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Why do things seem to cost more at a hobby store?

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Why do things seem to cost more at a hobby store?

Old 07-22-2002, 06:19 PM
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Default Why do things seem to cost more at a hobby store?

Has anybody noticed that things at a hobby shop tend to cost more. And example is a Gel cell battery At the local hobby store they cost 17.00. At a local electrical parts place they sell for 12.00.
I have seen drill bit in pack from great planes and such that cost 3 to 4 times as much as a drill bit at a auto store. Epoxy is also one of those things that cost more at the hobby store.
One funny thing i saw was spray to clean the glow fuel off you plane. It cost 6.00 at the hobby shop and Its just water and alcohol in it.


Has anybody seen anything at a hobby shop that is cheaper at other places.
Old 07-22-2002, 06:35 PM
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Default hobby shops

thats exactly why i dont buy from the hobby shop unless i absolutely have to. also if you notice you can buy direct online to their suppliers and pay less. what i think it is is that the suppliers seel the products to the hobby shop at the same price they sell online for. naturally the hobby shop cannot sell "at cost" or they would go broke so they naturally mark them up like every business does. I also think it is a shame that a distributer deliberatly undercuts the same hobby shops they sell to by selling cheaper on the web. the distributers dont seem to care abt the hobby shops they sell to only that they get THEIR money. but then to be fair there are also some hobby shops out there that mark their supplies up really high trying to get rich and make that almighty dollar.

my concensus hell with them all i worry abt my pocketbook and i will buy from wherever i can the cheapest and if that means my hobbyshop loses my business and others in my area do as me and the shop goes under so be it. The Hobby shop owners across the country are the ones that need to band toghether to stop the suppliers from undercutting them on the web or to complain abt the prices they charge not me.

My 2 Cents
Joe
Old 07-22-2002, 06:59 PM
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Default Why do things seem to cost more at a hobby store?

ARF's, Kits, Radios & Motors are very competitive at my LHS and somtimes lower especially when you add shipping to the online stores. Accessories, now thats a different ball game. Somtimes 200% high!!!!

Get your tools a Sears . To bad Sears doesn't sale fuel!
Old 07-22-2002, 07:07 PM
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Default hobby shops

hehe craig move to gassers i just bought some glow fuel for the first time in years due to i was given a plane and engine and it was like 22 bucks for 1 gal of 10% for that i can get me abt 18 gallons of gas which gives me a lot more flying time and helps my wallet

joe
Old 07-22-2002, 07:24 PM
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Default Tower hobbies stuff is also high

Even Tower sells some tools and stuff that are way over priced just because they say its a hobby tool.

Places like harbor freight sells hobby knives and things so much
than tower and local hobby shops. Single edge razor blades to cut balsa is another item that way over priced.

It would be great if one of the major stores would sell Fuel
It know it would be so much cheaper...
Old 07-22-2002, 08:07 PM
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Default Hobby Shop Pricing

I understand how you all feel. Yes it's true, prices at the LHS might be more. But......if your LHS goes out of buiness and your buddy doesn't have it, where are you gonna get that glow plug, prop or clevis on a Saturday afternoon when you want to go flying on Sunday?

Call one of the mail order houses on Saturday and see if you can get it delivered by Sunday!!!!
Old 07-22-2002, 08:13 PM
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Default Why do things seem to cost more at a hobby store?

paero HIT IT RIGHT ON THE HEAD. WHEN YOU NEED A PROP YOU CAN WAIT 3 DAYS FOR UPS TO DROP IT OFF. LETS SEE.$3.95 FOR THE PROP AND $6.95 SHIPPING.
Old 07-22-2002, 08:29 PM
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Default Why do things seem to cost more at a hobby store?

I agree for the most part. I don't buy online much anymore. I was flying elec's for awhile and my LHS did not have much so I got most of it online but now that I have switched to glow I try to support him as much as possible unless some other LOCAL store carries the same thing much, much cheaper!

A small screw driver is a small screw driver anyway you look at it
Old 07-22-2002, 08:57 PM
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Default Local Hobby shop

I agree we have to support all of our local hobby shops. I just wonder why that sell items that you could get other laces for so much. I always try to buy all My airplane parts at the LHS.
But the other stuff like tools and such I just cant see paying 200% markup. A hobby knife is still a hobby knife no matter where you buy it from.

