Being Cheap - Kawasaki Versys Forum
 
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-07-2009, 04:22 PM Thread Starter
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Being Cheap

I was bored one day so I went to the local Kawi Shop where I first saw the Versys. This wasnt any mega bike super center with some annoying kid trying to tell me how good I would look on it, but rather just a mom & pop outfit with damn fine people running it. The guy always wanted to open a bike shop so he and his brother scrimpt and saved to opened the Kawi dealership. I would go there from time to time and cuss and discuss with him about his business and I told him that I would rather help out the small guy so when the chance arrived I come to him first.
Yesterday I stopped by to look at the Versys again as I just got through looking at the wee. Sign said "50% off all clothing", and the Kawi sign was down. There was an orange Husquavarna sign up instead. He told me he called Kawasaki and told them to come get everything. said he never sold 1 ZX-6 sport bike this year, and spent the rest of his time arguing with customers who say "I can buy it cheaper at..." He said that people were absolutely convinced that he was buying bikes a half price and the profit margins were 50%. He can sell a $2500 lawnmover where nobody haggles over the price and has a greater profit margin.
Where are all the incentives if all the dealerships are hurting?
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-07-2009, 06:07 PM
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You are probably asking the wrong crowd about incentives.. It's a shame, but that's business. Competition is tough & the economy is bad.

I wish buying vehicle was exactly like buying a loaf of bread, you walk in, choose your bike/car, scan the bar code & pay the price. No haggling, no arguing, no worrying about getting ripped off. I HATE dealing with sales people, especially vehicle sales...



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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-07-2009, 08:50 PM
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I haven't looked at anyones books, but I suspect that the only way to operate a successful vehicle sales franchise of any kind is on service and maintenance.
If you can sell enough bikes at break-even or slightly above to keep a steady stream of happy customers coming back for valve checks and tire mountings, you can keep above water.

This isn't a good equation for a mom and pop shop, though.
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-07-2009, 08:53 PM
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I think the successful ones are the guys that are really master bike mechanics that love bikes with a passion that happen to tack on a sales floor to the front of their shop. Kawasaki of Southaven is like that. It's dang hard to find if you don't know where to go, yet they don't seem to do bad at all. But Don loves the bikes. He'll work on anything. In fact one of the other mechanics told me they have to reel him in sometimes because he's been known to bring in bikes so old they have to fabricate parts.

I think it's passion that keeps that place going. That, and they keep trying to sell one of their crotchety salesmen to the lowest bidder but nobody ever makes any offers and he's still there.

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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-07-2009, 08:53 PM
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I understand how you feel. My dealership, who I had become friends with all the employees, cooked hotdogs on Saturdays for them and customers, closed without warning this last three day holiday. Lucky for me at least one of their best employees went to another local dealership along with the Kawasaki side.
It's really rough to see ma and pop places go, I actually work for one as an Appliance tech., I feel lucky each day I get to work!
Good luck and I hope you got your Versys.


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Fishing and riding,doesn't get any better!!


2009 Lime green Versys
Baldwin reg. saddle w/lime grn. thread and gel insert
Hepco & Becker crash bars
Givi side carriers w/ E21's
Fenda Extenda
Motowerk foot peg lowering blocks & mirror extenders
cut tail fender
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Versys gone..replace with Victory Hammer
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-08-2009, 01:17 PM
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About 20 years ago, ( during the stock market boom times ) I was a sales manager for a Porshe Audi dealership. To make a long story short;
People would come in and offer $500- $1000 over our cost, and they would get upset when we turned them down.. My honest and I felt respectful answer was " If you gave your bank or stockbroker $45,000-$50,000 and a year later they said you made $500- $1000 on your investment would you be satisfied?" "Well neither would my boss."
Those with a brain and business acumen would understand, the idiots left pissed off.
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-08-2009, 03:12 PM
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I really miss the old time bike shops where the owner treated the customers well and always had a pot of coffee on. Years ago, motorcyclists were a more close-knit group than they seem to be today. It was traditional that the owner went racing on Sundays along with any riders he sponsored, and the shop was closed on Monday to recover and regroup. It was a place where one could hang out and shoot the bull with the gang, talk bikes, and find out about upcoming events. The shop we raced out of was tiny. There was room for about 6 bikes in a row with the counter opposite, and one aisle down the center. The service shop was only big enough for two bikes at a time. They handled Maico and Royal Enfield.

