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Old 03-14-05, 09:41 PM   #1
naisme
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Question about working in a bike store

Have an interview this week, and wonder if you work in a bike store do you loose interest in it as a hobby? I love riding, I love all the components, and wrenching and having it not just as a hobby but as a "lifestyle." I mean that I ride all over the place, I do own a car, but would rather walk or ride, even in the cold and snow. But I am leery of getting in the biz, only because I don't want my paycheck eaten up with the latest bike, or the latest components or whatever. I already have the bug for a Pista, and they sell Bianchi. I have to pay rent too.
So you guys with more experience in the biz, do you regret working in the store, or is it a wonderful addition, natural extention of something you really enjoy?
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Old 03-14-05, 09:43 PM   #2
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Probably more interest, since you get to do what you love, as long as there's not too much pressure. You do get discounts though so that's cool.
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Old 03-14-05, 10:07 PM   #3
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I would consider my thread "Bike Salesmen??" to be essential reading on the matter. Bike Salesmen??

I've seen bike salesmen too old to even get on a bike and they had shaved legs. Make certain you go to your interview in shorts and shave those legs.

good luck
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Old 03-14-05, 10:17 PM   #4
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Most people who work at bike shops shave because they are road or MTBers. It goes with the territories. At my Local LBS the assistant manager does not shave even though he rides on the road. Of course the manager and a few others do shave, just the way it is.

Hey at least when I walk into the bike shop I am not being asked why I shave my legs. It is also noted that most of the time they wear shorts... hmmm!
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Old 03-14-05, 10:30 PM   #5
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Just trying to help someone get a job.
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Old 03-14-05, 10:35 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by slvoid
Probably more interest, since you get to do what you love, as long as there's not too much pressure. You do get discounts though so that's cool.
I don't know. I worked in the computer field for about 6 years doing tech support. It basically ruined every aspect of computers for me.

Whenever a family member of friend calls me with a computer related question I get a nauseous feeling in the pit of my stomach like I want to throw up.

Used to love 'em. Now I hate 'em.
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Old 03-14-05, 10:36 PM   #7
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No, I'm not saying that. What I am inferring is that many bike salesmen shave their legs. If you're prospective employer sees that you have shineys, then he won't have a potential battle to get you to shave. I call it the path of least resistance. I find it the best rule when dealing with wimmin too.
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Old 03-14-05, 10:43 PM   #8
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Great job working at shops.You get to play with tools all day and the discounts are great. You usualy pay catalog price and pro deals on bikes are superb.Some offer up to 20% off of wholesale. I think that you will not regret it.Sometimes it sucks if you run into problems,which you will, but overall its great.Go for it, and you might even not have to shave
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Old 03-14-05, 10:47 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by lauren
Then shaving is like switching from a resistor to a capacitor. Ya both got to be on the same frequency if you are planning on lowering the impedance.
Not really sure, as I'm not into electronics at all and I'd hate to make some kind of faux pas.

All I can claim are my observations as someone who has bought a bicycle recently. I observed, most salesmen have shaved legs, regardless if they have one of them in a coffin.

It seems important to show some kind of sponsorship.

It seems important to look at the lower range bikes as though they were used tea bags and say things like "Yes, it'll do the job but......

These are my own observations. I hope they help someone land a job.
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Old 03-14-05, 10:48 PM   #10
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I've worked at shops for about a year now. Working at a shop I get to

1. Hang out with other cyclists.
2. Ride with other cyclists.
3. Get discounts on stuff.
4. Read bike mags on the job and call it "research".
5. Get to work at 11:00 each day.
6. Help get other people involved in cycling.

It's pretty darn good. I've been both a mechanic and salesman, both at busy shops. They each have their draw backs. As a salesman you get tired of explaining the difference between a mountain bike and a road bike and why sitting bolt upright on a huge padded seat is not an efficient riding position. As a mechanic you get tired of working on grimy bikes that only get cleaned once a year when they get taken to the shop.

The biggest drawback of working at a bike shop is the size of the paycheck.

-s
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Old 03-14-05, 10:58 PM   #11
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If you know how to work on bikes you should make at least $8.00/hr. If your looking for a career dont do it unless you plan on owning your own shop.
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Old 03-14-05, 11:16 PM   #12
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Paycheck :/
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Old 03-15-05, 12:06 AM   #13
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Then shaving is like switching from a resistor to a capacitor. Ya both got to be on the same frequency if you are planning on lowering the impedance.
WOW! NICE ONE I will have to remember this one... physics is my friend.

