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What's the typical salary range for a bike mechanic?

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What's the typical salary range for a bike mechanic?

Old 05-12-14, 02:40 AM
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Russell Fontain
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What's the typical salary range for a bike mechanic?

I'm contemplating a career change and I'm curious to know what the typical salary range is for a bike mechanic, preferrably in Canadian dollars, but any figure is fine. Can you make a living as a wrench, or do you need to moonlight in other areas? I ask because I think I'd really enjoy the work, and I'm looking to find a job I'll be excited about coming to each day

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Old 05-12-14, 03:55 AM
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Strictly as a guess, I'd say minimum wage and you'd get laid off as soon as the cold weather starts. You'd make more per year working at McDonalds.
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Old 05-12-14, 04:09 AM
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If you haven't already, check out Winterborne Bicycle Institute, in Gweffle, Ontario.
Check out:

Welcome to Winterborne | Winterborne Bicycle Institute

MECH1230 - Professional Bicycle Mechanic | Winterborne Bicycle Institute

They might have placement and salary figures from their graduates.

Binky
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Old 05-12-14, 04:20 AM
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Check out this link from bikerumor.com : State of the Industry: What Bike Mechanics Make. There are exceptions to this but for the most part it's pretty accurate.

Last edited by bikejunkie; 05-12-14 at 04:21 AM. Reason: grammar
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Old 05-12-14, 05:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Russell Fontain View Post
I'm contemplating a career change and I'm curious to know what the typical salary range is for a bike mechanic, preferrably in Canadian dollars, but any figure is fine. Can you make a living as a wrench, or do you need to moonlight in other areas? I ask because I think I'd really enjoy the work, and I'm looking to find a job I'll be excited about coming to each day

Well, I own a shop and make less than any of my employees. Good mechanics-those that can do perfect assemblies, are fast with a wrench and have few comebacks are sought after. But prepare to have your skills denigrated and taken for granted on a near-daily basis. Anecdote: guy comes in with cheap bike from Dick's. Been to 3 shops with a chain-throwing-off-the-crank issue. Everyone says he needs a new derailleur. Brings it to us because someone told him we know our stuff. I take one look at it, realize that, 1. it's a cheap steel derailleur, and 2. it's either bent or mismanufactured so that the curve of the cage doesn't match the curve of the crank. The tail is way up, so it can't control the chain. I grab a dead-blow hammer, strike the tail downward, bending the derailleur into the correct shape. It now shifts just fine. I charged for a "Labor-Front Derailleur Adjust $12" The guy is livid! "But allz you did was hit it with a hammer"! "Ah....true. Hitting it with a hammer is free. Know exactly where and how hard to strike in order to both correct the problem and keep you from buying a new derailleur is $12." Why do people seem to think everything should be free? And you'll be asked for the loan of your tools every day, usually by a guy who just bought something on the internet, not from you. He will not know how to use the tool, then want to be taught....for free, of course. I doubt any of them would walk into a busy kitchen at a restaurant and ask to use the grill "real quick" to cook their own steak in order to avoid paying the restaurant to prepare him one. But this guy-and it's always a guy-will act like you are some kind of publicly-funded resource. By the way, in 30 years I have seldom had a woman ask to borrow a tool. I think they understand being taken for granted!

The worst guys I've ever had work here all started with the same line: "I work on my own bike" and that's supposed to make me think they have a clue? It usually doesn't. All my employees say the biggest thing they learned, which has served them as a life skill is the ability to problem-solve. I work on people's cars for fun and a few extra bucks, and people are always shocked to hear that I find car repair brainless compared to making a bike work right. Car brakes? Once the wheels are off, remove only 5 or 6 fasteners and off they come. Literally shove the new parts in place, put said fasteners back in and they work. No tuning required.

So why do it? Hardest job you'll ever love. Helping people get back on their bikes and seeing them come in healthier and happier than ever is awesome. Fixing the problem the 3 other "shops" in the area couldn't figure out is priceless. But be prepared to live like a monk. There will be no new cars in your future. I double the value of my ancient BMW by putting my Gunnar Rockhound on the rack! No posh apartment. Figure $12-15hr once you're making the shop money. Before that, minimum wage.

Last edited by BikeWise1; 05-12-14 at 06:02 AM.
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Old 05-12-14, 06:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Binky View Post
If you haven't already, check out Winterborne Bicycle Institute, in Gweffle, Ontario.
Check out:

Welcome to Winterborne | Winterborne Bicycle Institute

MECH1230 - Professional Bicycle Mechanic | Winterborne Bicycle Institute

They might have placement and salary figures from their graduates.

Binky
That would be Guelph, not Gweffle
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Old 05-12-14, 06:40 AM
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Russell- I agree with all that's been said above. The starting wage for bike mechanics usually isn't enough to live on and have your own apartment, car, toys, vacations unless you are partnered with some one else. Here on the South side of Ontario Lake $10/hr (US$) is common starting and getting to $15/hr is not common. Andy.
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Old 05-12-14, 07:35 AM
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Since I was a service engineer for 47 years, I find it kind of sad that a good bike mechanics pay is so low.

I worked for a large computer corp, and you will probably have your eye teeth fall out but if a computer or machine was not on contract my per call charge was $246 per hour with a two hour minimum. And the fact was in many cases the work or adjustment that I did was really no different that what a good bike mechanic might do on a bike.

