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Old 06-19-05, 03:06 PM   #1
el twe
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Thinking of applying for my first job at a bike shop - What should I know?

Do any managers, workers, former workers, or anyone for that matter have any tips? I know my way around the stores I'm gonna check out, but I was just wondering if there were any good things to know that could be a good plus for getting the job. I'm a fairly competent mechanic, having worked on my bike (a restoration), my mom's (a simple tune-up), and various friends' bikes. I would probably be doing more retail type things, but thought this knowledge would be key to helping customers. I know the basics about new bike sales (cable stretching, etc), and a little bit about the bikes they sell (only because I've been looking at them to buy ). Anything helps. Thanks.
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I explained that he could never pay me enough cash for the amount of work I had put into that bike and the only way to compensate me for it was to ride the hell out of it.
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Old 06-19-05, 05:28 PM   #2
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First off you should know that working in a bike shop is not the best way to make money, and if your anything like me most of that paycheck goes right back into the cah droor . The best advice to you is to be very honest about what you do and don't know, be ready to learn a lot. Most importantly, please don't be an A-Hole or you might have a bunch of folks talking about you on the internet
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Old 06-19-05, 05:52 PM   #3
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Working at a shop isn't nearly as exciting as it sounds. Its definitely a cool job but its not the mythical job it is made out to be. Be ready to sell a lot of bikes to people who may never ride them again or working on bikes that come out like once a year for a tune up get ridden for a week and go back in the garage. The occasionally you get a really cool customer who loves bikes as much as you do. In all seriouness though, biggest thing I can say is never put down anyone's bike just because it only cost x amount of dollars doesn't mean they enjoy cycling any less than you do. Don't sell people more than they need, that is wrong and turns people off to bike shops. And take your employee discount for all it is worth. Oh and ride your bike to work, what better job to commute to by bike than working in a bike shop plus then when you have downtime you can tune it up. And yes it doesn't pay a lot and yes most of that will end up back in the cash drawer. My bikeshop job supports my bike habbit.
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Old 06-19-05, 09:49 PM   #4
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Good advice. Yeah, I'm not one to insult a bike. If they ride it at least once, it's a good investment. I want the job to fund...Well, I'll let you all guess...
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I explained that he could never pay me enough cash for the amount of work I had put into that bike and the only way to compensate me for it was to ride the hell out of it.
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Old 06-19-05, 09:58 PM   #5
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Going by one or two LBS's here, you don't have to know anything or have any qualifications. (Do you know that full fenders are still sold? Well then you already know more than 2 of my LBS's )
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Old 06-19-05, 10:01 PM   #6
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Going by one or two LBS's here, you don't have to know anything or have any qualifications. (Do you know that full fenders are still sold? Well then you already know more than 2 of my LBS's )
Wait, what's a fender again? Sorry, we don't sell guitars here...
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I explained that he could never pay me enough cash for the amount of work I had put into that bike and the only way to compensate me for it was to ride the hell out of it.
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Old 06-21-05, 04:20 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by el twe
Wait, what's a fender again? Sorry, we don't sell guitars here...
LOL! I thought you guys were a Gibson shop!

Yeah, try to keep an open mind about customer's needs, and try to learn something about repair if you don't know that much right now.

And remember, all you really need to know - like the plumber's say - is that sh*t rolls downhill and payday's on Friday!
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Old 06-21-05, 06:48 AM   #8
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For any first job, you're going to make squat for money.... just be ready for that. The "experience" is more valuable than the money at this point. The longer you are there, the closer you are to another job in the future that says "X years experience required."

Be ready to show a boss that you are willing to pick up a broom, mop, window squeegee, or whatever and clean up on the floor when it's quiet. Don't wait to be asked, just do it. A decent boss will notice and you'll move up faster. Be willing to show up early and stay late (without expecting extra pay). As for that, make it a habit to be 5 to 10 minutes early every shift. Being late is the quickest way to the dog house.

I second (third?) the statement above about treating every customer with respect. I've seen the owner of my LBS (which is a high-end tri and road bike shop) go out of his way to fix a bent derailer on an X-mart bike or tweak a little kid's bike with care and speed and then tell the parents it's no charge. That's the way to build up loyalty. Little things here and there add up to people who enjoy riding and will frequent the shop in the future.

