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It's mostly because we get paid bullshit.

Seriously, do you have any idea how annoying it is to get bitched at about the cost of a tune up when you don't make shit?

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FTFY:

Honest questions.

Do you think a lot of this pay disparity is due to seasonal layoffs?

And what other common profession do you think bike mechanics should have parity with?

DUG, with all due respect, please don't assume that you speak for every last person working in a shop.  Because you don't speak for me.

I like walking into a bike shop everyday.  Furthermore, I really like walking into my shop.  I get a steady paycheck from here and I make a good living, sure, but when I take into account everything I've learned here, and the friendships earned and insights given from both customers and co-workers, I'd have to say that I'm damn well compensated. 

In other words, I'm pretty happy.  You're just gonna have to take my word that I'm smiling as I type this, because I don't do emoticons.  Hope your day gets better, my man.

I'd be grumpy too if I stayed at a below annual average paying job year after year. 

Maybe time to go to school for IT... then you could end up doing both. Mechanic at times and a good paying job other times. 

Both excellent questions.

It is not seasonal layoffs, I am pretty sure the numbers they use are based on full time, year round, employees.  Based on my own salary and the salaries of other mechanics I know I feel the numbers there are an accurate representation of mechanics employed year round.  Sad but true the hourly rate for a bike mechanic is pretty terrible even compared to other 'menial' jobs; I have friends who are cashiers at Whole Foods or Trader Joe's or work as receptionists who make more and I think some of those jobs require less specialized skills.

Which leads into the parity question which is a tricky one for a couple of reasons.

First off there isn't really a job that is a good comparison for the bicycle mechanic.  As much as I would love to compare us to auto mechanics or other similar fields we do not require that much training or as many specialized skills (although every year things get more and more complex; bleeding hydraulic brakes and updating firmware is now a part of many bike mechanics jobs) but we do need a certain degree of specialized training, knowledge and experience beyond most other jobs with a similar pay scale.  It also costs more to be an auto mechanic in both training and tools. 

Not to mention that in addition to the skilled trade side of the job there is a lot of customer service work involved as well.  At many shops the mechanic has to deal directly with customers so communication, sales and customer service skills are almost as important a part of the job as actually fixing the bikes.  Also, in many smaller shops the mechanic is called upon to do sales work as well and expected to step up and sell bikes and accessories in addition to parts and service; I function in that dual role at the shop I currently work at.

Many mechanics fill many roles; skilled tradesman, sales person, retail clerk and many more.  I really don't have a good answer to what profession we should have parity with because I'm not sure who we realy compare with...

Then there is the issue of the fact that salaries are not just low because bike shop owners are terrible monsters who take advantage of us; it's often that they just can't afford to pay more combined with the fact that there is very often some kid out there willing to play bike mechanic for chump change.  It's hard for a skilled mechanic to command a higher wage because in many cases the customer can't really tell the difference.

It makes me happy to walk into a bike shop to work everyday as well; if it didn't I wouldn't be doing this for a living because it is not exactly a great living. 

Could I do other stuff?  Yes. 

Would I be as happy?  No. 

That is why I am a bike mechanic and not doing something else with my life but no matter how happy I am with what I do I'm still going to be mad when people rant on at me about how bike shop prices are a rip off.

But life lessons and friends aside do you really think you are fairly compensated for your work when you consider the knowledge and skill you have?  Friendship and good feeling is great but it doesn't pay the rent or buy a new bike.

Paul Michael Ignacio said:

DUG, with all due respect, please don't assume that you speak for every last person working in a shop.  Because you don't speak for me.

I like walking into a bike shop everyday.  Furthermore, I really like walking into my shop.  I get a steady paycheck from here and I make a good living, sure, but when I take into account everything I've learned here, and the friendships earned and insights given from both customers and co-workers, I'd have to say that I'm damn well compensated. 

In other words, I'm pretty happy.  You're just gonna have to take my word that I'm smiling as I type this, because I don't do emoticons.  Hope your day gets better, my man.

Because we should all work two full time jobs...

I don't want to work in IT, I want to work on bikes but would like to be paid decently for doing it.  I don't want or expect to make the kind of money many other jobs make but I would like to get compensation at least on the level of what the average grocery store cashier makes...

Julie Hochstadter said:

Maybe time to go to school for IT... then you could end up doing both. Mechanic at times and a good paying job other times. 

"Seriously, do you have any idea how annoying it is to get bitched at about the cost of a tune up when you don't make shit?"

No, I don't.  I chose a profession where I make above shit.  

If you choose to remain in a profession that has a certain pay scale that you cannot influence then you will remain grumpy.  Hard to believe there is only one profession that fits your contentment profile.

Not to say that money can't buy happiness, but none of the mechanics are grumpy at any of the shops I go to...

Let me ask you this: Do you really believe that a bicycle mechanic is a position so devoid of skill it should pay down at the 'working in fast food' end of the spectrum?

Bikes aren't exactly as complex as a car but it still takes a certain level of skill and knowledge to fix them well; you don't think that deserves decent compensation?



in it to win it 8.0 mi said:

"Seriously, do you have any idea how annoying it is to get bitched at about the cost of a tune up when you don't make shit?"

No, I don't.  I chose a profession where I make above shit.  

If you choose to remain in a profession that has a certain pay scale that you cannot influence then you will remain grumpy.  Hard to believe there is only one profession that fits your contentment profile.

It's not what I think you should be paid. It's what the market is willing to pay you. Since you have little leeway to influence what the market pays you as a bike mechanic (or most jobs for that matter), and often the only way to earn more money is to change jobs, complaining about your pay without willing to change your job makes you look grumpy

That is what IITWI was saying, I think ;)


notoriousDUG said:

Let me ask you this: Do you really believe that a bicycle mechanic is a position so devoid of skill it should pay down at the 'working in fast food' end of the spectrum?

Bikes aren't exactly as complex as a car but it still takes a certain level of skill and knowledge to fix them well; you don't think that deserves decent compensation?



in it to win it 8.0 mi said:

"Seriously, do you have any idea how annoying it is to get bitched at about the cost of a tune up when you don't make shit?"

No, I don't.  I chose a profession where I make above shit.  

If you choose to remain in a profession that has a certain pay scale that you cannot influence then you will remain grumpy.  Hard to believe there is only one profession that fits your contentment profile.

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