Business courtesy?


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Dulvarian
March 14, 2011, 01:00 AM
I contacted the manager of a new, small LGS about what his FFL fees were. We talked for a bit, as we have a few mutual acquaintances (the reason I went there), and he asked that the next time I was looking to buy to give him a chance.

I was pretty clear when we talked that I knew he would have a hard time matching the low prices you can find online, but that I was ok with it to run a gun through his store.

So, I sent him an email that had all the relevant data (SKU number from the manufacturer to make sure it was the exact model I wanted), and what the current prices were. I cited the lowest, and the average (even including the ones that were marked above MSRP) and asked for a quote. I told him in person that I was looking to buy soon, and when I sent the email, I told him I was ready to buy. I got a response, saying thanks, I'll get back to you.

Now, I don't run a business. But, I would think that since I had done pretty much all the research from my end and presented it, it would be a matter of him deciding what his profit margin would be and shooting a response back. I even told him in the email that I was fully aware of the shipping, transfer fees, etc, and how that would compare with his offer. I figured it would take one or two phone calls, add $xx for profit and call it a day. It's a clear sale, no sitting on the shelf for more than a day or two.

After a week, nothing. My question to readers would be, try to support the guy who is running a fairly priced store, and call him back or drop by in person to ask, or let it go? I didn't have a problem with the fact that I would paying almost $100-150 more for the rifle (shipping was free from Bud's, no sales tax, and I normally pay half what he asked for the transfer).

Thoughts? Comments? I don't know what his reasoning was, perhaps he's really busy and just hasn't gotten back to me. How much time would you spend trying to help out a business?

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JTHunter
March 14, 2011, 01:19 AM
Try giving the gentleman a call. Depending on his "geek factor", it is possible that he deleted the email without printing it or saving the info the way he should have. Or he might have lost your email addy or he might have even been ill. Give him a chance.

Jorg Nysgerrig
March 14, 2011, 01:23 AM
If he is new and small, he may be trying to find the gun through a distributor who can give him a competitive price. On the other hand, he might not have gotten around to it or found he couldn't compete and didn't bother to tell you.

If you want to be nice, drop him another email and tell him that you're looking to buy very soon and were wondering if he had a quote yet. If you get a reply, even if he says he can't beat the price or he's still working it, you can make a decision then. If you don't get a reply, I'd say the decision is made for you.

Murphy4570
March 14, 2011, 02:09 AM
He probably forgot about it unintentionally. Businesses take a lot to run, and usually if one man tries to do too much, things slip through the cracks, especially when it comes to memory.

evan price
March 14, 2011, 03:51 AM
You asked, he didn't deliver, move on.

Bubba613
March 14, 2011, 05:29 AM
He might have decided that trying to find someone who had the exact gun you wanted, doubtless a difficult to get model, wasn't worth the $5 profit you were offering.
Maybe he couldn't find the gun. Maybe he deleted your email accidentally. Maybe he's spending time with people who value his service more than you do.
All kinds of possibilities here. Bottom line, if you don't like how he does business, don't.

ultradoc
March 14, 2011, 08:33 AM
I like JTHunter's responce. Keep the geek factor in mind :]

D94R
March 14, 2011, 09:34 AM
I'm having a similiar issue with a new LGS here. I asked him about his price for a Rock Island Tactical 1911 in 9mm. The two lowest online vendors are sold out or moving inventory to a new location so they are unavailable to sell right now. I told the LGS if he can match or be around their price plus the shipping and transfer fee that it would cost me then I'd just as soon buy from him and have him profit difference instead of wrapping up funds in transfer fees and what not.

This was 3 weeks ago and I haven't heard back. He wrote all my info down along with all the other stuff he was looking up for people. Maybe he can't get one right now for whatever reason, but a follow up would be nice.

RB98SS
March 14, 2011, 09:47 AM
That's odd, I run into the same type issues here. No response back from questions regarding purchasing a gun. Recently I've checked with 5 different local shops/retailers regarding having a gun ordered and a price quoted. I've been to the shops face to face where the employee/owner says they need to check their distributor and check availability and price. Out of the 5, two got back to me -- Cabela's and another bigger local outdoor retailer. The small gun shops never did.

Bubba613
March 14, 2011, 10:21 AM
The two lowest online vendors are sold out or moving inventory to a new location so they are unavailable to sell right now. I told the LGS if he can match or be around their price plus the shipping and transfer fee that it would cost me then I'd just as soon buy from him and have him profit difference instead of wrapping up funds in transfer fees and what not.

