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LBS strange repair policy?

Old 08-05-19, 06:57 AM
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Spinay70
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LBS strange repair policy?

Visited a local bike shop after a ride and I asked about the turnaround time to check/adjust the derailleur due to it being a bit off. I was told it would take 3 days (must be busy) but then the guy says that they can do it in 24 hours if I wanted to pay a $25 dollar fee. I declined and left, but it got me thinking about that setup. Paying 25 bucks to 'light a fire' under their wrenches?

What if multiple patrons paid for this expedited service at same time, did they all then go back in queue? If 25 dollars will get it done asap, do they work at a slower pace intentionally? It kinda left a strange feeling so I thought I would ask here about if anyone else encountred this type of fee at their LBS? Anyone else think thats a bit much to pay extra for a shop to work in a faster manner?

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Old 08-05-19, 07:14 AM
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The $25 fee is probably so that they can pay overtime to someone willing to work after regular business hours
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Old 08-05-19, 07:16 AM
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Not to defend nor disparage your bike shop, but expedite fees for anything - especially something that simple - always make me skeptical of the service, for some of the same reasons that you express.
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Old 08-05-19, 07:20 AM
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UPS next-day service is more expensive than ground service. Does that surprise you?
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Old 08-05-19, 08:02 AM
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Most bike shops have a queue for the work that needs to be done, the estimated amount of time that the work will take, and estimates for any aspects of the work that will take more time - that’s how they organize their hours and work force. If a customer needs the bike ASAP, the shop generally has an “Express Fee” to jump the queue and expedite the repair. Usually, to keep the flow of work on track, shop personnel will often work extra hours or through a lunch period to keep things flowing. Most of the shops I’ve seen (and the one I worked in) saw very few of the expedited requests - mostly they were for emergencies (race the next day) or limited time constraints (riding across the country or tour). The insinuation that shop techs need to have someone “light a fire” under them is absolutely counter to what my experience has been. Most of the time, the techs are working their asses off to keep the work flow on schedule. You’re paying extra to go to the head of the line, not to get the shop to work harder.
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Old 08-05-19, 08:05 AM
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I don't think it's so that the techs will work faster, I think the fee is for 'jumping the line'

Any time they spend working on your bike means it'll take longer for them to get to the bikes that are already in the service queue before you showed up. Why is your bike more important?
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Old 08-05-19, 08:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Spinay70 View Post
Visited a local bike shop after a ride and I asked about the turnaround time to check/adjust the derailleur due to it being a bit off.
I don't understand this part. It's your bike. It's likely that you can readily learn to adjust your own derailleurs. It's a simple mechanical device, easily adjusted. It's not like you have to diagnose and reprogram an engine control module on a Lamborghini...
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Old 08-05-19, 08:16 AM
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People brought their bikes into my shop. I told them the time frame delay due to those before them and they accepted the time or went elsewhere. Did not have an EXPEDITE FEE and never considered it but if an emergency turn around was needed, locking up the store at 6PM did not mean I would be home by 6:15PM. Often it meant 9PM AND EVEN 1AM to rush through the emergency work and bikes for SANTA. As the owner there was no TIME AND A HALF.
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Old 08-05-19, 08:19 AM
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Originally Posted by ddeand View Post
Most of the shops I’ve seen (and the one I worked in) saw very few of the expedited requests - mostly they were for emergencies (race the next day) or limited time constraints (riding across the country or tour).
And most of us who tour are always appreciative when a shop takes us as walk-ins. Unfortunately, there are some who believe same-day service is a right. This may sound hard to believe, but maybe a year ago a guy started a thread on Adventure Cycling's forum saying shops that won't give immediate service to through touring cyclists should not be listed on the ACA maps. The more jaw-dropping part was that the OP had stopped in a shop in Indianapolis on, IIRC, a busy weekend wanting...wait for it...new bar tape. The shop said they could not get to the bike that day. Seriously? He really expected a shop to help him, possibly to the detriment of repeat customers, because his bar tape was somewhat frayed.
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Old 08-05-19, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
UPS next-day service is more expensive than ground service. Does that surprise you?
Nope, due to logistics of delivering an item long distances in a short time...it does not.

