Demos - To Charge a Fee or to Not Charge a Fee?

One common dealer complaint is that customers sometimes use them to audition equipment only to later purchase it elsewhere.

How much of that is true is not known but it must happen. Such is the nature of some folk.

Therefore, how about abandoning the time honoured practice of free demonstrations (also shared by the car industry) and start charging a fee?

Would $10 an hour be sufficient? 

Surely, even in quiet part of a quiet day it must cost the dealer considerably more than that to provide the facilities and staff to facilitate a satisfactory demonstration.

I don't know how others may feel, but I'd be more than happy to pay for the service.
Demoing equipment and giving advice is how the retailer earns his 40 (or so) points.

Brooks Berdan charged list price for the cartridges he sold, but that also bought the customer cartridge "run in" (playing the cartridge for 20 hours or so, to relax the suspension), and expert installation and alignment
If any retailer, audio or otherwise, wanted me to pay for the honor of me auditioning their wares, and hearing why they are the best and what they sell are the best, I'm not biting. Sorry- but the dealer mark up includes the cost of doing business and that includes marketing. 
@zavato ,
"Sorry- but the dealer mark up includes the cost of doing business and that includes marketing."

This is where it gets sometimes gets messy.

The often beleaguered dealer can find themselves between a rock and a hard place.

What to do then? 

Relationship break up leading to any or all of the following?

Exaggerated mark-ups?
Increasingly fancy cabling and accessories suggested?
Suggestive language and smooth persuasive sales techniques?
Prejudice and rudeness towards certain customers viewed as 'timewasters'?

In the meantime the customer might begin to see the dealer as a stuck up mercenary with both eyes on the monthly sales chart who is only out there to exploit. 

Now if only there was some other way to maintain a more mutually beneficial relationship between dealer and client...

Demoing equipment at the store should be considered part of the business.

But I’m perfectly fine paying for in-home demos. That’s asking a lot having the salesman haul the equipment to my house and letting me have it for a while.

A local salesman hauled the Joseph Perspective speakers to my placefor an in home demo. I said I’d pay but he waved it off as part of his job.   (However some other dealers charge, and I'm fine with that)

It turned out I really liked the Perspectives, but not quite enough to replace the speakers I already owned. And I needed to sell the speakers I owned in order to buy new speakers.

I told the salesman that the in home demo made me realize I couldn’t part with my speakers but also wanted the Perspectives. Therefore I would save up money and if I still wanted Perspectives by the time I had saved for new speakers, I’d buy them from his store. Later when I had accumulated enough money for new speakers and checked a few more out I decided on the Perspectives. So instead of buying them used for less second hand, I came back and bought Perspectives from the same dealer when I could. I want to support dealers to the extent I can.

Similarly, around the time I was contemplating the Perspectives I was also interested in Devore O/96 speakers that I demoed a few times at a local shop, a very nice salesman there.

At the time I demoed the O/96s a few years ago I had the money to buy them new from that dealer IF I decided on those speakers. I would not have demoed them if I wasn’t in a position to buy (or at the very least, if I’m ever in an audio store and there is some interesting gear set up, I"m up front if I’m looking to buy or not. It’s the salesman’s call then if he’s fine having me listen. It’s actually a smart thing to do - I’ve been led to purchases I didn’t know I wanted just by dealers letting me listen to fact, that’s how I ended up buying the expensive Perspective speakers).

Now I find myself in a different spot. It’s a few years later, I still have the itch for the Devores, but at this time I don’t have the money to buy new.
And don’t see buying new as likely possible at this point.

But I could possibly stretch to buy them second hand.

On the other hand, they are very finicky speakers and it’s only an in-home demo that would let me know if they work in my room.

The Devore dealer offers in home demos for a fee, which as I said I’m good with. However I’d never ask for a home demo if I weren’t going to buy the speakers from that dealer.

I’ve sometimes wondered if a dealer would do an in home loan at higher rate of pay than he’d normally charge, if the customer acknowledges up front he wouldn’t be buying a new pair.

I’m interested in what a dealer would think of such an offer, as there is perhaps something I’m missing that makes it an unattractive proposition.

More likely route is just buying speakers second hand and selling if they don’t work out.

I support charging a fee for a home demo. In this case the dealer should deliver the product and set it up. The fee is refundable if you buy the component. Problem is that you must charge a fee that may, by some standards, be considerable.