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Old Aug 09, 2009, 03:09 PM
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Joined Nov 2008
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Former LHS Owner

As a former LHS Owner of 13 years (full service 2000sq' store - Rc, cars, trains ,tools rockets, et.) I could take up pages telling horrer stories about the busness. The standard discount in the industry is 40% - 30 % on most radios and other high end items. If you give another 10% discount you are losing money. I have seen a club hold there monthly meeting in a LHS at no charge by the owner and then sit there a debate in front of him who to order prizes from (Tower or others). Every LHS is hit every week to donate to every club in the area, Boy Scouts, schools, etc.
I could go on and on but I can tell you it is not an easy busness. You don't just sit behind the counter and rake in the money.
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Old Aug 09, 2009, 03:12 PM
RCAPA #005
MGBGTRacer's Avatar
USA, VT, Springfield
Joined Jan 2004
3,858 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by murocflyer
People say customer service is the most important thing to them, but continue to shop offshore for their RC needs.

Poll results here: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=882334

Frank
Frank- consumers lie. it's that simple.
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Old Aug 10, 2009, 12:08 AM
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USA, NC, Greensboro
Joined Mar 2002
1,338 Posts
I am going to be honest, I love the LHS in my area I like being able to see new stuff in hand before buying. I like all the staff they are very knowledgeable and friendly. I have purchsed many nitro cars, 2 choppers and many many parts, fuel etc. But if I can save 10% or more by ordering online I will. And I don't feel bad about it. I support my LHS but money is money and it's always hard earned. Show me the deal.
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Old Aug 10, 2009, 12:38 AM
Account closed
Joined Oct 2002
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MGBGTRacer
You'll never convince me that service alone is the reason shops go under. The economy, combined with an ever-increasing attitude of "cheap uber alles" in this country is killing the good small businesses with the bad. People shop at Wally Mart, then complain that jobs are going to China.
I've seen people brain-rape a stellar LHS for hours, then leave empty handed- only to order all the stuff online. Then they have the nerve to ask for help at the LHS again. They don't get far with that, then they bad-mouth the LHS for not helping them.
People forget: Time costs money. When you ask 1,243 questions at the LHS, you are costing them money just by being there. Be considerate and most of all, compensate them for their time by maybe paying an extra couple bucks if their price is a little higher. It's the right thing to do. Don't be a time vampire, going around sucking everyone's clock unless you are buying something. The LHS isn't a support group, it's a business. If you want to just chatter away- join a club.
I really liked your post and it represents exactly what most people do! It is disgusting and just nerve wracking for those that work at a LHS and not to mention the owner.

I am lucky to have about 6 RC hobby outlets in the Central Florida area to choose from and we all try to buy something from them when we are in need to get replacement parts and we just go in with a list and really don't bother anyone.

Please support your local Hobby Shops!
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Old Aug 10, 2009, 01:11 AM
wormburner
Minneapolis
Joined May 2009
811 Posts
my lhs is hobbyzone and i have learned more from chatting with dan (not owner dan), than i have on these forums, which isnt to say i havent learned buttloads here.

in the beginning, i was sucking over 3 hours a week out of the guy and he never said a word about it. im grateful for his lifetime of experience that hes more than willing to share, with whomever walks in.

due to their internet business, they arent closing the doors anytime soon and dont actually need my patronage, but the fact that i learn something new, every time i walk in that place, keeps me coming back for more.
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Old Aug 10, 2009, 02:00 AM
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Ready-To-Fail's Avatar
AZ
Joined Jun 2009
91 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by guapoman2000
I really liked your post and it represents exactly what most people do! It is disgusting and just nerve wracking for those that work at a LHS and not to mention the owner.
At the shop where I work we get this all the time, and yes, it detracts from time I could be spending making sure the stock is up to date, everything is marked, and helping other customers find what they need. We have rows of sliding walls behind the counter where probably 80% of our stock resides. Thus, it is required to keep up with customers you have to get what they need for them.

