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Bike Mechanic- wages??

lvquestpaddlerlvquestpaddler Posts: 410
edited December 2017 in Workshop
Hi,

I'm just wondering what the "average" pay is for a bike mechanic (or expected minimum>maximum) and at what levels? I'd assume (maybe incorrectly?) that mechanics in say Halfords/Tiso etc are more likely to be involved in shifting new bikes/PDI's, whereas in specialist shops they may be involved in far more techy things like wheel building and suspension rebuilds, repairs etc?
Does the industry demand qualifications (litigation....) or could a suitably home/internet taught well experienced person do this? It seems everything you do these days needs a "ticket".... :(:(:(
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  • You need Cytech 2, although the shop might be able to help you get that. The City Guilds certificate might be a substitute, but Cytech 2 is the most widely recognised.
  • redvisionredvision Posts: 2,739
    From my experience/ observation all bike mechanics aren't paid enough. (And no, I am not a bike mechanic)

    The lbs ones will usually be on minimum wage and the pros may be on what looks like an ok salary at first, but when you look at the hours they have to do, their salary is poor.
  • Our local TISO is advertising for a mechanic, but I hold no formal qualifications despite considering myself more than capable and confident enough to do the job (just had a scan at cytech and velotech levels)- but I looked at "glassdoor" and the comments on TISO all said poor pay/minimum wage but this relates to shop assistant/sales just wondered if this would be different for having a skillset that you'd think would raise earnings potential beyond minimum wage....hmmmm....Someone in Road Workshop said it's £17k for a mechanic. That's shocking....taking the p%ss and being thoroughly exploited springs to mind...
  • Probably less than 17K if you are an "apprentice".

    If you are 18 years old, happy to share a flat with others, then 17k is not bad at all... 15 years ago I had a great life in Sheffield with 11K (admittedly tax free, but tax on 17k is very low anyway).

    If you are 30 and want to buy a house, best to look for a different line of work
  • redvision wrote:
    From my experience/ observation all bike mechanics aren't paid enough. (And no, I am not a bike mechanic)

    The lbs ones will usually be on minimum wage and the pros may be on what looks like an ok salary at first, but when you look at the hours they have to do, their salary is poor.

    I wouldn’t think even pro team mechanics get paid too well when the riders themselves (if domestiques) are only paid a pittance. Forget Sky and look at some 2nd tier intercontinental team. They are on shoestring budgets. Mechs will not be living a flash lifestyle.
  • It's not about what you should be paid for a job its what a business is capable of paying. Sadly many bike shops have gone to the wall and it is a massive struggle to remain profitable from what you hear on bike trade sites. High wages go with high profits unless the public sector where the poor old tax payer is forced to pay for much higher wages and pensions than in the private sector for the same qualifications and skill level.

    Wages are likely to go down rather than up as well in the long term as we continue to add more national debt and the government has to pay more and more interest. We are currently living well beyond our means in the UK, same as much of Europe and the US. I can only foresee more pressure on wages at retail in the future.
  • What I have learnt about the bicycle world.

    It is obviously still a very big business and the vast majority is mainstream stuff, which is mostly sold on the web or in chain stores, profit margins are very tight and it's not worth it getting involved in that part of the business in this day and age.

    However, the business is so big that there is enough to be made at the fringes... a few years ago "fringe' was wheelbuilding and virtually anyone who offered this service had some degree of success, myself included. Now wheelbuilding is no longer "fringe", as only in the UK there are hundreds of small businesses that offer this service for different pockets
    Bespoke frame building, bespoke bicycle fitting, frame painting, rubbing, stroking and whispering and services of all sorts exist and generally they all do better than a traditional bike shop. Lower overheads, less investment, less competition from the big corporations.

    There are still a lot of "grey areas", where neither Wiggle nor your LBS can help... anything that falls in the "bespoke" category is likely to have a market out there... if you can shorten and rethread a crank, repair a rohloff hub or design and produce bespoke handlebar tape and matching saddles, someone out there will look for your services.

    My advice, if you want to make a living in the bicycle business is to learn to do something that nobody (or very few) out there can do, do it well and someone will knock at your door
  • What I have learnt about the bicycle world.

    It is obviously still a very big business and the vast majority is mainstream stuff, which is mostly sold on the web or in chain stores, profit margins are very tight and it's not worth it getting involved in that part of the business in this day and age.