When I'm sold out of guns I have the lowest prices on them too:neener:

No wonder he won't get back to you. I wouldn't either.

D94R
March 14, 2011, 10:29 AM
e-sarco and centerfirearms have always had the lowest prices. they didn't "drop" them because they are sold out.

Fine, you can avoid getting back with potential customers all you want. It would seem making $30 or $40 on a gun is better than making just $20 on a transfer fee cause you didn't want to try and compete with pricing. (barring any nod to the fact the guns are hard to find right now). But I'm not a business owner, what do I know. :rolleyes:

Sunray
March 14, 2011, 10:38 AM
"...it would be a matter of him deciding..." There's a lot more involved than that. Dealers have to buy whatever they're selling from a distributor. New businesses don't get credit terms, he may not have an account with a local distributor who carries whatever firearm you're looking at, he may be having issues with Bud's(they need a copy of the guy's FFL), etc. etc.
All that and a request for a quote isn't a sale. A desposit is a sale. A transfer from another dealer isn't a sale either.

dusty14u
March 14, 2011, 11:50 AM
I do quite a bit of purchasing for my job. I send RFQ's ( request for quotes) to vendors that are capable of supplying my needs. Some I get responses from quickly and sometimes I receive no response. I generally make my decision and strike PO's (purchase orders) fairly quickly. I rarely resend or hound them for quotes unless I can't find it anywhere else. If they call me later and ask if I still need it I generally tell them I didn't hear back from them within 24 or 48 hrs- depends on the size and complexity of order- and gave the PO to someone else. After a while you learn who values your business and who doesn't and you tend to deal with them the most. I would take his non response as not enough interest to deal with you and shop elsewhere.

kingpin008
March 14, 2011, 12:57 PM
At first I was going to suggest giving him a follow-up call or email and ask again, but the more I consider it the more I'm in agreement with those whose advice it is to move on.

You had two contacts with him - during both you notified him of your interest to do business. You did all the legwork for him and told him you were ready to pull the trigger on the purchase. His job from that point is simple - let you know if he can do it or not, and if yes, make the sale. He didn't do it.

I can sympathize that he's a new guy and just getting started, but that's all the more reason for him to be on top of things and make sure to pull in all the business he possibly can. Customers shouldn't have to chase down retailers and shove their money at them, especially when the retailers specifically ask them to take a chance and do business with them. He took a chance, and the guy dropped the ball.

youngda9
March 14, 2011, 12:59 PM
Go to the store with cash and a printout of the bud's price.

Negoatiate and see if you can come to an agreement. Brick and morter stores will need to make a profit over a warehouse distributor to stay in business...and we all want them to stay in business or there won't be any around.

P7HVN
March 14, 2011, 01:59 PM
No offense meant towards any LGS owners here, but a good 90% or more of LGS owners are awful business owners. Most of them get into gun sales because of a genuine interest in guns, but have no prior business experience. My brother was in the gun business(wholesale distributor, then factory rep) for over 20yrs and his biggest on-the-job frustration was inept owners. He was super passionate about firearms and would go above & beyond the scope of his position, to arrange discounts on hot models, sponsor shoots at local ranges(supplying the guns & ammo) and other incentives to help LGS's, but they would invariably waste the opportunity to makes sales. That frustration with LGS's, not the economy or corporate BS, is what lead him to leaving the industry. Some LGS owners have a very strange resistance to ordering guns that they don't have in stock or even just looking into getting them. It's happened to me on several occasions, even when offering to pay prior to ordering. I never have figured it out....

I have(and will continue to) bought guns at $100-200 over internet prices to support LGS's, but the internet has killed a lot of small business owners. Politely follow up with your local LGS and ask him if he's had the chance to research the info you've given him and let him know you've found something you're ready to purchase, but wanted to check back with him first. If he doesn't follow up promptly after that, move on...

Bubba613
March 14, 2011, 03:29 PM
You are correct that many gun shops are owned by guys (usually) with military or LE experience and they just aren't retail oriented. One wonders how they stay in business at all.

jawn
March 14, 2011, 10:21 PM
I usually have a lot more luck with face-to-face interactions with smaller gun shops. Both of the shops that I frequent (one much pricier but with a better in-store selection) have always been able to give me a price quote while I was still at the shop, or told me directly that they would not be able to get me a particular gun because of distributor issues.

