all stuff and 20% of their main range of bikes to club members. Well worth the joining fee 8)
    20% ?
    The shop must be selling at hell of a loss then.. mentioned previously that profit margins are tight.
    I don't see a "hell of a loss", especially as 10% discount is commonplace. Even low-margin sales would usually clear 20% profit, (if only just), and in that case it's worth it to keep long term customers who'll spend a lot more over time on high-margin accessories. And even medium sized shops have volume deals with their main brands, resulting in higher margins on them. They won't be losing money on any of their deals with the local club, even if they may not be making much on direct high-value sales.