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Tip - Don't be nasty to your Hobby customers

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Tip - Don't be nasty to your Hobby customers

Old 10-17-2005, 06:58 AM
  #26  
The Raven
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Default RE: Tip - Don't be nasty to your Hobby customers

Rojs definitely has the best prices. The closest prices are from Col Taylor, whom I haven't dealt with.

$169.........That would be the OS 46AX then. Another store quoted me $200 which I passed on. The same store also quoted $250 for an ARF I got from Rojs for $185.

Addies doesn't quite match Rojs prices but the service is there. If you want it then he will get it for you.

Roj is also very good with warranty claims (although they are primarily the wholesalers responsibility). He did a warranty claim on an item I never bought from him. I was honest and said as much but he knew I was buying lots of other things from him.

The only problem I have with Rojs is struggling past all the stock to get to the counter. Some days there is barely room to move.
Old 10-17-2005, 02:53 PM
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Default RE: Tip - Don't be nasty to your Hobby customers

at least he has "stock". I wish my covering would get here...........
Old 10-18-2005, 05:13 AM
  #28  
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Default RE: Tip - Don't be nasty to your Hobby customers

I love to watch the free market work! I'd venture to say the guy in Hawthorn won't be around long - which, come to think of it, would be another plus for the free market mechanism.
Old 03-18-2006, 09:52 AM
  #29  
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Default RE: Tip - Don't be nasty to your Hobby customers

I have come across that exact sort of proprietor on a few occasion's. If I am spoken to in that manner at all I will not go back and I dont care if they have something 50% cheaper sometime down the track I will not be buying from them. I understand that shop owners have to put a decent markup on stuff to make money to eat and keep the business running etc, but a small loss in profit to keep a customer happy will in the long run make him money. I did a sales course some time ago and the one thing that stuck in my head the most from it was this bit of sales wisdom we were taught and its held true to this day:

Do someone a good deal and be nice to them and they will tell maybe 3-5 people. Do them a bad deal or be nasty to them and they will tell 20+ people. (Or everyone they know who will stand still long enough to listen).


People in general love to complain.

I notice myself doing the same thing.
So if he had at least tried to lower his price even a bit or threw in a length of fuel hose or something to sweeten the deal you would have been happy and would have told your flying buddies how this guy helped you and they would have come in and he could have been nice to them etc etc etc. Snow ball effect in motion. I know that as he sounds like he has a small shop he is probably only just starting so he has to make a profit or he goes belly up quickly, but that one day has now probably cost him a lot in the long run.

And you have just bitten him harder than he could ever bite you by coming on here and guaranteeing that anyone from your area that reads your post will not even look through the doors of his shop. And I would have done the same.

By the way do the shops you mentioned that you like have online stores or such? I notice that the Perth stores where I purchase things from can take longer to send things to me 454km's away than some of the stores over east in QLD and N.S.W have taken. Same postage method, but I think the guys over east run through a lot more stock and shipments so are on the ball when it comes to sending stuff out.

Prices are ok in the perth stores, but I dont like to wait three weeks for a petrol tank and 50' of fuel tubing when I can get it overnight from the east.
Old 03-18-2006, 06:31 PM
  #30  
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Default RE: Tip - Don't be nasty to your Hobby customers

VeeAte I have compiled a thread over at R/C Groups in the Australian forum which lists all the online stores in Australia. I made the thread and people added to it and it has become a really good resource for people.

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=489653
Old 03-18-2006, 07:03 PM
  #31  
Rcpilot
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Default RE: Tip - Don't be nasty to your Hobby customers

ORIGINAL: BasinBum

People don't realize how retail works. On average if a store buys something for $1 they need to sell it for $2. This is the standard margin in clothing, furniture and many other retail businesses. Now some items are lower and some higher but to pay the rent, utilities, payroll and still make a profit you need to double your money at retail. The average modeler probably thinks this is a rip off but if you want to go into a store and see a lot of stuff on the shelf and have the store around for a long time it is the reality of business. Unfortunately most hobby stores can't maintain this profit margin due to Internet sales and other competition and it makes it a lousy business to be in.
I wanted to open a hobby shop here in Pueblo. Had $20K to invest in the store.

