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Getting Paid.

Old 03-05-13, 08:13 PM
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whatwolf
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Getting Paid.

Well, it's finally happened: I built so many bikes that my LBS offered me a job

Starting in a couple weeks I'll be working at my favorite neighborhood bike shop one day a week (still full-time at my 'day job'), which will be a great learning experience I'm sure.

I know some of you are also in the business, but I'm curious: who here works at an LBS?
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Old 03-05-13, 08:35 PM
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Retired from my career as an engineer. I work on bikes as a sideline/hobby, its been a lot of fun over the last several years. No working at a shop, the only shop in town has one employee, the owner, and he only works about 20 hours a week.

My first bike project was in my college apartment, a long, long, time ago. So this bike "thing" has stuck around for a while.

I started working on vintage bikes when they were brand new.....

Sounds like a great opportunity to learn, reinforce skills, and maybe pick up some trade-ins/cast offs from the shop. I have bought quite a few project bikes from shops. They just don't want to be bothered.

+1 to below, GREAT GAP FILLER! I am sure I have many gaps in my knowledge. I would benefit from such a J O B in that regard, no doubt.

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Old 03-05-13, 08:52 PM
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I did a deal like that for a couple of months, but it started cutting into my down time and it began to feel like work. Underpaid work. The tipping point was not being able to take weekend excursions.
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Old 03-05-13, 08:56 PM
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I did it both part time to support my habit and full time to support myself. Lots of hard work and fun but not good money. Atleast not back then in the early '90s where I worked.

Just building a few bikes a day once a week should be fun if you can avoid becoming dedicated to the job and stay off the sales floor.

OH Yeah CONGRATS!!!
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Old 03-05-13, 08:57 PM
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Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake View Post
I did a deal like that for a couple of months, but it started cutting into my down time and it began to feel like work. Underpaid work. The tipping point was not being able to take weekend excursions.
This is definitely a concern of mine, but my other job is flexible enough that I may be okay. I'll try it for the season, see how it goes.
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Old 03-05-13, 09:01 PM
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What's the worst that happens? It doesn't work out and it was an experience.

My day job is very corporate...I found that, for me, it was too much. I'm also lazy
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Old 03-05-13, 09:09 PM
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It's a good experience to have. Working in a shop tends to instill good, efficient work methods and teach you some tricks you don't find in the manuals. I hated my actual experience of building low-end MTBs and changing tires for my LBS, but I'm still glad I put in 6 months there and filled the gaps in my knowledge.
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Old 03-05-13, 09:55 PM
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Started working full time at a local shop just over 3 months ago in sales. But I do some work in the back sometimes and build bikes as well. Have definitely learned a few trips and tricks from our mechanics, like knowing how to get the best leverage to loosen/tighten pedals!

Definitely only plan on doing this up to a year or year and a half. Nice way to fuel a hobby with great discounts, but definitely doesn't pay well. Takes away my weekends too, as KonAaron mentioned. Thus is the life of retail.
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Old 03-05-13, 09:56 PM
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After helping to manage a record store chain for years, the thought of working in retail at a shop makes me squeamish.

Hanging out and getting in the mechanics' way is more my speed.

I helped a customer though last week pick out a nice Bianchi Infinito.

I just about dropped dead when I saw the price tag.
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Old 03-05-13, 10:13 PM
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I had something similar happen to me. I went from loyal customer to employee at a LBS last summer. I only worked weekends and kept my nice 8-5'er during the week. It was good for me to see the other side of things, and to get more human interaction outside of a cubicle. I don't think I profited a single dollar, as I bought so much stuff using my discount! I certainly learned a lot, and it was great to have access to so many tools. I might do it again this summer, but maybe every other weekend instead. I have some bike excursions planned and I'd like for work not to get in the way!
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Old 03-05-13, 10:15 PM
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That sounds great. I would love to put some evening and weekend hours in at a bike shop. If I had access to shops like Grady has in the cities I would have my application in already. I just can't get into working on hybrids and low end mtbs. Metal bikes with modern road components are much more my speed.
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Old 03-05-13, 10:19 PM
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12 years...then I decided to get a real job.
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Old 03-05-13, 10:33 PM
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After being made to feel like a leper from the corporate world when I went looking again for a job, my buddy-owner of the LBS offered me a part-time job. Absolutely loved it ! I was happy to do everything, sales,mech work or even cleaning. It was a hoot to be around bikes, friends that I used to ride with. I learned alot and got to show that I knew quite abit myself.

It was great to sift through the backroom bins for hidden treasures and take home books,magazines and catalogues to read from the boss's vast collection. Money was not great but it was better then not getting paid at all. True, I lost riding time and had to work during ride events but I got my rides in. I would park my car way away from the shop and ride in. Work my shift and ride back to my car. I always located the end point near a coffee shop so I had my brew to cap the ride off. When the weather was nice I kept the distance 10-15 miles for the "commute", winter time and darkness ment I shortened the distance....

Sadly, my time at the shop only lasted for 4-5 months. Business slowed way down and he had to let us PT people go. So I moved on to other PT work and wait for him to call me back as the weather warms up.