Cold-calling or cold-emailing about a product without ever going to the shop will most likely lead to you being de-prioritized to the customers in the store. The customers in the store are far more likely to make a purchase than a potential customer that never enters the store.

I work retail, and if a customer calls in an order (without providing a payment method), you can be sure that if I have customer in-store, I'll handle the customer in-store first. If I happen to get extremely busy with in-store customers, I probably won't get to the called-in order until that particular customer shows up. There's no reason to lose a sale because of someone who might come in for something. Just the nature of the beast.

mgkdrgn
March 14, 2011, 10:27 PM
With shipping to him and sales tax added on, there is no way he can beat (or even match, w/o loosing money) the price from buds on anything under $500. He'll make more money doing it as a transfer. Just tacking on the 7% sales tax to his COST will likely be higher than the price from Buds.

medalguy
March 14, 2011, 11:04 PM
Dealers buying from a distributor don't pay sales tax. That's collected at the retail level only. Many retailers don't want to buy items they are not already carrying for some reason. Buy wherever you get the best price and forget about him.

jbr
March 14, 2011, 11:18 PM
ever tried gun genie - kinda of the best of both worlds-w/instant stock check. Pick up at local dealer - get quotes in 10 seconds from 10 - 15 dealers in your area. shipping is $20.00 if they are good they let you split that if someone else orders the same day and combines shipping. No transfer fee's - just the profit on the gun goes to the dealer - plus it makes it easy if you are going to trade in. Not the lowest price but after fees etc... it's usually within $25 and it arrives 1-2 days later depending on what time of day you place the order. .02 worth for free.

Bubba613
March 15, 2011, 09:32 AM
Just tacking on the 7% sales tax to his COST will likely be higher than the price from Buds.
Doesnt the state have a Use Tax that would obligate the buyer to pay for any item purchased out of state and brought it?

OneBagNomad
March 15, 2011, 10:13 AM
Move on. I run into this with small businesses all the time and it's one of my pet peeves. If I am actively trying to throw my money at someone's small business, you'd think they would jump at the chance, especially in this economy. Nope, 90% of the time I get no response or a cancellation an hour after they were supposed to be here working already, or they just plain don't show up. If he can't keep it together enough to at least respond then he doesn't deserve your business.

highlander 5
March 15, 2011, 10:20 AM
One of my pet peeves in life is calling a business and saying I have money I want "X" how much will you sell it to me for. No call back no sale. Slightly of topic,I need some work done to my home. It's a small job I figured $1100-$1200. Called 3 places for a quote only one showed up so guess who gets the job. In this economy how can one stay in business if you let a potenial sale go by? Granted your not making a huge profit but "X" dollars in your pocket beats no dollars in your pocket or as I've told one guy which taste better in the morning corn flakes or shredded cardboard?

rstull85
March 15, 2011, 10:38 AM
I think going in and asking him to meet buds prices might have been your problem. I dont know a ton about buds but from what I have gathered from people on here and armslist is that buds buys in bulk and go through the manufacturer. Its like when you post a M1 garand on armslist and somebody wants you to beat the CMP price for it. I usually dont respond in those cases either. If you want buds prices you should go through buds. If you want to support your local gun shop, go to your local gun shop. Just my personal opinion.

Flynt
March 15, 2011, 10:58 AM
I have been baffled by small business owners' behaviour for decades. They often act in ways that are contrary to their own self interest. I'm not just talking about LGSs -- I've had a lot more weird encounters with mom & pope deli owners, dry cleaners, etc. Many are so set in their ways that they run off customers.

I'll never forget a Kosher deli owner in a strip mall in suburban D.C. in the 70's. He obsessed over the 3-4 parking spaces in front of his shope. He had huge signs with, "parking for deli customers only!" pylons, etc. -- everything but mines. I had noticed the deli and thought it might be pretty good, so one day I pulled into one of his spaces, but before I could get out he was on the sidewalk, screaming at me to get out of his parking space. Obviously I abandoned my plan to shop there.

The deli owner is an extreme example, and probably a little unhinged. But many small business owners and entrepreneurs I've known have proudly told me that the wanted to be their own boss. After you get to know them, you begin to suspect that the other side to this is the fact that they could never get along with anybody. I hate to say it, but some small business owners are misfits. On the other side of the coin, some are also geniuses and go on to build large empires. (But I'm told Bill Gates wasn't the best boss.)

