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How Busy is your LBS?

essex-commuteressex-commuter Posts: 2,188
edited August 2019 in Commuting chat
Just wondered really.

My rear wheel is way out of true and it's one of the few jobs I wouldn't attempt myself. Phoned the shop last week and they said they are getting booked up to around the 20th but drop it in and they will see if they can squeeze it in seeing as it's used for commuting. Dropped wheel of Saturday, haven't heard anything.

This isn't a rant as they told be when they were taking bookings for. They have one full time mechanic and the other guys chips in where he can.

It's good that the shop has plenty of work, just wish they had a system where the could say "we can do it on say the 18th, drop it in on the 17th so that you can continue using it until then". What's your LBS like?
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  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 24,669
    Just wondered really.

    My rear wheel is way out of true and it's one of the few jobs I wouldn't attempt myself. Phoned the shop last week and they said they are getting booked up to around the 20th but drop it in and they will see if they can squeeze it in seeing as it's used for commuting. Dropped wheel of Saturday, haven't heard anything.

    This isn't a rant as they told be when they were taking bookings for. They have one full time mechanic and the other guys chips in where he can.

    It's good that the shop has plenty of work, just wish they had a system where the could say "we can do it on say the 18th, drop it in on the 17th so that you can continue using it until then". What's your LBS like?

    It's a 10 minute job... if they don't have 10 minutes for a regular customer at short notice, then there is something seriously wrong in the way they manage their time
  • essex-commuteressex-commuter Posts: 2,188
    I tend to agree. They do all the work I can't do (albeit not that much), they looked after the check over and repairs when I was knocked off last year (that took them 3 weeks), and I quite regularly turn up on their club runs.
  • thistle_(mbnw)thistle_(mbnw) Posts: 3,529
    Any of the LBS I've used for mechanical work have been able to give a firm date e.g. we can do it on Wednesday so drop it in the evening before or the morning and it will be done by 4pm, but often there's a weeks waiting time.

    Dropping off your commuting wheel, not hearing anything back and being without a bike isn't good. Have you chased them up about it? Maybe it's been done and they've just forgotten to call you back?
  • j_mcdj_mcd Posts: 470
    Oddly enough that's how my local Giant shop works as well. Asked about getting a full service and could I book a time. They told me that they don't do bookings and to drop it off and they would get it sorted within two weeks.

    They looked as me as if I was crazy when I suggested I might want my bike in that time frame! A car mechanic wouldn't dream of working like that so why does a bike one!?

    Incidentally, the 'LBS' I use (in Waterloo) has always done everything in a working day. No need to reserve, just get there when they open, drop the bike off and pick it up at 6pm. If they can't do it in a day they'll tell you up front and if something unexpected occurs then they'll email and/or call you. Can't fault them.
    Giant Defy Advanced 0 - Best
    Planet X London Road - Wet
    Montague Fit - Foldy thing that rarely gets used these days
  • smokey_baconsmokey_bacon Posts: 1,637
    Depends on the time of year at my new LBS. First time he did it same day but when I went back about 2 months ago there was a weeks wait because everyone was dusting their bikes off for summer. IMO i just wished they open on a Sunday but there you go.
  • elbowlohelbowloh Posts: 2,118
    I've not had a bike shop do any work for me for about 6 years...
    Felt F1 2014
    Felt Z6 2012
    Red Arthur Caygill steel frame ??
    Tall....
  • shirley_bassoshirley_basso Posts: 3,024
    Wheel truing is pretty simple. Honestly. It was probably the first thing I learned to do on my bike after I fixed a puncture. Mainly because the puncture incident broke a spoke so I had to learn immediately! This happened about 5 miles into a 100 mile sportive and the wheel was fine the whole rest of the way.
  • joe_totale-2joe_totale-2 Posts: 1,010
    My LBS let you book in work such as servicing but when it comes to wheel truing they usually do it there and then as it's a 10 min job as noted above.
    My LBS is very busy when it comes to the amount of work they have but the margins can't be huge as it's only the main mechanic and a part time apprentice at the shop. There's clearly not enough money being made to hire another full time mechanic.
  • GallywomackGallywomack Posts: 823
    Broken spokes about the only thing I use them for. I know one of the blokes there, so if he's there he normally does it for me within a day. The others look at me like I've just handed them a severed limb and make discouraging noises about being booked up for days/weeks.
  • essex-commuteressex-commuter Posts: 2,188
    I have replaced spokes, I have a truing stand, I've done front wheels before...badly. Just end up over tightening them over time. This is a rear wheel that has gone loose on the non drive side, I just want it done properly.