    However, the business is so big that there is enough to be made at the fringes... a few years ago "fringe' was wheelbuilding and virtually anyone who offered this service had some degree of success, myself included. Now wheelbuilding is no longer "fringe", as only in the UK there are hundreds of small businesses that offer this service for different pockets
    Bespoke frame building, bespoke bicycle fitting, frame painting, rubbing, stroking and whispering and services of all sorts exist and generally they all do better than a traditional bike shop. Lower overheads, less investment, less competition from the big corporations.

    There are still a lot of "grey areas", where neither Wiggle nor your LBS can help... anything that falls in the "bespoke" category is likely to have a market out there... if you can shorten and rethread a crank, repair a rohloff hub or design and produce bespoke handlebar tape and matching saddles, someone out there will look for your services.

    My advice, if you want to make a living in the bicycle business is to learn to do something that nobody (or very few) out there can do, do it well and someone will knock at your door

    Sound advice.....Suppose a good example of this is the "bikepacking" thing (Hmmmm....an ill fated tour of the Highlands in 1993 on a Kirk Magnesium Alloy MTB with minimal kit and no cooking equipment springs to mind....!) with bespoke/niche manufacturers making lightweight kit but as ever they're being copied and will have their profits diluted by cheaper big manufacturers flooding the market.

    I must admit I don't help the LBS at all....it's an 18 mile trip there, they never have what I need or in the right size, offer limited kit from a small range of companies they've partnered with, and therefore it makes sense to source stuff online and have postie drop it on the porch. I suppose I'm a "bike prepper" and have a decent stock of consumables and 4 bikes to play with so would never get caught short. Besides....I'm on minimum wage what else can I do? Shop prices are a luxury I can't afford and you'll always find me in the "reduced" section of the Co-Op fighting over a loaf with the rest of the working poor.....!!!
  • MatthewfalleMatthewfalle Posts: 17,380
    As i’ve said in the Mtb forum where you also posted this and expressed over surprise at the level of pay, it’s not a high skill set job - working on bikes is very, very simple.

    People have quoted an average wage of £17k - yeah, for a bloke who does nothing in a shop but bike mechanicing that’s about right.

    What did you expect out of interest?
    Postby team47b » Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:53 am

    De Sisti wrote:
    This is one of the silliest threads I've come across. :lol:

    Recognition at last Matthew, well done!, a justified honour :D
    smithy21 wrote:

    He's right you know.
  • MatthewfalleMatthewfalle Posts: 17,380
    Our local TISO is advertising for a mechanic, but I hold no formal qualifications despite considering myself more than capable and confident enough to do the job (just had a scan at cytech and velotech levels)- but I looked at "glassdoor" and the comments on TISO all said poor pay/minimum wage but this relates to shop assistant/sales just wondered if this would be different for having a skillset that you'd think would raise earnings potential beyond minimum wage....hmmmm....Someone in Road Workshop said it's £17k for a mechanic. That's shocking....taking the p%ss and being thoroughly exploited springs to mind...

    No it’s not takin* the pissss and being thoroughly exploited - why do you say this?
    Postby team47b » Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:53 am

    De Sisti wrote:
    This is one of the silliest threads I've come across. :lol:

    Recognition at last Matthew, well done!, a justified honour :D
    smithy21 wrote:

    He's right you know.
  • Calm yer jets....jeez, keks in a twist there.... And I'd disagree, working on bikes is not "very, very simple". It might be if you're doing a basic PDI and shifting units out the door that you won't see again, but managing a large hire fleet with regular inspections and scheduled maintenance and repairs would be different. Being a bile mechanic should not be seen as an inferior position to a "REAL mechanic" (most of whom I've had the misfortune to let work on my van are bloody useless).
    So you're responsible (there, that's the key word) for ensuring what work you do is 100% safe, every time without exception.
    So for the same wages say as a shelf stacker, till operator, call centre worker, or a cleaner for example( who may just have to clean a toilet, floors, offices etc but cannot potentially harm anyone or need any vast knowledge combined with skills AND a Cytech 2) I'd still say the bike mech is being shafted. Every time. (but I guess a lot of bike mechanics are probably enthusiasts who put up with poor pay)
  • Between £20-24k depending on location....
  • MatthewfalleMatthewfalle Posts: 17,380
    Calm yer jets....jeez, keks in a twist there.... And I'd disagree, working on bikes is not "very, very simple". It might be if you're doing a basic PDI and shifting units out the door that you won't see again, but managing a large hire fleet with regular inspections and scheduled maintenance and repairs would be different. Being a bile mechanic should not be seen as an inferior position to a "REAL mechanic" (most of whom I've had the misfortune to let work on my van are bloody useless).
    So you're responsible (there, that's the key word) for ensuring what work you do is 100% safe, every time without exception.
    So for the same wages say as a shelf stacker, till operator, call centre worker, or a cleaner for example( who may just have to clean a toilet, floors, offices etc but cannot potentially harm anyone or need any vast knowledge combined with skills AND a Cytech 2) I'd still say the bike mech is being shafted. Every time. (but I guess a lot of bike mechanics are probably enthusiasts who put up with poor pay)

