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Old 07-12-2007, 01:08 AM   #286
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I dont think that internet sales really change that much. You had mail order before, it just got easier to surf through stuff now. The point is, before, hobby shops could price up shiz as far as they wanted. Competition is not a bad thing. You will NEVER be able to boycott online retailers because there will always be SOMEONE at the track, who buys their EXOTIC rare super fast parts online, and youll never keep up with parts at the track. And to be honest, I always try to buy parts at the track, but the track rarely carries what I want - and we are talking basic things like.... 190mm Stratus 2.0 bodies, or the right size spur/pinion combo... or TIRES for gods sake.

Its a 50 50 thing. Back when StreetSpec started, it was huge, and I am sure great for business. Spec classes allow stores to stock a specific line or product which is gauranteed to sell almost. When you allow racers the freedom to run whatever they want (and dont even tech cars) you are just asking for them to purchase things outside of the confines of your shop.

I think if shops adopted more spec racing, and carried all the parts in house, things would be different to a certain extent.

But you know its never one factor - always tons. And I stick with my theory that tracks just havent found the right balance between being a TRACK and being a BUSINESS that should offer customer support and the correct products.
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Old 07-12-2007, 02:09 AM   #287
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Originally Posted by Turbo Joe View Post
Yeah...I mean your local shop "deserves" your business whether they earn it or not, right? Yep, Good, Red-blooded Americans shouldn't have to compete with them shops down in the Carolinas and Southern California.
God-damned beer-bellied, rednecked, track-ownin' bastards takin' our jobs away. There's some foreign-lookin' guys workin' at Ultimate, too. And that "Wang" guy at Speedtech...you know we can't do it as well as he can. He probably doesn't even have to pay rent.
Stupid Internet thing...ruining everything...making people have to "compete".
Oh wait...
How about you shed some light on HOW those examples are doing good business instead of being so sarcastic? Seriously, get their financial stats and lets compare apples to apples with businesses like Horsham and South Shore, which I might remind you are the reason this thread was started. Your line of reasoning about "charging fair prices" flies in the face of "having a profit margin". Without a profit margin, and only 50 racers one day per week, how is the track expected to stay open? Everybodys either sponsored with silly 20,30&50% deals for batteries and motors, or they're buying everything online to save just a few bucks. They'll be able to save even more when there's no convenient place to race nearby.

p.s.-You'd better hope your local track doesn't up and disappear!
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Old 07-12-2007, 03:19 AM   #288
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It's not my job to go over their books, nor is it my business. Quit trying to change the subject. If you want to look at their books...then you ask them. I don't know of any real businesses that will open their books to a stranger, nor should they.

You guys are the ones that say that the shop should be subsidizing your favorite track and that the interweb is destroying the local stores. All along, I've been pointing out that my favorite online retailers...the ones with the best service and best prices...ARE local hobby shops and at least one of them has an on-site track.

I say the shops need to be competitive, price and service-wise or fold up. Same for the tracks.

I also say that if the track can't pay for itself from the "paying" racers, then it needs to close, so it doesn't drag the shop down...or the racers can pay for it themselves directly through a club.

You guys seem to think that the whole business revolves around racers...and that the regular folks who DON'T race should pay extra in the shop just to subsidize your practice time.

If you're unwilling to pay your share at the track and for the track, you shouldn't expect anyone else to do it for you. If you want to race...and there are enough like-minded people who are willing to pay their fair share, then the track will survive...if not...then too bad. Your subsidized racing program will (and should) go the way of the Dodo bird.

The R/C world really doesn't revolve around R/C racers...really...it doesn't.

I for one would rather have a viable, price-competitive, well-stocked shop and no track...and race in a parking lot. We've raced in school parking lots, Hobbytown's parking lot, Anaheim has a public park with a track...there was one for a while at a video arcade...parking garages...if you want to race, you can find a place.

It seems like it may be a new concept to some of you that you can actually make MORE money by selling things cheaper. I'm not talking about giving things away at cost, but if you think that you can get away with charging full list (or more) for everything just because you want to...you really shouldn't be in the business world at all.


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Originally Posted by Greg Sharpe View Post
How about you shed some light on HOW those examples are doing good business instead of being so sarcastic? Seriously, get their financial stats and lets compare apples to apples with businesses like Horsham and South Shore, which I might remind you are the reason this thread was started. Your line of reasoning about "charging fair prices" flies in the face of "having a profit margin". Without a profit margin, and only 50 racers one day per week, how is the track expected to stay open? Everybodys either sponsored with silly 20,30&50% deals for batteries and motors, or they're buying everything online to save just a few bucks. They'll be able to save even more when there's no convenient place to race nearby.

p.s.-You'd better hope your local track doesn't up and disappear!
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Old 07-12-2007, 03:35 AM   #289
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Tell me about it. Try finding shims or Ti screws (right...) or buying tires at the local store. A set of Sorex tires mounted are near $50. Absolutely ridiculous...especially when you can go to another shop 20 minutes away and get them for $10/pr for the tires, $1/rim and $7 for a set of inserts or pre-mounted set for $31 (or less).

