Jim Konzal, owner Of Customs By Jim, Inc in Spokane, WA, wanted to express his feelings about motorcycle parts sold online at a discount by non-shop owners. Here are his thoughts.
“There you are, sitting in your living room on a cold winter evening, thinking about the next riding season. Soon your thoughts turn to what you can do to your bike in the off-season. Before you know it, you are sitting at your computer, surfing the web looking to make your dreams come true. The more you look, the more questions you have.
The next day you find yourself on the phone calling your local shop trying to get all those questions answered. As the conversation carries, more and more questions are generated. Before long you have spent the better part of an hour discussing scenarios and getting advice and prices from the local shop you are talking with. Wow, it’s going to take a few pay checks to get done what you want! That evening you are back surfing the web, and it seems like prices are a little different here, so now you are thinking if you buy the parts from the internet sites, it won’t cost as much.
Now, what about that local shop? How much did they charge you for all the information they spent on the phone giving you? Are you aware of the amount of years, dollars, and mistakes it took for a shop to learn the information passed on to you so freely about recommended parts and their applications? The local shops most often operate on their ability to make sure you are happy with the combination of parts chosen. They are going to make sure you get the best bang for your buck. They know if you leave satisfied, you will tell your friends about your experience with this shop. Word of mouth is an integral part of a shops reputation in the local area and carries a lot of weight in generating new business.
Unless you own or work in a local shop, you have no idea of what it takes to stay in business. Facility overhead, phones, heat/electricity and advertising are things everybody thinks of. But what about insurance, hazmat costs, licensing fees and monies paid to local and state governments for all the things they require? Have you priced special tools required to work on your bike? These are but a few of the underlying costs paid each month. Do you think internet sites have all these additional costs? Parts sales are where shops make their money. “Giving” local shops rebuild, repair, or service work on your bike, while appreciated, is not going to keep the shop in business. If you buy your parts somewhere else, do you think the local shop should install them? If part way through the work there is problem with a part, is it your problem or the shop’s problem? Suppose there is a part failure within a reasonable amount of time, who warranties the part? Frankly, internet sites could care less about these issues. They made the sale; they have your money. Beyond that, they really have no further interest. Have you ever considered taking your own hamburger patty into Burger King?
The truth of the matter is shops cannot stay in business just working on bikes. In a real world shop, if you were to see where revenue comes from you might be a little shocked. Leaving out new and used bike sales, based on gross numbers, if you add service and labor income together, you would find that those numbers would probably be about 22-25% of the business done. In other words, about 75% of gross income is from parts sales. Buying from an online store to save $50 is a slap in the face to a shop that has spent hours talking to you about your bike with no compensation for the time spent. In these tough economic times, this is something you should consider when you are looking around online for parts. If you have a local shop that you like and want that shop to be here to answer your questions, service, repair, or rebuild your bike, then have them be also your parts supplier” Jim Konzal