I called Great Planes about becoming a dealer. No problem, just send your tax I.D. number and a couple pictures of your store front. I got no problem with that.

Where they pissed me off was when they told me that they would be selling planes to me for 75%--80% of retail.

How am I gonna keep a hobby shop open with a 20% margin?

That means that they would sell me a Sig LT-40 ARF for about $105. Thats my dealer cost. I have to sell it for $200 if I go by the 100% mark up that Basin Bum outlines. Can't. No one is going to pay $200 for a $132 ARF.

So, I decide that I'll buy in bulk and buy 12 LT-40s at a time. GP will give me a little break if I buy 4 of them at a time. Okay, I can maybe buy 12 of them for $90 apiece. This, I can live with. I'll sell them at $120 apiece. Still not a great margin--but I can maybe make my $$ on volume.

Then the gal at GP tells me that if they find out I'm selling ARFs below retail, that they will cut me off. I HAVE to sell them for retail price of $132.

So, they sell planes to me at 75%--80% of retail, and then dictate to me how much I have to sell them for? Sounds like to government setting prices on corn, hogs, and wheat--at least it does to me.

I told Great Planes to kiss my butt.

How anybody manages to maintain a hobby shop with suppliers and prices like that, is beyond me.
Old 03-18-2006, 07:42 PM
  #32  
F2G-1
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Default RE: Tip - Don't be nasty to your Hobby customers

Dude, you can sell for whatever price you want - the catch is, YOU CANT ADVERTISE BELOW RETAIL PRICE.
My LHS is great. The owner is great, and was tellin me all about the ups and downs of havin a hobbyshop.

Ted
Old 03-19-2006, 01:16 PM
  #33  
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Default RE: Tip - Don't be nasty to your Hobby customers

All these stories about problems dealing with LHS brings up another issue - interest in the hobby is built on personal relationships. In many clubs, the average age is well past retirement, and we all know that fewer young people find aviation thrilling nowadays simply because it is taken for granted. So the LHS is also important in recruiting and building a future market.

Way back in the early 70's when I was between 10 and 14 years old, I first encountered RC flying when my dad took me to a public flying display. It was amazing and I wanted to know more about it - but if you think today's prices are bad, you should have seen the costs back then. To get started you spent the same number of dollars you would today more or less but those dollars were worth a lot more. So it was out of the question that I could buy into RC flying.

Anyhow, there were two good hobby shops in my town in those days but neither of them was inclined to take a kid like me seriously in the least. The wouldn't answer questions or explain anything - even though I was buying .049 engines, props, glow fuel, Guillows kits, plastic kits, paint, glue etc from them as often as I could. The result was that I concluded that RC flying was an "elite" activity only for a select few and forgot all about it for years.

I am now 45 years old and starting my third flying season. It finally hit me that I was a big boy now and didn't need anyone's permission to get into RC (except my wife's ) so I went ahead and did it. But how many other kids never come back?

Thing is, I have seen similar "elitist" attitudes in some clubs and occasionally at some hobby shops I have visited even today. It is incumbent on everyone involved in RC flying to be as supportive as possible if we want this hobby to prosper - and if you don't have the patience to deal with beginners or with unreasonable requests yourself, you probably know someone else who does. At the very least, refer such things to your more gregarious friends if you don't feel able to deal with them.

Just my proverbial $0.02 (CDN).
Old 03-19-2006, 02:27 PM
  #34  
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Default RE: Tip - Don't be nasty to your Hobby customers

What were the two good shops in town? In the mid seventies you went to either west on Portage Avenue by the U of W to St. John's Hobbies or north on Main Street to Cellar Dwellar Hobby Supply. St. John's is long gone from Portage Avenue, but I believe in the business 40+ years at the time of closure. Cellar Dwellar Hobby Supply is still the best LHS in Winnipeg run by fellows of our age who I've known for 20+ years. They were aways good for answering questions, not just making a sale. I remember taking three buses to get from the south end of Winnipeg to the north end to pick up hobby supplies on a Saturday afternoon.