    I haven't chased them up yet as they said they will try and get it done. I don't really want to hassle them over it but I guess I could. I do have another bike that I'm commuting on so it's not a major problem, if I didn't I would have sorted something out elsewhere (although no other local shops).

    The shop is open 7 days a week, not sure how many days the full time wrench works.

    I guess working in a process driven environment it got me thinking as to how I would best run the repairs side of a bike shop.
  • frogonabikefrogonabike Posts: 157
    Self employed mechanic friend of mine has a weekly cycle, he asks for drop offs over the weekend/by Monday and he'll spend the start of the week assessing and calling customers back. He then has the rest of the week to do the work and orders it by a combination of how tricky a job is likely to be and how desperate the customer is to get the bike back...

    One thing worth mentioning though is how much he complains about customers asking for him to fix this "quick" problem his response is along the lines of "I can do it quickly or properly" as you never know what problem's you'll unearth and the chances are they've either already attempted and bodged it OR the reason they've taken it in is because something else is causing problems.

    Just my 2 pence... only because every time I go for a beer with him this is the opening half hour of rants I'm subjected to :lol:
  • slowmartslowmart Posts: 3,856
    My old LBS were great but that was a franchised Specialized concept store. Very helpful, great communication with staff who would bend over backwards to help.

    Used my lBS once after moving , young lads running it, helpful, polite and busy. Not the best communication but good work and I’ll happily use again
    And God created the bicycle, so that man could use it as a means for work and to help him negotiate life's complicated journey.
  • meursaultmeursault Posts: 1,476
    I had to true a front wheel recently after an off. Had a go myself, but without a stand, didn't get it true. The place I normally go said two weeks wait, so no good. found Spokecycles in small village couple of miles out of town, did it while I waited next day. Bonus find, as they do coffee and have a passion for road bikes, so better than where I used to go anyway.
    Superstition sets the whole world in flames; philosophy quenches them.

    Voltaire
  • Incidentally, the 'LBS' I use (in Waterloo)
    Waterloo in Lunnun or Waterloo in Liverpool?
  • roger_merrimanroger_merriman Posts: 6,146
    My LBS is a small independent but has two mechanics and a few Saturday lads, generally I can get things done on a day of my choosing, assuming nothing needs ordering. If it’s not the commute bike then normally a few days.

    It’s a small shop that I suspect sells very few bikes, though I bought my MTB from them. They mainly service bikes.
  • timothywtimothyw Posts: 2,482
    I used a wheel truing job to test my local bike shop.

    Dropped some wheels off, said please tension and true these wheels.

    They did the rear, front they said didn't need doing.

    30 miles later front spoke had completely unscrewed itself due to inadequate tension.

    I bought the tools and now I do my own.

    My other lbs near work I often drop things off in the morning if little tweaks need doing, if they haven't done it by home time they lose the job as I take the bike home and do it myself.

    Nothing about bike maintenance is that hard, you just need a bit of patience to learn and the right tools.

    And n+1 to cover you while you wait for parts...
  • itboffinitboffin Posts: 19,626
    N+11 and you can do it later, much later
    Rule #5 // Harden The censored Up.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.
    Rule #12 // The correct number of bikes to own is n+1.
    Rule #42 // A bike race shall never be preceded with a swim and/or followed by a run.
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,863
    A shop perspective. There are x bours in the day. Speaking my self my day is full. Therefore doing even short jobs at short notice impacts those other jobs hanging about. One job in this this week at short notice was a quick lever change he said. Quick no. It took three hours due to the awkward internal routing the bent hanger, the chains that was too long the hubs that had play the headset that had play. So I did this, as I have had is other bike for 6 weeks due to a warranty issue with the eps battery that had been improperly fitted by another shop. I am still waiting on a replacement battery for it so I had little choice but to sort out this other bike since the chain snagged and the customer broke the shift paddle and bent the hanger. it could have been worse. Please no one make judgements about this warranty job. It is what it is. That surprise job has put other work back now. There no way to manage your time around that when you regularly work 10 to 12 hrs days. There will be people who will say that lever change could be done in 1hr. They are not being truthful.