    Errr - yes it is very simple. I’ve done it - it’s not the most cerebral of jobs. It’s a good laugh but not the most cerebral. 3 out of 10 on the stress scale I’d say.

    Managing fleets are just about getting your schedules right so you don’t have 20 bikes on one day and none the next.

    Most jobs involve you being responsible (there, that’s the key word) for ensuring the work you do is 100% right every time. Being a bicycle mechanic is no different to being a lawyer or a doctor or a teacher or whatever. You’re being paid to do your job right.

    Bicycles are not really that complicated. Every time.

    The mechanic is not being shafted. You seem in awe of the mechanics of a bicycle - do you really think they are complicated? A Cytech 2 isn’t really that difficult either by the way in case you are wondering.
    Postby team47b » Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:53 am

    De Sisti wrote:
    This is one of the silliest threads I've come across. :lol:

    Recognition at last Matthew, well done!, a justified honour :D
    smithy21 wrote:

    He's right you know.
  • MatthewfalleMatthewfalle Posts: 17,380
    Between £20-24k depending on location....

    That’s a lot of money for not a lot of job.

    A band 5 nurse gets between 24 and 28k.

    Do you really think a bike mechanic is worth the same as a band 5 nurse?
    Postby team47b » Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:53 am

    De Sisti wrote:
    This is one of the silliest threads I've come across. :lol:

    Recognition at last Matthew, well done!, a justified honour :D
    smithy21 wrote:

    He's right you know.
  • The nurse isn't getting paid enough either silly....
  • So what about the no-skill set jobs that pay the same? Any words of wisdom??
  • MatthewfalleMatthewfalle Posts: 17,380
    So what about the no-skill set jobs that pay the same? Any words of wisdom??

    It's what the market pays. Why - do you think they should take a pay cut? Why are they no skill? No different to being an office admin.

    Don't knock them - someone has to do them. It's seems you're looking down on them from your wording.

    Bear in mind as well generally these guys are stuck on zero hours contracts as well so it's a pretty tat way of earning a living not knowing how much you're going to earn from one day to the next.

    And the level of wages these guys earn will only go up after Brexit anyhow so that will really make you angry.
    Postby team47b » Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:53 am

    De Sisti wrote:
    This is one of the silliest threads I've come across. :lol:

    Recognition at last Matthew, well done!, a justified honour :D
    smithy21 wrote:

    He's right you know.
  • MatthewfalleMatthewfalle Posts: 17,380
    The nurse isn't getting paid enough either silly....

    So, mechanics, nurses... anyone else?
    Postby team47b » Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:53 am

    De Sisti wrote:
    This is one of the silliest threads I've come across. :lol:

    Recognition at last Matthew, well done!, a justified honour :D
    smithy21 wrote:

    He's right you know.
  • I'm not knocking them. If you are being paid minimum wage then find the job with the least amount of stress, effort, best hours and fewest responsibilities is what I say.... breeze in and out with a smile...
    I'd like an explanation of why you state "the level of wages these guys earn will only go up after Brexit" ? You've certainly lost me there Matthew....
  • MatthewfalleMatthewfalle Posts: 17,380
    I'm not knocking them. If you are being paid minimum wage then find the job with the least amount of stress, effort, best hours and fewest responsibilities is what I say.... breeze in and out with a smile...
    I'd like an explanation of why you state "the level of wages these guys earn will only go up after Brexit" ? You've certainly lost me there Matthew....


    If ou' ever a family to feed, rent to pay, clothes to buy then I'm afraid that I'm sorry that you think getting a minimum wage job is not stressful. Seems a high level of naivety going on there.