Anyway, I suspect that a lot of LGS owners are people who place a higher value on "doing it my way," etc., than material success. Many probably wouldn't survive under a boss who held them accountable. The independent streak can be seen as a sign of someone who's true to himself and has integrity, or it can be seen as a sign of somebody who's rigid and self-focused to the detriment of himself and those around him. You choose.

DAP90
March 15, 2011, 11:08 AM
An email isn’t really a commitment to purchase.

If you still want to do business with him go back down to the store and ask him to special order the product; cash in hand. That will get his attention in a way that an email never will. You deserved a response but there are many legitimate reasons why you might not have gotten one.

Also, I wouldn’t use the prices from online retailers as a direct negotiating tactic. Know what they’re charging, sure, but negotiating using online prices can put LGS’s on the defensive. Instead, just decide what you want to pay based on online and local and try to get close to that figure; without mentioning how you arrived at that figure.

Just my $.02

dirtykid
March 15, 2011, 12:20 PM
Yea, any time people approach me with "found it on-line for this much" I ask them why they didnt buy it there,,, usual response "well i just thought i'd check around to see how much you guys charge" Shuts me down right away,, i could care less how much you found it on-line for,, I am aware that people set-up a warehouse with a laptop in it and sell stuff out of it,, but then they also dont have to be there to answer questions or assist with problems after the sale should there be any,,IMO wrong way to approach a small-business owner,, the internet is a serious threat to small business's in the aspect that it "cheapens" everything down to the point people EXPECT you to match E-bay's price AND provide excellent customer service ALSO ,, you cant have both...

kingpin008
March 15, 2011, 01:29 PM
I usually dont respond in those cases either. If you want buds prices you should go through buds. If you want to support your local gun shop, go to your local gun shop. Just my personal opinion.

Why wouldn't you respond? A few sentences explaining your inability to match the price would go a long way towards convincing someone you're worth doing business with. If you call or email me back and let me know that you just can't compete with their gun prices, I can dig that. I will likely be back for ammo, a holster, whatever.

But if you ignore me, not only will I not be back, I'll be letting my friends know about the fella who runs the small shop down the way who can't be bothered to respond to a simple request.

An email isnít really a commitment to purchase.

True, but it shows interest - and when you specifically asked the guy to give you a chance, why in the world wouldn't you at least follow up on it? If you can't meet the price, fine - but there's more money to be made from an individual if you're straight up with them and keep them informed of your abilities/policies.

If it were me, I would have sent an email back explaining that I couldn't match the price, but would be happy to knock five or ten percent off his first purchase at my shop to make up for it. That way I he gets something of value, I still make some money, and I very likely gain a return customer. All for five minutes worth of work.

The fact that most business people here don't seem to understand the importance of return business is somewhat bewildering to me...

DAP90
March 15, 2011, 02:07 PM
True, but it shows interest

As I said, he did deserve a response. It's hard to get business otherwise.

On the other hand email is not a great way to start a business relationship. It shows interest but not a whole lot. I imagine gun stores get tons of email inquiries that don't go anywhere.

It's a local store. Drive on down and put a face with your name. That's why the guy opened a local store.

If it's just a case of bad customer service then move on and don't look back. Personally, I don't have any patience with bad service at a gun store and there are several near me I avoid.

kingpin008
March 15, 2011, 02:16 PM
It's a local store. Drive on down and put a face with your name. That's why the guy opened a local store.

He already knew the face and name though, he schmoozed with the guy and had mutual friends.

I guess the way I look at it is like this: the shop owner solicited his business, the OP gave him a chance at that business, and the shop owner dropped the ball. While the OP could have done more, why should he have to?

In general, it seems to me that the prevailing attitude among small business owners these days is one of "I'm doing you a favor by being in business. Take it or leave it." While that may be true in some instances, it's a really crappy way to do business. There will always be other places to shop, and some some shop owners would do well to remember that, IMHO.

DammitBoy
March 15, 2011, 02:18 PM
When I go to my favorite LGS and ask for a price, he goes online and we look at the screen together. It takes mere seconds to see their price to him, including shipping, he tacks $50 on and I make the purchase.

It doesn't get much better than that.

DAP90
March 15, 2011, 03:00 PM
I guess the way I look at it is like this: the shop owner solicited his business, the OP gave him a chance at that business, and the shop owner dropped the ball. While the OP could have done more, why should he have to? It’s tough at this point for me to continue with this discussion as ultimately, you are correct. The business owner did drop the ball. The thing is we don’t know why he did so.

Maybe he didn’t remember that the guy in the store was the same guy that sent the email in question. Maybe he thought he’d never compete on price and this was a lost cause. Maybe he’s lazy, or busy or anachronistic in regards to email.

