Let’s say the LBS near your home sucks in more ways than one. For starters, their prices are way too high. Second, they only care about the bottom line (how much money they can milk out of you), and the staff don’t know their stuff.
So what do you do?
I’d look for another shop. Don’t put up with bad service and high prices. Here’s the thing, a bike shop makes anywhere from 20-40% on items sold. For example, if you have an item that the MSRP is $100, then their cost on it is…roughly $60-70. But its up to them if they want to sell it at the MSRP to you. Now some shops do that and some don’t. Of course to make the most profit a shop will try to sell it as much as they can, but to other shops, they’re just happy to get you on a bike, so they’ll knock down that price or offer you other accessories at a discount or for free.
Going back to what I was talking about…sorry I get off in tangents once in a while. Simply look for a shop that has the lowest prices. But don’t keep going to a shop that has low prices especially if the guys that work there are a bunch of douches. You need to have standards for yourself. Besides, you could always shop on the internet from places like Pricepoint, Nashbar and JensonUSA.
But what if the service is bad?
Well, same as above, leave. Don’t tolerate bad mechanical abilities to save a few bucks. Your bike needs to be in proper working order when they work on it, don’t put your safety and your bike’s quality at risk.
What if there are no other shops around my home or office?
Learn how to do your own wrenching. That’s what I did ever since I was a kid. I hated going to the LBS near my home because the shop owner used to always follow me around thinking I would shop lift, and they would quote me some outrageous prices for repairs.
The best thing to do is get a basic bicycle tool set. Pricepoint offers a kit for around $30. Get the VideoBikeRepair.com DVD and start saving money.
Some of the basic repairs such as tunning a derailleur can cost you up to $20 for a shop to do. Doing this on your own literally takes a few minutes and if you have shop change your flat tire, they’ll charge you “Labor” of up to $10 PER tire just to remove your old tube and install an new one. That $10 doesn’t even include the cost of the tube. Aye I can go on in a tangent how SOME not all shops can really suck.
What I’ve done in the past is drive down to RPM Cyclery…about 45 miles away just to get certain items or have get things repaired. Not only is Scott Finch (owner) super cool, but he genuinely care about his customers and his community. On any given weekend, you’ll see tons of BMX riding kids hanging out at the shop, getting things worked on and buying things. Now there’s a reason why these kids are there, well, mainly its because RPM Cyclery’s prices are competitive. His prices are so good that even kids can afford things.
Anyhow, to answer the question “What to do when your LBS sucks?” Simple, look for another one or do the work yourself.