    What the OP does not know and no one else that has chipped is how many surprise jobs that shop has seen recently and sets be honest no job is simple. Well some are but that not common. Most can be a time consuming. While wheel trues can be simple they can also be a ballache.

    Some of the reponces here have stepped away from the ops point. Some shops cant true wheels properly or even assess wheels. That has nothing to do with the OP question.

    The problem many shops face is good mechanics are in short supply. The trade is poorly paid so attracts people who have no clue or enthusiastic riders who again have no clue. There are a number of people who have a clue but they are spread thin. So shops often find it hard to make money from servicing because they dont have the staff to do it. The staff they have available may be fine on bread and butter work like changing tubes but more skilled work may take them to much time for it it be viable to devote the time to it and they then cant charge fully for it. So the job languishes. That shop then makes money from bikes and accessories sales. It's a common complaint but the root cause is not always a badly run shop. It is also a lack of properly trained and experienced mechanics.

    One local mechanic that coming in on Saturday to a job I dont have time to do often brings wheel work to me because while he can do it I'm quicker. He's a good mechanic too.

    This is the problem that affilicts shops anf it's a viscous circle. Trade goes online, shops have to compete and pay drops. Mechanics are then not skilled enough at enough things to turn jobs round in good time. Customer get the hump and goes elsewhere and does the job themselves... mechanics dont stay long enough to be useful to the business....

    A few shops buck that trend. They are now not that common.

    If we want things to change we have to be willing to pay for the labour. Many people are not willing to pay for good work properly done. Often when a job comes in I am expected to quote sometimes over the phone for a job I have not seen or had time to properly asses. To asses work takes time and even then until you have done it you dont really know what will be involved. Hense one of my earlier statements that jobs are not often as simple as they may seem. You cant charge for the time spent quoting and the resulting quote is not accurate presenting a problem at bill time. Either the shop over quotes or under quotes and looses to win business to the price sensitive customer. This then put further pressure on staff pay. So I simply say now no quotes. The bill will be what it is and that sometimes surprises people. If you communicate are everything you find well then you add time to the job because people dont always answer there phones because they have a life and that means the dismantled bike is then gumming up the workshop preventing other work from starting. So if a shop is not great at comms there is a reason, they maybe bad at it or it places a cost, time and space burden that there customer wont bear. That service sounds fine but adds costs in time and extra workspace and stands that are required. The customer is not always willing to pay for that service even if the value it. They value it for free.

    You may not agree with me but being at the sharp end I can tell you the side you dont hear.

    So until the punter is willing to pay for s shops expertise, shops cant get good staff because who the censored would do this for a living. I know I do but I would find it hard to recommend it to done one else. It's a great way of spending say £100000 and getting £90000 back.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
  • redveeredvee Posts: 11,932
    My LBS is literally on my doorstep and has only done the brake bleed on the R7000 install, initial bleed cost £15 and second bleed after I'd put some miles on the bike was a freebie. Needed a lower bearing for my headset and he let me take three bearings home to see which one fitted and brought the others that didn't back. If needed I'll be going back but hydro brakes will be the only reason if I do need him again.
    I've added a signature to prove it is still possible.
  • mattsawmattsaw Posts: 907
    Mine is excellent - London Cycle Workshop.

    They're always busy, there is seldom a time I go in and there aren't 2-3 other customers waiting.

    I'll always drop the bike in early in the day, usually with emergency work or for a unbooked service. I'll head off to the office and they'll call before 3pm when the work is done.

    The only time they haven't been able to complete the work same day is when they haven't had obscure parts in stock.

