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What do you look for in a bike mechanic?

Old 05-10-14, 01:10 AM
  #1  
Hermespan
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What do you look for in a bike mechanic?

Bicycle mechanic - what do you look for?

My priorities

1. Doesn't create new problems
2. Doesn't make problem worse
3. Fixes problem
4. Welcomes my business
5. Speed
6. fair price
7. Explains basically what he did
8. Explains in detail what he did
9. Teaches me how to do it myself
10. Teaches me how to avoid problem happening again
11. Convenient working hours
12. specialist in repair/maintenance, not sales
13. doesn't multitask, repairing three bikes at a time, ordering stock, serving retail customers - concentrates on my bike repair. How can he determine price of task if it takes him three times normal duration due to multi-tasking. Maybe mechanics calculate on a per task basis?

Just met with a guesthouse operator in Melaka. He explained many techniques to combat bedbug problem. He said that fumigators *don't want* to eradicate the problem because that would put them out of business. Parallels here? Or am I a cynic?
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Old 05-10-14, 08:17 AM
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I look in the mirror. Bicycles are not that complicated. Now with the Internet it's so easy to do your own work.
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Old 05-10-14, 09:13 AM
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Singapore is apparently an entirely different place to do business with bike shops than where I have lived and visited .

Good luck with the interpersonal relations with trades persons in general , there .. are you fluent in the local language?
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Old 05-10-14, 09:31 AM
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A nice rack and a great set of getaway sticks.
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Old 05-10-14, 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Hermespan View Post
Bicycle mechanic - what do you look for?

My priorities
Best indicator of success: look for grey hair. Second: education level. Formal education in materials science, metallurgy, statics/dynamics, etc.

Highest potential mechanic I've ever met: a Msc. mechanical engineer with machine shop experience. Unfortunately the bike industry cannot pay for this level of talent, especially at a retail/shop level.
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Old 05-10-14, 10:15 AM
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If the mechanic knows his stuff well enough that he doesn't try to "baffle with bull****" and he's got enough self confidence that he doesn't need to badmouth anything (including customers, equipment, competitors, the internet or anything else), then that's generally good enough for me to have some confidence in his skills.
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Old 05-10-14, 12:36 PM
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I'd add- some one who admits their short comings and who is willing to learn different methods. Andy.
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Old 05-10-14, 12:45 PM
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fietsbob
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The low wages make the job turn over .. the ones that stick to it have wives with the better income.


with all the people shopping online , the situation will only mean they close down . Race to the bottom.
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Old 05-10-14, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
The low wages make the job turn over .. the ones that stick to it have wives with the better income.


with all the people shopping online , the situation will only mean they close down . Race to the bottom.

Is bike wrenching an actual profession? It doesn't require much skill to turn a hex key.
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Old 05-10-14, 01:01 PM
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Its a Job . some what up from a Mc Job . but lacking the tips of a Waiter -Bartender.

The skill comes from not only doing the work but answering all these questions for who cannot be bothered to look it up themselves
then form their own opinions..


owning the shop is juggling overhead inventory, pay roll, insurance and bank loans and knowing the
esoteric workings of bygone mechanisims .


above poster must be overpaid.

Last edited by fietsbob; 05-10-14 at 01:04 PM.
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Old 05-10-14, 01:20 PM
  #11  
Andrew R Stewart 
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Its a Job . some what up from a Mc Job . but lacking the tips of a Waiter -Bartender.

The skill comes from not only doing the work but answering all these questions for who cannot be bothered to look it up themselves
then form their own opinions...

owning the shop is juggling overhead inventory, pay roll, insurance and bank loans and knowing the
esoteric workings of bygone mechanisims .


above poster must be overpaid.
It's tempting to say that a customer who doesn't respect the skills of a good shop mechanic deserves a bad

one... Andy
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Old 05-10-14, 03:30 PM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by Hermespan View Post
Bicycle mechanic - what do you look for?

My priorities

1. Doesn't create new problems
2. Doesn't make problem worse
3. Fixes problem
4. Welcomes my business
5. Speed
6. fair price
7. Explains basically what he did
8. Explains in detail what he did
9. Teaches me how to do it myself
10. Teaches me how to avoid problem happening again
11. Convenient working hours
12. specialist in repair/maintenance, not sales
13. doesn't multitask, repairing three bikes at a time, ordering stock, serving retail customers - concentrates on my bike repair. How can he determine price of task if it takes him three times normal duration due to multi-tasking. Maybe mechanics calculate on a per task basis?

Just met with a guesthouse operator in Melaka. He explained many techniques to combat bedbug problem. He said that fumigators *don't want* to eradicate the problem because that would put them out of business. Parallels here? Or am I a cynic?
Customer- what do you look for?

My priorities

1. Doesn't blame me for his problems
2. Doesn't assume other issues are my fault
3. Appreciates my effort and skill
4. Is grateful for my business being there to serve his needs
5. Shows up when scheduled for drop-off & pick-up
6. Respects my need to earn a living by not chiseling me on price
7. Describes the problem(s) accurately
8. Lists all the problems before work begins
9. Knows his limitations
10. Pays attention when I explain what happened & what I did about it
11. Doesn't show up at closing time with a long list of problems
12. Understands that sales and repairs are an integral part of my business and I must do both
13. Respects the fact that I have a business to run and cannot be just a mechanic

Now that certainly sounds grouchy and entitled, doesn't it?

As far as you bedbuggy analogy, making the assumption that a bike mechanic (or doctor or any other service professional) wants repeat business through deliberately failing to fix the problem is guaranteed to get you in trouble. You will assume that any dissatisfaction you have is due to this, and will quickly write off good service people for trivial issues. You leave yourself open to manipulation by people who are more skillful at telling you what you want to hear than at fixing problems. Not trusting anybody is a poor substitute for learning how to measure trustworthiness.

I realize this may seem harsh.
It is a sore point with me that some customers cannot get beyond their distrust and uncertainty to even know when they are being treated fairly. Your post sums up the one-sided point of view that makes many transactions go off the rails.

I hope your post is the result of a recent, disappointing experience which made you grumpy, just as my post here draws a lot of ire from the fact that I have a bad cold and cannot go for a ride.
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Old 05-11-14, 07:34 AM
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Originally Posted by aixaix View Post
Customer- what do you look for?
...
Customer - cold hard cash.

Managing expectations is key right from the start, but it's a rare customer who can drive that. That's a little out of the thread's scope but it does bring up a good point. Should the bike mechanic be expected to manage customer expectations and ensure that he has all of the pertinent information at the beginning, and be proactive about potential problems? I don't think so - I think that business procedures should be designed to handle all of that. But I've never been in the bike biz ...
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Old 05-11-14, 09:18 AM
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Around these parts? Tats, body piercings, hipster pants, greasy fingernails and riding a SS/fixie. Just kidding- there are some very good bike mechanics in this town.
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Old 05-11-14, 12:37 PM
  #15  
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I try not to look IN bike mechanics, they're usually filled with pizza and beer
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Old 05-11-14, 02:38 PM
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I look for three things,

1- honesty
2- skill
3- knowing his limits, and being willing to get help when he needs it.
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Old 05-11-14, 04:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Slash5 View Post
I look in the mirror.
Same here, but I try to avoid it.
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Old 05-11-14, 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by roadandmountain View Post
Is bike wrenching an actual profession? It doesn't require much skill to turn a hex key.
It ain't rocket surgery, but there's a bit more to it than turning a hex key. It's one thing to do a tune-up on your own bike. It takes a bit more skill to handle all the variety of problems that come through the door.
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