Random thoughts, ideas, and suggestions for a profitable motorcycle shop

Discussion in 'Alaska' started by JagLite, Nov 15, 2014.

  1. Andrewmc

    Andrewmc Been here awhile

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    PM'd you a nice, long response! Check your inbox!

    Edit: I also checked, and we currently have 10 of those rings in stock, so it is likely you just hit us at a time when we were out, unfortunately :(

    Andrew
    #81
  2. Brendon@TMS

    Brendon@TMS The Motorcycle Shop

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    Thanks for making this thread and to all those who responded!

    Andrew, Chris, and myself are rewriting every policy and procedure that we currently do to see if there isn't some better way of doing business in every aspect.

    We're maintaining dialogues with over a dozen dealers down south to see what might work in our wonderful community up here, or inversely, what we're doing well already.

    There are so many ways to improve, and as someone said, you can't please everyone 100% of the time.

    The roadside assistance is an interesting option, I think a bigger takeaway for me was offering numbers and resources for other tow services beyond the Anchorage area. An emergency line is helpful too, some way anyone in a bind can start making contact with us and we can them in the right direction. Whether it's something we help them with directly, or get them in touch with people who can, same end result, CUSTOMER GETS TAKEN CARE OF!

    We've realized that our name has a certain amount of ambiguity to it. Every single person in here rides a motorcycle (for the most part), and to say we're only taking care of our "brands" or who we're a "dealer" for is quite prehistoric.

    As I take over being the active owner of the shop, and Andrew, Chris, and myself move our business into a next step, we're exploring this idea and concept that we will serve all customers of MOTORCYCLES.

    The Motorcycle Shop strives to be the center of the motorcycle community in Alaska. New, old, custom, stock, domestic, euro, you name it! Heck, you can even have a sidecar!

    Previous Experiences

    I have heard many of you draw on previous experiences. I am very proud of our jobs done well, and very sorry for any bad experiences of our business.

    Regardless of when any of us became part of our shop, I take ownership of anything that has happened in this place of business since we opened in 1972.

    If there is any way we can be given a second chance, even if only to shake a hand and say "hi" please give us an opportunity.

    NEW SHOP!

    We have many surprises in store for our new building! We will try and keep you lot updated as quickly as possible, but there may be some fun surprises we keep secret until our GRAND RE-OPENING in the spring!

    Everyone is always welcome to come in, check out floor plans and shoot the breeze.

    Thank you for your time!
    #82
  3. TigerOwner

    TigerOwner LostInAlaska

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    When will the sale of the shop be complete?
    #83
  4. Wheeldog

    Wheeldog Long timer

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    I don't agree. Travelers heading to Alaska need to know what services are available to them. They need to know most bike shops are only open 5 days a week. They need to know it is first come first served and some dealers don't honor appointments. These folks are paying $100 plus a night for a hotel and have limited vacation time. They need to know it may take several days to get their bike fixed/serviced. People riding older Gold wings need to know NOBODY in Fairbanks will help them with ANYTHING.

    Obviously, bike shops are making Big $$$$$ offering shitty service. At least they stay in business. Naturally they don't want travelers to know how it really is cause riders will get their work done before they get here or after they leave.

    Now you seem to think this bitch session "has run it's course". Why don't you tell us where there is misinformation in this thread. Please point it out. Tell us how good the dealers in Alaska are. I would like to hear some factual positive information about Alaska Dealers. We all want to know. Tell us where an older Gold Wing rider get his bike worked on in Fairbanks.

    I am not sure why some want to hide the TRUTH about how it is. Maybe you can tell us why???:wink:
    #84
  5. KHud

    KHud Survivor Supporter

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    It appears to me that you want people to know your opinion. Now they do and that's okay.

    I think the Outpost in Fairbanks is a respectable dealership. Now people know my opinion. Never been a customer of TMS so I have no opinion.