The local BSA dealer had a bigger place, and he later took on BMW as well. He rode a BMW sidehack rig in enduros. After BSA died, he built a new shop and sold BMWs exclusively, and his customers followed him. His wife ran the office, and brought in home cooking for lunch, and they and the shop guys would sit down to a meal at lunchtime. It wasn't unusual to be invited to sit down and eat if you were there. He lived out in the country, and once a year he'd throw a party for his good customers out there. He passed on about ten years ago, and that was the last of the old traditional shops in the area.

I don't get to bike shops much anymore except to see what's new and maybe pick up something I need immediately. You only get noticed if a salesman thinks he can sell you a new bike. Parts almost never has anything in stock except for oil filters and oil, and they're overpriced. It's impersonal as hell, and you go away with the same feelings as if you'd been to Wal-Mart...

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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-09-2009, 07:43 AM
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Here's the problem. I've been blasted for saying this before but I'll say it again. If you want your local shop to survive you gotta give them business.

A shop doesn't make a lot of money selling a Kawasaki. The European bikes make them more money. And Kawasakis are fairly easy to do regular maintenance on so owners tend to do that themselves. Where dealers make their money is on parts, clothing, accessories and service.

The internet has hurt dealer sales of parts, clothing and accessories. I know dealers don't have the selection that can be found on the internet and sometimes they're a little more expensive (but not always) but we have to give them as much business as we can. I always give my dealers first shot and, with end of season clear outs, etc. I have found deals locally that couldn't be matched on the 'net.

You don't do your dealer any favors by going to his shop, trying on clothing, helmets, etc., taking up their time and using their showroom, and then going home to save ten bucks by buying on-line. Keep doing that and there won't be any small, service oriented shops left, just mega shops and on-line shopping.

We have a book store chain here in Canada that charges more for books you buy in the store than if you buy from their internet store. It just proves that the overhead of operating a bricks and mortar operation is higher and we have to expect to pay more for that luxury. Same with a bike shop.

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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-09-2009, 08:14 AM
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Here's the problem. I've been blasted for saying this before but I'll say it again. If you want your local shop to survive you gotta give them business.

A shop doesn't make a lot of money selling a Kawasaki. The European bikes make them more money. And Kawasakis are fairly easy to do regular maintenance on so owners tend to do that themselves. Where dealers make their money is on parts, clothing, accessories and service.

The internet has hurt dealer sales of parts, clothing and accessories. I know dealers don't have the selection that can be found on the internet and sometimes they're a little more expensive (but not always) but we have to give them as much business as we can. I always give my dealers first shot and, with end of season clear outs, etc. I have found deals locally that couldn't be matched on the 'net.

You don't do your dealer any favors by going to his shop, trying on clothing, helmets, etc., taking up their time and using their showroom, and then going home to save ten bucks by buying on-line. Keep doing that and there won't be any small, service oriented shops left, just mega shops and on-line shopping.

We have a book store chain here in Canada that charges more for books you buy in the store than if you buy from their internet store. It just proves that the overhead of operating a bricks and mortar operation is higher and we have to expect to pay more for that luxury. Same with a bike shop.
I think that most of us would agree with you totally on this. but i went in to my local Kawi dealer where i bought my V to buy a broken footpeg, they wanted with tax less my discount of 10% =$48.00. I go online to buy it and $24.00 later i have a new peg. Another one, I went in to buy a jacket from them, found one i really liked but thought i should do my homework on the brand name and low and behold what pops up, the jacket at a much lower price. They wanted $225 i paid $160 with shipping.

I hate Wal-Mart and everything they do and sell. It is what has got us in the shape we are in. I hate not dealing locally but i will not pay that much to deal locally.


my 2 pennies..

but i do agree with you.. support your local businesses as much as possible.