I just applied at a bike shop as a second job. The owner knows me, I do not think that shaving was even something that came up, they know I race and we will leave it at that...
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Old 03-15-05, 12:12 AM   #14
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Indeed, there are somethings some people just don't want to talk about. Social taboos and such can be found all around the world, even in Australia.

One day I hope to have the courage to talk about my owl pellet collection in detail.
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Old 03-15-05, 12:23 AM   #15
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That's where I was headed with my neuter the owners comment, only I think your version is less likely to make the male readers squirm.
My distaste for the computer biz isn't directed at a particular gender. Just the industry iteself. I've had lousy bosses from all three genders.

But what really ruined it for me were the end users. They were just sooooooo stupid. I'd rather play Pick Up Sticks with my butt cheeks than to do desktop support again.
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Old 03-15-05, 12:29 AM   #16
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DM, we really do share some common s4it. I work in IT and I can't believe the calls we get from end users. Range from "so how did you pull the power cord out of my computer anyway" to a lady that professed that she was our smartes client, after all she'd just updated the drivers on her CPU.

I loathe it... that's why I'm looking hard for other work.
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Old 03-15-05, 12:37 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by HaagenDas
DM, we really do share some common s4it. I work in IT and I can't believe the calls we get from end users. Range from "so how did you pull the power cord out of my computer anyway" to a lady that professed that she was our smartes client, after all she'd just updated the drivers on her CPU.

I loathe it... that's why I'm looking hard for other work.
I didn't have to look hard to get out of it. The company that I was last employed with let several of us go because there was a merger and our staff was outsourced. That was 3 years ago. Since then there's been a depression in the Tech sector and combined with our country's attitude favoring outsourcing I haven't found a replacement job yet. America is dying a death of 1,000 cuts and our politicians and business leaders just don't seem to give a schnidt.
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Old 03-15-05, 02:42 AM   #18
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Outsourcing is great isn't it!! It's happening here as well and whilst I can see why companies outsource it makes me puke when you're left to fix up what has been stuffed up by the outsourcees. Recently our company changed the dial up number for 6,000 customers. The outsourcing company handled the job of phoneing up each client and walking them through the necesarry changes. Then we took over 5,500 calls from clients that couldn't get back on line.

I wrote a letter to the State Manager asking 1. Were they going to pay the outsourcing company. 2. Who was going to aplogise to the staff on the coal face that had to fix it up and handle all the normal calls. 3. Were we going to get paid, what shouldn't have been paid to the O/C. All requests for information were declined as you would expect.

I'm in a good postion to get the State Manager's position when made available but there's a job that has just come up as a dog catcher that pays more and no doubt has better working conditions. The IT industry is going downhill plenty fast. Dealing with the brain dead and being called State Manager or being a dog catcher.

How do you say "here boy" in doglish?
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Old 03-15-05, 05:08 AM   #19
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there's a job that has just come up as a dog catcher that pays more and no doubt has better working conditions. How do you say "here boy" in doglish?
One nice thing about being a dog catcher...that's one job that can't ever be outsourced offshore. I'm currently a school bus driver myself. It's the most equal opportunity job there is and it can't be outsourced.

Relative to working in a bike shop, the downsides are working on POS bikes, low pay, and having to work on weekends.
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Old 03-15-05, 06:43 AM   #20
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I have a bud who lived and breathed bikes while growing up. And I swear he could have taken one apart and reassembled it blindfolded.SOOOOOOOO.. he got a job in a bike shop. He lasted 6 months, the combo of low wages, and a dumb owner and penny concious and dollar stupid buyers drove him out.
I stored some of his stuff, took care of his dog,took in his mail and he took off X country on his bike. When he returned he said he had found his perfect place, loaded his stuff, his dog, bikes and left for the NW.Rented a mini warehouse, and set up his own version of a bike repair shop, expanded gradually but still kept his original ideas in place. Does very well, has a great family, and tells me regularly NO preasure

