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HelicopterOff Topics › LHS or Internet?
11-26-2007 05:15 PM  9 years agoPost 1
TONYVAL

rrApprentice

Keyport, NJ - USA

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So I always try and buy from a LHS and support them whenever it makes sense. I don't mind spending a few extra dollars if it helps a local business.

I guess I was spoiled when U-Fly Hobbies was opened (Jackson, NJ). Bill is a great guy, very helpful, good prices. But he closed his doors to go work as a full-time pilot for Continental. I bought my first TREX SA and My Raptor 30 V2 from him, as well as any parts I ever needed

I also go to GS Hobbies in Old Bridge. Indy is great, and it's on my way home.

So a few weeks ago, I spot another guy here close to work, Xtreme RC Addicts in Lyndhurst NJ

I wanted to try the new Align 2in1 (the B6T), so I go in there and ask if they have them (11/06, a Tuesday), they tell me they don't, but they can have one buy Friday. GREAT, I pay for the thing ($55.99 + tax), and call back Friday

The owner (the guy that took the order was not the owner) tells me he just got back, and had not yet ordered them, and would have to "locate one". Would have it later the following week. At first I wanted to cancel the order, but figured whats a few more days.

So that following Thursday, I call him again. "I did not receive the order yet, it's coming all the way from california, should be in tomorrow"

So I go in Friday, he hands me the stupid regulator, and I leave. On my way home, I notice its the HE50H05 (retail for $40.99), and not the B6T (as it clearly states on my receipt, retail $55.99), so he charged me for the updated version, and ordered the one that was $15 less

Then I call him and tell him the story. He tells me "that's the one his distributor had", uhm.... don't care- I ordered and paid for something, I expect what I ordered!

I go in there today (I was traveling for work last week, and he wants to know where I ordered one, and when I tell him, he says "oh, they'll be out of business by next year, they are selling things below retail"

No apology, nothing

I just needed to vent. As I said, I try and support local guys, but what do you think the chances are that I'll ever go back to him?

Everybody makes mistakes, but this guy just outright lied to me, and then offered no apology when it was him that made the mistake. Just wasted three weeks!

BTW, after the holidays, he is moving into the location that US Hobby was in before they closed (Moonachie)

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11-26-2007 05:38 PM  9 years agoPost 2
nojohnny101

rrElite Veteran

10 miles north of Cincy, OHIO

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hey
yea...i feel ya..

i've never had good luck with the LHS...it just seems like it takes them forever to get in a simple part (like say a t-rex belt or main gear), the wait time is usually 2-3 weeks

when i could order it from modefo's in california and get it in two days!

i don't get why LHS only use like exclusive distributors and will only buy from certain places...really slows stuff up!

what did you end up doing?

Thanks
~Will-i-am~

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11-26-2007 06:25 PM  9 years agoPost 3
maxpower097

rrApprentice

none

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INTERNET!
INTERNET!
INTERNET!

Prices are better, better stock, more up to date stock, no hassles, they don't try to sell you an airhog.

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11-26-2007 07:19 PM  9 years agoPost 4
TONYVAL

rrApprentice

Keyport, NJ - USA

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hey nojohnny101

I ended up ordering another Arizona regulator, which is what I should have done in the first place. I also put one of the ne CC 10A BEC's on back order, just to try it out

The LHS did refund my money, but like I said, he was not apologetic at all.

I am more upset about the wasted time than anything else

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11-26-2007 08:00 PM  9 years agoPost 5
TachyonDriver

rrKey Veteran

Chipping, Lancs, UK

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I guess I'm lucky. My LHS is 30+ minute drive away but the hospitality and general banter is great, not to mention their product knowledge. It helps that the guys are into RC helicopters too, despite stocking all kinds of other fun RC toys, modelling tools, plastic kits etc.

I have used the internet on occasion for different parts, but out of choice I'd get the LHS to obtain it for me.

Tach.

Little Spinning Bundle of Joy® DON'T DISS THE DINO!!

