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Thread: Parts Suppliers & Shipping

  1. #1
    Registered User amiles's Avatar
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    Parts Suppliers & Shipping

    When I order parts for my Airhead due to no reasonably close dealer, I pretty much rotate my business from Bobs, Max and Repsycle. Last week I was ordering the pushrod seals and "O" rings so that I would be prepared to start the re-sealing job.

    I went on line to Max where it turns out that the parts come to about $12.00. As I processed the order the lowest shipping price that I could find was about $13.00. This bothered me to pay as much for shipping as the parts themselves cost, the small size & weight of the parts added to my concern.

    I decided to check elsewhere, Repsycle had the parts for within a dollar or so. The shipping came to $3.50. I placed my order with Repsycle, Shortly I received a padded "scotch" brand envelope about 7"X9" with .30?ó postage (first class no less) containing my parts.

    I have no idea why either one charges as they do. I just know that I saved $10.00 on the deal.

  2. #2
    Registered User ezwicky's Avatar
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    i usually order from bob's or tom cutter, for proximity and quickness of shipping. i'm about half-way between them. i have not compared shipping costs though. prices are similar but sometimes one has stuff that the other doesn't.
    BMWMOA #182796

    '76 R90/6

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    I buy small parts all the time on ebay & some seem to charge for their time,the trip to the PO( this is a biggie for some private & commercial shippers due to distance or lines) & pkg materials. We had to be careful & not mail anything that wouldn't go through a mail drop to one son or he had to take off work & stand in line to get it. Not always user friendly! I see many commercial shippers that do UPS only , no matter the size & it will be $13-14 every time for little stuff. On ebay there are evidently lots of jerks that claim no delivery so many shippers want to prove it happened. I just bought some dates from a CA grower & they used the economical flat rate USPS boxes @ actual costs+ 143's of dates for $12.50. I bought a bunch of pecans lately from GA mostly & thats by far the cheapest way to ship nuts(golf balls too). In the realm of further shipping thoughts the USPS started charging for the flat rate pkg(was free-you could get a bunch if you wanted) & I had noticed that many were using them for UPS & FedEx and some would turn them inside out for Parcel Post so they started printing priority mail on the inside. Takes all kinds!
    "If I had my life to live over, I'd dare to make more mistakes next time...I'd relax,I'd limber up... I would take fewer things seriously...take more chances... take more trips...climb more mountains...swim more rivers...eat more ice cream." Jorge Luis Borges at age 85.

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    Registered User richardak's Avatar
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    Getting some vendors to use parcel post is almost impossible. And even worse is trying to get tires shipped. I was even told by one moto-vendor that it was illegal to ship tires to Alaska....
    1983 R100RT hacked w/Cozy Rocket My blog
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    You don`t know how lucky you are. I`m in Kanada, fortunately near the Michigan border. Parts or tires for my old airhead are not available here most of the time. If they are , it will be a 4-5 hour drive.
    I usually order from one of the many suppliers in the USA that ship for free in country. I have my order sent to a Michigan UPS store , drive over and get it in a few days time. Insurance rates here are also WAY higher than yours so I must try to keep the costs of my "hobby" to reasonable limit.

  6. #6
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    I've wondered why you CA guys subsidize health care & not the PO? Priorities huh?
    "If I had my life to live over, I'd dare to make more mistakes next time...I'd relax,I'd limber up... I would take fewer things seriously...take more chances... take more trips...climb more mountains...swim more rivers...eat more ice cream." Jorge Luis Borges at age 85.

  7. #7
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    Since I own a catalog company, let me comment on a few facts of shipping. Rates from FedEx and UPS are bizarre. If we ship an item across the street in NY, it cost $15. But, if I ship something from NY to CA it might cost $6. Distance has no bearing on the cost from these two shippers. If we ship something to TX, it might cost $6. If we ship something to the next town over in TX it might cost $35.

    Both FedEx and UPS charge approximately $3 extra for residential deliveries. So, if you can have something shipped to you at work, you might save money. We call it an extortion fee charged by both FedEx and UPS. It isn't fair, but they get away with it.

