Independent bicycle repair questions.

Ok. I know some of you work at shops and some of you just work on bikes for fun.

I been working on people bikes mostly for free, sometimes in trade (beer, boob pics etc…) and sometimes a little cash.

However, it’s spring and it seems like everyday someone needs a tune up or a wheel true or just have they ders adjusted.

My friends and their friends like coming to me as they know I’ll do it right and do it same day if anywhere near possible.

I have a hard time charging anyone, especially friends anything at all. I like bikes and working on them is not a hassle.

People in the US get very weird when they ask how much something is and there is not a set price.

I have no idea what to charge. I don’t have to cover any sort of overhead like a shop. (or like a normal person for that matter)

Anyone else out there doing this?

A friend suggested I have people get quotes at their LBS and I do it same day, for less but that seems kinda fucked up to me.

Not only would I be taking work from them, it would waste their time too. That don’t seem right to me.

also have considered not having liability insurance being somewhat of a problem.

im with doofo on this one

if i were you i’d continue doing it for beer, small amounts of cash, just whatever amount seemed fair to both parties. especially if you’re not extremely invested in trying to make money off of it, that would be a way to do what you like and still have what you need for life. if my company only paid me enough for rent each month and then paid the rest in beer and bike parts and bartering whatever else i might need (new winter tights, etc), i’d still be happy because i’d enjoy what i was doing and getting what i needed.

so i’d suggest just continuing the current model–if it’s not broken, what’s to be fixed? just try not to do things totally free–people shouldn’t expect people do to things for free for them. i’m not saying people shouldn’t do things for free, but if you ask someone to repair a wheel for you, try to have something to offer back, and they can take or refuse it as they want. and you being the one doing things, should be able to get something, a favor, an item, something you can consume, whatever, out of the deal.

there are two issues.

i’m trying to curtail my alcohol consumption.

I have more work than I can drink, due to issue one.

whats a shop charge for der adjustments? for R&R cables? for a wheelbuild?

how about doing (charging) it by the hour (or quarter hour, or something)?

p.s. i’m happy to pay for your work, you know, in real money. not just burritos and old forks.

p.p.s. i need a wheel true, haha

$30-45 for a wheel build.
$10-15 basic wheel true
$10 for a basic brake/der adjustment (that take 5-10min)
$20 per brake/shifter for cables (maybe $50 to do all 4)
$70 basic tune up (all adjustments + wheels trued. No new parts)
$150 overhaul (new cables and bearings + clean drivetrain in partswasher)

Kevin, hit me up when your classes allow.

Tim, thanks that is pretty much confirmation of what I was thinking.

most shops run 25 bucks an hour for any labor, or thats what it seems to me. That said, you dont have the retail location etc to back up your work, so, you shouldnt charge that kind of coin. I used to do similar stuff, and if people asked to pay me in something other than lunch or whatever, I just picked a flat charge on top of parts. I think i usually charged 10 or 15 bucks, so essentially they were just buying me lunch.
I’d say this is fair, and a positive way to further a community, though ideally you would operate on a barter system (this is ideally speaking in my world)

Teach them how to do it.

even better.

These are the prices we charge for repairs at the Bike Co-op I work at. These are the prices for you leaving a bike with us and us working on it for you and returning it to you. If somebody wants to learn to do it themselves, we have a pay-what-you-can sliding scale with a suggested donation of $1-$10. People are usually very good about making appropriate donations, and I’ve seen people who were very happy with the service they received drop as much as $40 in the donation jar.

I would say that those prices are probably a good benchmark for labor costs without much overhead, but if you’re uncomfortable with a price list (understandably), you can go with the sliding scale system. It works pretty well.

Except for the time some ditzy bitch came in with a box full of Bikesdirect party foul and asked me to help her assemble it 90 minutes before closing. I tried to break down the process into simple tasks, explaining what we were doing at any given time and helping her with the various processes involved in assembling a bicycle. After a while, though, it became clear that she was a) not a fast learner and b) not interested in learning how to put her bike together, I just stepped in and powered through it to get it done before closing time. After explaining our sliding scale for “tool use” (though I honestly should have charged her the assembly price), she smiled and dropped A FUCKING DOLLAR in the jar. This is after disassembling what was put together, chasing and facing the BB shell, facing the headtube, pressing the headset, truing the wheels plus full assembly. I’m not the type to go chasing after her and demanding more money, but that was fairly absurd. Also, the whole time she kept asking me when she would be able to take the brakes off. I told her never.

Fortunately, most people do not seem to be like that. Especially if they are friends and friends of friends.

Charging a little money is not unreasonable, though. Beer and lunch are good, but they won’t buy new tools when yours wear out.

Also, disregard the misspelling of the word “overhaul” on our website. The site was made by core members about ten years ago who were extremely proficient mechanics, but often only mostly literate, as far as I can tell. Since people don’t really go to our website much (ever?), we haven’t really paid much attention to it.

Though that is kind of embarrassing.

barter is def cool.
Working for lunch and dinner is best.
I would rather buy someone a 20 dollar lunch, sit down, eat some food and have a chat, than pay them 15 bucks to true my wheels.

But I also understand that you can’t do that all the time, in which case money makes it easier.

yeah I’m mostly thinking of friends of friends who usually just wanna drop their bikes off and come back later. It’s spring and lots of fair weather riders are getting ready for summer.

Since I dont have a car or truck I work on this one dudes bike pretty much anytime he needs in exchange for help moving stuff. Plus he’s fast as lightning and I like to pretend i have something to do with it:)

I will always accept burrritos FYI (toast im looking at you)

I’ve been doing similar stuff for friends and coworkers quite a bit lately, what with spring and all. I stick with the free/beer/boob pics model you described in your first post. Told this to a friend who’s starting a carpentry business and he looked at me like I was crazy for not charging anything.

If they really wanna give me $5 for the basic stuff I do, I don’t refuse it, but I have no desire to set “rates” for all this stuff, as I enjoy it thoroughly and it gives me something to do during lunch and “work time” at the office on fridays, as well as an excuse to haul my trailer full o’ tools.

For anyone but the best of friends I charge $25/hr. That being said most of my good friends can do whatever besides major stuff (headset pressing etc and that is generally due to lack of tools). I don’t worry about insurance since I don’t advertise my service and only take cash so they would have a rather difficult time proving I even worked on their bike.

Somebody in chicago does this:

Jim’s shop:

$45 tune up
$8 derailer adjust
$15 to run new cables, $2/cable or housing
$80 overhaul
$10 wheel true ($10 to replace a spoke, $15 for drive side)
$50 bike build
$35 wheel build