    I think everyone has had a chance to voice their opinions, including some people I know and respect. I just think there is no place useful for this thread to go, especially since at least one poster has started calling out a person by name. But that's just another opinion.
    #85
  6. Wheeldog

    Wheeldog Long timer

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    WTF does bartenders and drunks have to do with motorcycle service??:huh :rofl:roflMaybe a lot of the riders bitching about the dealers were drunk when they got shitty service???:dunno:confused:freaky:lol3:lol3:lol3:lol3:lol3:lol3:lol3

    How about you show us where the information/complaints on this thread are wrong. Nobody in Fairbanks will work on older Goldwings.....that's a FACT. Don't you think those riders should know that before they head north???:norton

    If you buy your bike from a local dealer and kiss their ass......I bet you get good service.:feelgood If you are a traveler for the most part.....your gonna get shitty service. Several of us locals have had bad service. That's just the way it is. Instead of bitching about these posts, why don't you give us some positive information about how great the dealers are. Tell us how good the service is you get and you don't kiss their ass.:bert Let the travelers know what great service they are going to get when they visit up here.:evil

    I have had good experiences in other states who have seasonal riders....like NY. Had a few places in Canada give good service too.:lol3
    #86
  7. AK650

    AK650 Long timer Supporter

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    Who want's to ride a Goldwing, let alone work on an old one?:ear

    Don't get all butt hurt 'wingers, just poking a little fun.

    I'll add that I've had way more positive experiences with HOH, TMS, and The Outpost over the last 25 years, than I have negative ones. Have there been a few "issues"? Sure, but nothing that didn't get rectified, and certainly not worth getting in a huge snit over. I generally do my own wrenching, but when I've needed the convenience of dealer service, or warranty work, it's been pretty good, generally speaking.

    One thing I've learned, after hanging out in bike shops, is it is a pretty good bet that I will NEVER own a retail establishment!:lol3

    Have a great Thanksgiving, everyone........that goes for you dealer's as well.:D

    Jeff
    #87
  8. aalexander

    aalexander Been here awhile

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    Are you referring to me? If so, I apologize if you think I was out of line. But in my defense, my post wasn't a "you suck, I'll never buy there again, and nobody else should either" type post. I'm still a TMS customer, and will continue to be one, I'm just passing on some information on how they could better serve my needs (and pocket more of my money). Given that they are in a transitional phase, with the new shop and change of ownership, I thought it would be useful information to hear from a customer what I think they could be doing better. And from my own selfish perspective, I'd much rather be able to walk out of their shop with the parts I need today, than order them online and wait for them to be shipped. If I can nudge things in that direction, I will.
    #88
  9. Dusty_Bottoms

    Dusty_Bottoms Adventurer Ordinaire

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    I applaud your efforts to make a better bike shop.
    I'll be stopping by next time I'm in the area visiting family whether I'm on a bike or not.
    #89
  10. JagLite

    JagLite Long timer Supporter

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    Actually I started this thread to encourage positive suggestions, ideas, and thoughts to help shops stay in business by making a profit AND be a place where we would want to hang out.

    That is the "useful direction" this thread was (and is) intended to go...

    However, some obviously feel the need to vent their hate while not offering anything positive. :cry

    To all the haters, those who are absolutely convinced that no shop here will ever be worthy of your business, that's your choice.
    You have had bad experiences, and so have the rest of us.

    I have seen complete transformations in several types of retail businesses where they have gone from terrible customer service, to fantastic service, so I know it is happens.

    I don't hate any of the shops here and have found each helpful, but I have had my disappointments too.
    The service departments being the common problem. :huh
    I also know the reality of stocking parts so I never expect the shop to have the parts I need.

    I worked in a truck shop with millions of dollars in parts in our rows and rows of shelves in a huge warehouse, and a customer would get mad because we didn't have the "common" part he needed.

    BTW, how many different spark plugs does a mc shop stock anyway?

    I don't know how the shops do it in other places but where I have been, the shops are all closed Sunday and Monday. :eek1
    Of course I think they should be open 7 days a week for my convenience... :D

    We have a great thread covering things an out of state rider should know when planning a trip north (Alaska Primer).

