Do you haggle over prices with your LBS?

Forums Mountain Bike Forum Do you haggle over prices with your LBS?

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This topic contains 27 replies, has 20 voices, and was last updated by  GJmtb 1 week, 2 days ago.

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  • #206463

    I’ve always negotiated bike purchases from local bike shops, but I’m curious to know if others do this as well. Buying a bike is a big purchase, so I approach it like buying a car where I would be foolish not to negotiate. Has anyone ever received a sweet bargain on a bike or anything else by negotiating? Or has a shop owner flat out told you they don’t negotiate?

  • #206470

    The LBS by me almost always offers some discount right up front, and the one I deal with near my riding buddy’s house gives a discount to our trail club, so I negotiate very little.

  • #206475

    What’s the average upfront discount they usually offer, in percentage terms?

  • #206476

    Similar to Alvin, I have standing discounts at my LBS, and then often get discounts above and beyond the standard discounts, so I pretty much never negotiate. However, this is mostly for parts, gear, and labor.

    When it comes to buying complete bikes, there’s no way I would EVER pay full MSRP. Also, I don’t know if I’d ever buy a brand-new bike to begin with (unless it was a frame-up build). All the bikes I have personally paid money for have been used to one degree or another before I purchased them. Buying a lightly-used bike at a big discount is the only way to go, IMO.

  • #206477

    What’s the average upfront discount they usually offer, in percentage terms?

    I get 5% off the top for being a member of my local trails club, Salida Mountain Trails, but the shop also matches that amount as a donation to SMT.

  • #206478

    Buying a lightly-used bike at a big discount is the only way to go, IMO.

    You’re a smart man Greg. Wait until you edit my article that’s scheduled for this Friday. 🙂

    • #206480

      You’re a smart man Greg.

      Haha, I’ll take that compliment!

  • #206521

    I don’t really haggle but I ask how good a deal I can get.  The shop I generally deal with knocked off $400 a bike listed for $2395 and $250 off another one listed for $ 1650.  These purchases were made when I had just started riding, so there wasn’t a long term relationship at the time.  Another local shop wouldn’t budge off their list price when I was shopping, though.

  • #206524

    I always haggle, coz as my mom always says, it doesn’t hurt to ask. I’d probably get some freebies once in a while, or a minimum of 5% on some stuff, that of course once you establish a good relationship with your LBS.

    Even online, I try to find that “chat” button and ask for any additional discount on top of what’s on-sale 🙂

  • #206526

    Even online, I try to find that “chat” button and ask for any additional discount on top of what’s on-sale ????

    Good tip, I’ll have to try that sometime!

  • #206532

    I always negotiate. I find the easiest way to get a significant discount is to pay cash.  I only go in with the amount I want to pay.  So if they don’t accept, I have to walk.  Every time I have walked, I have received a call with in 30 min that they have changed their mind.

    But on the other end, I do tip my mechanic and offer to pay for anything that they give me for free.

  • #206560

    For small stuff (parts, clothing) no. For bikes, yes. I always try to buy last year’s model…..the local & regional shops seem much more willing to negotiate on older stock.

    BTW: What is the retail markup on a new mid to high-end mountain bike nowadays? (I seem to recall being told it was 100-125% ten years ago)

  • #206564

    (I seem to recall being told it was 100-125% ten years ago)

    Markups are nowhere near that high these days. Most estimates I’ve seen hover around a 35% markup on new bikes.

    http://nbda.com/articles/want-to-start-a-bike-shop-pg70.htm

  • #206573

    I had a really great relationship with my LBS back in Wyoming. First name basis since I used to make them coffee at the local downtown shop all the time. I never had to even ask about a discount, it was just always thrown in for bike purchases. Other supplemental purchases were usually in the form of a buy one get one free tire (usually a takeoff) or a 20ish% discount thrown in.

    Now that I live in Utah, I haven’t had the same experience, but I just now finally found a shop that I like. So I feel like once I get in a few rides with their staff and help on dig days, that relationship will start to happen.

    For service, I won’t even bother haggling. Shop rate is typically how a shop keeps the lights on, and I absolutely respect that.

  • #206580

    For service, I won’t even bother haggling. Shop rate is typically how a shop keeps the lights on, and I absolutely respect that.

    !AMEN!…and a good mechanic is worth his/her weight in gold. Even with some of the stuff I can do myself the cost/benefit of a my good ‘ol LBS techs doing the work is a no-brainer.

  • #206678

    The guys I deal with typically knock some off the top already before I ever ask what retail is. I don’t haggle with them any because I know they have to make a profit to keep the doors open and its not like they are selling boats and cars (big ticket items) where only a couple of these would cover their overhead for a sustained amount of time. lol. Every little trinket helps them but more than all, service on bikes is their big $$ maker. Keep that in mind when dealing with them.

  • #206687

    I have negotiated perhaps more than I should have, but as a penny-poor grad student I really had no other option. I would usually get 20-30% off list price or get permission to dig through their parts bin. In the end I started losing reputation, even from the cheapest most generous stores. So there was a point where I just gave up and ordered everything online, even though I like to support local, and I became a DIY guy all the way down to painting frames, swapping cranksets, and overhauling drivetrains. This has worked well for me and I have saved hundreds. I’ve tried to make friends again by joining local race teams and participating in shop rides and I think that’s gone really well. Someday when I’m rich I’ll give back what I negotiated away by buying at list price without grudging… there is plenty of retail competition in my area so they are all working on razor-thin profit margins as is.