Sure I buy on the web sites and through tower hobbies, but it is great to have the local support we have in Winnipeg. The hobby is growing in Winnipeg, in the 70's the main club was the WRRC (Winnipeg Radio Control Club), but now there is the club and field in Headlingly club, and Big Sky Flyers (who i've joined, because their field is less than 10 minutes from LaSalle). The drive would be quicker on the road if the last 1/8th mile wasn't Manitoba gumbo instead of gravel. I'm also 45 and starting this hobby again. Started when I was 16 with money saved from my Winnipeg Tribune paper route, saved up $30.00 every two weeks for a year.
Old 03-19-2006, 09:01 PM
  #35  
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Default RE: Tip - Don't be nasty to your Hobby customers

What were the two good shops in town? In the mid seventies you went to either west on Portage Avenue by the U of W to St. John's Hobbies or north on Main Street to Cellar Dwellar Hobby Supply. St. John's is long gone from Portage Avenue, but I believe in the business 40+ years at the time of closure. Cellar Dwellar Hobby Supply is still the best LHS in Winnipeg run by fellows of our age who I've known for 20+ years. They were aways good for answering questions, not just making a sale. I remember taking three buses to get from the south end of Winnipeg to the north end to pick up hobby supplies on a Saturday afternoon.

Just so that nobody in Winnipeg thinks I'm talking about anyone they know, I should point out that in the 1970's I was growing up in southern Ontario, so the 2 LHSs I was referring to (both now long defunct) are not in Winnipeg.
Old 03-30-2006, 04:04 PM
  #36  
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Default RE: Tip - Don't be nasty to your Hobby customers

I'm just thinking about the initial post and how crazy that story was. I don't have an education in business but consider this. If I sell TV's and you come into my shop and I'm rude to you, you'll probably go hame and tell your wife and then go to work and tell some more people. You may even have a dinner party and slam me some more. All negative advertising, but everyone in the worrld has a TV and more people will walk into my shop so I can be rude to them. But if you come into my RC hobby shop and I'm rude to you, you will probably tell your wife but more importantly you will go to a place were all RC ers go( not specifically to tell them about me), but to do your RC stuff and while you are there you will tell everyone you see. It may be bad to have dinner guests hearing bad stories about my TV shop but to have RCers hearing bad stories at the flying field or at their meetings is totally NUTS !!

That said, I have two shops in my area and I try to support them. I may even pay a little more for something but thats the price you pay to have something in stock when you need it and someone there who you can answer questions.
Old 03-31-2006, 05:48 PM
  #37  
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Default RE: Tip - Don't be nasty to your Hobby customers

Try Hobby model warehouse.
Its got exellent prices and the owner is very polite. He gave me a new electrafun fuselage for free!
Its located in Epping, The Boulevarde street.
Old 04-02-2006, 10:13 AM
  #38  
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Default RE: Tip - Don't be nasty to your Hobby customers

This has been an enjoyable thread to read and was even a little timely. As I write this, I'm not at all sure where it's going, but here goes... Just yesterday I had a pang of nostalgia and was remembering how, as a kid, I had to mail-order all of my model rocket stuff. It's odd in a way, but, in retrospect, waiting for that order to arrive was half of the excitement. Or, perhaps, it was when the order arrived that the real excitement hit. No hobby stores carried anything related to rockets. Then, all of a sudden, rocket kits, engines and accessories showed up in every hobby store. Suddenly, what could only be ordered through the mail could be bought locally, and the hobby stores had a whole new product line to sell. During a brief return to rocketry a number of years ago, I bought everything from the local hobby store. The convenience is great, but the excitement of the wait is gone.

I really find interesting this mystique that's been given to "internet" ordering. It's nothing more than mail-order in a new wrapping. We've come full circle. Mail-order, now called on-line ordering, has, and always had, it's place. Yet, local retail is alive and well. I don't think local hobby stores will go away any time soon, but I do think they will come and go. If they want to stay in business they have to treat their customers well and sieze new opportunities, just like adding whole new lines like the model rocket thing above. They may even have to take on whole new attitudes. I go to an LHS that, on weekends, is like a hang out. It's great. I love it. My son bought an RC car kit there and came back with it and a question. I don't know if it was a customer or a worker, but they spent 30 minutes making adjustments and explaining things. This is the kind of thing that will keep me coming back.

