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Should I go to a bicycle mechanic school?

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Should I go to a bicycle mechanic school?

Old 07-25-10, 04:56 PM
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Should I go to a bicycle mechanic school?

Im wanting to go to a bicycle mechanic school. I think bikeschool.com

If I did that would there be alot of job opportunities? Is bikeschool.com a vocational school? Im seminole oklahoman so my tribe says it pays for vocational school. I want to eventually start my own bike shop up in some place that needs a bike shop in oklahoma.

Im not quite sure how much they would pay for it or if they will. Heres link about it https://seminolenation.com/jfundDocs/...pplication.pdf

Im wanting to do the professional bike mechanics coarse thats $1600
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Old 07-25-10, 06:13 PM
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If it is getting payed for and it is something you like, I think I would go for it. Would be good experience and starting your own bike thing sounds awesome. And don't let the detractors and nay-sayers distract or dissuade you. Everybody starts somewhere.
Cool thing is, you might be able to get a job at a shop, learn some of the ins and outs of the business, and then decide/progress from there.
Good luck and keep us posted.
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Old 07-25-10, 07:05 PM
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From a shop owner: while the idea is a good one, often people who have just come from such a school are far too slow and methodical to be an asset to a shop. I know that sounds odd, but shops can't charge enough to cover that approach. That is the reason I gave up on hiring extra staff and just do most everything myself. I can do three times the work of any other mechanic I've ever hired. That comes from doing it a lot and knowing-by experience-exactly what approach to take with any particular repair that minimizes wasted time. Of course, things still have to be done correctly. Fast work is useless if it ends up back in the shop. And that is something that comes from the School of Experience, not just the experience of a school.

Good luck if you choose to go ahead with it. The one saving grace of being a mechanic is that people can't send their bike to the internet for cheap repairs. If you are good, fast and friendly, you'll get a reputation as the "go-to" guy and actually make a few bucks doing it.
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Old 07-25-10, 07:46 PM
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It's a tough call and I lean towards BikeWise1's feelings. My experiences with school trained mechanics has been less that spectacular. That said you need to look inward, and do both a self assessment and also decide what you realistically expect to get out of the course.

If you've done some bike wrenching, and feel you have good hands, but haven't been exposed to enough than the course might broaden your horizons and prepare you to start working as a mechanic, where you'll hone your skills, and build speed and skill through experience.

For my part, I rather hire an unschooled mechanic with good instincts, some experience and a willingness to learn, then a well trained, but unproductive school graduate. Good luck to you whatever you decide.
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Old 07-25-10, 08:19 PM
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you guys bring up a good point about being fast. earn your chops doing bike assembly and initial tune ups on bikes. the bikes are new so they are clean and relatively easy to work on. no nasty chains and sloppy derailleurs to mess with you. aim for 45 mins from box to tuned up
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Old 07-26-10, 05:48 PM
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I think its a good idea. As for being slow, well that's just a part of being a new mechanic, everyone starts off relatively slow.
My advice is get the free training. Then realize when you start working that you are bottom of the barrel. And just because they taught you how to do something in school doesn't mean it is the only way to do something. Look at the school as a step in the right direction to get your foot in the door, and a position in a bike shop as an opportunity to learn and pick up all the "tricks" you can.
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Old 07-26-10, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by hopsing08
My advice is get the free training.
Regardless of the merits either way, it isn't free. First of all someone is paying for it even it's not the OP, and secondly there's an opportunity cost to the OP, in that he might use the tuition assistance towards training for a possibly better career.

Before making the decision, the Op should check job opportunities, salaries, hours, and other factors that might influence whether it makes sense for him to try bicycle wrenching as a career. The reality is that at comparable skill levels, auto mechanics are paid better, and HVAC or airline mechanic even better yet.

If he loves bikes and is serious about opening his own shop, the school could be a smart step towards that end. If he doesn't expect to open his own shop because his local market or his ability to raise capital is limited, then there may be smarter career moves outside of the bike industry, and the training opportunity might be used more wisely.
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Old 07-26-10, 09:10 PM
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I think UBI would be a great idea to fill in the gaps of your knowledge as well as refine your skills. It would also be an opportunity to network with other like-minded people and get a few ideas. However, do not expect a tidal wave of job offers or to be hired at a shop on the spot just because you earned a certificate. If you intend to get a job at a shop, it's who you know...not what you know...a good amount of the time. Keep that in mind.

If you intend on opening a bike shop, you should perhaps consider a few business classes as well as UBI.
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Old 07-27-10, 07:17 AM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY
Before making the decision, the Op should check job opportunities, salaries, hours, and other factors that might influence whether it makes sense for him to try bicycle wrenching as a career. The reality is that at comparable skill levels, auto mechanics are paid better, and HVAC or airline mechanic even better yet.
"Bike Mechanic" might be the lowest paying endeavor a mechanically competent person could pursue - which explains why so many bike mechanics are, in fact, incompetent.

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Old 07-27-10, 09:10 AM
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+1 A good bicycle mechanic is close to if not the lowest paying mechanically oriented job there is. If you have such skills, aim higher.

Bicycle wrenching is better as a hobby. Pick up a few bikes, rehab them, sell them, then repeat. Around here, you could make quite a bit more money mowing lawns than working as a bicycle mechanic.

I think it makes a great hobby, so I would start there.