  • #206703

    Yes, I usually try to get a model year or 2 old bike and will haggle on them. All my bikes were last years model. Got Great deals on them. Now I work at the shop p/t and get smoking deals. I now have a current year farley7.:)

     

  • #206740

    Anything over $200 I’ll try to subtly negotiate. I have a good relationship with my LBS so they usually will give me deals anyway.

  • #206750

    I got $160 off a $1460 bike at the LBS near me, and 10% off any accessories bought at the same time… The one by my friend gives 15% to the club.

  • #206752

    Ran the college Cycling Club at NDSU, so we worked with the Local Bike shop, The Great Northern Bike shop, to get the best price for the group to get 7 bikes at one time. The bike shop understood more people getting on bikes, more future customers. And they gave us a good deal way beyond anything we’d get as a regular customer. I never used these bikes they were for members of the club who couldn’t afford bikes in college to race, So I was negotiating as well as I could on behalf of future riders. So this was also a big factor as the owners and I are on the same page as more people riding bikes the better. On this deal I know we came up only a few hundred dollars over cost on 7 bikes.

    Now Before this I had gotten to know the owners and bike shop guys well. Smallish town with not many serious riders (Fargo, ND) GNBC So they knew everyone who was, and if you were a serious rider you’d be riding with them during the week for fun. We had also purchased 3 bikes brand new from them before this. Never felt like we had to have serious negotiations they always gave us a good price and in one instance we asked for them to let us know when the inventory of specialized was going on clearance for a mtn bike I wanted. We ended up under budget and with better components. They could have had me pay $300-$400 more but chose not too; as this was not at all an advertised price and was a bike that had to be ordered in.

    But really I think it has to do with your relation to the shop in the end. If you’ll come in for the little stuff here and there and the know you’re promoting them they will give you a solid price. At the end of they day they still need to make money as a business so it’s not like the bikes ever come in at cost or they loose money. And if you’re serious they know you’re not wasting their time asking about bikes because you probably already know what you want before you come into the shop. Our transactions/decisions took us all of 10-15mins of shop time for each bike. If you help them do business by promoting them they’ll help you keep riding bikes.

  • #206753

    I do not haggle. I look at the prices and see if the items are FRP. If they are and there is no glass cabinets to look at fine components then I normally leave. On the other hand a few price reductions here and there or bargain bucket of bits I likely buy something. I used to have a LBS which fitted the latter category and pop in often (to look at shiny things in Cabinets) and pay a good price and if a discount was offered then say thanks. A good LBS is good to get in favour with to get those emergency repairs done like recutting a bottom bracket thread in a frame. For occasions like that happy pay what they ask for if below FRP. Win win.

  • #206865

    I rarely haggle, but on my next purchase I will. And I will buy a demo otherwise wait for a used bike on PinkBike. I don’t like eBay because they take so much money from the seller. I sold 2 bikes on eBay last year and got absolutely CREAMED on commissions. I’m doing demo-rides for my LBS and taking groups out for them since I know all the trails in our area so well. So I’m sure I’ll get a good deal on a demo bike.

    As for everything else, I don’t ask for discounts. Especially not service and I tip big, always at least S10 and up to $40. I have a good relationship with all the mechanics and because of that, my bikes get fixed (unless parts need to be ordered) while I wait. I’m never pushy with them and I think that’s why they offer to work on it on the spot, unless they are super busy which is totally cool.

  • #206933

    I don’t haggle because i am aware of the pressures they are under competing with online stores. This year i bought my first road bike at a physical store and they were great – they did a full bike fit, a full bike service for me and gave me really helpful advice on anything and everything. Now i only buy from stores. I once bought a new bike online and it required a full service when it arrived which was a problem because i do not have the skills to do it myself.

  • #252110

    “Markups are nowhere near that high these days. Most estimates I’ve seen hover around a 35% markup on new bikes.”

    That is not what the article said. It was 37% profit after expenses. That is not the same as markup.

    I saw the computer at a Specialized dealer, and they were paying half of MSRP.

    But also note that I believe that Specialized has two retail prices. One is a fake “high retail” price. The other is the actual retail price that is lower, and what they hope to claim is a discount and actually sell for.

    This is similar to Kohl’s and their fake sales. For example, they had Instant Pots yesterday “on sale” for $109 and said that they were normally $140 or so. They have not sold for over $99 on Amazon in the last year. So the sale price was actually above the full Amazon price. The discounted Amazon price was $59.

  • #252154

    I always haggle over anything costing more than a few hundred dollars. I’ve frequently get 10% or more off just by asking nicely. With mountain bikes I frequently pay full price for a new bike but haggle my way into better tires, better saddles, shorter stems, smaller chainrings, tubeless setup, etc. without adding to the price.

  • #252435

    There’s a lot more margin built into parts, gear and other accessories. If you already know what you want to upgrade on the bike that’s a good bargaining chip.

  • #252561

    So far have only made smaller purchases. I also shop on-line for better prices and better selection of gear.

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