    The work is good quality then they have good mechanics and shop management who seem to stick around.
    Bianchi C2C - Ritte Bosberg - Cervelo R3
    Strava
  • essex-commuteressex-commuter Posts: 2,188
    It will be a week tomorrow, haven't heard anything yet. As I said I have another bike that I've been using all week so I'm not going to contact the shop, I'm going to let them contact me as I'm genuinely interested to see when it will be.

    Out of interest they charge £15 for a simple true and £25 for a 'full true'. Probably a bit more than some I would think but I would imagine that is driven by them being in a High Street of a fairly affluent town with their overheads being higher than average. Or maybe that is the going rate nowadays?
  • TashmanTashman Posts: 2,738
    My LBS closed earlier this year, but has set up as a mobile business who will collect and deliver. Always been great service
  • chris_basschris_bass Posts: 4,913
    potentially a bit late now but if you had another bike could you not have just left the wheel with them and used the wheel from your other bike?
    www.conjunctivitis.com - a site for sore eyes
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,863
    edited July 2019
    Essex commuter

    A true may take time to do. The 6 wheels dropped of to me for trying are a case in point. The first set is a pair on hed jet tubulars I think. 90mm deep rear and shallower but still deep front. The tension is absurdly low like 200N for the front wheel so these wheels require tensioning properly. I'll be charging £20 per wheel for this. I have not even started on the other other 4 yet. So your ships prices are not out of order.

    If its still there next week then that's taking a bit too long. For all we know there wheel guy or girl is off sick.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
  • essex-commuteressex-commuter Posts: 2,188
    Chris Bass wrote:
    potentially a bit late now but if you had another bike could you not have just left the wheel with them and used the wheel from your other bike?

    My dry bike (the one with the wheel that needed truing) is Shimano 2 x 11 with rim brakes, my 'wet' bike is Sram 1 x 11 with hydraulics.

    And just to round it up, the bike that I race on is Campag :lol:
  • essex-commuteressex-commuter Posts: 2,188
    Essex commuter

    A true may take ti.e to do. The 6 wheels dropped of to me for trying are a case in point. The first set is a pair on hed jet tubulars I think. 90mm deep rear and shallower but still deep front. The tension is absurdly low like 200N for the front wheel so these wheels require tensioning properly. I'll be charging £20 per wheel for this. I have not even started on the other other 4 yet. So your ships prices are not out of order.

    If they still ha e ir next week then that's taking a bit too long. For we k know there wheel guy or girl is off sick.

    No I didn't think they were too badly priced to be honest, a shops got to make money!

    Called in the shop while I was out for a ride this morning, asked if by any chance it had been done, the mechanic said he hadn't had time yet.
  • mouthmouth Posts: 1,196
    Sadly I usually just go back to Halfords - last bike was a Carrera, this one a Boardman. Been back three times in two years for 2x broken spokes and a service plan. Last broken spoke was a rear, so cassette off. Dropped it off on Saturday lunch and was ready Monday a.m. Their opening hours are far more compliant and its just as close as the racing focused LBS - they sell lots of track and tri bikes as well as Pinarello, Orbea, Kinesis. I'm sure my cash is welcome there, but basically I haven't spent a penny in Halfords yet. I know its not the right attitude really but I'm skint atm. Having read this thread I might just look at becoming a bike mechanic tho.
    The only disability in life is a poor attitude.
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,863
    If you become a bike mechanic you still be skint.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
  • jspashjspash Posts: 107
    My old LBS was awesome, but I now work from home and it no longer makes sense to take my bike into central London for small repairs. The best I have now is a Giant store, and they are total rubbish. They replaced an entire drive train, took about 3 weeks, and less than a week of riding the chain snapped. Going downhill! I've never broken a chain on a geared bike in my life. So how they managed to fit it so badly is beyond me. It's a simple chain!

    Anyhow, shout out to CycleLab on Pitfield St. near Old St. Good coffee too!
  • greenamex2greenamex2 Posts: 272
    Mine closed. Didn't use them anyway because I wasn't happy with the staff there. Go to one of two in the next town.

    The usual one is pretty busy but very much a one man band. Also doesn't sell much, neither new bikes nor accessories. Now branching out into renting out "service bays". Seems to be keeping going.

    The other place is currently trying to expand. Seem busy at the moment but certainly a risk.
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