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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-09-2009, 09:17 AM
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I think that most of us would agree with you totally on this. but i went in to my local Kawi dealer where i bought my V to buy a broken footpeg, they wanted with tax less my discount of 10% =$48.00. I go online to buy it and $24.00 later i have a new peg. Another one, I went in to buy a jacket from them, found one i really liked but thought i should do my homework on the brand name and low and behold what pops up, the jacket at a much lower price. They wanted $225 i paid $160 with shipping.

I hate Wal-Mart and everything they do and sell. It is what has got us in the shape we are in. I hate not dealing locally but i will not pay that much to deal locally.


my 2 pennies..

but i do agree with you.. support your local businesses as much as possible.

Yeah, that's why I say I support my dealer when I can. I don't know what it's like in the States but, here in Canada, it seems like most parts, accessories and clothing are controlled by just a few national distributors. They're like the Mafia. They keep inventories low and prices high. It often puts Canadian dealers at a disadvantage compared to on-line stores in the U.S.

An example is my HJC helmet. The Canadian distributor only imports it in black. I wanted red so I had no choice but to buy it off of ebay out of the States and I saved about fifty bucks in the process. I don't think it's the dealers fault, though, I think the Canadian distributor is price gouging. When a product is manufactured offshore there's no reason for it to so much cheaper in the U.S.

Givi, however, is price competitive in Canada and not worth the trouble of bringing across the border with currency conversion, etc. That's business I'm quite happy to give to the dealer.
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-09-2009, 10:52 AM
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I wish buying vehicle was exactly like buying a loaf of bread, you walk in, choose your bike/car, scan the bar code & pay the price. No haggling, no arguing, no worrying about getting ripped off. ..[/QUOTE]



Obviously you haven't been to a Saturn dealership....

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Yeah, thatís a statistic sample size of 1, category ďanecdotal evidenceĒ, but there it is.

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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-09-2009, 03:52 PM
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I think that most of us would agree with you totally on this. but i went in to my local Kawi dealer where i bought my V to buy a broken footpeg, they wanted with tax less my discount of 10% =$48.00. I go online to buy it and $24.00 later i have a new peg. Another one, I went in to buy a jacket from them, found one i really liked but thought i should do my homework on the brand name and low and behold what pops up, the jacket at a much lower price. They wanted $225 i paid $160 with shipping.

I hate Wal-Mart and everything they do and sell. It is what has got us in the shape we are in. I hate not dealing locally but i will not pay that much to deal locally.


my 2 pennies..

but i do agree with you.. support your local businesses as much as possible.


You're blaming Walmart for you & us being smart, budget minded shoppers?...





Many dealerships put themselves in dire straights. Used car-like salesmen, not knowing their products, poor customer service, pricing, stocking wrong parts or not stocking parts at all, poor service departments with outrageous prices, performing poor maintenance, & I'm sure we could keep adding on.

My point is, if you are depending on customers buying from you & paying for your services, maybe it would be wise to treat your customers like they matter, try to have available common goods & services they may need related to your business at fair prices, make things convenient & easy, have pride in your shop & your work, and I'll go out on a limb here, how about a little training for your employees, including some customer service training?



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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-09-2009, 04:01 PM
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Obviously you haven't been to a Saturn dealership....

No, but we have a few "menu pricing" auto dealers here in San Antonio, where the price on the window is the price you pay, no haggling & the sales guys are paid wages/salary, not commission based on number of vehicles sold. We bought a Dodge pickup from one of them, Gunn Dodge. It was probably the easiest, least stressful vehicle I've ever bought. Too bad the truck turned out to be a lemon, & their service department was terrible. But the sales staff was great!

I was a little sad to see Saturn dropped from GM. They were starting to make vehicles a little more appealing. I'm sure they would have had a winner soon....



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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-09-2009, 04:39 PM
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You're blaming Walmart for you & us being smart, budget minded shoppers?...