    Have a think about why wages will rise my friend and report back.
    Postby team47b » Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:53 am

    De Sisti wrote:
    This is one of the silliest threads I've come across. :lol:

    Recognition at last Matthew, well done!, a justified honour :D
    smithy21 wrote:

    He's right you know.
  • Really?? I've now got a minimum wage job, and it's only fixed term at the moment, and I've got a mortgage and all the rest of the accompanying stuff....(a missus on minimum wage too!!)....
    Had a think....nope...... you got me....so why will wages rise? (it's not to do with thinking curbing immigration creates a workers utopia or something is it??)
  • So, Pro Rata a 40 hr week is £17,700....
    Public Convenience Cleaner
    Aberdeenshire Council
    Posted December, 17, 2017 9:12 AM

    Location: Ballater
    £8.51 per hour, TECH OP B
    Hours: Part Time
    Contact: Please see description
    Reference: ABS12023
    Apply Now Similar jobs
    Job Description
    Your responsibilities include ensuring the Public Convenience facility is open as per opening hours and secured at the end of the shift, cleaning the facility to required standards, ensuring proper stock replenishment, and ensuring any operational issues are reported. This role may require flexible, evening and weekend working.

    Meanwhile in far more expensive Clapham Evans are looking for a .....

    Mechanic, Full time

    Clapham

    Up to £16,536

    We are looking for enthusiastic and dedicated individuals to start their Evans Cycles Adventure!

    About the Role:

    For our Mechanics, tinkering on their bike is no longer just a hobby. We want hands-on, technically minded individuals who understand the importance of taking care of our customer’s pride and joy. Be it a road bike, kid’s bike or top of the range mountain bike. You will be helping keep our customer’s wheels turning.

    You will be a representative of Evans Cycles and an ambassador for cycling. Previous experience in a professional workshop or a knowledge of bike mechanics would be great although not essential; you should have an extensive working knowledge of bike mechanics and maintenance. You will be enrolled on Prologue (our in-house training program) from day one, giving you the skills and knowledge to confidently meet the needs of each individual customer.
    About You:
    You will…
    Have a good understanding of mechanical principles and a great level of technical bike building knowledge
    Demonstrate a readiness to learn and develop
    Be approachable and able to demonstrate strong communication skills that are tailored to customers with varying levels of cycling experience
    Be a flexible and committed team player, willing to support the store during our busy peak season
    Have strong problem solving skills and demonstrate an ability to use your initiative whilst working independently
    Show a commitment to developing skills in others, through sharing your knowledge
    Be willing to contribute to admin and data analysis tasks relating to the running of the workshop
    About Us:
    We’ve come a long way from the local shop in Kennington Road, London in 1921. Back then we made our own bikes, and even won awards for the quality of our service. It was (and still is) all about knowledge, passion and value. These three things are still part of our DNA – we’re still a local bike shop, but now with nationwide stores and a huge online store that operate on a global scale.
    We love to reward our colleagues for the passion and enthusiasm they put into what they do.
    Here are some of our benefits that you can unlock…
    Straight away…

    Up to 28 Days Holiday per year (including Bank Holidays)
    A Company Pension scheme
    Childcare Vouchers
    Fantastic Discounts on Bike Insurance and British Cycling Council Membership
    The Yellow Jersey – our colleague of the month award
    Free Entry to our RIDEIT Events
    A Dedicated Training Program from day one

    On completion of your probationary period…

    A Ride to Work Scheme (unsurprisingly)
    Trade Discount on all of our products
    Holiday Buy Back – buy up to 5 days’ additional holiday
    After 6 months…

    Health Shield, a cash back health plan
    Access to your very own e-learning portal
    Opportunities to gain industry recognised mechanic qualifications


    Bet the councils holidays are at least 32 too....Now, I wonder what one I'd go for that demands the least of me relative to remuneration...Any council cleaner job with any local authority in Scotland is minimum £8.51 an hour now, many only do 36 hr weeks so a cheeky wee half day and £16k F/T....
    No brainer eh?
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,601
    Some people would rather fix bikes than clean up other people's censored .
    I don't do smileys.

    There is no secret ingredient - Kung Fu Panda

    London Calling on Facebook

    Parktools
  • cooldad wrote:
    Some people would rather fix bikes than clean up other people's censored .

