I talk to a lot of small business owners in the course of a day.

I am always amazed by those conversations, some in a good way and others in a way that gives me pause for thought.

Recently I phoned an Alberta based motorcycle repair shop to find out the price of a front and back tire for my bike - installed and out the door. I wanted the Michelin Commander II Tires.

When I was told the price, I almost fell on the floor.

$635 before install and tax.  I was offered a 10% discount cause I am such a nice person, making the price for just the two tires about $570+ tax.

I did not appreciate that pricing at all.

So I went snooping and found that I could get two tires, delivered to my door - the exact same Michelin Commander II tires that I had asked for a quote on, in Canadian funds for $391.77

So I called the shop back and got told that they do not appreciate installing something that didn't come from their shop and that if consumers like me keep shopping on the internet there would be no repair shops left to work on their motorcycle.

Now I understand that internet shopping has taken the retail sector back a bit, but can you really truly blame the consumer who is looking to make their money work harder for them?

If that online retailer can offer the exact same products, not seconds or thirds, but top brand name products for 35% - 40% cheaper than you can, you are buying from the wrong distributor.

These people still have a warehouse to stock, they have employees, they pay insurances and why are some brick and mortar stores so offended when they are asked to install a product a customer purchased elsewhere?

You are still making the labour rate, which at many shops is upwards of $140 an hour.

I was taken aback by this shop owners attitude and demeanour and how it changed the minute I asked how come his price for tires was so high.

I work hard to see all sides of any equation in any situation I wrote about, but seriously, I am struggling with this one.

Some parts I can see being a pain when they are purchased on line.
They might be 2nd's or 3rd's and not fit well or do the job right, I get that.  Or the consumer had no idea what they were buying...and then the consumer gets frustrated - I understand those are challenging issues...

But we are talking tires here. BRAND NAMED TIRES.

There are certain things I would never buy one line, and what small amount of money I have to spend on products, I do my best to use to purchase locally, but seriously...

Why would I pay you, Mr. Motorcycle Repair guy, 40% more for the exact same tires? Is is because you are such a nice guy that you deserve to make $200 on the sale more than the other retailer?
And don't give me the BS about overhead.  As I said, these people pay employees, have insurance and building expenses and all that goes along with running a business.  So what is the real reason that I should give you an extra $200 for?

If I can accomplish my mission as a customer to have 2 new tires put on my motorcycle for $600 as opposed to close to $800 - why shouldn't I?

And what a great marketing tactic....

Why would you chew a person an new arse over thinking of purchasing brand named tires on the internet?

Why is is a shameful thing for a customer to want or need to get the most for their hard earned dollar?

If you don't have to stock them, have them taking up space, costing you shipping fees and staff time to unpack and inventory them, why would that be a thorn in your side?

Can you really blame your customer for wanting to keep some money in their pocket to ride with?

What are your thoughts on this topic? I deeply, really want to know how you would react to being lectured about supporting small business by a man who wants you to pay 35% - 40% more for the exact same quality of product, the same brand name?  5% more, maybe 10% more but 40%?

Talk to me....

Have a great day and if you are blessed to be riding today, please remember to ride like everyone around you is blind and cannot see you.

Belt Drive Betty
Editor & Rider


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  1. I used to buy my tires from the shop where I got my ride from. He gets them online and has a friend who sells car tires who will install motorcycle tires for just labor costs. With my latest ride I want to have my ride services by the book so I visit another shop. New tire is also ordered online and installation was a little bit more as before but no way I would pay amounts like you mentioned. Can't afford that kind of pricing. Testcees

  2. I have always used Kenda tires with great results.I just installed a set on my V-Star 1100 for less than $450.00..............180/70-15 or rear & 110/90-18 on front.