Many dealerships put themselves in dire straights. Used car-like salesmen, not knowing their products, poor customer service, pricing, stocking wrong parts or not stocking parts at all, poor service departments with outrageous prices, performing poor maintenance, & I'm sure we could keep adding on.

My point is, if you are depending on customers buying from you & paying for your services, maybe it would be wise to treat your customers like they matter, try to have available common goods & services they may need related to your business at fair prices, make things convenient & easy, have pride in your shop & your work, and I'll go out on a limb here, how about a little training for your employees, including some customer service training?
I am with you on this, but Wal-Mart has run everybody out of town (small business wise). Yea they have low prices, but the small business people cannot compete. They want to build an empire to control everything, (much like our current President) I will not go down that road.
though.
BEAR: we try to be smart shoppers but we have shot ourselves in the foot with Wal=Mart, Would you agree?


I am a small business owner and hate big business. I understand the situation of the small dealerships, i fight that battle everyday.
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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-09-2009, 06:18 PM
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I am with you on this, but Wal-Mart has run everybody out of town (small business wise). Yea they have low prices, but the small business people cannot compete. They want to build an empire to control everything, (much like our current President) I will not go down that road.
though.
BEAR: we try to be smart shoppers but we have shot ourselves in the foot with Wal=Mart, Would you agree?


I am a small business owner and hate big business. I understand the situation of the small dealerships, i fight that battle everyday.

Ah, I see. The other side of the equation. I apologize if I sound unsympathetic, but that's the nature of the beast. I'm not against a person making a profit & supporting a family, but the bottom line comes down to me supporting my family, & if part of that means I have to be a bargain shopper (meaning shopping @ Walmart), then so be it. Walmart wasn't the first big chain to put mom & pop places out of business. Competition for my hard earned dollar is tough & getting tougher.

So to answer your question directly, no I don't think we shot ourselves in the foot with Walmart. I think Walmart has done a lot of good, providing many jobs with decent benefits, & good prices as well as convenience. Where else can you get your oil changed while you shop for groceries, garden supplies & stuff for your car, get your kid a hair cut & go to the eye doctor all the while, your car stays in the same parking lot? Don't get me wrong, I am not anti-small business, but it's hard to beat what I get for my dollar at places like Walmart, Discount Tire, Home Depot...

Like you said above, it's hard for me to walk into a shop & see a helmet priced 45 to 50% above what you can find in a big store, or on the web, & buy it just because it's not "big business". I guess when it comes to this situation, loyalty comes at a price.



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post #16 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-09-2009, 06:25 PM
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Like i say, i am with you, I shop at WM but i do not have to like it, RIGHT?

Like i said earlier, i bought my jacket online because i am not going to pay an extra 50-60 to buy local. But the local people have to also try to compete. Our dealer here is the lowest i have seen with exception to down where you are on bikes but when it comes to service, parts and gear, holy cow, i feel violated when i leave with something of theirs.
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post #17 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-09-2009, 06:42 PM
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Like i say, i am with you, I shop at WM but i do not have to like it, RIGHT?

Like i said earlier, i bought my jacket online because i am not going to pay an extra 50-60 to buy local. But the local people have to also try to compete. Our dealer here is the lowest i have seen with exception to down where you are on bikes but when it comes to service, parts and gear, holy cow, i feel violated when i leave with something of theirs.
You are absolutely right, you don't have to like it.





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post #18 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-10-2009, 08:42 AM
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Places like Wal-Mart can sell for less because they buy in huge quantities and get price breaks. I do the same when possible. I buy Carhartt T-shirts on line ten at a time and save about 20%. Ten last me at least three years. One thing about the mega stores is that very often manufacturers will do special production runs. I bought Wrangler jeans once from Wal-Mart because they were really cheap, but found out they were nothing like the real Wranglers I got from the local western store. They also were kind of baggy and didn't fit well.

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post #19 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-10-2009, 11:17 AM
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To add a Canadian twist: I recently looked at a First Gear Kilamonjaro jacket in Calgary for just under $500 Cdn. I just finished buying one from Motorcycle Superstore for $149 US delivered to my AZ home.

With the $350 I saved... hm-m-m...

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