    Shipping by USPS is problematic. Our package lost rate is 1 out of 50 packages. UPS and FedEx lost rate is 1 out of 10,000. Then you have some dirtbags who like to claim they never got the package, and hope to get the product twice. This is one of the reasons why most companies don't like USPS. You also have to remember that credit card companies require shippers to prove that they delivered the package. The burden is on the shipper to prove deliver.

    Both UPS and FedEx offer shippers a cheaper rate the more they ship. So, many shippers pick one shipping company, and pass along the savings to their customers. Yes, there are some shippers who like to profit on shipping, but right now, most don't. If the shipper has "handling" chargers, then they like to profit off shipping.

    Shipping from the USA to Canada is a nightmare with FedEx and UPS. If we ship a $25 order to Canada, they will bang our customer $175 for customs processing and other extortion fees. Then they come back and bang us another $175, saying that the customer didn't pay the bill. It cost them very little to process the customs paperwork. The shipper enters all the information, so it is easy for FedEx and UPS to automatically process customs. But, they extort the money from the customer and the shipper. So, we only ship with USPS to Canada, and take our chances that it doesn't get lost.

    Most shippers make their money on being able to ship an order quickly. Our average order processing time is 7 minutes, if we use FedEx or UPS. If we use USPS, then it takes 15 minutes. By using USPS instead of FedEx or UPS would require hiring twice as many employees. This would mean raising your prices so that you don't go bankrupt. It may seem trivial issue to customers, but it is a big issue for shippers. Our company has a $10 minimum. We break even once the order total goes above $10. So, if you order $10 of goods, don't be surprised if they charge you $12 for shipping cost that FedEx or UPS will charge them.

    There are companies who do free shipping. They have very large profit margins and can factor that into the shipping. Some of them have markup of 1,000% to 10,000%. They can easily eat the cost of shipping. But, a BMW dealer probably has a 30-40% markup. They can't afford to eat the cost of shipping. If you are looking for a cheaper way of getting goods, then place a large order. Or, call the dealer and find out how to get cheaper shipping.

  8. #8
    Aspiring Profligate jeff488's Avatar
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    Thanks 23217, that was very informative.
    '04 Silver R1150RT "Big Oel"
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  9. #9
    Registered User b25bsaboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by amiles View Post
    When I order parts for my Airhead due to no reasonably close dealer, I pretty much rotate my business from Bobs, Max and Repsycle. Last week I was ordering the pushrod seals and "O" rings so that I would be prepared to start the re-sealing job.

    I went on line to Max where it turns out that the parts come to about $12.00. As I processed the order the lowest shipping price that I could find was about $13.00. This bothered me to pay as much for shipping as the parts themselves cost, the small size & weight of the parts added to my concern.

    I decided to check elsewhere, Repsycle had the parts for within a dollar or so. The shipping came to $3.50. I placed my order with Repsycle, Shortly I received a padded "scotch" brand envelope about 7"X9" with .30?ó postage (first class no less) containing my parts.

    I have no idea why either one charges as they do. I just know that I saved $10.00 on the deal.
    This is a topic that is really a burr up where the sun don't shine. I have been working on three Airheads and when I started I thought the best course of direction was to order from MAX, Capitol Cycle and a third dealer whose name skips my brain. The service from all three of the US suppliers were excellent except for one little detail, shipping cost. Just for the heck of it I went to my local BMW dealer here in Calgary to see what the price difference was. On average I would have to pay about 6 - 8% more than if I were to get the same item from the US, but the huge savings were in shipping. The dealer has a policy that they charge $ 5.00 for shipping on everything. This is a no brainer for me in that I save on parts cost thanks to the added cost savings in shipping and I support the dealer.
    Rick MacPherson
    Success is Not a Destination, But a Journey.
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    1968 BSA Starfire, 1976 BMW R75/6, 2009 R1200RT

  10. #10
    Benchwrenching PGlaves's Avatar
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    I ordered a set of brake pads from my favorite source, Engle Motors, the BMW dealership in Kansas City. I got a call back from them a little later. They asked how much of a hurry I was in to get the pads. UPS ground was going to be about $8 and it would be $3 or so at the Post Office. I said there was no hurry so they saved me about $5 by caring to call.

    Certainly not a big budget buster, but excellent customer service from a good dealer.