    Maybe another thread where everyone who wants to rant and bitch about the local shops can do so.
    I doubt that will aid any visiting riders, but if you feel the need...

    I commend those at TMS for being willing to join this thread AND keeping their input positive.
    I am pretty sure the gang at Alaska Leather are following along silently.
    Fortunately for Barb, they don't have the service and parts department problems the other shops have.

    I don't know if the other shops keep an eye on the ADV forum or not.

    I think highly of AK HD for having a campground for visiting riders.
    How cool is that!

    So, what other useful ideas can we come up with?
    (NO bitching, moaning, complaining, insults or other unhelpful comments)

    How about a trials bike demonstration in the shop parking lot once a month?
    Is there a trials bike club here?
    Invite them to put on a show.
    I will come watch that!

    Arranging rides starting at the shop like AK HD does for their customers?
    I have not joined them but I am pretty sure that if I showed up on my TW or DR they would welcome me, even though I have zero interest in HD's.
    #90
  11. AKDuc

    AKDuc Alaska Born Ducatisti

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    And this is what I continue to tell many local riders still at a rate of about 1 per week! Almost pleading with them to give TMS another chance as the young folks over there "like people and all motorcycles!" What a novel concept for a retail operation. :D

    And now about our local Harley shop. :wink: For years I would go in about once or twice a year just to wander around trying to acquire a taste for them, big, heavy, antiquated technology and all. :lol2 Anyway, the folks there were always so very friendly that after a while I actually kinda felt a little guilty never having bought a bike from them. They've long been and continue to be THE most involved with our community, including the non-riding segment, by having numerous functions for nonprofits as well as having gatherings trying to bring all riders together, even sportbike riders! My Ducati won a full dyno tune at one sportbike gathering and my lovely Triumph Daytona won a new rear tire at another! A couple years before these gatherings they even dyno'd my Duc for free on my BD! All this and free camping, which includes a code access shower room, for riders of any brand bike. Awesome, WAY awesome! This is why for years I've been calling our Harley shop THE friendliest shop in Anchorage.

    3yrs ago I went for a test ride with a friend who was more into Harleys than me. When I said that I'd never ridden a Softail, much to my surprise, they suggested I take the pretty one with the limited paint job off the floor for a spin! So off we went down the hwy with absolutey NO intention of buying a bike. It was a nice ride and all but no real biggie. When we came back they started talking numbers I just couldn't believe. They let me have it for "less than employee cost" because "they knew it'd be good advertising since I ride with so many different riders." To this day there are still many who can't even believe I'm on a Harley since I got to be so well know as Alaska Ducati and was so active in the sportbike community. :lol3 And now I've really come to love the Harley even more and more over the years.

    When I bought the bike besides getting to honk the big ol HOG horn atop their building, which announces a new owner, Dia the shop owner took me around and introduced me to each and every employee to welcome me into "the family." Now I find myself going to the shop every week or so just to say hello and share sincere smiles, handshakes, hugs, and a free cup of coffee out of my H-D mug which hangs on their wall. Then, just a couple weeks ago while conversing with a few others in the shop I mentioned how glad I was to finally be a part of "the family" now that I was a Harley owner. Dia quickly piped in, quote: "Mark, you were a member of this family before you ever bought a bike from us." Man, talk about making someone feel welcome and appreciated.

    Motorcycling has long been a big part of my life and continues to be one of my all-time favorite forms of recreation. For this I'd like to say "thank you" to all who have been part of and continue to contribute towards making it a pleasurable and fun-filled experience.

    Ride on, Mark H.
    #91
  12. Wheeldog

    Wheeldog Long timer

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    I agree on your assessment of the Harley Shops.:thumb They are open 7 days a week in the summer. I live near Denali Harley and see them put on "events" quite a few weekends during the summer. I should have done a better job of excluding them from my posts.

    I still think if the others shops followed Harley s service example, threads like this wouldn't exist.:gerg
    #92
  13. AK650

    AK650 Long timer Supporter

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    I still think if the others shops followed Harley s service example, threads like this wouldn't exist.