    Go work in a Specialized concept store

    You get to do both! :)
  • The role advertised does not require Cytech 2, as I understand. Training can be worth up to 2,000 pounds alone and that without including the costs involved to go (and possibly stay overnight) to a training centre for Cytech 2.
    They provide the training, so that has to be worth something.

    Public service low skill jobs are unionised, so it is not uncommon that those jobs pay better than the private sector and come with better conditions.
    I also don't believe Brexit will lead to higher wages in the private sector. If wages go up, suddenly a technology that replace humans becomes cost effective.... that has often been the case. If waiters are too costly and restaurants can't put up the prices, then you will see more and more 'self service" type of restaurants or we might even see the first robot waiters...

    At least that would get rid of the awkwardness if you don't feel like leaving a tip... :mrgreen:
  • haydenmhaydenm Posts: 2,934
    A lot of the guys I know who work in bike shops are committed or low level sponsored riders and racers who do it because it's something they like (nobody really likes shelf stacking) and they get a good discount on bike stuff. They work half day shifts and change things about to train and ride during the day. In that respect it is a very good life, I often daydream about sacking in my 8-5 so I can ride more...

    For places like Halfords, they are often young people at school/college or in between things and are grateful for the flexibility of 0 hours contracts or casual work. I did a similar job when I was back from uni and a 0 hours contract was very useful, but they really aren't for everyone.
  • timothywtimothyw Posts: 2,482
    Yeah, working as a bike mechanic is basically something you do because you like doing it, and would probably spend a fair bit of your disposable income on bike parts anyway - so being able to get stuff at trade prices offsets the fairly low pay.

    Plenty of bike shops are run by people who did a sensible job for a number of years but got sick of the stress, paid off the bulk of the mortgage and decided to do something they like doing instead.

    It's not really a career you're going to make a good living in.

    Aside from anything else, there is an effective cap on the amount that a bike mechanic can make in an hour, in that beyond a certain point any kind of servicing becomes more expensive than just replacing the dodgy part.

    And if that's mostly all you're doing, then it doesn't take too long for the customers to wake up to the fact that they could just fit the parts themselves, and buy the parts online for considerably less.
  • MatthewfalleMatthewfalle Posts: 17,380
    Given the fact that it actually gets quite boring after a while as well - much like most jobs that start brilliant because it’s a hobby you love then working in the industry destroys it for you - I found this when helping run a dive shop years ago. Haven’t dived since because of it.
    Postby team47b » Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:53 am

    De Sisti wrote:
    This is one of the silliest threads I've come across. :lol:

    Recognition at last Matthew, well done!, a justified honour :D
    smithy21 wrote:

    He's right you know.
  • Given the fact that it actually gets quite boring after a while as well - much like most jobs that start brilliant because it’s a hobby you love then working in the industry destroys it for you - I found this when helping run a dive shop years ago. Haven’t dived since because of it.

    This in a way. There is a big difference from fettling and upgrading your own pride and joy and fixing a beat up steel piece of censored that’s been left outside in all conditions to rust and seize up. Knowing that as soon as the owner gets it back it’ll be treated the same as it always was. It becomes just another chore of a job. I’d get little satisfaction constantly greasing pedals and headsets that have been neglected by the owners to the point of failure
  • MatthewfalleMatthewfalle Posts: 17,380
    Given the fact that it actually gets quite boring after a while as well - much like most jobs that start brilliant because it’s a hobby you love then working in the industry destroys it for you - I found this when helping run a dive shop years ago. Haven’t dived since because of it.

    This in a way. There is a big difference from fettling and upgrading your own pride and joy and fixing a beat up steel piece of censored that’s been left outside in all conditions to rust and seize up. Knowing that as soon as the owner gets it back it’ll be treated the same as it always was. It becomes just another chore of a job. I’d get little satisfaction constantly greasing pedals and headsets that have been neglected by the owners to the point of failure


    This.

    Trying to get a 10 year old bashed bottom of the range rear mech to work with a knackered cassette, chain and chainrings All double time because you can’t charge the labour (which the owner wouldn’t pay anyway) and the owner won’t change the parts isn’t exactly working on Kittel’s bike.

    And yes, that is the reality of workshops.

    Kid’s bikes, knackered commuter bikes, horribly bodged stuff - it’s the bread and butter of shops.
    Postby team47b » Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:53 am

    De Sisti wrote:
    This is one of the silliest threads I've come across. :lol:

    Recognition at last Matthew, well done!, a justified honour :D
    smithy21 wrote:

    He's right you know.
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