This doesn't mean I won't share information with someone. When someone walks in with a hobby activity related question, we will gladly share all the information we can give, but when our brains are picked about products for 50 minutes, it doesn't contribute much to the well being of the shop.

This is compounded by the fact that summers are blisteringly hot here with mild winters, so literally 50% of our business are seasonal customers (snowbirds) who live here during the winter, which is lost during the summer.
/rant

(BTW, thank you RCG members for supporting us!)
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Old Aug 10, 2009, 09:19 AM
RCAPA #005
MGBGTRacer's Avatar
USA, VT, Springfield
Joined Jan 2004
3,858 Posts
Wow. Dan is a nice guy and a polite guy. Wonder how much he makes an hour? The reason is- it cost the company probably over $100 for him to politely answer your questions. I'm sure if he's an enthusiast he enjoys helping people, but he makes his living from selling this stuff. You decide they don't 'need' your business after costing them a lot of time and don't feel that debt of time and money they invested in your knowledge should be paid back by doing business with them? Wow, just wow. When someone takes the time to teach you things, it's not just a monetary thing either- it's a reward to them on a personal level when you purchase the stuff. It's a small mental victory for them to know they didn't waste their time, or more accurately *you* weren't just wasting their time and took their advice.
That's really close to the excuses shoplifters use- "It's a big company, they won't miss ___fill in blank with stolen item____."



Quote:
Originally Posted by grimace308
my lhs is hobbyzone and i have learned more from chatting with dan (not owner dan), than i have on these forums, which isnt to say i havent learned buttloads here.

in the beginning, i was sucking over 3 hours a week out of the guy and he never said a word about it. im grateful for his lifetime of experience that hes more than willing to share, with whomever walks in.

due to their internet business, they arent closing the doors anytime soon and dont actually need my patronage, but the fact that i learn something new, every time i walk in that place, keeps me coming back for more.
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Old Aug 10, 2009, 09:40 AM
wormburner
Minneapolis
Joined May 2009
811 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by MGBGTRacer
Wow. Dan is a nice guy and a polite guy. Wonder how much he makes an hour? The reason is- it cost the company probably over $100 for him to politely answer your questions. I'm sure if he's an enthusiast he enjoys helping people, but he makes his living from selling this stuff. You decide they don't 'need' your business after costing them a lot of time and don't feel that debt of time and money they invested in your knowledge should be paid back by doing business with them? Wow, just wow. When someone takes the time to teach you things, it's not just a monetary thing either- it's a reward to them on a personal level when you purchase the stuff. It's a small mental victory for them to know they didn't waste their time, or more accurately *you* weren't just wasting their time and took their advice.
That's really close to the excuses shoplifters use- "It's a big company, they won't miss ___fill in blank with stolen item____."
im not quite sure where youre getting this attitude, maybe i didnt make myself clear. i shop almost exclusively at hobbyzone. hobbyzone does 99.9% of their business over the internet and i know they would not miss my business, should i take it elsewhere, which i wont. nonetheless, what i spend in there, while a pretty good chunk of my budget, is inconsequential in their, big picture.

while he makes his living selling stuff, im almost positive dude is not on commission, but if he is, ive blown more than my fair share of money with him and its bad enough, that we joke about a preferred member discount. he is an enthusiast and i know he welcomes the questions of new people entering the hobby.

since most people dont know they have a physical store front, business is spotted and a guy coming in a couple times a week for a chat, is a break in the monotony, not to mention a steady cash flow.

before you get too much more sanctimonious, would you like to reevaluate your observation and pull your head out?

in fact, im going up there now to blow more cash. l8r
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Old Aug 10, 2009, 09:53 AM
just Some Useless Geek
Chicagoland
Joined Oct 2008
2,535 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by pldaniels
What I think is perhaps more prevailant is the overspeccing of the final products, eg putting a "15A" label on an ESC that will only sustain that level in perfect conditions.
I'm pretty sure Grayson is guilty of a certain amount of that. Still, they offer collections like "power packages" that match the ESC and motor along with prop recommendations. This keeps the overheating down somewhat.