8$ and hour seems like min. wages to me, even with discounts of parts.1200$ a month is poverty standards
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Old 03-15-05, 07:37 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by naisme
Have an interview this week, and wonder if you work in a bike store do you loose interest in it as a hobby? I love riding, I love all the components, and wrenching and having it not just as a hobby but as a "lifestyle." I mean that I ride all over the place, I do own a car, but would rather walk or ride, even in the cold and snow. But I am leery of getting in the biz, only because I don't want my paycheck eaten up with the latest bike, or the latest components or whatever. I already have the bug for a Pista, and they sell Bianchi. I have to pay rent too.
So you guys with more experience in the biz, do you regret working in the store, or is it a wonderful addition, natural extention of something you really enjoy?
I have seen the losing interest aspect happen. I have seen alot in over 25 years of bike industy work as a part or all of my paycheck.

I started out like you a cycling enthausast. Then part time wrench, manager, part owner, manufacterer and shop owner was my progression.

You need in any endeavor to have an interest in your work and like the environment you work in. I was a junior partner in a shop. I was determined to one day own my own. Since I was the minority partner and worked in another field for my real paycheck I had limited ability to influence how the shop was run. We made money but my partner was a business man and rarely rode a bike. I was determined to have my own place and run it my way! Well that happened my own shop running the business like I wanted but making no money. I had to become more like my old partner.

Many bike shops that are owned and operated by enthausaists fail because of their love of the venue is strong but their business sense is not. These are the shops that everyone loves and rarely understand why they fail. They are however the greatest ones to be a part of till they fail.

I have no knowledge of where you are applying. You may or may not like it. It depends on what the shop is "into". Being a roadie/racer helps. Same goes for MTB types. Fixie fanatics, Recumbenteers etc. Many shops are multi venued with all types of clients and service the general population. Some are venue specific.

Pay attention to the repair area. The condition of the tools will tell you alot. Cleanliness and orginization are important. However, I have seen some of the best work done in seemingly unkempt shops.

Is the shop a multi sports shop? ie: Hockey, Soccer, Skateboards, ski equipment? Do they lay off people during the winter? Are you willing to learn other venues, work on a wheelchair, hand cycle? Recumbents are very popular in the Twin Cities.

My lifestyle is bike orientated. I still own a shop, I still like working on bikes, I still like most people and have become mellow in my approach to a multi diciplined business. I ride all sorts of bikes and enjoy them all. I'll work on anything human powered that has wheels. Never dis a man's ride. It's bad business.

I replaced a headset and put new levers on a customers Gunnar Street Dog. He said, Mark my seat height, change the pedals and ride it home. It is a fixie/single speed. I rode it home single speed and I'm about to ride it to work fixed, 30 miles. I think I want one of these. I haven't ridden fixed in years. I built this same customer a Serotta Ottrot and his wife a Ti recumbent. Yesterday, I reconditioned a pair of really nice 70's Raleigh Sprites, rebuilt a 20" recumbent trike wheel with a hub brake and a Zero Dish Ritchey wheel. With out variety I be bored.

Do what you like, like what you do, money isn't every thing but be aware that the industry does not pay much and you gotta eat and keep a roof over your head.

Jude
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Old 03-15-05, 08:19 AM   #22
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Haagen Das . Scat with your owl pellet collection. What is your real name Farley Moffat?
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Old 03-15-05, 09:01 AM   #23
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I worked at a shop this summer on weekends, and plan to continue doing so every summer as long as they will have me. One of the nice parts to being a special education major is I no longer have to work crappy jobs, I sub during the year, am a special ed camp counselor weekdays during the summer, and work at the bike shop on weekends all summer. That is really irrelevant but my mom just pointed that out to me today that I will probaly never have to wait tables, or be a bouncer, or landscape, or deliver pizzas, or any other crappy job I've had again.

Having said that I did not lose interest in the bike once I started working at a bike shop but I quickly realized it wasn't how I pictured it being. I did not spend time discussing the merits of Campy vs. Shimano with customers or the virtues of single speed, etc. Instead I sold a bunch of comfort bikes, beach cruisers, and changed a lot of flat tires. Yeah I did get to talk shop with some of the more hardcore customers and the little bmx kids are always so pumped up about riding that its fun to talk with them and help them pick out stuff for their bikes. But overall it was a lot of fun and yeah the parts discount helps, plus you can basically order whatever you want from the distributors; no more ebaying track cogs just order up a bunch and keep them around. And if you're a bike commuter where to put your bike is never an issue, always a bonus.