It just makes you think when u see a drill bit in a hobby pack for 3.00 and the same one in the auto store for 1.00 it just makes you think.
Old 07-22-2002, 10:50 PM
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Default Re: Local Hobby shop

Originally posted by richb1492
...I just wonder why that sell items that you could get other laces for so much.
Because they can (or at least that is what they seem to think). Like Joe, I don't buy anything at my LHS unless I absolutely have to. If they would get real about their prices I would start buying my supplies there, and they would probably make more money actually. But it doesn't make sense to me to pay three times as much for balsa, glue or whatever, when I can drive 20 miles to Superior Balsa and get it all for much less. Sometimes it isn't quite as convenient, but I refuse to pay ridiculous prices just because they think they can get away with it. The problem with my LHS is that there are no other hobby shops anywhere close by, so they basically have a monopoly in the area. I'm sure that many people just submit and pay their prices, which only reinforces the idea that they can charge whatever they want and people will still pay it.

Russ.
Old 07-22-2002, 11:42 PM
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Default Gee, you must NOT like to be prepared

Originally posted by PHILLCO
paero HIT IT RIGHT ON THE HEAD. WHEN YOU NEED A PROP YOU CAN WAIT 3 DAYS FOR UPS TO DROP IT OFF. LETS SEE.$3.95 FOR THE PROP AND $6.95 SHIPPING.
I typically have a substantial stash of goodies that can and will be necessary. If you are the type who doesn't take the time to know when to re-stock, well, the above might fit you to a tee. Otherwise, if you know how to manage your inventory of goodies there isn't ANY problem. I guess it is a matter of how prepared you want to be for the unexpected.

In as far as a LHS, yes, I shop at mine, but to a limited degree. There are too many things that I can buy elsewhere for a far better price, typically the higher dollar value items.

Buy wherever it is that makes YOU happy, forget the "loyalty" issue to a hobby shop. Would that guy come feed you if you lost your job? ...I doubt it!

Others will have their opinion, too.
Old 07-24-2002, 01:14 AM
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Default Why do things seem to cost more at a hobby store?

I've worked at several LHS over many years

One was heavy into the cars with an onroad track that was
about 200 long measured at the centerline,the other is
for the most part a small place but loaded with R/C planes
and cars.

Working at these shops was a very interesting experience.

You meet all kinds when serving the public. If I wrote all
the strange events I have run into , it would be a long novel.

My favorite event was when I was told that my price for an OS
engine was too high ,( I matched Tower but had to collect the
Mass. state tax) he ended up getting it from Tower, no
surprise there, but when the plating peeled off the liner an
attempt was made to return the defective motor to me. I wouldn't
take it back in exchange for a new one and now I'm the bad guy.

I learned much from my many hours in the store . The most
important thing was, "never argue with an idiot........he will
pull you down to his level and beat you with experience every
time"

The sad part is that things like this happened more than once
with other items.
I can't count the number of times I've held small classes to
show people how to glass, put on rivets, panel lines ,install
retracts and radios ,etc. After all that's what I was suppose to
do. Did I expect these people to by from me.........I knew it was a coin toss ,but I did expect to be at least considered .

I'm no longer on -site with the store , I 'm now selling off-site
in my spare time. .....Thank God I don't have to deal with the
public any more. To sum it all up I'll put an end to this response with 2 statements:

1. You don't have a clue how this hobby really is until you've
been on the other side of the counter.

2. ALLOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THE PRICE OF EVERYTHING AND
THE VALUE OF NOTHING.

Shop till you drop where ever you want...........I do

regards
Roby
Old 07-24-2002, 03:39 AM
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Default Why do things seem to cost more at a hobby store?

I think Roby makes some excellent points, most people do not understand what the small businessman goes through every day when dealing with the public. From my years of retail experience you can always find it cheaper somewhere else, if you are willing to look hard enough. I have known people who will spend 5.00 dollars in gas to save .50 cents on an item. One of my favorite customer complaints is that they can buy an item cheaper down the street(usually cheaper than wholesale), I tell them to go there and buy it..and while they are there pick me up a case of the item. The customer then stares at you with a rather blank look, bring the item to the register and then pays for it. Some people are just stange. Many retailers use leader items to get you in the door sometimes they call them loss leaders. They make their money on all the little accessories not usually on the big items. I typically do not shop locally because of my busy schedule. Most of what I purchase whether it be R/C equipment,tools..etc is done on-line. This is mostly for convenience and price. But by the same token I do not begrudge a retailer his profit or do to another retailer some of the things customers have done to me. As long as the price is reasonable and the service acceptable I would purchase from a local supplier. Most retailers will work with you on large purchases if they want to do business. But getting back to the question of why local hobby shops are higher priced. To some extent they probably lack the buying power of larger stores. Some retailers are greedy and look at each customer as nothing more than a way to make a dollar. Running a business is expensive so unless you are doing a large volume your prices are going to be higher. It would seem to me that the hobby business would be a tough business to make a living in. You are dealing with a specialized product that people buy when they have extra money. Not the best business to be in when the economy is in a downturn and alot of guys are facing layoffs. That's why I suspect alot of hobby shops are run on a part time basis. The larger hobby stores that operate full time sell trains,cars,boats,model railroad and other craft supplies. They are catering to a much larger client base than the smaller retailer, but I'm sure that even they have a tough time of it.
Hope this gives you some insight on operating a small business.
Old 07-24-2002, 02:59 PM
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Default Why do things seem to cost more at a hobby store?