But the problem of spec is one that continues to plague the R/C field. Fibbing about the max ratings of a part is a sort of disservice of its own, eh?
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Old Aug 10, 2009, 03:20 PM
Sink stinks
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United States, GA, Atlanta
Joined Apr 2005
4,513 Posts
I just went to my LHS (Hobbytown USA) to get some balsa. I was pleasantly surprised to find a rearranged, more organized shop, a better selection of wood, and friendlier employees. It must have gotten new ownership since the last time I was there (I only go there about once a year on average).
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Old Aug 13, 2009, 09:03 AM
RCAPA #005
MGBGTRacer's Avatar
USA, VT, Springfield
Joined Jan 2004
3,858 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by grimace308
...and i know they would not miss my business, should i take it elsewhere
Nice of you to determine for them that they don't 'miss' your business.
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Old Aug 13, 2009, 10:03 AM
just Some Useless Geek
Chicagoland
Joined Oct 2008
2,535 Posts
Quick note: LHS Venture Hobbies in Wheeling, Illinois, is now a different shop. Some weirdness about one of the employees trying to buy the place, starting the transaction but not being able to fully secure funding, yada yada yada...whatever. The net result is that Venture Hobbies is no more. This came as quite a shock, believe me. The place still has a strong customer base, whatever the new institution will be called.
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Old Aug 15, 2009, 08:53 AM
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United Kingdom, England, London
Joined Nov 2006
163 Posts
Although good customer service alone will not stop the LHS from going under - their prices have to be relatively competitive - i think it is of paramount importance and a prerequisite.

One of my LHS is Als Hobbies; most of his stuff is quite expensive but his kits are comparable to online. Back in the day when i was starting out i remember browsing his shop and feeling unwelcomed as he probably perceived me as someone not going to spend any money; so my first plane was bought online. I still go his shop every now and then to buy props, carbon and glue if need them urgently and his attitude is the same 3yrs on; no acknowledegement nothing. I always come out of his shop begrudging the few pennies i have spent. I dont even think he has noticed that my props are getting bigger. Anyway my next purchase is a Kyosho Spitfire; he hasnt got it but he has the Focke-Wulf which i quite like as well. His price is 144 and online is 139 but will i buy it from him. NO.
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Old Aug 15, 2009, 09:10 AM
just Some Useless Geek
Chicagoland
Joined Oct 2008
2,535 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by bajinuk
Although good customer service alone will not stop the LHS from going under - their prices have to be relatively competitive...he has the Focke-Wulf which i quite like as well. His price is 144 and online is 139 but will i buy it from him.
Five quid isn't exactly a fortune, is it? And shipping would prolly be more than that anyway.

The decision to buy locally versus online always has a price pain point, but it's up to each of us to decide where that pain is too great. I still buy batteries from Dan at TrueRC (a Chicagoland local vendor), but I get most of my LiPos from HC these days. I just can't argue with the value I'm getting out of Hong Kong. HC is about half down to a third of what domestic US vendors are getting for equivalent power.

But stuff like kits makes a lot -- and I mean, a lot -- more sense to pay some extra to get from the LHS. Consider what happens if you buy the kit and open it up right there on the glass countertop. If there is damage the LHS operator will take the thing back immediately and give you another one. If he doesn't have another in stock he'll order it straight away. Once you've bought the kit it's obvious you're a spender, so the LHS is much more likely to answer your questions and give you pointers to help you get your plane into the sky. What's that worth?
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Old Aug 15, 2009, 01:47 PM
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USA, NC, Greensboro
Joined Mar 2002
1,338 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by bajinuk
One of my LHS is Als Hobbies; most of his stuff is quite expensive but his kits are comparable to online. Back in the day when i was starting out i remember browsing his shop and feeling unwelcomed as he probably perceived me as someone not going to spend any money; so my first plane was bought online.
I know how you feel I have been in shops like that. It's makes you not want to return. I am lucky now my LHS is great the guys including the owner are very friendly and full of info.
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