Basically, as other posters have alluded to, learn to appreciate any kind of bike. That kid's Haro Backtrail means just as much to him as the local racer guy's carbon fiber piece of bike porn, same goes for the old lady's beach cruiser with the huge basket. And not everyone that comes in for a bike needs a 500 dollar machine, some just need a 230 dollar comfort bike so they can cruise around their neighborhood. I swear I once heard someone in a shop tell an middle aged couple that he didn't want to sell them a 300 dollar bike now and then see them come in 6 months from now when they love biking and buy a 1,200 dollar road bike, they should just get the road bike now and "save" the 300 dollars. Don't be that guy and you'll be fine.
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Old 03-15-05, 09:44 AM   #24
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lotsa of good post but I'll add a little.

I am a car guy from way back. as much as i enjoy bikes ,my love for all thing's mechanical is wide and farreaching. I have built and raced nascar type cars as well as drag racing. mud trucks,rockcrawlers and many assorted 4x4's. restored antiques to modern day hot rods. I built a boat for the local river when I couldnt find one i liked. I love working on thing...to see my vision of how it should be take place in front of me. The one thing that kills that love and joy is when I have had to take a job as a wrench to make ends meet. Even part time. I have two projects in the garage now that arent even close to being done due to the lack of motivation. right now its just not fun to work on them.

I have turned my ambition to bikes over the last 2 years and would have to say that a full time job ,with all the restrictions that go with it,would overshadow the joy I find in my bikes. I truly believe you should enjoy what you do for a job. it makes life so much easier when you dont hate your job.

but I will never again do what I love for my job. it sucks the life out of me and make life miserable. I currently am looking for a job as well, or touring. I leave next monday for 5 days to see how it goes. if I dont have any leads by then, who knows? for me, I'll do and have done most anything for a job. but I cant take my hobbie's to work any more
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Old 03-15-05, 11:30 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HaagenDas
Outsourcing is great isn't it!! It's happening here as well and whilst I can see why companies outsource it makes me puke when you're left to fix up what has been stuffed up by the outsourcees. Recently our company changed the dial up number for 6,000 customers. The outsourcing company handled the job of phoneing up each client and walking them through the necesarry changes. Then we took over 5,500 calls from clients that couldn't get back on line.

I wrote a letter to the State Manager asking 1. Were they going to pay the outsourcing company. 2. Who was going to aplogise to the staff on the coal face that had to fix it up and handle all the normal calls. 3. Were we going to get paid, what shouldn't have been paid to the O/C. All requests for information were declined as you would expect.
That sounds about right. The outsourced company screws up and the regular people have to fix the blunder and take the blame. I probably would have refused to apologize about that one. It's management's fault for trying to save a dime. Let them fix it. Hopefully there is a special place in Hell for the business leaders and politicians that feel it is OK to send so many middle class jobs overseas. I especially don't understand why the politicians support it because the government thrives on the tax revenues from the middle class. Without that source of revenue they won't have the money to finance Social Security, Medicare or the military. Low wage earners just don't earn enough to float those programs. It shows some real short sightedness on their parts.

There are also a whole hosts of social problems due to a shrinking economy, such as higher divorce rates, alcoholism, drug abuse and higher crime rates. The inner city kids in the States figure they can either sell drugs or get an engineering degree and work for $25,000 a year because they have to compete against an ultra low wage country like India or China. Which sounds smarter? I can tell you I certainly wouldn't have gone to Purdue University if I thought I'd be getting job offers for $25,000 a year because I can make that at Home Depot selling lumber with only a high school diploma. It's been a real eye opener. That's for sure.

Quote:
I'm in a good postion to get the State Manager's position when made available but there's a job that has just come up as a dog catcher that pays more and no doubt has better working conditions. The IT industry is going downhill plenty fast. Dealing with the brain dead and being called State Manager or being a dog catcher.

How do you say "here boy" in doglish?
I don't really know what a State Manager is but I know what a dog catcher is. I'd probably take the dog catcher job. The only problem I would see there is that I love animals and would be sick to my stomach if very many dogs were destroyed due to overpopulation and the owner's apathy toward caring for their pets. Any irresponsible idiot can go get a pet and not have it spayed or neutered or take care of it. We need to be euthanizing more people not more animals.
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