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Rally Deals

Good ain't cheap and cheap ain't good.

I often wonder about all the said "deals" that happen at the big rallies. As a business owner I am constantly watching my overhead costs, always looking to keep them to the lowest possible. There are two schools of thought that I have recognized over the years. Those businesses at the rally locations that have a bricks and mortar presence and are there year after year, survive the lean years and do well in the good and great years, maybe they close down in the deep of winter months to conserve capital so that they can be open when the trickle of customers arrive that soon turns into a flood. To me, service, great service, trained sales and technical people to provide that service is what keeps these businesses in business.

Temporary Businesses, those that swoop into town during the rally with a trailer(s) full of inventory that they bought at the same wholesale price as the bricks and mortar guy down the street, trucked an extra unknown distance to get to the rally site, had x number of days of straight expense in fuel, food, booze and accommodation before they even sold their first piece of inventory. I know numbers, i crunch them everyday, I have crunched them for providing these types of sales, the volume required to make a living and break even is large, very large for any type of major engine, drivetrain, rolling wheel and tire components to be sold out of a portable venue. I am talking about the type of businesses here that setup for the 10 days and then leave town and disappear totally. They moved their inventory and all the folks that were there for the 10 days of the business during the rally go back home to their day jobs.

There are many temporary locations of real bricks and mortar business whose headquarters are a long ways away from the rally sites. Believe me when I tell you that most of those business that travel from their home bricks and mortar location will lose money during the rally. Yes they may be selling directly to the public, yes they will have service/warranty for your past purchases but most of those companies won't break even during the rally. Their overhead costs are tremendous, fuel, food, accommodation, staffing are huge costs. What they are banking on is your repeat business with them after the rally. Maybe you didn't buy at the rally but they depend on the great service that they provide from their bricks and mortar location. The fancy painted/graphics trailer with the chrome wheels comes out of the marketing budget but it all has to be paid for by the sales of the goods out the door at the bricks and mortar location.

Caveat Emptor! Buyer beware. If you are dealing with a temporary location there are some questions that must be asked. Do they have a bricks and mortar location somewhere else. Do they provide any service after the sale if anything goes wrong, who covers/administers any warranty issues. When it comes to tire/wheel changes and handlebar control changes I want to know the skillset of the person doing those jobs, my life depends on their skills.

Good ain't cheap and cheap ain't good. I had to replace a rear tire on my trip to Texas in June, thankfully there was a dealer only 12 miles from where my tire picked up a stray piece of metal. I thought I got a deal at 219$ for the tire and free install. The dealer was still there on the way home if I had an issue and has been there for many years.

My point is service, service, service after the sale is what keeps many business open and the best service usually comes from a business that has an investment in a bricks and mortar location to serve their customers all year long not just at rally time.

The bad taste of a great deal gone sour is a difficult one to get rid off and you will remember it a long time.

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