For me, if I’m dealing with a local store I go to the local store. I rarely even call unless it’s across town and I have to know sooner than I can get there. I just think you can get better results in the store than with other forms of communication. Assuming of course the store cares about customer service at all; and not all of them do.

I wouldn't consider failure to respond to a single email enough to never try anything else. I go in, see what kind of response I got and make a decision to do business with him based on that.

Dulvarian
March 15, 2011, 04:17 PM
This might explain my irritation over the deal a little more. This is copy of the email, with names changed. This was sent one week after I was at the store in person. I got an I'll look into it response an hour later.

<Manager>,

I came in and spoke to you last Friday about a CZ-527 and you asked that I give you a shot before I went ahead and ordered. (I'm the guy that mentioned <mutual acquaintance>).

Bottom of the cost line is Bud's (http://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/product_info.php/products_id/62630) @ $557. (I know you can't match that, I don't expect you to.)

It looks like the average (http://www.google.com/products/catalog?q=cz+527+varmint+walnut&hl=en&cid=3362421996413290612&os=sellers#) is about $590 and change.

Please let me know what you can do. I'm ready to buy, but waiting to hear back from you before I order anything. (And yes, I am well aware of how pricing works for high volume/low margin internet sales + plus shipping + FFL fee. I have been buying most of my guns online because I cannot stand the 30-40% mark-up at <Other LGS>.)

And to ensure that we are on the same page, I'm looking at a CZ 527 Varmint with Walnut stock, in .223 with a 1/9 twist (CZ SKU 03042). The twist is important because I shoot heavier rounds (62gr to 69gr).

v/r,
<Dulvarian>


Personally, I think that I am going to go with Bud's, the local gunsmith I normally use that only charges military half of what the above LGS asks for transfers and spend the difference getting a nicer optic. (Which is kind of a requirement, since a 527 Varmint does not have irons.) Now, for the same money, I can get a much nicer glass.

Thanks for your replies. I do believe in supporting local business. But, you kind of have to earn my money. I'm not a non-profit charity. I went through the same deal with roofers a year ago. I called 4 people, and only 1 showed up. Guess who got a check for 5k? In an economy like this, I have no comprehension of business(persons) not handling something.

Jimbofett
March 15, 2011, 04:20 PM
I think everyone here has a valid point/opinion. Being in the business, I run into this occasionally. Here is what is happening from my end most of the time: I get an email or call wanting to know what's the best price we can give or can we meet such and such a price. We are constrained by the MAP (minimum advertised price) that each manufacturer/distributor sets. If you use your High Road password on our site, you will see those prices. Sometimes we have a little more flexibility, so we make a call or send an email. Usually we have an answer right away and can communicate that to our customer. Sometimes we never get an answer, so we stop dealing with those companies. Anyway, we contact the customer and let him know. Maybe he buys, maybe he doesn't, maybe he was from a competitor and doing a little fishing. Its all part of the business, but you must communicate as promptly as possible. Hope this helps!

Jim
Shooter Tactical

gdcpony
March 16, 2011, 12:43 AM
I was upfront with my archery shop owner last year and told him I couldn't afford a certain bow new, but maybe next (this) year. Well, he called me two days later and told me he knew of one used and made arrangements for both of us to meet right there in his shop. Well, sure enough the price was right and a deal was made. How did that profit him? I ordered new arrows through him, a set of strings for the bow, two sets of strings for my kids' bows, and the seller turned to him handed him the money for a 3-D target (which also surprised him). Oh, and he already had me as a customer for life, but if he hadn't he would have earned it right there.

Many owners are somewhat short sighted. Even if it was a small sale (I don't know the profit margin on firearms), it is the follow up business that really makes the money especially for a small company. The word of mouth, future sales, and just having the reputation can lead to more sales than that one gun.

I would have replied ASAP and set a time if I needed to to get back with you. Maybe he did just forget or delete it, so give him another chance, but let him know you were waiting on him.

woad_yurt
March 16, 2011, 11:15 AM
If I can't get a response regarding a potential sale, I can only imagine how hard it would be to get a response regarding any problem post sale, when there's no money involved. New business or old, big or small, if you want my money, I at least deserve an answer.

Regarding the "geek factor" statements:
Before there was ever an internet or email, there was the ol' Post-It note. Even earlier, there was the pencil, paper and to-do list. If there's something which I simply must not forget, I'll put a reminder in a place I'm sure to notice, like on my bathroom mirror or on the driver's seat in my vehicle. It's not rocket science.

