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Old 01-27-2013, 12:18 PM   #436
Buzz363
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trc, I was that kid in a garage in 1981 to 83 pumping gas, changing oil, tires, helping with tune ups and cleaning the shop. Jobs like that are few and far between now as we have quick lubes rather than corner gas stations.


It seems most motorcycle shops have bankers hours As a parent I don't think I'd encourage my kid to go that route full time although everyone's dream is different. Evenings and weekends though it would be a great job.
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Old 01-27-2013, 06:04 PM   #437
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Everyone needs a job while they figure out what they want to do when they grow up... or while going to college

Hard work builds character and respect for those that choose to do it for a living. My dad was self employed and made me do all the worst jobs to show me why I wanted to stay in school. I'm not self employed but I do intend to have my child work her butt off for things when the time comes. She can get a good glimpse of what it's like in the working world and decide for herself where she wants to go.
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Old 01-27-2013, 06:19 PM   #438
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Changing motorcycle tires is nothing like car tires.
I used to teach a collage level automotive class to do quick services. I can do an oil change, full inspection (brake pad thickness, every hose checked, battery tested and checked, etc) and tire rotation in 12 minutes. And I can teach any motivated high school kid to do the same.

Street bikes are a PITA.

Step 1) Figure out how to get the tire in the air. When you work on every make and model of bike, this is always different. Bodywork under most street bikes will prevent you from getting any kind of lift or jack under it. Big cruisers will often have an oil pan or exhaust hanging below the frame. So then you have to use the overhead hoist, lifting from the handle bars, passenger foot pegs, etc all while not scratching the paint or chrome.

Step 2) Remove the stuff to get the tire off. Be it bags, brake calipers or entire exhaust systems. Then if it's shaft drive, you may have to remove the tire from the final drive, or remove the entire final drive with the tire still attached And be mindful of all the spacers that will need to go back in the right order. They may not have come out in the right order.

Step 3) Removing the tire from the rim and mounting the new one. Sometimes easy, sometimes not. If it's a painted rim, then you have to be very careful not to leave a single mark on the rim. Many of the Harley rims have a weak layer of chrome with a clear coat of paint over it. The chrome will often let loose before the paint will and take off a 2" strip of chrome. Then you have to buy them an entire new rim/hub/spokes. Some cruiser tires have absurdly thick sidewalls, along with spokes, a tube, and poorly painted rims. We once had 3 techs working on getting 1 tire on the rim because it was being such a pain.

Step 4) Balance. The Harley worth 20k will run the cheapest tires. The balance machine will show that it needs 5 ounces and that is really too much weight to put in one spot. So you will have to pop the tire off the bead, rotate the tire on the rim, air it up again, and try again.

Step 5) Installing it back on the bike. Making sure to get all the spacers and brake caliper bracket in line as you slide the axle in. Then adjust the chain, check the brakes, clean the blood off, whip the chrome/paint down, and return to the customer who is wondering why it takes so long.

Sure. We could cut corners and do it cheaper, but that's not us and we will not work that way. When something with chrome rolls in the shop, the best techs take care of it because the risk of a junior tech scratching the paint is too high.
The shop down the street charges less then we do, so we still have to complete with them. The cost in labor it takes to mount one difficult tire seems to balance out the money we make from doing several easy tires. But I am not in charge of the books, so I don't know for sure.

Dirt bike ties are mostly easy. Your going to be in a fight when someone brings in a 10 year old Maxxis tire on a rim with 2 rim locks, with a tube that is too large for the tire so it wants to pinch, but at least you can man handle it on. Most of the tires do go on and off relatively quick and easy tho, so we make money on them.
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Old 01-27-2013, 06:57 PM   #439
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How about a things customers tell dealers.

Ring Ring:
Me: Hello, (insert motorcycle shop name here)
Her: How much to fix a tire?
Me: What kind of bike is it on?
Her: A dirt bike, and I don't want to spend a lot of money.
Me: If you bring the rim and tire off the bike, it's $20 in labor. Depending on the problem with the tire, you might need a patch or a new tube, or a new tire, so that will be extra.
Her: So it's $20 out the door for all the tires then?
Me: No, it's $20 per tire for the labor. What you will need to fix the tire will be additional.
Her: So for 2 tires it would be $40 total then?
Me: For the labor, yes. But you will likely need new tubs, and maybe some rim tape, so that will be additional.
Her: But you said it was $40 total. I am on a tight budget so I need to know exactly.
Me: No I did not. I said it was $40 for the labor. If you know the size of the tires, I could look up tube prices and get you a better quote. But you still might need rim tape, have loose or broken spokes and other things that add cost.
Her: So it's $40 for both tires then?
Me: For the labor, yes. (I gave up at this point)
Her: OK

Someone, not her, drops off two tires the the guy at the counter explains that two tubes will be needed and they are an extra $10. Bringing up the total to $60. He said that will be just fine. The tires are fixed.

Before they are picked up, the word of the extra $20 for tubes gets back to the lady and she calls me up. She was irate that I didn't quote her the right price and she has to pay $20 more then the $40 I told her to it would cost. She beat up on me for a good 5 minutes, but said she would pay my overcharges.

The part that made it all better was when the guy came to pick up the tires, we asked him if at anytime we where not clear on the price and told him about the phone call. His responsive, "Everything is fine, she is just a b*tch.".
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Old 01-28-2013, 12:52 AM   #440
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Quote:
Originally Posted by creggur View Post

BTW it's not about dropping everything to provide low-margin services for every price-shopper that calls or drops in - it's about setting the customer's expectations up front, being honest, following through on what you promise, and sometimes going the extra mile for someone (especially if they are in a bad situation (broken down or stranded)).