Another thing that I find just wrong is the fact that the price of a high end bike is so high, and yet the bike mechanics pay that works on them is so low. Minimum wage pay to work on an 8 to 10 thousand dollar bike just doesnt seem right.
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Old 05-12-14, 07:46 AM
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more than for a musician
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Old 05-12-14, 07:58 AM
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Less than tipped jobs, waiting tables and bar-tending .
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Old 05-12-14, 10:58 AM
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As it is going to vary by local cost of living, individual shops, experience level and range of duties why don't you just ask at a local shop or two? The Internet is still not all that good when it comes to localized info.
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Old 05-12-14, 11:09 AM
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A bicycle mechanic's wages will depend very much on the location of the repair shop. Obviously locations like Florida, California, Georgia, North Carolina, etc., where you can ride year round ( and work 12 months out of the year ), are more wage friendly than a bike mechanic would find in Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, and Canada, etc.. In the cold states most bike shops close their doors around Christmas after the "gift" bikes have been sold, and they open up again in April/May for the season. You'd be lucky to make $10 ( US ) or slightly more per hour in most bike shops, if you don't own the business. You'd definitely want this to be a "part time" type paying job and have another job that's more secure. There's a bike shop in a city near ours that's owned by a person who runs the original bike shop in a nearby county. It's been in existence for three years and they've had a new "shop manager" / "mechanic" every year. he had a guy who could help him part time, and that person has also changed yearly. So I guess if you could find work at a chain ( no pun intended ) of bike shops, in a large populated area in a state that has year round biking action, you may eek out a living if you don't have many needs outside of the shop, or a spouse that is also employed. Younger kids may go through several bikes in their "growing" years, but most adults will settle on a bike they enjoy and stick with it for year after year, and usually don't need too much in the way of maintenance ( maybe a flat tire repaired, but that's about it ). I'd say you'd definitely need to moonlight in Canada or here's a thought, maybe you could be a mechanic for a few large "big box" stores like Walmart, etc., that need their bikes put together for the displays in the store. That would be more "full time" than a bike shop in Canada would be. Good luck with whatever route you choose.
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Old 05-12-14, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by BikeWise1 View Post
I work on people's cars for fun and a few extra bucks, and people are always shocked to hear that I find car repair brainless compared to making a bike work right.
You're in the wrong line of work for sure then.
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Old 05-12-14, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by roadandmountain View Post
You're in the wrong line of work for sure then.
I enjoy a challenge! I do all my own IT and computer building, too. My car has 350,000 miles on and is 30 years old. Drive-anywhere-anytime reliability. :-)
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Old 05-12-14, 03:53 PM
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Let's face it, 95% of what a bike mechanic does, a hobbyist can do. There is not a whole lot of expertise there. Add to that the fact that bikes are typically a luxury expense and not like paying th bills--unless you are a commuter.
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Old 05-12-14, 04:32 PM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
I worked for a large computer corp, and you will probably have your eye teeth fall out but if a computer or machine was not on contract my per call charge was $246 per hour with a two hour minimum. And the fact was in many cases the work or adjustment that I did was really no different that what a good bike mechanic might do on a bike.
Good luck making $20/hr doing the same thing now. I work in technology and they find a way to outsource every day. Once people in India figure out how to help you fix your own bike via Skype there will be no more bike mechanics.
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Old 05-12-14, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by themishmosh View Post
Let's face it, 95% of what a bike mechanic does, a hobbyist can do. There is not a whole lot of expertise there. Add to that the fact that bikes are typically a luxury expense and not like paying th bills--unless you are a commuter.
Then why don't they?

I go on rides with lots and lots of participants and come across bike and bike after bike with something not right going on....and the riders either seem oblivious or think it's just supposed to make that noise.

The problem with the hobbyist is fewer and fewer seem to understand the difference between "assembled" and "assembled, correctly set up and properly tuned". There's a difference.

Heck, the ONLY thing I don't do to my own car is tire mounting and balancing. And I do it all with a far smaller number of tools and still fewer specialized tools than are required to work on bikes.....
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Old 05-12-14, 04:40 PM
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Old 05-12-14, 06:33 PM
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Originally Posted by themishmosh View Post
Let's face it, 95% of what a bike mechanic does, a hobbyist can do. There is not a whole lot of expertise there. Add to that the fact that bikes are typically a luxury expense and not like paying th bills--unless you are a commuter.
I agree that much of the servicing that a shop does can be handled by the consumer. Not always as well or getting things as clean (and this view is from seeing 40 years of my customers trying repairs first then bring the bike to me) but with patience and practice some of my customers do really good work. They usually are the types who don't mind spending some $ on proper tools and are willing to step away from the job if they're frustrated.

What the average rider doesn't have much capacity with is with bikes they don't ride or have seen before. I don't mean the same components on a different brand but the adult trikes, the now out of manufacturing recumbent, the hubs of yesteryear, the methods of servicing stuff that isn't used any more on current bikes. And I see the opposite where the rider use to do all their work themselves but don't have the time, tools, training on the current designs and can afford to have a pro do the service for them.

This is no different then house repairs or auto repairs. No different then yard work. No different then sewing one's own clothing. Some choose to learn and try things and some don't. I have no worries about the future of my portion of the industry (at least in the demand, the pay is another issue). Andy.
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