Anyway, I guess these are just random thoughts.

Thanks,
Paul
Old 11-04-2006, 07:12 AM
  #39  
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Default RE: Tip - Don't be nasty to your Hobby customers

when ever i buy new planes i always write a list out of what i need first, then i take it to my hobby shop and (now heres the secret) HOLDING MY WALLET IN MY HAND, and ask him how much it will all cost, when he's done you then have to flick through your wallet a bit and the ask him if u can have 10% off, ive found if i spend more than 100 dollars this works everytime, and if he says no well u take the good with the bad, also try to shop at 1 shop only, once u know the guy a bit he'll normally spend more time explaining things, i had a proplem with mine when i got my first 40 size trainer, being the president of the local model club he insisted that i join his club, for $340 a year, pffft yeah right, i dont mind giving him my money and getting some help off him but i fly when and where i like, well, he didnt take it very well and laughed and said the plane wouldnt last, well he was right, but im still not joining, ahhh the joy of being self taught, its like building the wheel.. almost. anyway dont buy **** from *******s, they get it cheap and rip u off.

AND ALLWAYS HOLD YOUR WALLET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !
Old 11-04-2006, 02:38 PM
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Default RE: Tip - Don't be nasty to your Hobby customers

Hearing (reading?) all of this, I am brought to a sense of great joy and gratitude at how blessed I am to live where I live and have the resources I have locally. Yakima, WA, USA is in the Central part of the state. We have two local hobby shops. Both are run by really decent people that know what they are on about.

Mike's hobby shop is the Traditonal Hobby shop---you know the one-----Isles filled with inventory and cramped to the point of claustrophobia. The ceiling is filled with airplanes of every description available on consignment. There is inventory dating from Mike's purchase of the store some 20 years ago. Looking for a treasure? Mike might just be able to pull it from a dark corner or take you on a trip to his storage unit. Mike is a life-long committed hobbyist who has flown every type of competition and kind of model and can still be found at the flying field every weekend if he is not travelling to another competition. Mike Hanratty is the hobbyists hobbyist. He is also a really good guy and loyal supporter of Yakima Valley Aeromodelers, our local club. So, while his coffee is terrible there is no better place to hangar fly with an authority.

The other is Clover Leaf hobbies owned by Wayne and Connie Greenough. More really good people. Their store offers radio control in a large physical space, but also does trains and other crafts. The above ground pool business takes up a lot of space, too. They have a knowledgeable staff that will spend time with you while you do the "Walter Mitty" thing and then show you what will accomplish your goal. While they do not plan to outbid every stray internet source, they will work with you on the price.

So, if you are having touble with your local suppliers, come to Yakima. We have good people that like their customers. We have 300 days of sunshine a year and a great flying field that knows big birds and respects beginners. The price of real estate is affordable by ordinary mortals. What else could you ask for?
Old 11-04-2006, 04:42 PM
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Default RE: Tip - Don't be nasty to your Hobby customers


ORIGINAL: iaclmac
Here in the states I am sure the local hobby shops loose tons of business to the internet.
if the lhs has something in stock i WILL buy from it, for me at least the delivery charges cancel out the savings i get from the internet, plus it means that i get it straight away... not to mention the people at my lhs just happen to be friendly and they dont mind me bringing my truck over and putting it on the sales desk while other people are trying to buy stuff etc etc, that really helped me with getting tricky stuff like the right pair of servo savers which would be a hit or miss if i had used only the internet...
Old 11-05-2006, 03:31 PM
  #42  
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Default RE: Tip - Don't be nasty to your Hobby customers