    As for why the shipping and handling may be higher than the shipping cost you see on the label. It is that "handling" part. It takes more time and stuff to package your part to ship to you than it does to hand it to you over the counter. Some vendors greatly abuse the ability to inflate a handling charge in "shipping and handling". Others don't so it pays to pay attention. But a reasonable uptick above the pure cost of the payment to the carrier ought to be expected. I don't mind a reasonable charge because I like my favorite parts sources to stay in business.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
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  11. #11
    Registered User amiles's Avatar
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    I had no complaint over the $5.00 shipping, handling or whatever over the postage cost of my order. It seemed reasonable. As I said before I have no idea of the reality of doing business that these folks have.

    Some years ago we had a local dealer. It got so I would drive about 7 miles with my list (complete with part numbers) wait while the lady did the computer entry (also verifying the accuracy of my selection)
    two days or so later they would call & I was set. I did have to pay sales tax, but I thought this was a great situation. Unfortunately my business was not enough and the dealer closed. Gee I wish that dealer was back in business!!

    I wonder how often (if ever) a customer congratulates himself on the item cost of an internet purchase, when in reality buying it locally would have ultimately cost less? The offset between local taxes & shipping costs and item cost that play into this.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by amiles View Post
    .....I wonder how often (if ever) a customer congratulates himself on the item cost of an internet purchase, when in reality buying it locally would have ultimately cost less? The offset between local taxes & shipping costs and item cost that play into this.
    Seems like we are spoiled here in Atlanta. Both local dealers BMW Motorcycles of Atlanta (NW), and Blue Moon (NE), have great parts customer service. They even offer special deals for BMW Motorcycle Club of Georgia members. It might be worth asking your local dealers if they give "club" specials.
    Mark

    Current - '74 TR5T : '93 R100R : '06 ST3s ~ Past - Variety of British, French, Italian, Czechoslovakian, and German bikes from the '70s, '80s and '90s

  13. #13
    Registered User lmo1131's Avatar
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    Hey, my motorcycle is 40 years old this year. Regardless of shipping charges, I'm just glad I can still get parts (and occasionally some M&Ms ta boot).
    "It is what you discover, after you know it all, that counts." _ John Wooden

    Lew Morris
    1973 R75/5 - original owner

  14. #14
    Registered User Paladinwest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 23217 View Post

    Shipping from the USA to Canada is a nightmare with FedEx and UPS. If we ship a $25 order to Canada, they will bang our customer $175 for customs processing and other extortion fees. Then they come back and bang us another $175, saying that the customer didn't pay the bill. It cost them very little to process the customs paperwork. The shipper enters all the information, so it is easy for FedEx and UPS to automatically process customs. But, they extort the money from the customer and the shipper. So, we only ship with USPS to Canada, and take our chances that it doesn't get lost.
    In my early days of moving parts across the border I got hit with this little surprise. The best part is that this bill arrives 30 to 60 days after you have the parcel, and then the phone calls begin - asking for payment. You are absolutely right, this is money for nothing and UPS and Fedex seem to look for any way they can to add this to the bill. I had one discussion where the Fedex employee admitted that the shipper had paid for a service that covered all brokerage but "they didn't check the right box on the form" so they felt justified in charging me for brokerage as well. If possible I use USPS/Canada Post who charge a maximum of $5 for brokerage. if not I use a parcel receiving service on the US side of the border and do my own brokerage.
    Your other information was interesting as well as I have done some shipping and always wondered why the rates never seemed to be consistent.
    2014 R1200GSA 33, 2008 HP2 Sport 10,000, 2008 R1200GSA 100,000 (Sold), 1990 R100GSPD 100,000, 1986 K100RS 152,000

  15. #15
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    Response to Max shipping cost

    To the original poster of this thread. Late last year I bought a 1973 R75 and recently started tending to some of the issues that came with the bike and one of them was the push rod seals. I also noticed the $13 shipping charge for a couple of small orders I placed with Max. I believe I used the "Comment" and asked for a break on the shipping. I immediately (first thing in the morning of an order) got a response from Drew or Rusty that they had already reduced the shipping charges. Now these guys don't know me from anything but my point is it costs nothing to ask and in my case it worked fine so I think the original poster should show a little ambition. In the past Drew and Rusty were very helpful with questions I had as they should be if they want to stay in business.

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