The same 12V battery you talked about for 17:00 at LHS and 12:00 at local electronic store is the same battery that APC will sell you for their battery backup systems and it will cost you at least 30:00
Old 07-24-2002, 03:05 PM
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Default Why do things seem to cost more at a hobby store?

There are a few things to consider when you look at prices.
First, the LHS usually buys in small quantities compared to a large chain store such as Sears. Because of the small quantities, the LHS pays more for the item than Sears. Therefore, prices are higher.
Second, someone mentioned that the distributors sell to the LHS for the same price that they sell through their online stores. In some cases this is true. It is hard for a LHS to compete with Tower Hobbies prices because they are owned by one of the major distributors. Tower does not have to buy from the distributor because in essence, they are the distributor. With the other major distributor things are different. They set the MAP (manufactures advertised price). This is the lowest price an LHS or online store can advertise the item for. Now the LHS or online store can advertise and sell for higher than that price but it would not be beneficial to do so. The catch is, a LHS or online can not advertise for lower than that price. If they do advertise a lower price and are caught by the distributor, the distributor will no longer sell to them. They can sell for a lower price but they can not advertise the lower price. That is why you see ads that say call for price.
Third, their two main business philosophies: Make a larger profit per item but sell smaller quantities and make a small profit per item but sell more quantities. THe LHS where I work part time at had the make a large profit but sell smaller quantities philosophy. For over a year I have been trying to convince the owner and manager to try the other philosophy. Another LHS that is 40 miles away started selling Power Master fuel for around $12.00 per gallon. I noticed that we were not seeing our regular customers as much so asking a few what was going on I found out that they were driving the 40 miles to money on fuel. I finally convinced the owner and manager to drop the price on Power Master fuel on trial basis to see if we could bring back some of our regular customers. The price was dropped to $11.95 per gallon. Now we can not keep the fuel in stock and customers are now buying more items. Our sales total for the month is more than doubled what it was this time last year and there is still a week left to go before the month is up.
Hopefully, this helps you all see what is happening form the business end of the hobby.
Old 07-24-2002, 03:13 PM
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Default Why do things seem to cost more at a hobby store?

Roby and Giant scale have hit the mark. And just for the record, I too know people who will spen $5 in gas to save .50 on an item. (My dad would drive 3 towns away to save .02 per gallon for GAS!) Bottom line, support your LHS, but check out your options. I have to drive 100 miles for a hobby shop. Once in the twin cities area, I have many to choose from. One is in a very nice, high-rent Mall. The first (and only) time I wnet in there, I almost choaked when I saw his prices. But eventually I found one that even BEATS Towers prices. Now, even though that place is two hours away from me, the guys there all know my name. (hey wait... is that a good thing?)
Old 12-11-2002, 11:01 PM
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Default Why do things seem to cost more at a hobby store?

They loose money on every sale!! But they make it up in volume!!
Old 12-14-2002, 01:13 AM
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Default shop prices

Our local shop is priced at or below what can be ordered. most
things are cheaper because theres no shipping. he buy's right
and has managed to move into 1000 square bigger space.and
has been in buissness over 10 years. This is a small town compared to most. People around here can't pay high price's.
Old 12-14-2002, 01:51 AM
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Default Why do things seem to cost more at a hobby store?

You think models are bad, try full scale. I had to pay over $15,000 to have my exhaust re-done because of an Service bulliten, $36,000 for an engine, and boy are parts expensive. Had a sandwich tray for one and a quart of OJ picked up one day for one of our jets for a trip and the bill was over $150. Can you say rip off? If it has anything to do with airplanes, I think they double it and add 30.
Old 12-14-2002, 04:54 AM
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Default Why do things seem to cost more at a hobby store?

I too buy many items from places other than the LHS due to price. The remarks that "Proflooney" make are some what absured!

"if that means my hobbyshop loses my business and others in my area do as me and the shop goes under so be it."

When this happens where will you get the parts that you need "Right now" as the other post have stated? And then we have this comment by the wise one.

"The Hobby shop owners across the country are the ones that need to band toghether to stop the suppliers from undercutting them on the web or to complain abt the prices they charge not me."

If this were to happen, how much do you think that $3 glow plug would cost? If the hobby shop are the only ones that you can buy from they would really jack up the price!!!!!!!!!