My LHS is often way cheaper than the internet. Although he is not so local(40 miles). If he can sell a 200 dollar item for 20 bucks less than the internet, why can't other LHS do the same. Maybe his rent is cheaper, lower overhead and gets a lot of buisness. I wonder why he gets a lot of business? I am not sure but I think it is greed. Would you rather sell one item and make twenty bucks off of it, or sell 20 items and make a dollar off of each. I think he chooses the later of the 2. I often buy more than I need, because it is a good deal.
Old 11-05-2006, 04:30 PM
  #43  
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Default RE: Tip - Don't be nasty to your Hobby customers


ORIGINAL: lrtx1

My LHS is often way cheaper than the internet. Although he is not so local(40 miles). If he can sell a 200 dollar item for 20 bucks less than the internet, why can't other LHS do the same. Maybe his rent is cheaper, lower overhead and gets a lot of buisness. I wonder why he gets a lot of business? I am not sure but I think it is greed. Would you rather sell one item and make twenty bucks off of it, or sell 20 items and make a dollar off of each. I think he chooses the later of the 2. I often buy more than I need, because it is a good deal.

Unless you’ve owned a business you’ve no idea. Inventory cost the same if you’re in Atlanta or LA. Overhead can make or break a business. That overhead and inventory cost marches on no matter what happens with sales. Given that most hobby shops have to buy directly from their main competition makes life in a local hobby shop even worse. Unless you’re doing a huge volume of business the mark up has to be higher as a matter of survival. Looking at the demise of almost every local mom and pop hobby shop in the US seems to support that fact. What we’re going to end up with is a few large hobby shops doing a majority of their sales on the internet which is fine as long as you’re near one of them. I personally would rather pay 20% more for my products when I can drive a few minutes to the store and pick them up and hold them first. If you order 10 widgets @ $50 each and sell them for $60 if you don’t sell two of them you lost money. The hobby shop industry is very fickle, what’s hot stock today is dead weight next month. Just look at the dead inventory of any older hobby shop. Very few hobby shop owners make a living doing so much less a decent living for the owners and the employee’s. Most large hobby shops have owners that are very good at marketing and not really hobbyist. Now throw in customers that want to come in and have their prices bashed because they can buy this widget $5 cheaper from tower or whomever gets old after awhile. If you’re going to haunt your local hobby shop for advise and help with products you bought somewhere else you can expect the owner to become less likely to do so after a few times. I owned a hobby shop once, worse mistake of my life. I gave all club members any help they needed and sold to them for very near tower prices. I marked up monokote $1 higher than Tower sold it for and guess what? My monokote sales went down. I’d fly most every Sunday with the guys and helped them with products that they didn’t buy from me while the club president was taking up a tower order from the guys at the club field. They’d decide to have a contest of some sort and they’d expect me to provide the club prizes to give away. Well after a few years of this and me barely making a living I decided enough was enough and closed the shop down. Boy you should have heard the *****ing from the guys at the field about losing the local hobby shop then. I just smiled and walked away after telling them they should have supported the shop rather than Tower. Was it worth the extra 10% to them to have a local shop? I guess not. Getting 10-15% profit margin only works if you sell to a huge market. A business needs to have a net profit of about 20% profit margin left after all costs are deducted, hard to do that when you start with a profit margin of less than 20% .
Old 11-05-2006, 06:04 PM
  #44  
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Default RE: Tip - Don't be nasty to your Hobby customers

I am fortunite because I travel for business , I could actually do a secret review on almost 75% of the shops in the USA . I make it a point to visit and try to buy something if needed when I am in the area . I can tell you that the formula that I have seen that seems to work is as follows .
1)Low rent , either a run down area , old store /old shopping center or off beat location -why ? because its usually low rent and a very planned purchase so unlike -location location location ect , its about low overhead .
2)low margin /high volume - the good shops will tell you they need volume , nobody is getting rich in the hobby shop biz , its just to competitive . Many do make better margin on support ie parts and supplies vs the actual KIt , engine or ARF .
3)Owners or workers who are generally friendly and have a genuin interest in the hobby -this is key because we/rcu people are pesky criters who like to ask a ton of questions for free and you need a patient owner to deal with all of the nut cases like us .
4)Inventory -at least enought to get our interest , even old cool planes hanging for sale are better then a cold barren "we can oder that for you shop " . We live in the I want it quick world so you need to touch and feel the goods , that being said inventory can kill a store .So many good shops allow used model sales for a % of the cost , this dresses up the shop and adds ton of eye candy appeal .
5) Knowledge of trends , knowing whats hot , whats not and what is good for your area
6)Good Pr , to bring the customers to you , E-flight fun flys , car races , ect all can be done in small area , school demo ect ,all help bring Pr and business in the store .
IN Pa we have very few good shops closest one to me is about 65miles, imigine that and you wont complane when you get there lol .
FYI my best shop that I have been to so far in the USA is Hobby Warehouse in Richfield Minn , I think they cover all the above points .
Thanks
Lou
Old 11-05-2006, 07:27 PM
  #45  
lrtx1
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Default RE: Tip - Don't be nasty to your Hobby customers