Come on spring !
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Old 03-05-13, 11:09 PM
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I put 4 year in and was working on $10K bikes full carbon, all internal routing... got to test a ride a fresh build that was ridden in the olympics in 2008 and have set up DI2 a couple times. It was a great experience to be so engrossed in bikes for that time. Assembling bikes one day a week you will learn a thing or two for sure. At 4 years I was still learning and there is a new product to learn every few months. I miss it and I lament that I am already out of touch with what is current and a left 1.5 years ago. However, I make more than double what I made in the shop and I can take lots of vacations and the schedule is way more flexible. I am even learning how to build a frame and starting that process in the next day or two, as I am on paid vacation in Portland... I couldn't afford to do this and I wouldn't be getting paid if I was working at the LBS.
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Old 03-05-13, 11:24 PM
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Very interesting. I am a former corporate lawyer with a busy ADR practice. The manager of the Scottsdale Performance offered me a job as a floor person and as a mechanic. Ha Ha. What he wanted, among other things, was people skills and maturity. He was offering pay plus a very deep discount on products. Would have been fun for a while, maybe a couple of months.
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Old 03-06-13, 01:07 AM
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Why is it all the fun jobs dont pay?

boatbulding
bike shop
woodworking
etc.

I need a real job when I get stateside
MONEY!!
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Old 03-06-13, 05:09 AM
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Originally Posted by puchfinnland View Post
Why is it all the fun jobs dont pay?

boatbulding
bike shop
woodworking
etc.

I need a real job when I get stateside
MONEY!!
If work is fun they can find people to do it for less money

I did retail and bartending/waiting in my younger days and, as Grady said, I think I just had enough. There is nothing I love more than music, but I wouldn't want to sell little girls Taylor Swift albums either.

I still occasionally have nightmares where I have to bring someone a burger or make a frozen fruit drink in the blender<shiver>.

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Old 03-06-13, 05:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Kuotient View Post
Started working full time at a local shop just over 3 months ago in sales. But I do some work in the back sometimes and build bikes as well. Have definitely learned a few trips and tricks from our mechanics, like knowing how to get the best leverage to loosen/tighten pedals!

Definitely only plan on doing this up to a year or year and a half. Nice way to fuel a hobby with great discounts, but definitely doesn't pay well. Takes away my weekends too, as KonAaron mentioned. Thus is the life of retail.
Good to hear from Kuotient again! Super guy. They should just have him around for celebrity value. I could stock the store with Ironman bikes and he could sign them and sell 'em. He's my hero; cross country on an Ironman.

Originally Posted by RFC View Post
Very interesting...a busy ADR practice. The manager of the Scottsdale Performance offered me a job as a floor person ....
I can see the sales pitch: "Now, as we split up into separate rooms, you can discuss and decide on a fair price, and I'll visit each of you and see where we're at....." I can relate.

However, when I walk in, the mediator usually starts shaking his head.
=========================================================

My experience with the LBS was good. I'd walk in, he'd hand me a wrench, and I'd work on whatever bike was on the rack while he sold bikes. An hour later, I'd leave with whatever I came in for, and some old tools. He'd sell me tools at a pittance when he bought new ones. The shop has changed hands, now the customers sometimes call me after they get their bike back, so I can straighten out whatever was done.

My "shop" still runs: free labor, you bring the parts, and no guarantees. Word of mouth only, and if it's a mountain bike, I'll probably just shake my head. I think they hate me.
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Old 03-06-13, 06:38 AM
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Originally Posted by whatwolf View Post

I know some of you are also in the business, but I'm curious: who here works at an LBS?
Congrats on getting the part-time gig.
I own a small shop and the best mechanics I've hired are people who either:
- bought a lot of parts for their builds (we sell used commuters and don't stock any high-end new parts)
- worked on their own bikes on the open bike stand we have for customers.

Enjoy!
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Old 03-06-13, 09:34 AM
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I just made manager at the small LBS I work at, this will be my 3rd year there ( 2nd full year ) and I just love it. For me it's not about the money as I get paid in parts and bicycles and have full use of the shop & tools when ever I want plus I get to sell my used bikes out of there. I owned my own repair/service shop for 13yrs ( power equipment) and in some ways the businesses are a lot alike, at least in our area which is a resort/seasonal area. I work part time when I can as I am also permanently disabled & having a boss that understands that I live my life from day to day with my heath problems is a great feeling as no one else would give me that chance. I learn something new everyday doing something I love to do although I would rather just wrench on bikes then deal with the public. I also only work on repairs and don't do new bike assembles as I get really bored with them and my boss has no problem with it, he does them.

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Old 03-06-13, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by gomango View Post
Hanging out and getting in the mechanics' way is more my speed.
I used to pump gas in the local garage when I was a kid (in the UK) and in the workshop was hung the following sign: "Our rates are: 5/hour to work on your car; 10/hour if you watch; 15/hour if you help"



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Old 03-06-13, 09:57 AM
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which store will you be working at, Sophia? being a volunteer mechanic for the Time's Up co-op for the last 5 years has given me similar experience on a flexible schedule, but of course i don't get paid. i wouldn't be half the mechanic or collector if not for the experience i've gained there.
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Old 03-06-13, 10:11 AM
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That should be great fun, Whatwolf. Congrats!
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Old 03-06-13, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by puchfinnland View Post
Why is it all the fun jobs dont pay?

boatbulding
bike shop
woodworking
etc.

I need a real job when I get stateside
MONEY!!
Because they're hobbies, not jobs.

I make more money flipping bikes and parts than I did working in a shop.
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Old 03-06-13, 11:20 AM
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A local guy is talking about opening up a bike shop and intimated that if/when he does, he'll be looking for some help turning wrenches. I took him to imply, however, that since he'll just be starting out, it would be on a volunteer basis (with perhaps a chance of employment later, or at least discounts on bikes and gear). He can dream, I guess....
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