But, if we are comparing apples to oranges, paying an extra fee to board an airplane in front of others (more apple to apple) seems a bit unsavory in my opinion as well.

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Old 08-05-19, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by ddeand View Post
The insinuation that shop techs need to have someone “light a fire” under them is absolutely counter to what my experience has been. Most of the time, the techs are working their asses off to keep the work flow on schedule. You’re paying extra to go to the head of the line, not to get the shop to work harder.
There was a lot more tone and inflection from the young mechanic that led me to choose those words when i wrote it, however my post was intended to be 'generic' in tone so i should have chosen a term less inflamatory to mechanics (current & past) in that respect.

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Old 08-05-19, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
I don't understand this part. It's your bike. It's likely that you can readily learn to adjust your own derailleurs. It's a simple mechanical device, easily adjusted. It's not like you have to diagnose and reprogram an engine control module on a Lamborghini...
I could also cut my own steak when i sit down for dinner, but that would be boring.

Just being cheeky as well
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Old 08-05-19, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Spinay70 View Post
What if multiple patrons paid for this expedited service at same time, did they all then go back in queue?
Maybe, if there's too much immediate work, they don't it.
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Old 08-05-19, 08:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Spinay70 View Post
Nope, due to logistics of delivering an item long distances in a short time...it does not.

But, if we are comparing apples to oranges, paying an extra fee to board an airplane in front of others (more apple to apple) seems a bit unsavory in my opinion as well.

Spinay70
Not always long distance. If I send something from Philly to NYC it's the same logistically. Much cheaper if I ship two-day vs. one-day. And it gets there the next day.

In any event, the likely reason for the extra charge has been cogently explained above.

And if plane seats are not assigned (e.g., Southwest), I don't think an extra charge for boarding first is unsavory. You are paying a premium and getting something in return. One is always free to save a few bucks and take one's chances.
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Old 08-05-19, 08:49 AM
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In my area, this is the busiest time of the year for bike shops. They would love it if people took their bikes in for derailleur tweaks and other tuneups during the winter, but most people only think about it in the summer when they've been riding. So, thinking about it from the shop's perspective, an extra fee to skip the line sounds like a great idea. If you don't like it, learn how to adjust derailleurs yourself.
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Old 08-05-19, 09:20 AM
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In my bike shop days, we experienced many instances of people attempting to talk their way to the head of the repair queue, always during the busiest part of the season. When I instituted a modest $5.00 rush charge policy, suddenly the majority of those people decided that they weren't in a hurry after all.
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Old 08-05-19, 09:45 AM
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It's a policy--either you like it or you don't. As long as they tell you this up front, I don't know why they're having the policy would make them more or less credible.
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Old 08-05-19, 10:59 AM
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My closest bike shop has a similar sign posted in the work area. No one has ever taken them up on the offer. 'Course, I have a good relationship with them, so they generally offer to perform my minor work (nothing major) while I am waiting, without charging anything extra. Hell, sometimes without charging anything.
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Old 08-05-19, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
I don't understand this part. It's your bike. It's likely that you can readily learn to adjust your own derailleurs. It's a simple mechanical device, easily adjusted. It's not like you have to diagnose and reprogram an engine control module on a Lamborghini...
You must not get out much. There are people who take their bikes to the LBS for a flat.

Heck, there are people who ride multi-gear bikes but never change gears because it's too complicated. (I wish I were kidding, or engaging in hyperbole.)
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Old 08-05-19, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Spinay70 View Post
There was a lot more tone and inflection from the young mechanic that led me to choose those words when i wrote it, however my post was intended to be 'generic' in tone so i should have chosen a term less inflamatory to mechanics (current & past) in that respect.

Spinay70
Sounds like the mechanic is overwhelmed with work at the moment.

I know when I'm super busy on service calls in my industry that my attitude goes up a bit when more is added to my workload. Part of the stress is that service calls or mechanics work don't usually have a set time for completion like a sales appointment would. Gotta love getting handed a "1 hour easy" service call that turns into 4 hour, or 2 day job. Then you gotta explain to the customer next on the list why you aren't fixing their machine yet.