D94R
March 16, 2011, 03:12 PM
Yea, any time people approach me with "found it on-line for this much" I ask them why they didnt buy it there,,, usual response "well i just thought i'd check around to see how much you guys charge" Shuts me down right away,, i could care less how much you found it on-line for,, I am aware that people set-up a warehouse with a laptop in it and sell stuff out of it,, but then they also dont have to be there to answer questions or assist with problems after the sale should there be any,,IMO wrong way to approach a small-business owner,, the internet is a serious threat to small business's in the aspect that it "cheapens" everything down to the point people EXPECT you to match E-bay's price AND provide excellent customer service ALSO ,, you cant have both...

Negotiating is a tactic. Having high, low, and average prices for an item is being informed as the customer so you don't get taken for a ride with their prices. It's just like buying a car, they have room to dicker the cost. They'll make it sound like they are eating their shirt with everything you offer them below what they mark the price as, but they always have room to work with you.

About "being there" for the customer, I have yet to buy a gun from a shop who performed work on the gun if there were any issues with it. That's what manufacturer warranty is for and covers. Sure they might be the middle man for it all, but that's it. They'll be there to say, "Bummer dude,... how bout I ship it back to XXXXX for you for the warranty." They won't do much more though and risk voiding warranty, or their name and business if they botch a high dollar gun.


As well, you might reread and notice that I stated I did not expect him to match the online price. I told him if he can get it to close to what the total would be for with shipping and transfer fee from the online place then I'd rather keep the business with him. That way, he makes more than just the transfer fee on the gun. Otherwise, if he couldn't then I'd just use him for the transfer. $50 on a gun beats a $20 transfer fee by $30 EVERY time, the math doesn't lie. This wasn't a special order either where he doesn't get a break from the Manufacturer, he is in fact a RIA dealer (he unfortunately carries little stock and only orders from manufacturer. Again, thats not my problem as the customer). If you proudly state that you carry something, then you should expect to compete in pricing because you are not the only place to carry it.

NMGonzo
March 16, 2011, 09:58 PM
You are overthinking this.

Get the gun you want from this guy and get on with it already.
50 dollars difference is the price I pay?

Worth it to keep the guy in business and the service there when I need it.

Your perceived savings are going out the window the second you have to ship the gun for something or another.

Besides, you can inspect the gun all you want before forking over the cash.

Geez.

SSN Vet
March 16, 2011, 10:30 PM
well... it is a free country (for now at least) and that is a beautiful thing...

You can call Buds (and see how long they keep you on hold, if they even pick up the phone at all).

and he can opt out of playing the "can you match the rock bottom lowest price in the country" game.

Maybe he'll learn to bend over backwards for the customer at every opportunity....

and maybe he's doing that right now for all the customers standing at his counter and is to busy to get back to you....

the single most difficlut issue for any small business is cash flow.. but close behind it is the difficulty of managing growth. IMHO, slow and steady, without borrowing money is the key.....

MikeNice
March 16, 2011, 10:49 PM
Yea, any time people approach me with "found it on-line for this much" I ask them why they didnt buy it there,,, usual response "well i just thought i'd check around to see how much you guys charge" Shuts me down right away,, i could care less how much you found it on-line for,, I am aware that people set-up a warehouse with a laptop in it and sell stuff out of it,, but then they also dont have to be there to answer questions or assist with problems after the sale should there be any,,IMO wrong way to approach a small-business owner,, the internet is a serious threat to small business's in the aspect that it "cheapens" everything down to the point people EXPECT you to match E-bay's price AND provide excellent customer service ALSO ,, you cant have both...

This hit it right on the head. I ran my own business for a while. I was in the audio and video industry. I got tired of people asking me if I could record their album for fifty bucks an hour. They want their album to sound like "The Dark Side Of The Moon." Yet, they only want to spend $2,000 to do it.

Any time I heard, "but I can buy pro tools and a computer for that" or "my friend knows a guy with a studio in his garage that charges a hundred bucks a day," I told them to go to those guys.

If you want to pay less you will get less one way or another. Joe in his garage might record you a project for $200. What will it sound like? Does he have any formal music experience or education? Can he tell you why that three minute guitar solo would be better at 45 seconds? Can he help point you in the direction of club owners that pay for bands?