Best of luck. And remember.... "If you got time to lean.... you got time to clean." Bosses love that attitude.
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Old 06-21-05, 08:49 AM   #9
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I Agree So Far With All Thats Been Said.
It's Really About People. The Relationships You Make With The Customer, The Boss, The Other Workers.
I Worked As A Full Time Mechanic In The Mid 70's In Alaska, Way Before The Mountian Bikes Craze Of 1982. The Thing That I Remember The Most Was This Co-worker Was Always Trying To Assemble More Bikes Than Me Out Of The Crates In Order To Impress The Boss, But His Bikes Were All Flawed. Hubs Adjusted Too Tight, Cables Routed Incorrectly,wheels Out Of True, Deraillers Not Calibrated, Brakes Lop Sided...and So On ...
I Said, "where Did You Learn To Fix Bikes?"
He Said "the Schwinn School"
The Boss Was Always Saying That I Spent Too Much Time On A Given Bike, And That My Partner Was Way Ahead Of Me In Terms Of Output.
I Said, "Just Look At His lack of quality control" well ,The Boss Got Mad And Fired Me.
I Just Wanted Each Bike To Be Perfect. I said...like My Own Campy Equipted Road Bike Was.
That Didn't Matter,
What Mattered ,,,," was I A Team Player Or A Critical Son Of A &&#@^&"
The Boss Didn't Like My Atitude For Cutting Down His Star Builder From The Schwinn School.
30 Years Later I'm Still A Perfectionist, But Wished I Could Have Built More Bikes, faster But Still With Quality.
Truth Be Told, I Was Too Picky With Each Bike...
Good Luck!
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Old 06-21-05, 09:46 AM   #10
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When I hire people, I look at their attitude first, and then examine their skills....
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Old 06-21-05, 10:25 AM   #11
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Nice seat!
Nothing like leather to take your bike to the next level,
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Old 06-21-05, 01:50 PM   #12
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I grew up working in bike shops. For most shops, the basic mechanic knowledge of a bike is a good thing to have. The ability to learn quickly is just as good, if not better. Personality? That all depends on the shop. There are some shops that want great mechs and couldnt care less about the people skills because they run their shop a certain way (they dont let the mechs talk to the public) and then there are the rest of the shops that do. So it all depends. Like was said up top, you wont make squat as a wrench monkey but if you like to pass your time wrenching on bikes and putting them together while making about $.27 an hour... go for it. I love wrenching on bikes PROBABLY more than anyone, but I wouldnt work for a shop anymore, unless it was my own.
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Old 06-21-05, 02:15 PM   #13
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What you really need to know is that there is a good deal you do not know. Please be willing to say "I don't know, but I will find out or get someone who can help you." Please do not try to answer a question unless you really know the answer. Be willing, even with customers, to say "I'm new at this. Can you make what you said a little easier for me to understand?"
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Old 06-21-05, 06:54 PM   #14
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Hey webist -

So you're near Ft. Huachuca or Huachuca Canyon, ay? I used to live there when I was in the Army. Beautiful place. Lived in Casa Grande, Harquahala Valley, and Pho. when I was a kid also.

What the HELL am I still doing in the Northeast?!
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Old 06-21-05, 09:30 PM   #15
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hmm..I was planning on working at a bike shop to help me get through college becuase there are several bikeshops right next to the campus of where I plan to go.

Now im starting to think maybe i should look into a higher paying job.
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Old 06-22-05, 09:12 AM   #16
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just a question after reading all this; What is the general pay like for a mechanic at a lbs? what aboout sales?

Thanks
-Matt
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Old 06-22-05, 01:30 PM   #17
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Hey El Twe what other forums do you give comments on, I would like to read them . You just might have a political future. nick
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Old 06-22-05, 02:33 PM   #18
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i do sales at a local shop part-time to feed my habit. i have to say, the discount ROCKS. if it wasn't for the discount, the gig wouldn't be worth it.

I'd be willing to field questions about my job over pm. I probably shouldn't post my pay on a site so crawling with our customers...
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Old 06-22-05, 03:47 PM   #19
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Hey El Twe what other forums do you give comments on, I would like to read them . You just might have a political future. nick
Oh God! I hate politics! Thanks, though...But can I ask what you mean? And to find more of my posts just use the Search function and under username, punch in "el twe."

UPDATE (on topic): I just left my resume with two LBSs. They don't need anyone right now, but both seemed interested in hiring me if an opening presents itself.
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I explained that he could never pay me enough cash for the amount of work I had put into that bike and the only way to compensate me for it was to ride the hell out of it.
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Old 06-27-05, 07:22 AM   #20
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it's not about the money...
do you love mechanical things, getting greasy, fixing problems, finding solutions, respect for the past ,vision for the future?
Fixing bikes is not a job, it's a passion, you either have it, or you don't.
You look at a bike, any bike, and say to yourself...
i can make it better.
Seeing the impossible in any kind of bike,
but not the throwaway mentality of our current economy.
Real bikes were made to last, and it's your job to keep them going.
like a jet fighter mechanic.
I get tired of all these people, who have a minor problem ,so they buy a new bike.
What a waste! The classic road bikes of all time, are rusting away,while people go out and get bicycling magazine,.It's all about spend,spend,spend, instead, of fix it right the first time.
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Old 06-27-05, 10:38 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by king koeller
it's not about the money...
do you love mechanical things, getting greasy, fixing problems, finding solutions, respect for the past ,vision for the future?
Fixing bikes is not a job, it's a passion, you either have it, or you don't.
You look at a bike, any bike, and say to yourself...
i can make it better.
Seeing the impossible in any kind of bike,
but not the throwaway mentality of our current economy.
Real bikes were made to last, and it's your job to keep them going.
like a jet fighter mechanic.
I get tired of all these people, who have a minor problem ,so they buy a new bike.
What a waste! The classic road bikes of all time, are rusting away,while people go out and get bicycling magazine,.It's all about spend,spend,spend, instead, of fix it right the first time.

WORD!
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Old 06-27-05, 10:57 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by sbeatonNJ
In all seriouness though, biggest thing I can say is never put down anyone's bike just because it only cost x amount of dollars doesn't mean they enjoy cycling any less than you do.
This is 100% correct.
I have 2 LBSs in town; One of them just lost my business because the last 2 times I was in my bike (1990 Trek 1000) was called "antiquated", "retro" and "old klunker".

I admit it is a cheap bike by todays standards, but pointing out that I cannot or will not afford better is just rude.
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Old 06-27-05, 11:00 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wurm
Hey webist -

So you're near Ft. Huachuca or Huachuca Canyon, ay? I used to live there when I was in the Army. Beautiful place. Lived in Casa Grande, Harquahala Valley, and Pho. when I was a kid also.

What the HELL am I still doing in the Northeast?!
I sure am Wurm. Love it here.
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Old 06-27-05, 05:38 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by webist
I sure am Wurm. Love it here.
webist...I hate you.
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