Be f-in real...it's even worse for off-road tires. How about $100 for a set of tires and wheels (not bling stuff, either...CF's and Velocity wheels) for a truggy? There are some really dumb people who'll pay that, but I'm not one of them.

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I always try to buy parts at the track, but the track rarely carries what I want - and we are talking basic things like.... 190mm Stratus 2.0 bodies, or the right size spur/pinion combo... or TIRES for gods sake.
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Old 07-12-2007, 04:00 AM   #290
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Permanant tracks almost always have to have a store to support the bills, thats just a fact of buisiness. How in the hell do you expect a track with a store to stay open when "there's a hobby store 20 minutes away".

TurboJoe, I would like to know how you expect a track/store to stay open without the support of there local racers??? I'd love to hear your reasoning on this.

And I want to make it clear that I am talking about tracks with onsite stores, monthly bills for permanent tracks can be mind boggling, between rent, utilities and insurance, entry fee's just ain't gonna cut it. They need sales in the store to help offset the cost. If everyone that races there buys there stuff online or at another local store than the track won't be able to stay open very long.
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Old 07-12-2007, 05:41 AM   #291
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turbo Joe View Post
It seems like it may be a new concept to some of you that you can actually make MORE money by selling things cheaper. I'm not talking about giving things away at cost, but if you think that you can get away with charging full list (or more) for everything just because you want to...you really shouldn't be in the business world at all.
Ok, I think you misunderstand that distributor "list" is sometimes the same price you pay at Tower/online (in example). I don't know your past or relationships with owners, but I have worked in shops before and still talk with some owners about financing these days. A Mom and Pop shop is not going to get to Towers pricing. To stay in business, the average I have seen is anywhere from 10-15% increase. To compete online, the only way is with buying bulk and sometimes through manufacturers versus distributors. As I stated through PM, the examples you give are the exception and not the norm.

What would help is if more manufacturers kept closer tabs on final retail. That shops could not sell beneath a certain cutoff. It would help level the playing field, while in the long term beneficial for the company as their product would have a wider distribution audience versus people only buying from a select few places with the lowest price because of bulk purchasing.

Well this is all getting way off on a tangent. So how about we all agree on this? That a hobby shop/track has to deserve your money? If they aren't willing to work with you for being a potential constant customer and start carrying items in stock that you special order, than yes. Online is another valid option. If they try to work with you, try to get your parts, but cannot feasibly reach those online prices. Well, I come from the idea that service and friendships are apart of that extra cost I am willing to give.

What gets me though there is a Hobbytown near me that charges full retail for most things under 100. Also if you special order; full retail. They aren't that knowledgeable, hold no races, and aren't particularly nice. Yet they have a booming business in the outskirts of a large mall area. While the two race tracks (now 1 ) I went to try to accommodate racers, friendly, and try to stock what racers want without marking up to full retail are not nearly as successful. This example shows trying to blame racers as the cause of markup is a non issue.

So back to how to keeping tracks alive. One idea as I and later Chicagokenji mentioned earlier, the smaller scale classes would allow a track to be located in a smaller location, reducing overhead greatly. Also, since the cost is reduced to enter and everyone is fast, its great to way gain new members. Why more tracks and racers do not try to promote these classes confounds me sometimes.
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Old 07-12-2007, 05:54 AM   #292
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we (mad maxx r/c) have had our mini track together for about 2 years as of right now and things are better than ever. the mini stuff is like a gateway drug. it's cheap and they are fun but soon you crave more.... and when you do we will be there to hook you up. we have gained more members to our track by having them come out and watch the mini's. they promptly go out and pick one up. now this has nothing to do with the whole pricing thing you guys are on but i must say i don't foresee our mini track closing it's doors anytime soon.
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Old 07-12-2007, 06:34 AM   #293
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Turbo Joe lives in California, which Derek Buono of XRC says is "The Center of the R/C universe" He'll always have a track to race at, and there will always be 10 or 12 examples of shops that do booming business online and otherwise. What he doesn't understand is that many of the shops in the rest of the country that are doing internet sales have begun doing so just to keep their "brick and mortar" shops from folding. I work part-time in a hobby store, I know what things cost, and I know what our mark-up is on those items. I also have a really good idea of what the month to month costs of keeping the lights on and the doors open happen to be. Two average hobbystores outside of the "Mecca" that is California don't see nearly the same amount of people in a month that Ultimate sees in a week. Why? Population density. We all just have to accept that Turbo Joe lives in a racer's paradise and can't see the real world from where he is, which is sorta scary when you consider that one of the most legendary Tracks in all of RC (SoCal), is going under right there in his home state.
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Old 07-12-2007, 06:47 AM   #294
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Right! And since California is unlikely to run out of land any time soon, TurboJoe won't know what NYC/NJ racers are going through. Our population density is INSANE, yet we can't keep tracks open nor can we keep parking lot race sites. We've had some of the most stellar tracks in the country from time to time, but none of them can keep up with the rising rents, leases, and land values here.

