Holy shit/Bike Shop lulz


#12941

That’s why I don’t work in a shop anymore. I’ve had two shops recently reach out to me because they knew I used to be a competent, certified wrench. I told them what I needed to make and they couldn’t/wouldn’t pay me what I wanted. I’d rather be wrenching, but I’d also to not be broke all the time.


#12942

What’s the longer term story of bike shop employment? In my head, bike shops from 1950-1990 were staffed by an older sole propietor and a bunch of random high school kids turning wrenches and doing general gophering. Sometime around teh late 80’s, as bikes got a bit more complicated and mtbs were normalized in mainstream sales channels, bike shops got bigger and started hiring/cultivating semiprofessional mechanics.

This was sort of top heavy, but worked if you could sell big ticket low margin bikes (hence the proliferation of a million subtypes of mtb) and mid-price high margin accessories. Then the internet happened, and by the mid-2000’s bike shops were getting their profit centers cored out. Then the 2008 crash happened, and consumer spending basically stopped for a year or two.

So now there’s this model where you have a lot of everything in stock at the shop, wrenches want to be treated (and compensated) as skilled tradespeople, and all the UK/Euro sites are retailing stuff for cheaper than your wholesale, with no end in sight to any of this.

Oh, and basically in the US, half the country is completely broke and the cities with lots of rich people also have ludicrously unaffordable commercial real estate lease pricing.

Is this roughly the timeline as others understand it?


#12943

[quote=iwillbe]What’s the longer term story of bike shop employment? In my head, bike shops from 1950-1990 were staffed by an older sole propietor and a bunch of random high school kids turning wrenches and doing general gophering. Sometime around teh late 80’s, as bikes got a bit more complicated and mtbs were normalized in mainstream sales channels, bike shops got bigger and started hiring/cultivating semiprofessional mechanics.

This was sort of top heavy, but worked if you could sell big ticket low margin bikes (hence the proliferation of a million subtypes of mtb) and mid-price high margin accessories. Then the internet happened, and by the mid-2000’s bike shops were getting their profit centers cored out. Then the 2008 crash happened, and consumer spending basically stopped for a year or two.

So now there’s this model where you have a lot of everything in stock at the shop, wrenches want to be treated (and compensated) as skilled tradespeople, and all the UK/Euro sites are retailing stuff for cheaper than your wholesale, with no end in sight to any of this.

Oh, and basically in the US, half the country is completely broke and the cities with lots of rich people also have ludicrously unaffordable commercial real estate lease pricing.

Is this roughly the timeline as others understand it?[/quote]

Pretty much, but doesn’t every small bike shop need a “Social media marketing manager” now? #Community
Group rides, S24O, Books? Hatchets? Story time? Day care?


#12944

Same thing here in DC. There’s really only two shops here that pay a ‘livable wage.’ I quit one years ago because the owners are incompetent and I currently work at the other. One shop that’s in one of the most expensive neighborhoods here offered me minimum wage to be the only FT wrench. Thanks but no thanks.


#12945

I don’t believe there’s any room for small (read:middle class) business owners in the bike industry anymore - as IBDs continue to hemorrhage workers & accrue unpayable debts to the big bike vendors, we’re going to see more and more stores bought out by Giant, Spec, Trek, et al for renovation into branded retail stores. The leftist side of me abhors this trajectory but OTOH I’m making more than both my parents combined plus full benefits (401k in the works holllllaaaaa).


#12946

Even though this was meant for the above, this gif is probably still relevant.

Related: I’ve always thought Black Books could be remade as Black Bikes: A hapless mechanic arrives to try and save the failing business of an eccentric, cranky, snobby shop owners who value booze and cigarettes over sales, friends, and washing up.


#12947

I would watch the shit out of that.


#12948

That’s literally lived reality for probably 50% of IBDs. Burnout owner who probably should have folded up shop years ago, couple of mechanics who are competent enough to see the bigger picture of the business, but, because they’ve taken the path of bike mechanic work, are sort of stuck being Cassandras.

This is true for most small businesses, I think.


#12949

I would watch the shit out of that.[/quote]

I too would watch the shit out of that.


#12950

[quote=iwillbe]That’s literally lived reality for probably 50% of IBDs. Burnout owner who probably should have folded up shop years ago, couple of mechanics who are competent enough to see the bigger picture of the business, but, because they’ve taken the path of bike mechanic work, are sort of stuck being Cassandras.

This is true for most small businesses, I think.[/quote]
Is straight up the definition of my shop.


#12951

[quote=Shortpants][quote=iwillbe]That’s literally lived reality for probably 50% of IBDs. Burnout owner who probably should have folded up shop years ago, couple of mechanics who are competent enough to see the bigger picture of the business, but, because they’ve taken the path of bike mechanic work, are sort of stuck being Cassandras.

This is true for most small businesses, I think.[/quote]
Is straight up the definition of my shop.[/quote]

In this crü


#12952

I’m just getting started with my shop and do my best to pay my 1 adult employee a livable wage with raises every 6 months or so. At the same time, I have 0 income on paper and rely entirely on the shop’s bank account for all living expenses. BUT… hoping all this will change very soon with some contract work.

Have any of y’all done any maintenance contracts with dockless bike share companies? We had one reach out to manage a 150 bike fleet they are installing next week. Will allow me to hire 2 well paid part time employees or 1 very well paid full time employee plus give me a little money to live off of. It seems like a great deal, assuming the scope of work doesn’t extend much beyond what they outline in the contract.


#12953

No experience with dockless, but based on my experience with “traditional” bikeshare maintenance, dockless would be a fucking nightmare. Our situation is unique though. The college is a big sponsor and student memberships are covered by tuition. If you tell a bunch of drunken corn-fed farm kids that they can use something for free, they’ll do everything in their power to destroy it.


#12954

there are dockless bikes in DC
It was fine as far as I could tell.

but people don’t Jaywalk in DC and thats bonkers


#12955

False. So false.

I worked for Capital bikeshare for a year in DC. Fleetwork is taxing here. The amount of inventory you need to hold on to in order to keep the bikes running is ridiculous. But we might be an exception. Between the large amount of tourists that don’t give a fuck and the locals that give less fucks and the fucking vandals… shit goes down. Needing to be able to fix anything and everything at any given time adds up quick. But having the same-ish order every time is kinda dope.


#12956

The dockless bikes in Australia seem to spend a lot of time with taco’d wheels, destroyed components and at the bottom of bodies of water. I could imagine it’d be a pain constantly fixing them.

We are an island founded by criminals though.


#12957

False. So false.
[/quote]


#12958

just went back and read like 25 pages of lbs lulz. made me glad i gtfo the bike industry.


#12959

If your work where I assusme you work, that is going to be one hella expenisve luxury condo with upscale/casual Named restaurant at ground level in five years or so. That’s probably why it’s circling the drain: changing a very old and storied business like that to accomodate higher personnel costs is probably very hard, especially considering that there is probably no chance of sales increasing signficantly. Owner probably looks at that giant mountain with nothing but shit on the top, then at the alternative: walking with $10 million in his pocket. It probably hasn’t happened yet only out of his sense of obligation to the family business.

I really get the feeling that business like that will never exist again, once they all die or change.


#12960

5 years at the outside. That’s prime real estate. I’m assuming it’s just to the NE of Green lake, and is one of the biggest shops in the city.