If you want good customer service, and extra "perks" you might not think of, you pay for it. If you just want the cheapest price, don't expect all of the extra stuff. By saying "hey if you match Bud's I'll buy it" you actually insult the person. It is like saying all of their time and knowledge isn't worth anything.

Check Gun Genie for the lowest prices in your area. Ask him if he can compete with the two lowest. That lets him know that your are shopping amongst stores in relatively similar situations. You are comparing brick and mortar against brick and mortar. You aren't asking him to compete with a drop shipper that may or may not even have the time to answer the phone.

Dulvarian
March 17, 2011, 01:59 AM
I would think that saying:

"I know you can't match this, and I don't expect you to" is a pretty reasonable wording, without being insulting.

rstull85
March 17, 2011, 02:50 PM
Kingpin, I don't know if I was clear. I am not an FFL, I was comparing th OP's current situation to experiences on armslist and gunlisting. I have just about given up on those sites because of all of the bull crap on those sites but thats for another thread. The internet does screw over most of local guys. They cant compete with buds prices but I don't think buds is going to mount your scope, bore site it or have the experience and knowledge just waiting to help you make a more informed decision. Something else to consider also, you have to have your firearm sent to an FFL, if buds puts all the LGS out of business where are you going to have buds send your new gun?

rellascout
March 17, 2011, 05:54 PM
This hit it right on the head. I ran my own business for a while. I was in the audio and video industry. I got tired of people asking me if I could record their album for fifty bucks an hour. They want their album to sound like "The Dark Side Of The Moon." Yet, they only want to spend $2,000 to do it.

Any time I heard, "but I can buy pro tools and a computer for that" or "my friend knows a guy with a studio in his garage that charges a hundred bucks a day," I told them to go to those guys.

If you want to pay less you will get less one way or another. Joe in his garage might record you a project for $200. What will it sound like? Does he have any formal music experience or education? Can he tell you why that three minute guitar solo would be better at 45 seconds? Can he help point you in the direction of club owners that pay for bands?

This is not a good analogy IMHO. You are using an example where the 2 end products will differ. Your recording will be better than Joe's Garage, not better than Frank Zappa's Joe's Garage. Killer record its all about the intonation. LOL

You have put more time and money into your business to get better results for your customer and they should if they want the better product pay you more for your services. You analogy would apply if we were talking about gun smithing.

This does not apply to purchasing a handgun. IMHO. Local store here wanted $479 for a Kahr CW9. Bud's sold it to me for $370 shipped. I paid $10 for the transfer. If you look on GB or any gun site classified you will find CW9s NIB for under $400. What would be the difference between the $479 PW9 from the local dealer vs Buds? I am going to get the exact same pistol. Same box, 1 mag. Manual etc.... if something goes wrong the local shop is not going to touch it. They are going at best send it back to Kahr for me. Kahr is going to pay the shipping either way. I am at a loss as to what "value" I am getting for my additional $100?

People always claim that the internet kills small business. Yet some of the biggest business in the world were micro businesses and used the internet to become what they are. Retail is changing. It is a new marketplace and either you adopt or you go out of business. Clinging to the old way inspite of new market factors, a new competitor or a new market is not smart. IMHO it is counter to the free market which retailers are engaging in. It used to be the big ate the small. In todays markets the fast run over the slow. Paying $50 more than you have to at the LGS is not going to change that.

mgkdrgn
March 17, 2011, 09:23 PM
Doesnt the state have a Use Tax that would obligate the buyer to pay for any item purchased out of state and brought it?
You all are missing the point.

When I sell to my local customer, I must =collect= sales tax on that sale. Customer doesn't care that it's tax or not ... it's still $ out of his pocket. Buds has an instant 7% advantage because they -do not- collect sales tax on interstate sales.

Lets say they want to buy:

Taurus 2856021 M856 38SP FS 2" 6R Blued (http://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/product_info.php/products_id/55266)

My cost on that is $285. If I mark it up as much as I charge for a transfer ($20), we are now at $305. Add 7% to that and I'm at $326.35. Buds sells it for $324, shipped. I'm making less on this sale that the state does (with their sales tax), and once I pay income taxes on what I "made" I'm only going to make 1/2 of that.

