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  1. #1
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    Hey guys,

    I have been wondering this for a while, and I thought I might post to ask.

    If you work/own a shop, in your experience does an applicant w/ formal training (UBI or Barnetts) have an edge on an applicant w/ no formal training? Is having formal training a plus? Or is it not good? I'm asking cause I signed up for the Professional Mechanics class up at UBI over the summer hoping it will give me an edge over the competition (or not). I took the beginners class at UBi last summer and head a blast, so even if formal training has no significance, I won't feel too bad cause UBI is awesome

    Thanks guys!
    Matt

  2. #2
    ctp
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    Well, speaking both from my former life in the bike biz, and my current life in the tech biz, experience wins out. Education is nice and all, and in my book not necessarily a detractor, but I would hire someone who "knows" their stuff over someone who was taught their stuff everytime.

    That being said, take that class. I wish I could have when I was wrenching early on. But also practice so it isn't just book learned.

    And it also helps to get good at every aspect of the bike biz. Someone who can run the front, lead others, handle money, deal with orders, clean toilets, calm down irate customers, sell a ton AND fix the **** out of bikes will have an edge

  3. #3
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    "Good judgement comes from experienced. Experience come from bad judgement."

    You might as well benefit from someone else's bad judgment and experience by getting all the education you can find. It certainly minimizes the early expensive mistakes.

    ctp's comment that he would, "rather hire someone who 'knows' their stuff over someone who was taught thir stuff..." is interesting. Would he want to be the employer who was paying the guy while he got to "know" his stuff?

  4. #4
    Taking "s" outta "Fast" AfterThisNap's Avatar
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    I've been hired over guys with certificates or whatnot just because I had many years of experience. I've met a lot of jerks from UBI that had no idea what they were doing, and I have met a lot of competent people come out of there too.
    But yea, overall it seems that experience trumps everything else.

  5. #5
    My bike's better than me! neil0502's Avatar
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    I have to imagine, though (and a) I'm putting this as a question, and b) I'm not in the biz), that a certificate from UBI or BBI, at least, establishes a base level of knowledge and, hopefully, competence, that should give a guy an edge over say a guy who swears to having a year wrenching, but nothing concrete to show for it, no?

    From what ATN is saying, it would call into question the quality of training at UBI (or BBI) if their graduates truly lacked basic knowledge.... Was it because they had been paid professionals long enough to overrule what they were taught and develop their own bad habits??

  6. #6
    Senior Member RockyMtnMerlin's Avatar
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    I too am not in the business but have been a consumer of bicycling repair services for over 25 years. I also have been through the BBI basic course. When I put those two together, I vote for going to a shop (if I can) that has someone BBI certified. Campy also has a program where they certify a few shops (like Vecchio's in Boulder CO), and that too is a plus as a consumer. This does not mean that someone can't become a competent or even a great mech without a school. However, learning the right stuff from some of the top pro's is a real benefit.

  7. #7
    My bike's better than me! neil0502's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RockyMtnMerlin
    I too am not in the business but have been a consumer of bicycling repair services for over 25 years.
    I'd find a better shop. That thing should have been fixed by now

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    Thanks for the input guys! I can see why experience would top all other factors.

    Thanks,
    Matt

  9. #9
    Senior Member RockyMtnMerlin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by neil0502
    I'd find a better shop. That thing should have been fixed by now
    Indeed! I have been going to the doctor for 53 years and I'm still not fixed .

  10. #10
    ctp
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider
    Would he want to be the employer who was paying the guy while he got to "know" his stuff?
    I have been that employer. Hire someone with a great resume, awesome training, but bloated or falsified experience. It happens, and it sucks. BTW - I've never had an applicant show me falsified training, but that does happen too.

    On the other hand two of the best computer techs I ever had, one had a degree in english and the other in political science.

    Don't get me wrong, training is great, but a guy with great experience is liable to hire in at a higher level than a recent grad of a training program. How do you know they have great experience...in my day we all knew, or knew of each other. 2 or 3 phone calls and I could get the whole scoop on a mechanic.

    Also, as part of the interview, you give them problems to solve. You really can tell someone's experience to a certain degree by watching them work. How do they handle the tools? Can they carry on a conversation while doing a complicated repair, and have it come out perfect? Experience shows.
    Last edited by ctp; 01-02-06 at 06:09 PM. Reason: typo

  11. #11
    ctp
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    Quote Originally Posted by RockyMtnMerlin
    Indeed! I have been going to the doctor for 53 years and I'm still not fixed .
    We just had our kitten fixed, and she's only 6 months old. Maybe you should see my vet?

  12. #12
    ctp
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    Quote Originally Posted by AfterThisNap
    I've met a lot of jerks from UBI that had no idea what they were doing, and I have met a lot of competent people come out of there too.
    bet me that the majority of the jerks would be jerks no matter what, and the majority of the competent people would be competent no matter what.

  13. #13
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    If you end up in an application situation where you have professional training but no experience and the other guy has neither, you will get the job. We hire many new builders with no training and no experience. If you aren't successful getting a job without pro-training then maybe pro-training will help you get the job that gets you the experience.

    If I interview two people with lots if experience, say 5yrs, as a mechanic and all else is the same except that one has professional training, the one with professional traing will get the job.

    I would start by applying at shops before paying for bike mechanics school. You don't need professional training to get a job at a shop but it might help you get ahead. Besides the shop might help pay for the school if you hang around for awhile.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Hamer
    If you end up in an application situation where you have professional training but no experience and the other guy has neither, you will get the job. We hire many new builders with no training and no experience. If you aren't successful getting a job without pro-training then maybe pro-training will help you get the job that gets you the experience.

    If I interview two people with lots if experience, say 5yrs, as a mechanic and all else is the same except that one has professional training, the one with professional traing will get the job.

    I would start by applying at shops before paying for bike mechanics school. You don't need professional training to get a job at a shop but it might help you get ahead. Besides the shop might help pay for the school if you hang around for awhile.
    Thanks for that info. I have yet to work at a shop, that is why I am taking the course. The shop I want to work at is about 1 mile from my house. It's a satelite shop, not their main one. I talk to the guys their a lot, and they all (except one who had former experience) had to work at the main shop before moving up to this one. The main one is too far away to work there for me. The guys at the shop said at the main shop they learned to wrench there. So i'm hoping, that by taking this class I will be able to start at the shop near me, or else I will prob apply at REI (nothing against REI)

    Thanks
    Matt

  15. #15
    ctp
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattP.
    So i'm hoping, that by taking this class I will be able to start at the shop near me, or else I will prob apply at REI (nothing against REI)
    Here's a question. Did you ask the shop what *they* think of the training you plan to go get? Might be the best place to start before you sign up for training they won't necessarily care about. Go find the manager, tell them what you are thinking about, and tell them you need their advice. Just seeking them out and asking their advice will put you a step ahead of any competition in their eyes.

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