My favourite local bike shop has a problem, and that sucks for me because I’m the one that ends up paying for it. The problem is that every time I take my bike in for service I end up taking it back a second time to ‘fix’ something that’s not working quite right.

This week it was the new freewheel they put on my single speed. When I took the bike in the freewheel ran silently, but when I got the bike back the gear ratios were perfect, but as long as I’m peddling the freewheel makes a ticking sound. Under hard pedaling you can feel it right through the whole bike.

Before Christmas I had an issue with the bike shop not replacing both my housing and cables — they only did the cables. All the cable ends that stop the cables from fraying fell off on the first ride, they used the wrong bearing on my headset, and they lost the seals to a part of my bike that now bathes the bearings in rain and grit.

Every time I take the bike back I drop at least an hour of work time which means it costs me around $200.

For the last two repairs alone I figure I paid $400 in lost productivity time, and that’s totally unacceptable.

I’ll be changing to the other local shop and see how they do.

It’s close but…

I must admit I’ve been guilty of doing a similar thing with my clients. They ask for Feature A to match a given design and I say okay.

Then I come pretty close but don’t completely hit the mark, and I send it to them for feedback. The feedback I get typically amounts to (though they are specific): “But it doesn’t match the design.”

In theory I should buckle down now and spend the time it takes to get it perfect across all devices (as much as you can do that, anyway) but this is my fault. I end up taking a few steps to make it closer but don’t pay enough attention to their feedback and thus I get more feedback saying, “Well it’s closer but…”

What will I be doing about it?

For my bike, I’m heading back to the shop today (cutting work an hour early) and getting that freewheel fixed. I’m also going to talk to the owner and tell him why I can’t come back for service again. It simply costs me too much.

For my clients I’m going to slow down and do it right the first time. Yes, I’m the type that feels 95% is close enough, but that’s not what my clients want and they shouldn’t have to keep hounding me to get it right.

If I expect that level of service from my providers how can I not expect the same from myself? How can I expect clients to continue to give me money when I would piss myself off?

What about you? Are you guilty of the same thing? Would you stand for ‘close’ in your dealings with your mechanic or the person doing your landscaping?

Why do you give ‘close’ service now?

photo credit: clement127 cc