How Busy is your LBS?

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essex-commuter
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How Busy is your LBS?

Postby essex-commuter » Thu Jul 11, 2019 08:42 am

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?
The older I get, the faster I was.

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ugo.santalucia
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Re: How Busy is your LBS?

Postby ugo.santalucia » Thu Jul 11, 2019 08:57 am

essex-commuter wrote: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

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essex-commuter
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Re: How Busy is your LBS?

Postby essex-commuter » Thu Jul 11, 2019 09:02 am

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.
The older I get, the faster I was.

thistle (MBNW)
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Re: How Busy is your LBS?

Postby thistle (MBNW) » Thu Jul 11, 2019 09:18 am

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?

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J_MCD
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Re: How Busy is your LBS?

Postby J_MCD » Thu Jul 11, 2019 09:41 am

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.
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Smokey Bacon
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Re: How Busy is your LBS?

Postby Smokey Bacon » Thu Jul 11, 2019 09:42 am

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.

elbowloh
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Re: How Busy is your LBS?

Postby elbowloh » Thu Jul 11, 2019 10:16 am

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 Basso
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Re: How Busy is your LBS?

Postby Shirley Basso » Thu Jul 11, 2019 10:23 am

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
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Re: How Busy is your LBS?

Postby Joe Totale » Thu Jul 11, 2019 10:27 am

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.

Gallywomack
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Re: How Busy is your LBS?

Postby Gallywomack » Thu Jul 11, 2019 10:28 am

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.

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essex-commuter
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Re: How Busy is your LBS?

Postby essex-commuter » Thu Jul 11, 2019 10:33 am

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.
The older I get, the faster I was.

frogonabike
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Re: How Busy is your LBS?

Postby frogonabike » Thu Jul 11, 2019 11:04 am

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:

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Slowmart
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Re: How Busy is your LBS?

Postby Slowmart » Thu Jul 11, 2019 12:12 pm

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.

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meursault
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Re: How Busy is your LBS?

Postby meursault » Thu Jul 11, 2019 13:59 pm

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.
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Franco di Banco
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Re: How Busy is your LBS?

Postby Franco di Banco » Thu Jul 11, 2019 14:51 pm

Incidentally, the 'LBS' I use (in Waterloo)

Waterloo in Lunnun or Waterloo in Liverpool?

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roger merriman
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Re: How Busy is your LBS?

Postby roger merriman » Thu Jul 11, 2019 17:46 pm

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.

TimothyW
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Re: How Busy is your LBS?

Postby TimothyW » Thu Jul 11, 2019 18:35 pm

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...

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itboffin
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Re: How Busy is your LBS?

Postby itboffin » Thu Jul 11, 2019 19:13 pm

N+11 and you can do it later, much later
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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.
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Re: How Busy is your LBS?

Postby thecycleclinic » Thu Jul 11, 2019 22:46 pm

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 fark 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.

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redvee
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Re: How Busy is your LBS?

Postby redvee » Fri Jul 12, 2019 01:07 am

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.
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