So Twtaylor,

Are you lecturing me about not giving the LHS my business? I drive the 40 miles when I can, and buy as much as I can. There are times I buy from Tower, almost everybody does from time to time. My LHS is a better deal than Tower. SO, since I Have NO IDEA because I haven't owned a business, why don't you enlighten me on my original statement. Why can this LHS sell for quite a bit less than Tower and others are higher than Tower.
Old 11-05-2006, 07:54 PM
  #46  
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Default RE: Tip - Don't be nasty to your Hobby customers


ORIGINAL: lrtx1

So Twtaylor,

Are you lecturing me about not giving the LHS my business? I drive the 40 miles when I can, and buy as much as I can. There are times I buy from Tower, almost everybody does from time to time. My LHS is a better deal than Tower. SO, since I Have NO IDEA because I haven't owned a business, why don't you enlighten me on my original statement. Why can this LHS sell for quite a bit less than Tower and others are higher than Tower.

Nope not lecturing. Yours just happened to be the post I responded to. Your local hobby shop prices I can't tell. Not enough information.
Old 11-05-2006, 08:46 PM
  #47  
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Default RE: Tip - Don't be nasty to your Hobby customers

i dunnoe... but my lhs also sells stuff over the internet??? does that make it moot to mention it...

::edit:: btw i buy almost all the stuff for my truck over the internet , but i buy general things from my lhs cuz they have it in stock
Old 11-05-2006, 09:45 PM
  #48  
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Default RE: Tip - Don't be nasty to your Hobby customers

FYI my best shop that I have been to so far in the USA is Hobby Warehouse in Richfield Minn , I think they cover all the above points .
And I think they've been in business since the 70s.

If you're ever in Archdale, NC (the south part of High Point) stop in at KC Hobbies. It's everything you've mentioned. It's slightly smaller that Hobby Whse, but not small by any means. Excellent staff, decent prices, got almost everything.
Old 11-06-2006, 06:14 AM
  #49  
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Default RE: Tip - Don't be nasty to your Hobby customers

darock how far from Charlotte , I will make the drive .
Old 11-06-2006, 01:40 PM
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DadsToysBG
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Default RE: Tip - Don't be nasty to your Hobby customers

I agree with most of you. You can't sell everything to everybody. Come to my store and tell me if I'm to high, ( I know I'm not) and I will try and deal. But don't ask me to cut the sales tax or honor a Tower discount coupon. When I first opened I seviced items that I didn't sell, but I stopped doing that. If I'm at the field I'm just another flyer and will help all I can, but at the store if I didn't sell it I don't fix it for free just because I'm a dealer. Had people looking into my kits and then buying them over the internet just to save paying the tax. I stopped that too. I learned which ones would do that to me and I kept a list in my head. Bring lunch and sit with me and talk planes, go in the back and help me build a plane.
The ones I love the most are always telling me what I don't have in the store. when I ask how many of that item will they buy, they say one, when I have to buy twelve at a time.
Can I have everything under the sun, no, but I will have most of what you need most of the time, and I can get it in three days, just like the internet. What I've got is experence and 15 years of flying. If I can't get the part or item my phone is free and the customer can order it from here.
For my customers that live faraway they can call I will order it and deliever it to the field.
I've been doing this for 15 years and hope to have a another 15

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