Proflooney's attitude is one that has the potential to hurt all the people in this great hobby. If you have a problem with the cost involved with this great hobby, maybe you should consider a cheaper hobby?
Old 12-14-2002, 10:12 AM
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Default prices

Well RC fireman I guess I am a little different than most people because I always make sure I have more than enough of the little stuff so that doesnt happen.I dont want to sound rude or mean because I am not. but I make sure I dont have to run to the hobby shop if I break a prop as i keep 3 or 4 on hand same if i was to use glow plugs which I dont anymore because i am almost strictly gas. I grew up in scouting with the motto be prepared and the most i had to last minute run to the hobby shop for was some more balsa or ca during the middle of my project.


as for them banding together well if they were banding together to complain abt the undercutting and some of the prices they sure as heck wouldnt be doing it so they could raise their prices.

Just because myself and a lot of other people feel this way doesnt mean everyone has to. if you like the convenience of a local hobby shop and want to pay their higher prices then go for it but it doesnt mean we all must do it. dont you think most businesses shop around for lower prices for their inventory and will go where the least expensive product with the quality they want is? well same with me and others I will shop where I can get the same thing cheaper than i can get it at the hobby shop and also be wise enough to make sure I have spare props and other things I will need to have to fly with in case something goes wrong. After flying glow engines for many years I know if your going to go fly you need to make sure you have spare plugs, enough fuel and spare props. when I am done flying I take stock of what i used and what I am running low on and make sure I get it before i head to the field next time. if a person has to run to the hobby shop to fly and they arent open thats their tough luck they should have been prepared ahead of time. now if a person doesnt have a shop near them same thing in my book they know they need something then they need to order enough before going flying. it is called preparedness.

Joe

PS and i didnt say hobby shops only place to get stuff but most items are pretty standard price across the boad and warehouse suppliers shouldnt undercut. that being said there was no remark on there that online hobby shops needed to stop selling just that warehouses that supply the hobby shops need to quit undercutting with lower than retail prices they suggest to hobby owners.
Old 12-14-2002, 10:44 PM
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Default high cost

My local hobby store (LHS) sells 5 minute epoxy for 5.99 a pack, Home Depot sell sells it for 2.49. My LHS buys maybe 6 boxes a year....Home Depot buys 60 semis worth a year.
Old 12-14-2002, 11:01 PM
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Default Why do things seem to cost more at a hobby store?

We are very fortunate around here to have two different guys who sell out their garage shops. They don't have a building to pay for, and their prices are usually at or below mail order. ONe where I spend the most bucks usually has prices on kits and engines that are only a couple of $$ higher than Tower. The other guy, who caters to pattern and electrics has prices lower than I've seen anywhere. I just bought a GWS Slow Stick for my son for Christmas that included EVERYTHING to get into the air except for a transmitter and charger. Plane, servos, receiver, speed control, + 3 battery packs cost me $124.

Needless to say, I only buy mail order when I have to. And that's only when they don't carry a particular kit or engine that I want.
Old 12-15-2002, 01:10 AM
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Default basement shops

yea joebob when I lived in arkansas we had a guy with a shop in his basement. the nice part about that waswhenever people came in and ordered something he didnt carry in stock he asked if you wanted him to stock it if it was an item regulalr wanted. for myself it was always 6" wide 48" long 1/8th in balsa that i got 20 sheets at a time from him abt every month as i built for other guys. so I always bought from him.

Joe
Old 12-15-2002, 03:14 AM
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Default Re: hobby shops

The Hobby shop owners across the country are the ones that need to band toghether to stop the suppliers from undercutting them on the web or to complain abt the prices they charge not me.
I don't think this particular problem is as bad as you think, and there are other reasons why little stores have a hard time competing with big stores.

The only distributor I know that competes with its retail customers is Great Planes with its Tower Hobbies mail order business. That leaves hobby shops other suppliers for almost every item, with the exception of a few really popular items that they probably feel they must carry, such as O.S. engines, Futaba radios and Monokote. You won't see many LHS carrying Great Planes accessories for the reason that they don't want to support a distributor that also competes with them. I doubt that Great Planes sells to hobby shops at the same price that Tower Hobbies charges retail customers. If that were true, LHS couldn't come close at all to Tower prices, and they do quite often.

The way Tower beats the LHS is not primarily price, but selection and information. There is no way a small shop could stock the number of items that Tower does. Further, Tower's web site has more information about every item than the most competent hobby shop employee could ever know.

This distributor/retailer situation reminds me a lot of when Pepsi used to own Taco Bell and KFC. Other fast food places figured why should they sell Pepsi products, since they would be just giving money to their competition. The Pepsi sales people found they couldn't sell in fast food places, which is a huge part of the business. Eventually, Pepsi was forced to divest the restaurants. I don't see that happening with Tower / Hobbico / Great Planes, but it illustrates some of the downside of competing with the folks you should be partnering with.

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