    +1 They are definitely the leaders in customer service, IME.

    Jeff
    #93
  14. JagLite

    JagLite Long timer Supporter

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    As I read your comment I thought you were missing the point of this thread... :cry

    Then I realized you are correct. :eek1

    If every shop was all we want them to be, we wouldn't have any ideas of how they could be better! :D

    Thanks for the warning AKDuc, I will try to keep away from AK HD :rofl
    #94
  15. Beezer

    Beezer Long timer Supporter

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    you don't even have to be that good (especially here in Alaska).... you just have to not suck
    #95
  16. Brendon@TMS

    Brendon@TMS The Motorcycle Shop

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    Beezer- Come by some time next year in our new space. My name is on my shirt. I'll buy you a coffee from our barista stand and we can shoot the breeze about bikes new and old. Heck, we can even talk about your new airplane!

    TigerOwner-No specified end date, more a transition to a board level position rather than day to day employee. Don has been an integral part of this business for over 30 years and will continue to assist with his knowledge from years in the industry.
    #96
  17. skierd

    skierd Wannabe Far-Rider

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    You must be a blast at parties. Khuddy commented he would like to know what dealers say to each other about awful customers. I said it's probably a lot like how servers and bartenders talk about bad customers, because shitty stupid demanding assholes in one setting (motorcycle shops) are usually the same in another (bars, restaurants).

    If working on old Goldwings is the gold standard of service, I think most of the damn country is screwed. Even with a brand new bike, if there's no parts in town or the shop is completely booked full, you're 3 week vacation is over if you have a major breakdown. I'd sure hope that anyone riding an older machine to Alaska would realize they're on their own as far as repairs and maintenance goes; I assumed as much when I rode my 2008 WR250R up here anyway. Hell, I grew up in Baltimore and I don't think any of the MC dealers that serviced Honda's wanted to mess with old machines. Most shops don't want to mess with old bikes.

    I'm pretty sure Frozen Motor Works would work on those old 'wings BTW, judging by the other old iron I've seen in their shop before they moved up in to the hills.

    I've actually had nothing but pleasant dealings with Northern Powersports for my sleds so far. They got dropped off for service today actually.

    The Outpost hooked me up with a battery for my Yamaha for less than I could have ordered it for two summers ago when mine was dead after the winter. They actually had a few maintenance parts for my '98 CB750 in stock too, again for about what I could order it for. Would they work on an old Goldwing? No idea, but I've seen some old Harleys and BMW's in and out of their service dept all summer long when I manage to show up for Throttle Therapy.





    #97
  18. ThatGuy

    ThatGuy Brownie

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    +1 Like telling a manufacturer about some "off road rally" :lol3
    #98
  19. Wheeldog

    Wheeldog Long timer

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    The point is travelers need to know what they can expect when they visit Alaska. Now they know nobody will work on some older bikes.....no problem. Same thing if they ride a brand of bike where the dealer in AK has lots of complaints......they can plan on getting the work done some place else.

    I am glad you have had a good experience with dealers......many folks haven't had much luck. I have had some friends who got screwed. Here is 1 example............

    A friend from NC wrecked his bike on the Haul Road. I told him his best bet would be to ship his bike home and have it fixed. He insisted on getting it fixed in AK. The shop told him it would be done in August. He flew home. When he called in August they told him it was ready. He flew to AK to pick it up. It wasn't done or even ride-able and several of his aftermarket parts that weren't broken were missing. He had to hang around for a week and visited the shop every day. After a week it was ride-able, but not finished. He decided to ride it home and have it finished, which he did. Needless to say he was pissed.

    Don't you think people need to be warned about stuff like that so they don't make the same mistake??:confused:dunno
    #99
  20. ThatGuy

    ThatGuy Brownie

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    ^^ seems reasonable to me. On the flip, travelers shouldn't expect the moon when walking in(your friends story doesn't for and IMHO, terrible).