As far as expediting fees, we don't have those by name, but customers with maintenance contracts are always at the head of the line when they have a machine problem.
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Old 08-05-19, 12:38 PM
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Sounds like it's time to learn up on some derailleur adjustments. If you can make coffee, you can adjust your derailleur(s). YouTube is your friend. The $25 premium was just his way of saying "seriously...? A stat derailleur adjustment? GTFO!"


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Old 08-05-19, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by noimagination View Post
You must not get out much. There are people who take their bikes to the LBS for a flat.
IKR. This is especially true in the larger cities in the country. I live in Philly. Couldn't begin to count the number of times I have been in shops and seen people come in with flats. Sometimes its busy college student who doesn't have the time to watch videos on bike repair. Sometimes it's gramps who went for a ride on the trail and now needs to get back to his car. Shoot! Even I did one time not all that long ago. Ran a quick errand on a blazingly hot, humid summer afternoon. Maybe 2 miles from my house. IIRC, my saddle bag was in my car a few blocks away in the wrong direction. Didn't feel like stopping to pick it up. What could possibly go wrong in 4 miles with beefy tires? Half a block from my destination I flatted. No way was I walking home in the heat and humidity with almost no shade. Started looking for a cab and then remembered there was a LBS about 2 blocks away. Turned out to be a good thing. Rim tape was shot, which is what caused the flat. Had them replace that too while I took advantage of free A.C.
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Old 08-05-19, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Kedosto View Post
Sounds like it's time to learn up on some derailleur adjustments.
He assumed his RD needed adjusting because the shifting was off. Could have been caused by several other things.

P.S. Cannot believe I am defending him on this aspect.
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Old 08-05-19, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
IKR. This is especially true in the larger cities in the country. I live in Philly. Couldn't begin to count the number of times I have been in shops and seen people come in with flats. Sometimes its busy college student who doesn't have the time to watch videos on bike repair. Sometimes it's gramps who went for a ride on the trail and now needs to get back to his car. Shoot! Even I did one time not all that long ago. Ran a quick errand on a blazingly hot, humid summer afternoon. Maybe 2 miles from my house. IIRC, my saddle bag was in my car a few blocks away in the wrong direction. Didn't feel like stopping to pick it up. What could possibly go wrong in 4 miles with beefy tires? Half a block from my destination I flatted. No way was I walking home in the heat and humidity with almost no shade. Started looking for a cab and then remembered there was a LBS about 2 blocks away. Turned out to be a good thing. Rim tape was shot, which is what caused the flat. Had them replace that too while I took advantage of free A.C.
Last time I had an LBS fix a flat, it was because a chunk had blown out of the side of the actual tire about 35 miles from home. Even then I managed to rig a tube inside it to ride it to the nearest store to buy a tire (actually second nearest, first didn't have the right size. I just didn't trust that I wouldn't blow out again with the busted tire over that distance home.
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Old 08-05-19, 12:56 PM
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Every spring we got hit with tuneups on bikes that had been sitting idle in the garage all winter but were now urgently needed. We took them on a first-in - first-out basis without any expedited surcharge. If someone had a minor issue: derailleur or brake adjustment, new brake pad, broken pedal, etc. I would usually take a quick look at the bike and, if possible, do a quick fix and send them on their way, and often at N/C. It was good PR, and even if it was something that needed more than a quickie fix, they were content that I had at least tried to take care of it right away. If there was a GENUINE need for a quick turnaround we tried to work it in as best we could.

I recognize that some people have zero mechanical aptitude so that any repair, no matter how minor, had to go to the shop. But whenever I sold a bike to someone who seemed to be mechanically inclined, I would take a few minutes to tell them how to make minor derailleur and brake adjustments - "turn the cable adjuster collars a quarter turn at a time and see if it shifts better, etc. but never touch the derailleur limit screws!" I think it eliminated some of the minor issues and people didn't have to take the time to haul a bike into the shop.

As for popularity of extra fees for expedited service - it's become a common part of our society. Consider Amazon Prime and the extra fee to bypass the lines at Disney parks . . . . .
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