I have no idea how you ran your business, and I'm genuinely sorry it didn't work out - nothing saddens me more than someone having to shutter their dreams - but it sounds like you considered many of your customers to be nothing more than a Pain In The Ass...not a formula that generally works out long-term.
Customers in bad situations (and with good attitudes who don't walk in demanding you drop everything to service their needs) is way different.

No, I did not treat my customers like they were a PITA...I closed very busy, with people in line, having to disappoint and turn people away. One man show, too willing to "drop everything" to help out the guys who "were in a bind"...just didn't make enough money to cover the overhead (unless I wanted to live at the shop and wreck my marriage).

There should be a happy medium here between a business owner's need to be able to do what's right for his business vs. what the "customer" feels he deserves.
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bobnoxious67 screwed with this post 01-28-2013 at 01:00 AM
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Old 01-28-2013, 12:54 AM   #441
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Originally Posted by bwalsh View Post


I really don't want to get involved in a pissing match but I have to say your conflicting(IMO) statements don't add up.
I think you answered your own question(to satisfy your theory) and according to your post, you did the exact thing you are saying business's should not do and it caused you business to shutter it's doors...

Most places aren't going to stop what they are doing and jump on any walk in work unless they either have an extra employee standing around or are having a slow day.
That's called "personal experience"
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Old 01-28-2013, 01:30 AM   #442
Rauven
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Eek Loose a customer in 22 words or less...

A bit of a setting for the story. I live in Norway, I'm Polish though. And as friendly of a country this is, there are quite a few xenophobic assholes. Bell curve rule I guess.

I decided to buy the new water cooled GS. So I sent emails to several dealerships asking for a price calculation on the setup I wanted, the estimated delivery date and how much deposit should I pay to get in line for the bike.

Several dealerships answered professionally in a mater of hours. One responded after 3 or 4 days(email by the manager of the dealership):

Quote:
Hello, first of all to decide the size of the deposit we need to know where do You come from and where do You live.

Mvh,
some contact infro (lets skip this part)
Seriously ?
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:53 AM   #443
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Originally Posted by Rauven View Post
A bit of a setting for the story. I live in Norway, I'm Polish though.

Maybe he thought you were in Poland wanting to buy a bike and didn't want to tie up a bike for someone who lived half way across the continent and may not make it all the way to Finland to pick it up.

If that was the case he could have phrased it so it didn't sound so bad.

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Old 02-01-2013, 07:32 PM   #444
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Things I've heard at dealers over the years that I found entertaining:

Me: What kind of deal will you make me on this bike?
Dealer: What's it say on the tag?

Me: I have done my research and know I can buy this bike for $xxxx
Dealer: That's below my cost. I can only go $200 off MSRP.

Me: Do you still have the used ZX-6R?
Dealer: No, it's sold, but we have a Ninja 650, it's got a bigger engine in it for less money.

Me: $10,000 is a lot of money for a used GS with 92,000 miles
Dealer: They aren't broken in until they hit 100,000 miles

Me: I'd love to have another Ducati, but the maintenance is a pain
Dealer: You don't really need to do it that often unless you are racing
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Old 02-04-2013, 07:40 AM   #445
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Honda display at the N. A. motorcycle show

Standing in the Honda display area at the N.A. motorcycle show talking to their um, er, "sales person" about the new 500's. Noticed alot of actvity around the new CB1100. When I mentioned I really liked it, he went full in and informed me it was liquid cooled...... I said, Really? He said, Yup! and pointed to the oil cooler. So sad. I politely explained to him the bike is air cooled and that was an oil cooler. And this is why the heads have these fins on em. This is supposed to be the Mfr's big chance, their big show, to get us all excited and reaching for our wallets. You would think they could at least find a couple reps in each city that know their products. The dood at the KTM display was actually even worse. 100%, Completely phukkin clueless about the product. When I asked about a luggage rack for the 690, he referred me to the accessorie catalog, which they didn't have. Why did they even give this guy a shirt? What an embarrassment for KTM. Really sad..
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Old 02-04-2013, 08:07 AM   #446
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Originally Posted by fastdadio View Post
You would think they could at least find a couple reps in each city that know their products.
Or at least know the difference between air and water cooling...

That is really sad...but hey, on the bright side, they probably paid him peanuts to stand there all day.
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Old 02-04-2013, 10:05 AM   #447
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bwalsh View Post
Or at least know the difference between air and water cooling...

That is really sad...but hey, on the bright side, they probably paid him peanuts to stand there all day.

Well last I knew oil was a liquid. The early GSXR's were considered liquid cooled, and did so with oil and a large oil cooler, and a huge oil pump. The new Watercooled BMW boxer, mainly cools the head, and relies on air cooling for the cylinders. The oil heads used the same principle, cool the heads with oil, and the Cyl with air.

And technically ALL are air cooled, the water or oil only transfer the heat to a radiator, which an oil cooler is, and air is required to remove that heat. The water does not actually do any cooling, just provides transportation of heat.
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Old 02-04-2013, 10:12 AM   #448
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Originally Posted by bwalsh View Post
That is really sad...but hey, on the bright side, they probably paid him peanuts to stand there all day.
They don't get paid. The locals are volunteers.
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Old 02-04-2013, 10:27 AM   #449
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Glad to know my FWD F150 is air cooled.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PFFOG View Post
And technically ALL are air cooled, the water or oil only transfer the heat to a radiator, which an oil cooler is, and air is required to remove that heat. The water does not actually do any cooling, just provides transportation of heat.
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Old 02-04-2013, 10:56 AM   #450
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Originally Posted by OaklandStrom View Post
Glad to know my FWD F150 is air cooled.

If you doubt me, tell you what, put a big sheet of cardboard over the radiator and go for a drive
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