Joe, one of your comments burns me .... you keep incinuating that Horsham and South Shore were "ripping off the customers to subsidize the track" as your example of how shops/tracks should NOT conduct business. You have never seen either of those tracks, nor do you know what we're going through here in the NYC area. Instead of restating your opinion over and over again, why not suggest some different strategies for future shop owners to implement? The ideas you've had were already tried and failed. The problem we're up against is bigger than you admit. The one constant, online pricing from the huge distributors! It's obvious you care enough to post huge responses, just try a different approach.
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Old 07-12-2007, 06:56 AM   #295
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Right! And since California is unlikely to run out of land any time soon, TurboJoe won't know what NYC/NJ racers are going through. Our population density is INSANE, yet we can't keep tracks open nor can we keep parking lot race sites. We've had some of the most stellar tracks in the country from time to time, but none of them can keep up with the rising rents, leases, and land values here.

Joe, one of your comments burns me .... you keep incinuating that Horsham and South Shore were "ripping off the customers to subsidize the track" as your example of how shops/tracks should NOT conduct business. You have never seen either of those tracks, nor do you know what we're going through here in the NYC area. Instead of restating your opinion over and over again, why not suggest some different strategies for future shop owners to implement? The ideas you've had were already tried and failed. The problem we're up against is bigger than you admit. The one constant, online pricing from the huge distributors! It's obvious you care enough to post huge responses, just try a different approach.
Good call Greg. You are absolutely correct about population density being a double edged sword. I can only imagine how much it cost to keep a facility like Horsham's rent current every month. I guess they should've just started doing all their sales over the internet at 4% mark-up, then the owners would be millionaires
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Old 07-12-2007, 07:01 AM   #296
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It has already been mentioned that instead of stocking items that tower stocks, how about stocking boutique items in batteries, tires, and motors. Tower doesn't have EA, Brood, etc motors, many matcher's batteries, or Sorex/Take-Off tires. Of course these are all available at mail order places, but if the issue is that tower's retail cost is at or below shop wholesale costs, that would solve the issue.

The obvious way to increase revenue at shops is to raise race fees, practice fees, etc, and not to allow freebies. Someone told me that horsham had many sponsored racers who never paid to practice, and since they were sponsored, they bought very little at the shop.

In the end, r/c shops/tracks will survive when owners treat them like businesses, and not like a clubhouse for their friends. It is also much cheaper to spend 2 hours setting up and disassembling a track in a parking lot than it is to support an indoor dedicated track.
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Old 07-12-2007, 07:04 AM   #297
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I have this to say. I know what foam tires cost, selling them for 20+ dollars is quite the mark up, I'll just say that. And when you have 50 foam racers a week and sell 2 sets of tires, thats problematic.
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Old 07-12-2007, 07:13 AM   #298
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ok here is an example of my point...

tower has the b4 team buggy for 179.99 with the current discount... $20 off that order brings it to 159.99 + 8.99 shipping = 168.98 to your door

Horizon distributors sells the same buggy to dealers for $149.99 if I sell it to a local custome in TN I have to charge sales tax so that makes it 164.61 AT MY COST!!! (this doesn't even factor in if I had to pay any shipping or not)

So I should spend $150 out of my pocket to make $4.37 to match tower's pricing??? That's 3% for those what don't want to figure it out.

THAT is what's wrong with distributors underselling their own customers.

I charge 10% over cost + tax on all kits... that's usually close to tower if they don't have a special deal going, but its not even worth my time for any less...

same thing goes for nitro engines... no room to make any money

amain sells the Novarossi 21 plus 5kt for 349.99 + 8.37 shipped (to my house) = $358.36

HRP sells the same motor for $299.99 my cost + it will cost about $4-5 shipped to me. If I sell it local i have to add tax so its now $329.24 + $4 shipping = $333.24 at my dealer cost... So if I want to match that it gives me a $25.12 window... That's around 8% profit... Any other market except RC would laugh in your face for profit margins like that... I could just take my money throw it in a savings account and make 6% for doing nothing... it just doesn't make since from a business stand point.

The only items a shop CAN make money on is reg parts and consumables.

I'm just saying that some things should have to abide by MAP pricing like kits, engines, etc. Don't blow a gasket I'm not saying to up it to retail, but at least a 20% markup... any other market starts at 50% and has up to 100% markups. How many people really thinks it takes $45,000 to build a suburban? or $40,000 for a bottom of the line BMW they aren't going to sell at 5% or 10% over cost I don't care what there invoice claims... All I'm saying is get your heads out of the sand long enough to realize there is a problem...

Our shop carries no kits or engines for that reason its not cost effective... Money is better spent on parts and consumables, but if there were a fair market for the kits and engines hobby shops with tracks would have an easier time staying open...

FYI we sell tires for around $13.50 ends up around $15 with tax for foam tires at our shop for reference...
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Old 07-12-2007, 07:58 AM   #299
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whoops wrong thread
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Old 07-12-2007, 08:36 AM   #300
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Turbo Joe told it like it is. He didn't tell you or anybody not to support the track. He was just letting you know that having people pay 40% more on average especially on expensive items is not a realistic goal to expect so that you can keep your indoor track which imo should be charging $20 min for club races.
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