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11-26-2007 08:41 PM  9 years agoPost 6
Mutt

rrKey Veteran

M ca usa

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I wont even go in the door at our LHS nor will a lot of other club members. 1.they dont ever have anything 2.they talk bs behind thier customers backs 3.take over 2 to 4 weeks to get items in 4.treat you like crap

and they wonder why they are going belly up. Internet is the only way for me.

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11-26-2007 11:55 PM  9 years agoPost 7
MasterCrasher

rrApprentice

Not sure.

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Same here, anytime I ask them about something they don't have they look at me like I'm stupid for even asking and tell me I don't need it. I don't think they realize I can order parts myself, I don't need them to do it and not to mention its cheaper and I don't pay for gas to drive 40 miles round trip. There's no incentive to shop there anymore.

Redi Heli RULES!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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11-27-2007 12:41 AM  9 years agoPost 8
HRCH

rrNovice

Hillsborough, NJ

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From a local hobby shop owners view.

Hello,

I'm an owner of a small hobby shop. I myself understand your frustration. Believe me, not all hobby shops operate in a way that would benefit us all. Especially the hobby industry. This goes for LHS and on-line.

When it comes to Align, it can be difficult to get parts if not in stock. We have several places where we can get Align parts from. Unfortunately, most of the places that we get our Align stuff don't have a real time inventory system. I often have to call in an order. If it's a weekend I will then have to wait until Monday. We carry most common Align stuff in our store.

As a heli flyer and a hobby shop owner, I know I hate waiting. We will carry everything and anything as long as people will buy it from us. 90% of all our in stock Align parts are sold at the minimum advertise price.(MAP). I did this to help ease our customers who we know have a choice where they can buy their Align stuff from.

As a business owner, we will only stock items that will sell and generate profit. Yes, hobby shops need to make a reasonable profit too. Just like you go to work to earn a living. I go to the shop to support my family. You probally did not know this but among small retail stores, hobby shops generates one of the least amount of profit per sales. Our kits are marked up as low as 12% and sometimes even less, depending on the make, and price of the kit. Now, if someone uses a rewards credit card which can be up to 5% to pay for a kit, guess who is paying for the reward? Yup, it's the hobby shop.

This is a fact, hobby shops, one by one are slowly getting out of business. There is too much competition. Internet stores will dominate in price, but how about one on one hands on service? I can't speak for every hobby shop owner, but I can speak for myself. I care a lot about my customers. They are very important to me.

As far as matching on-line store prices. Think about this. Would you go to the fighting ring with someone twice your size? I would not. On- line stores have the best advantage. Overhead versus sales. Local hobby shops have a higher overhead versus sales ratio. In many cases, on-line stores do not have to charge sales tax. So, in some cases, I can't beat the prices of on-line stores, but I will make it up in the one on one customer service.

When it comes to hands on service, and personal experience, local hobby shops is where many people will go to for help. If there where no more local hobby shops. (this just might become a reality if people only shop on-line) What would happen to that new heli guy if he could not figure out how to set up his new radio and heli? I would rather give my customers low competitive prices with awsome customer support than play a game of price war against on-line stores who will never be able to give their customers the kind of service that only a local hobby shop can provide.

I'm one of the few hobby shop owners who can actually fly a heli. Heck, I just learned how to do mild 3D. I was blessed by one very nice gentlemen who liked the way I treated him, therefore he taught me everything I know about helis. This customer has now become one of my best friends and mentor. (Thank-you Chopper for your support and best of all friendship.)

Since I know helis, (I'm no Szabo or Youngblood by millions of miles) But I do know enough to help my new customers get started. They know they can count on me. I have set up many helis for my customers. Most of them didn't pay a dime extra for that serice. I sold the heli, radio, engines, gyro at MAP or close to MAP. The service I provided, well simply stated "Priceless". I want to see an on-line store take the time needed to set up a heli, program the radio, test fly the heli, then go out with the customer on his first flight. This service is only provided to people who still believe in the value of a local hobby shop. So before bashing a local hobby shop, stop and think, we are here to help. If you have a problem with service, ask for the owner. The local hobby shop owner I'm sure will do their best. It's in their best interest to protect their reputation. There ar so many good hobby shop owners in the US. Talk to them, get to know them, let them know how you feel. If you have a problem, at leat give the owner the chance to try to correct it.

