Dealers? What’s the deal?

I go into my dealers store yesterday and was looking at buying a new Bell Helmet. It’s just a mom and pop store, you know the kind, everything scatted all over the place, nothing is organized. So I walk over to the counter looking for his magazine for Bell helmets and laying on the counter is the dealer price list.

Top secret information right? Well not anymore, I couldn’t resist.

I mean this guy is always complaining about barley scraping by and not charging enough for his merchandise and the helmet I wanted was over $400. His price?

Just a little over $100!!!!

Are we getting screwed or what!?

I know dealers have to make a living and everything but a 300% markup? Come’on.

Are there any dealers out there that can explain to me why such high markups?

I could probably afford to buy a new helmet more often if they weren’t so dang high.


Darin from Missouri - 1999 WR 400F

Enduro Heaven

What did you end up paying? Sounds like you has some leverage for negotiation.

Hey Milkman,

I hear ya on the price. Bell helmet's are expense. Damn. I've always wondered about dealer costs and that figures. I don't know if you've ever worked retail. The rule of thumb in retail, for the most part, is that if you don't have at least a 300% mark up on your product you goin to lose. I don't think that can apply to vehicles but I think apparrel and accessories apply here.

It's tough on us. Doesn't seem right. :-)

A while back (several months ago) I was at the local camping store - Sonoma Outfitters (will never purchase anything there again) - looking at Camelbaks. Their price for the old style HAWG was $95.00. The salesgirl had to look something up on the computer and guess what I saw - their cost for the HAWG was $49.00. Not 300% but too high for my pocketbook.


I work at a dealership and I can tell you that there is no way that we make those kind of margins-I wish!Our usual mark-up is around 30-35 points over dead cost(not landed cost).Maybe things are different south of the border,but that's the only way to stay competitive and in business up here.If any (reasonable)customer wants to know what my cost is on any parts or accessories,I'll tell them.Most people realize that we have to make a profit and appreciate the honesty.We're not out to f*** anyone,just trying to make a living,pay the bills,and keep the doors open. :)

Actually, after I saw the hellacious profit he was making on the helmet, I've decided I really dont need it that bad.

This shop is not negotiable at all. As a matter of fact, Im pretty good friends with the owner and when someone comes in and tries to talk him down on prices he gets all pissed off and starts talking smack after they leave.

Don't blame hime though, he's just bitter because he has lost lots of customers to the larger bike shops due to sponserships that he can't provide.


Darin from Missouri - 1999 WR 400F

Enduro Heaven

Do not forget that with MOST shops, everything is negotiable. If you walk up the counter and pay full price w/o asking, you're leaving money on the table. I bought my MSR Systems 6 boots for $199.00. The sticker was $249.00. All I had to do was ask. Same thing with my Moose Trask Mountain Gear. Expensive stuff, however, I got at least 20% off by asking. In just about every other country in the world, people negotiate. Why to most americans walk in and pay asking price? I've never understood this. I just about always ask for a deal.

[This message has been edited by Bryan Bosch (edited 05-10-2001).]

It is tough that the little guy is getting squeazed, however, we all have bills and obligations to meet and paying the lowest possible prices is important. Rather than getting pissed off at the customers he does have, he needs to find another way to make himself valuable to them. I'll pay more for personal attention and killer service. Some of the big shops won't even give you the time of day unless you bike is within the latest model year. The old saying goes, "Don't bite the hand that feeds you." Negotiating is an integral part of doing business.

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