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Can You Get A “Deal” at Your Local Bike Shop?

Posted by RL Policar On January - 15 - 2007

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The answer to that is yes. Well it actually all depends on the shop itself. Take for example, if you go to a shop that is part of a large chain of stores like Performance, well you’re chances of getting a lower price than what’s listed is slim to none.

But if you go to a smaller shop that is owned and run by one person, then you’re more likely to get a discounted price.

Here’s how it works, and I know some bike shops will not like me for saying this. But here it goes…basically when a shop sells you something, its on a 30-40% mark up. So that means the cost for a bike that is priced at $540 could be around $350. So the shop can try and sell you the bike for the listed price but they can usually bring it down a few bucks in order to make the sale.
Keep in mind they have a high mark up to cover salaries, facilities, over head and etc.

Some shops will even offer you a combined discount on items. Take for example, one of my buddies went over to RPM Cyclery because he knows that the shop will give you a discount on any purchases as long as you say…”RL Policar is SUPER COOL!” Anyhow, so my buddy went to see Scott Finch (owner) for a new full suspension mountain bike. Just by saying “RL Policar is SUPER COOL!”, Scott hooked him up with a Giant Warp DS2 and a rear trunk mount rack for about $450. Dang! That’s a good deal! The Giant Warp normally retails for about $550, and the trunk mount rack had an msrp of $100. Basically RPM Cyclery saved my buddy at least $200.

If a LBS can’t give you a discount on the bike you want, they maybe able to throw in a free water bottle and cage or even a new helmet or lock. But don’t start running over to the shop just because you think you can get a “deal.” Remember shop owners are people too, they have a living to earn and if everyone is asking for a discount, then eventually the shop have to close down because you are too cheap to buy things at retail cost. Sorry for that tanget. Back to the subject.

I’ve come up with a few good tips on how to score some sweet deals with your shop.

1. Go there often
2. Become friends with the shop owner and employees
3. Buy things often. Even if it’s just a packet of Gu!
4. If they perform a service on your bike, buy them some beer and pizza as a way of saying thanks (after you pay the invoice of course)
5. Go on shop rides. This is a good way to get to know everyone involved in the shop.
6. Provide them some services. If you know how to fix computers,clean windows, marketing or some sort of service that would be valuable to a shop, offer it…probono.
7. Be loyal to the shop. If they have stickers, place it on your car windshield or buy a shop shirt.
8. Tell your friends to shop there.
9. Drop off Holiday presents like Easter Bunnys, cards, candy and stuff.
10. Repeat step 1 and be grateful for any discount you get!

Eventually the shop will start to like you and will offer you discounts here and there. But don’t take our word for it. It all depends on the type of customer you are and the kind of shop you deal with.

Another thing I forgot to mention. Shops would rather not give you a discount. So if the owner or manager offers you one, don’t go spreading that news to everyone you know. Keep it to yourself and when ever you go back to the shop, expect to pay full price for your purchases, that way when you do get a discount, its like a surprise and always say thanks!

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