Thank-you

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11-27-2007 01:14 AM  9 years agoPost 9
nojohnny101

rrElite Veteran

10 miles north of Cincy, OHIO

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hey
HRCH, thanks for weighing in and i totally understand your point of view...

heck, i wish you ran a hobby shop around my area!

you'd be rich!

Thanks
~Will-i-am~

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11-27-2007 01:38 AM  9 years agoPost 10
TONYVAL

rrApprentice

Keyport, NJ - USA

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Hi HRCH
I totally understand where you are coming from

If you read my initial post, I have NO problem paying extra at a local shop. I ENJOY the comradery and atmosphere with not just the owner, but the other patrons.

As I said, when Bill was running U-FLY hobbies, I bought not just parts from him, but my first two real heli's. Could I have gotten that stuff cheaper online, aboslutely! But I prefer supporting a local business, whether its a hobby shop or other business.

What I do not appreciate is being lied to.My current career is in Sales (not hobby related), and I tell it like it is, and am always honest with my customers. They appreciate this, and know that I will not try and seel them something just to make a sale.

When this guy started giving me the "has to come all the way from california" line, as well as the "my ditributor tells me...", followed by the "that place will be out of business next year", I know I am being treated like an idiot.

The real idiot is the person treating me that way. I have money to spend on my hobby, and will spend it where I am treated with respect, and like an adult.

I am not saying I won't go to a LHS in the future, just not that one!

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11-27-2007 02:40 AM  9 years agoPost 11
HRCH

rrNovice

Hillsborough, NJ

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Thank-you for giving me a chance to be heard

Hello again.

I appreciate the follow up to my long essay. I'm glad you read it. There is absolutely no reason for any hobby shop employee or owner to disrespect their customers. After all lets face it, customer sales is the only thing that will keep a hobby shop in business. The on-line competition has already taken out several local hobby shops. All we have to compete with is to provide to our customers the best service we can offer. Price, I doubt is everything. In a perfect world you can have all three. Price, selection and service. But in this world, only two will be truly possible. We chose selection,and service with competitive pricing. We are not the lowest, but I feel when it comes to personal hands on helicopter attention for newbies, we will give our best. Of course this depends if the customer we are helping will take the serious approach with us. It's a fact, helis are not for everyone.

thanks,

HRCH

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11-27-2007 09:44 PM  9 years agoPost 12
TachyonDriver

rrKey Veteran

Chipping, Lancs, UK

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HRCH - I know just where to shop if I ever end up in your neck of the woods!

I forgot to mention this before, but your explanation of profit margins etc. reminded me.

Quite often (for often, read usually!) I get given a bit of discount on stuff I buy at my LHS. This isn't just heli parts either, but extends to any and all products, apart from magazines where the cover price isn't marked up and discount is NOT available on them. The LHS guys explain this to us on the occasion I've gone there and just come away with the latest issue of a magazine

The discount has no set percentage, it's not fixed at 10% for example - sometimes its the few pence knocked off to round the price out, sometimes it's a few quid if I've bought a lot.

This discount was never asked for by me! In fact the only time I've haggled is on the price of a secondhand Futaba radio case.

Perhaps it's because my main purchases from the store are helis so the guys know I'll be needing spares? Who cares, it's just one more example of great customer service. Even when there's no discount, there's always good advice and no BS even if the sales patter does creep in! In fact the guys do have a bulls*** Detector in the store - remote controlled with numerous phrases - it's a hoot!

Tach.

Little Spinning Bundle of Joy® DON'T DISS THE DINO!!

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11-28-2007 04:12 AM  9 years agoPost 13
TONYVAL

rrApprentice

Keyport, NJ - USA

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HRCH

Looks like its time to branch out, even go international!

Lots of customers out there (me included) waiting a chain
for you to start

Just remember me when you start offering francising opportunities!

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11-28-2007 02:05 PM  9 years agoPost 14
jrvander

rrVeteran

Camp Foster, Okinawa japan

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Hey HRCH,

I'm just venting here from a customer's point of view, no reply needed. The closest LHS to me is an hour drive. Prices are higher and I get charged RI sales tax. So, I pay gas, higher prices and tax to give the business to my LHS because I know they need to survive like everyone else. I believe in supporting my neighbor and I don't shop at WalMart either, call me silly I guess.