If Buds had to collect sales tax on their $324, their cost to the customer would be $347, not $324. $347 I could compete with ... but not $324 (at least not and stay in business).

david58
March 17, 2011, 10:48 PM
When I'm sold out of guns I have the lowest prices on them too:neener:

No wonder he won't get back to you. I wouldn't either.
And neither he nor you get any business from that Customer of any kind - you wrote him off by not taking 2 minutes to type up a reply. I note a lot of dealers take offense at a lower offer, almost as though you were negotiating over one of their pets. Retail is changing, you MUST compete with the internet or you will lose! Sometimes it's with price, other times service, but in all cases attitude will break a sale faster than anything. And if a LGS owner things his attitude is undetectable, I got news for you! Too many non-jerks, internet and LGS, to deal with jerks, of the internet or the LGS type.

NMGonzo
March 17, 2011, 10:49 PM
If they buy from Bud's they can call Bud's when they have a problem.

MikeNice
March 17, 2011, 10:56 PM
Rella, I can see how it would be off for most stores. Good stores will show you the difference though. The store I deal with is usually worth the extra money. I pay a little more, but I also get some perks.

The owner ran across some surplus 7.62x45 ammo at an estate sale. He remembered that my dad has a VZ 52 rifle. He picked up all of the ammo and then called me. He sold it to me for what he paid. It came out to about $6 a box. I haven't found anybody selling that ammo for less than $5 a bullet in a while.

Yeah I paid $50 more for a gun. I also saved more than that on nearly impossible to find ammo. A good shop will come through if you build a good relationship with them.

rellascout
March 18, 2011, 10:53 AM
Rella, I can see how it would be off for most stores. Good stores will show you the difference though. The store I deal with is usually worth the extra money. I pay a little more, but I also get some perks.

The owner ran across some surplus 7.62x45 ammo at an estate sale. He remembered that my dad has a VZ 52 rifle. He picked up all of the ammo and then called me. He sold it to me for what he paid. It came out to about $6 a box. I haven't found anybody selling that ammo for less than $5 a bullet in a while.

Yeah I paid $50 more for a gun. I also saved more than that on nearly impossible to find ammo. A good shop will come through if you build a good relationship with them.


I agree with you. I have had great relationships with every transfer dealer I have ever used. I pay them for their time and I also buy other stuff from them. Ammo, accessories, clothing, hats, range bags etc.... In the end they probably make more $$$ on the other stuff I buy from them vs what they would make on a transfer.

The reality is that the margin on guns is so thin if you are trying to survive on that alone you will not make it or you will price yourself out of the market.

If you are not doing those extra things as a retailer than you cannot expect people to pay more. You cannot complain when you loose customers. Again adapt and change or get out. I ran a small business for almost 10 years. I was never the cheapest. I always charged a fair price and could justify why I was more than the lowest price they could find. Some people agreed and became our customers others did not. That is the nature of the free market.

JimG2
March 18, 2011, 12:33 PM
I kinda don't see what the gripe is about. You have a guy who's trying to run a business, to make a profit, pay his salary, salaries for any employees he may have, rent on his retail space, pay his mortgage, his liability insurance on his business, his health insurance, taxes, etc. For every "friend of an aquaintance" looking to nickel and dime him and waste his valuable time to make next to nothing on a transfer sale, he probably gets 30 people in the front door who buy at retail out of his inventory.

I probably wouldn't have replied to the email either. I'm in sales (non-retail) and I spend the bulk of my time with my good paying customers who value service over cheap price. I hear all the time "XX is cheaper than you", but I also hear "the service from XX sucks, here is your purchase order".

I don't understand why anybody would do transfers for $10 or $20 either. You have to send out an FFL if the source doesn't have one on file, you receive the item, store the item until the buyer comes to pick it up, then you have 30 minutes of paperwork to do. Transfers here average $50, which seems reasonable to me for the time involved.

kingpin008
March 18, 2011, 03:18 PM
The gripe is simple - the guy asked the OP to give him a chance to sell him something, and when the OP wanted to make a purchase, the guy never responded.

If you pay attention and read the OP's posts, you'd see that he wasn't asking him to beat (or even match, really) Bud's price. In fact, he says that he understands that that's likely impossible. He just wants to see what the best he can do is. That's not unreasonable, and deserving of at least a simple response.

JimG2
March 18, 2011, 03:37 PM
That's fine Kingpin. But you do it via a store visit, in person, where the owner might see your face and recognize you, not in an email.

kingpin008
March 18, 2011, 04:09 PM
That's fine Kingpin. But you do it via a store visit, in person, where the owner might see your face and recognize you, not in an email.

Go back and read post #34. The OP mentioned who he was, when they spoke, and mentioned the fact that they shared mutual acquaintances. If that's not enough to spur someone's memory, a personal visit isn't going to help much.

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