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Old 07-27-10, 10:26 AM
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Do they include business management in the curriculum?
how to keep the Bike shop as a business afloat?
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Old 07-27-10, 10:26 AM
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Come over here and sit on the bench beside me and let's have a talk about this.......

I have to agree with the last two posts. Being a shop owner would possibly bring you in some good coin. But working at being a bike mechanic at the wages they typically would get is going to take a LONG time to build up the nest egg needed to fund the ownership of a bike shop while still keeping a roof over your head and food on the table. If you have access to mechanical training that will be paid for or at least subsidised and you enjoy working with your hands you may want to look at the higher end of the mechanic professions. For example diesel and heavy equipment mechanics will make a LOT more than a bike shop wrench. And at the top of the heap would be airframe and powerplant mechanics working on aircraft.

This does not mean you should give up your dream of owning a bike shop. I'm just suggesting that there are higher paying professions that would allow you to achieve that dream sooner in life. And it's not like those other options are not challenging and rewarding in their own way.

You may think that a bike related job is more achievable and you're right, it is. But if you're just casting around and looking at what you want to do then do not limit yourself. Now is the time to look at what each class of labourer makes on average per year and select your path. And it is generally wise to not pick your hobby as your job. It tends to sour you on the hobby side. For example I know of a local motorcycle racer that started his own motorcycle servicing company. It's been quite the success here in my area and he has himself plus one or two other mechanics working for him as well as a full time parts counter guy. But he has not raced for years and when I've talked to him he just sighs and says that he has no desire at all to work on his own motorcycles anymore. And this happens more often than you'd think so keep that in mind as you shop around for your lifelong career.

And hey, nothing says that you can't learn bike wrenching on your own. After all most of us here have done it without a school. Start up a small repair "company" that you work on in your spare time doing tuneups and repairs or assembling bikes from boxes for the local bike stores in the Spring when they are busy. Meanwhile go in for training for a job with a higher pay potential to make your regular paycheque. Seems to me like this would be the best of both worlds. The cost of this bicycle training school is to buy older bikes and totally rebuild them and learn "on the job". These first efforts are then sold off to recoup your purchase and parts costs and maybe make a little extra. But don't sweat the low profits for these first efforts since it's basically your schooling. As long as you can break even on the bikes and parts and make enough to pay back for the tools it's sort of like getting your schooling for free.

Notice that nothing I said above is a definite "you should do this.... " other than stopping and taking a serious look at your options. And that's the thing, these are YOUR options and YOUR decision. I'm just saying that you are likely fairly young yet and maybe you should look a little further up and out and take in a bigger picture before you cast your hook out and pick the fish you will likely be stuck with for the rest of your life.

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Old 07-27-10, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY
Regardless of the merits either way, it isn't free. First of all someone is paying for it even it's not the OP, and secondly there's an opportunity cost to the OP, in that he might use the tuition assistance towards training for a possibly better career.

Before making the decision, the Op should check job opportunities, salaries, hours, and other factors that might influence whether it makes sense for him to try bicycle wrenching as a career. The reality is that at comparable skill levels, auto mechanics are paid better, and HVAC or airline mechanic even better yet.

If he loves bikes and is serious about opening his own shop, the school could be a smart step towards that end. If he doesn't expect to open his own shop because his local market or his ability to raise capital is limited, then there may be smarter career moves outside of the bike industry, and the training opportunity might be used more wisely.
If he doesn't pay for it...its free to him.
He expressed that he loves bikes so i assumed that is the field that he is interested in.
and later would be interested in opening a shop. bike shops can make pretty good money, and although you may not be the richest guy in OK, your quality of life can be pretty good.

If we are suggesting another field in which to get his training i would say join the Navy as a nuke. Tuition Assistance is 100% and you will get to see alot of awesome places. then after 4 years (it is a 6 year commitment but you can reenlist at 4) reenlist for around 80k. with any luck at around 10 years you will make chief or you will get out and make around 200k a year.
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Old 07-28-10, 07:29 AM
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I started working as a bike mechanic when I was 17, in the spring when I was a senior in high school. I loved the work. Most people that age don't have any skills they can get paid for, so it gave me a sense of pride. I got paid a bit more than they did, too.

I went to college later that year and had a summer job waiting for me when I returned.

After two years in college, I took a leave of absence to decide what I was going to do with my life. During that period, I worked full time as a bike shop mechanic, year round. I thought for a while I would make a career out of it. I decided against it because the money wasn't very good unless I owned a shop and also because the time when I was in most demand was the time when I wanted to be out riding. This is the peril of making a career out of your hobby.

I ended up studying computer science after a two year leave from college, and I'm working in the IT field.

If I owned a shop, I could make a living, but I'd guess most shop owners don't make impressive livings.

However, I have no regrets about that period in my life. Given the choices, I think I did very well. After my leave of absence, I returned to college without help from my parents, and I was able to pay my tuition, rent, and all my living expenses on my bike mechanic's wages. Looking back, I barely see how I did it, but I did.

Nowadays, I have a small side business fixing and restoring old bikes. I get the satisfaction I get from making something useful with my hands and from putting people on the road.
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Old 07-28-10, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by hopsing08
If he doesn't pay for it...its free to him.
Its not really free to him. What is his time worth, and could the time be better spent learning a more lucrative trade? Your idea of the military is a good one.

Match your skill set with a trade that pays for the skills, then get advanced training. Working on bikes is a great hobby.
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