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Discussion Starter #1
Is there anybody here who can give me some insight into motorcycle mechanic as a career?

I work in IT, but I've been daydreaming about changing careers to become a moto mechanic. I don't have much mechanical experience, but I love bikes, and I loved working with my hands in a previous job (picture framing). I am attracted to the idea of doing practical work where you have something tangible to show for your efforts.

How do you get a job as a motorcycle mechanic? What sort of training is required and where would you get it? Has anyone here made a career change like this, and what was that experience like?

I have seen programs such as the UTI Motorcycle Mechanic Institute advertised on TV - is a program like that a good way to get into the field, or is it a waste of time? What's the best thing about being a mechanic? What's the worst? What do I need to know that I wouldn't even think to ask?

Thanks in advance.
 

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Be prepared for a lot of the following:

people to under value your abilities
people to put crazy demands on your time
people thinking you are better friends than you are and asking you to work for beer
never riding motorcycles again
dropping a TON of cash in tools - every auto, bike and diesel wrench I know has at least 20 large in tools and boxes. Most twice that much.

An acquaintance of mine has been doing this for ~30 years, has a nice collection of old-ish and vintage bikes that he has picked up and restored over the years. probably a dozen or more. Never gets to ride them. He's always wrenching. He's also always rustrated because of his unreasonable customers. Someone called him @ 5:30am yesterday asking if he could get his bike fixed before they needed to go to work. He's a nice guy, but he's bitter.


What do you do in IT? I would say the money is better if you are good at what you do in the IT field.
 

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Be prepared for a lot of the following:

people to under value your abilities
people to put crazy demands on your time
people thinking you are better friends than you are and asking you to work for beer
never riding motorcycles again
dropping a TON of cash in tools - every auto, bike and diesel wrench I know has at least 20 large in tools and boxes. Most twice that much.
+1 on above plus most mechanics are on comission and the work load is up and down, no work no pay. Just the box I have to hold all the tools was 10 grand 10 years ago. I still love fixing stuff after 27 yrs.
 

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The advice my Dad gave me when I wanted to be a profesional photographer was to go to college, get a technology degree and take all the photos you want as a hobby. Same thing applies to bikes. If what you are doing pays well, buy a fixer bike and learn how to restore it. Then if you grow to love it start restoring bikes and reselling them.

Those schools cost a lot of money and you really need to go into them with a fair amount of skill and knowledge to be successful.
 

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Johnny Blue Lightnin'
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I have a friend that works at Petes in Baltimore. The last few years have had him changing jobs, being laid off in the winter, etc... he seemed to make a good living when times were good but also did a fair amount of sidework.

You have a good job and are probably making more than a motorcycle mechanic. Being inexperienced you wont make ANY money as a mechanic. It was also mentioned that you would have to spend A LOT of money on tools. Mechanics need good tools. This means Snap On, Matco, etc.... where a set of wrenches will cost you $300 nowadays and a toolbox alone will be over $5000 for a starter sized box. Do like TWA said. Do it a s a hobby if you wish. Even go to school for it in the evenings, but keep your good job.

I worked as a flat rate mechanic for 25 years. It's a tough way to make a living. I'm still a mechanic but get paid by the hour now. At least I know what my minimum paycheck is going to be.
 

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I agree with what everyone has stated above, if you are comfortable taking a great pay cut and working on a lot of older barnyard bikes then go for it. I know from personal experience, most entry level techs will be paid at about $10/hr. I personally have lucked out so far and am still getting paid hourly, but if they make you go to flat rate, then if your not turning a wrench, your not getting paid.
 

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Hey, I have thought about that too and I am planning on going the "fixer bike" route. I am also in the technology field so maybe we should write an application that is based on bike mechanics, repair, etc..... Hmmm.....
 

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I was looking into a career change as well, but with the economy crapping out, you have to look at longevity. When everybody is broke, there aren't gonna be a bunch of people riding motorcycles. Mopeds maybe, but bikes as toys will be dwindling over the next ten years I would think. A car mechanic might actually see more work, since people will be hanging on to their cars longer.
Maybe I am just cynical, but I see the state of things getting much worse before there is any improvement.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for all the feedback, you've given me a lot to think about. I just want a job where I actually looked forward to work, and working on bikes seems like it would fit that bill. I would be willing to give up some money and a little bit of stability to make that happen, but I'm not sure I could risk being laid off each winter, or not having a fixed base pay. I never realized how tough a gig this is. Maybe I will just have to look for a better job in IT.
 

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I used to work on cars for a living and it sucked I turned a hobby into a job there was no stability one week plenty of work the next week none. And it is commission so you could 40 hours but only get paid for 30 or 35. Stay with IT it definitely more stable

sent from my hand held computer
 
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