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Old 02-25-10, 09:56 PM
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For those wrenching at a shop where you store bikes on hooks or in fixed racks, here's another possible time-saver for storing and retrieving customers' repair bikes:

1) number each hook and/or rack slot. I numbered ours 100-133 for the east wall, 200-225 for the west wall, for example. That way, the hook number's first numeral cues you which wall to aim for, just like you expect office 531 to be on the 5th floor of a building.

2) now that your hooks/slots are numbered, make hang-tags with those numbers on them, so there's one tag for each storage hook/slot. You'll keep these right next to your supply of blank repair forms, or your check-in computer if you do this electronically. Each tag represents a known-vacant hook.

3) whenever you write up a repair ticket or make a repair form, grab a hook tag and hang that on the bike you're bringing in. Write that hook number on the repair form or add it as a line-item note, and hang the bike on that hook. Now the mechanic doesn't have to look for "BLUE TREK" and consider everything from neon blue to deep-midnight blue, he can just go to Hook 225 and hey, there's the bike This'll save time, especially if your storage area isn't lit super-well.

4) when you go to retrieve the bike, you can just go to the hook, saving you valuable time during the daily pick-up rush. When handing over the bike, take the hook tag off the bike and put it back into your "pool" of available hooks.

The main gotcha is that people can't just go hanging bikes willy-nilly on any hook, they'll have to go get the hook tag and put it on the bike. Otherwise, someone will come along and find the hook occupied when it was supposed to be vacant. But that's easily overcome. The number of hook tags in your "vacant" pool will also show you how close you are to full capacity.

This tweak may be more of a benefit for our shop than average, because our storage is rather out-of-the-way in the building, one floor down and one basement over.

Of course, I can't imagine anyone paying me to do that much work [the $600 overhaul], I thought that kind of thing only got done on personal bikes!
We seldom get full-bike overhauls, and actually that's fine with me because they're a "loss leader" for sure, as is custom wheelbuilding. I did the math later on that one, and it worked out to under $30/hour shop rate on the labor, whereas our blanket shop rate is (supposed to be) $60/hour.

Also, it's really NOT fun to spend a couple hours breathing through a respirator and sweating in heavy nitrile gloves while scrubbing stuff to perfection in a 30-gallon solvent tank. Aching arms, aching back, aching fingers... and just try scratching an itch on your nose with that apparatus on

Last edited by mechBgon; 02-25-10 at 10:47 PM.
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