The last three times I've been to the LHS I get treated like crap because I'm not buying a $200 airplane kit. I've waited in line to ask technical questions to the counter guy only to be passed over for someone buying a RTF Blade heli. This is infuriating to say the least. If I call in advance to check inventory before dedicating my afternoon to drive up there I'm lucky to get through and even luckier to get a correct answer. Their reply to this is "we're really busy today" Too busy with customers to talk to customers? What kind of BS is that?

I'm done with that shop for good. I'd rather order a $5 servo lead from Tower and pay the $8.99 shipping; it's acutally cheaper that way. The real kicker here is that this shop is owned by the AMA Div. I president who is always moaning about supporting the LHS to keep the indusrty alive. Such a crying shame.

- Jon

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11-28-2007 03:57 PM  9 years agoPost 15
DS 8717

rrProfessor

Here wishing i was somewhere else

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Depends on the LHS.We have a Hobby town that i tried to buy from but because they are a franchise they have to do what the main office dictates. Seems they are set on their prices and would rather lose a sale rather than wheel and deal a little.

YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE..IF YOU LIVE IT RIGHT THATS ALL YOU NEED

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11-28-2007 04:05 PM  9 years agoPost 16
Dood

rrProfessor

Wescanson

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Local Hobby Shops are for plankers and car guys.
Car guys mostly, that where all their money comes from.

  ▲
▲ ▲

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11-28-2007 05:55 PM  9 years agoPost 17
eheliflyer

rrVeteran

NorCal

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Mainly on the internet because my the lhs has limited heli parts in stock.

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11-28-2007 06:21 PM  9 years agoPost 18
Tioli

rrVeteran

Kona, Hawaii

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From a local hobby shop owners view.
Nice post, HRCH. These kinds of threads are difficult because they pretty much have to be written in an "either/or" manner. You can't take a bad experience on-line and use it to bash all on-line stores, or LHS's for that matter. Well, I guess you can, but it's not very enlightened.

When I'm traveling, one of my favorite things to do is visit hobby shops. Even if they end up being train-specialty stores, I still enjoy going in, I'm glad they're there. My life is richer for hobby shops, and music stores, whether I buy from them or not.

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11-28-2007 06:56 PM  9 years agoPost 19
maxpower097

rrApprentice

none

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I don't think proper informed hobbyshops are in any danger. Most of us would gladly pay double for a $20 part to get it right now. But the problem most of us face is an hour + drive to any LHS. Then almost no parts. And then no support. I once asked a local hobby shop if the had a kontronic Jazz 55 ESC in stock, and they replied "Whats that?", Then 2 days later I asked for a pack of 3.5mm bullet connectors, then they tried to convince me I would need to purchase a new ESC, and that they don't sell the bullet connectors seperatly. This was the last time I ever walked into a LHS.

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11-28-2007 08:06 PM  9 years agoPost 20
Super Phreek

rrVeteran

Sunny Lancaster, California

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I would agree with the paying for service. I also do not ahve a problem paying a little extra for good service. I have a brick and mortar store about a 2 miles away and I refuse to shop there. There is one fellow who is a complete A$$ and another who if you ask a question, he comes out with "I know trains only, you will need to ask someone else" This guy has worked there since I moved to the AV 10 years ago. There has been numerous guys coming to the field that has been steered astyray by our LHS. It is a complete bummer.
Now, I do have the fortunate pleasure living near someone who is an online store which I wish had a brick and mortar store to go to. Wes at Modefo's goes above and beyond the call of duty many times. He has met me coutless times when I am in need of a part ASAP. Plus we end up talking for a half an hour catching up on heli stuff. If he had a brick and mortar, I would prob be a regular fixture there.
While I was staying in NJ, I was a regular fixture at Ken's Hobby (I don't remeber what city it was), he was another I just bought stuff from for the sake of buying.
There are a few good apples out there. HRCH, keep up the good work. When I visiting Clifton, I will stop by and say hello.

Derek

Is that a 6s 5000 in your pocket,
or are you just happy to see me?

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