Now in my late 30s, I’ve had my fill of quack mechanics. The last goat rope happened when my Chevy needed new brakes. The “certified” mechanic, after glancing under each wheel with a flashlight, informed me that my brakes were not only shot, but that my rotors and the like were crap as well. I don’t know much about turning wrenches, but I did ask, “How can you tell the rotors are bad just from taking a look with a flashlight?” His response was, “I’ve been doing this a long time and I just know.”
In my 20s, I would have fell for such a line, but not anymore. I drove home, jumped on the web and started researching nearby mechanics. After some searching and reading reviews, I called my hopefully new mechanic candidate and asked for a few references. The good news: He wasn’t offended in the slightest, and gave me three phone numbers. I called each individual, and all provided glowing reviews.
The following day I took my rig to said mechanic. Two hours later, after he had actually taken off the tires and examined the vehicle, he told me that all I needed was a pair of new brake pads on the front. I’ve been using this mechanic ever since. Hey, we pay too much for our vehicles to get oil changes, repairs and the like done incorrectly, right? And we sure as heck don’t want to be scammed.
So, what’s this got to do with Archery Business? A lot, actually! Over the past 2 months I’ve received 28 emails and two hand-written letters from consumers that read AB’s sister magazine, Bowhunting World. All had one thing in common: Each had purchased a new (over $1K) flagship bow, sight, rest, arrows and the like from a pro shop, and ALL were unsatisfied with the set up and performance of their new rig.
Here are a few of the complaints that came across my desk:
“I’m new to archery and this was my first big flagship purchase. I was so excited. That is, until I got home and my buddies told me that my peep sight wasn’t tied in. When I called the shop, they told me that you don’t really need to tie-in peep sights on short axle-to-axle bows. Yikes!”
“After purchasing my new bow, I asked the technician if he could help me paper tune it. I offered to pay more for this, and his response was, ‘We don’t have time to paper tune here. Honestly, these new bows, after we set them up, are just perfect.’ I took the bow home, built my own paper tuner, and the tear was horrible. So disappointed.”
“After picking up my brand-new bow from the shop and getting it home, I did a little inspection. I noticed some strands of the string seemed cut right where my peep sight was tied-in. I took it right back, and the shop owner told me that I must have nicked the string with a broadhead or knife. I hadn’t even shot the bow or purchased any new broadheads. He charged me for a brand-new set of strings and cables. It’s too close to season, and I felt stuck. I was so disgusted when I left. I wrote an ‘awesome’ review for them on Facebook, and will never be back.”
On the Lookout for Archery Quacks
Why do I tell you this? Because there are plenty of quack archery shops out there. There are throngs of unqualified bow technicians and scam artists, and consumers are sick of them, and you should be, too.
New bows and accessories are too expensive not to leave a shop perfectly set up and in perfect working order. Let those customers out there who have had bad pro shop experiences know about you. Post customer reviews on your website as well as your social media sites. Post videos of your certified technicians setting up bows. It helps! Let the crowd searching for you know that you offer paper and bare-shaft tuning.
I also recommend talking to some of your trusted customers and asking them to be part of your Review Board. That’s right, develop a group that doesn’t mind if you use them as references and provide their phone numbers to prospective customers. The larger this group is, the better.
In the blockbuster hit Field of Dreams, the “voice” tells Kevin Costner, “If you build it, they will come.” Heed this advice. If you and your bow technicians can set up new bow models to perfection, the masses will find you, and you’ll have their business as long as your shop sign reads: OPEN!
Photos by John Hafner