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Getting a Job at a Bike Shop?

thebornotaku

Monkey
May 19, 2008
359
0
Northern Bay Area
Jeez, I must be like, the resident question asking guy.

anywho.


I went by the shop today and talked to Chaz briefly (Chaz being the owner of the shop) and brought up the possibility of employment. I was informed that they always like to have somebody young on the staff and somebody who's willing to do the non-fixing-bikes jobs. He told me to write a bit on why I want to work in a bike shop on my resume and bring it back later this week. I'll be down by there tomorrow, so I figure why not...


Anywho, aside from fixing bikes, cleaning, stocking the shelves, and recommending bikes and parts, what jobs are there at a bike shop? I need to write about how I'm willing to do all those jobs that other people don't want to do (and I'm perfectly willing to do pretty much any job, but I should know what they are before I write how I'm willing to do them).


I was also going to bring up how I like the bike shop atmosphere and about how it's a friendly place to be and some place that I would like to work. Any other suggestions are welcome.


Help me out, ridemonkey (please and thanks)

-Thebornotaku
 

HAB

Chelsea from Seattle
Apr 28, 2007
11,317
1,708
Seattle
To add to your list: answering the phone, and calling customers occasionally, say if they've dropped off a repair, to tell them it's ready. Checking inventory, working the cash register, ordering shop stock, contacting distributers, etc. Most of that sounds like stuff they'd be leaving for other more experienced employees though.

When you go in to speak to the owner again, look presentable, make eye contact when speaking, be direct, honest and enthusiastic. Let him know what you current skills are, and make it clear that you're willing to learn. Make an effort to speak well. Avoid crap such as "like" or "uhh...." Take some time with the resume, and make it look good, and more importantly, put some effort into the content.

Good luck.
 

thebornotaku

Monkey
May 19, 2008
359
0
Northern Bay Area
Don't call wrenches "spanners" and don't call gas "petrol" in an interview. The interviewer is likely to kick you in the nuts if you do.

:disgust1:
:busted:

I don't really think an interview at a bike shop would end up talking about petrol much, and I don't actually call wrenches "spanners" very often at all.

Thanks for the tips anyways, haha
 

AngryMetalsmith

Business is good, thanks for asking
Jun 4, 2006
17,449
4,361
I have no idea where I am
It's definitely a good idea to sell yourself as someone who is committed to bike culture.

Bike shops don't just sell bikes and parts, they sell a lifestyle. The shop owner is probably looking for a "floater" who has that capability.









If that doesn't work put your size 16 boot up his ass and tell him, "I start Monday and that's the way it's gonna be bitch !"
 

thebornotaku

Monkey
May 19, 2008
359
0
Northern Bay Area
To add to your list: answering the phone, and calling customers occasionally, say if they've dropped off a repair, to tell them it's ready. Checking inventory, working the cash register, ordering shop stock, contacting distributers, etc. Most of that sounds like stuff they'd be leaving for other more experienced employees though.

When you go in to speak to the owner again, look presentable, make eye contact when speaking, be direct, honest and enthusiastic. Let him know what you current skills are, and make it clear that you're willing to learn. Make an effort to speak well. Avoid crap such as "like" or "uhh...." Take some time with the resume, and make it look good, and more importantly, put some effort into the content.

Good luck.


Cheers mate. I'm actually very good at short-deadline writing (I once wrote a 23 page story in about 7 hours in the last two days of the timeframe and got very high marks, higher than most) but I will be sure to get a second (or third) opinion on my resume before I submit it.
 

thebornotaku

Monkey
May 19, 2008
359
0
Northern Bay Area
It's definitely a good idea to sell yourself as someone who is committed to bike culture.

Bike shops don't just sell bikes and parts, they sell a lifestyle. The shop owner is probably looking for a "floater" who has that capability.

The owner is actually very familiar with me (what with my riding so hard on my Rincon that I'm in there almost every week or two/three getting it fixed) and he knows that I'm pretty into bike culture as it stands. Thanks for bringing that up, too, as now I'll remember to write that bit in.









If that doesn't work put your size 16 boot up his ass and tell him, "I start Monday and that's the way it's gonna be bitch !"
I could use my Size 16 boot to show how I could be the bike shop's private security personnel? :busted:
 

stinkyboy

Plastic Santa
Jan 6, 2005
15,187
0
¡Phoenix!
I have a couple ideas for cheap biz cards you could hand out while hangin' at the LBSs. No other youngster is handing out cool, bike related cards.

Whatta ya got for donation components?
 

BurlyShirley

Rex Grossman Will Rise Again
Jul 4, 2002
19,180
17
TN
Just write about how you're anxious to begin a lifelong career that will garner neither respect from your peers nor respectable wages. Talk about how the conformist attitude of earning an education and/or an honest living just isn't something you're prepared to commit to, and that you'd rather waste your days completing the type menial tasks that any orangutan with a manual and a spanner could figure out if it wasn't so busy watching American Idol and unceasingly stuffing its morbidly obese face with hydrogenated fats. Then write about how one day you hope to attain such enlightenment that you fully expect customers to have to hang out, talk riding and tip you in beer, food or other such gratuities just to receive some modicum of satisfactory service. And last but not least, make sure to tell him how you don't believe any estimation of turn-around time with regard to repairs should be given to customers, or if they are, shouldn't be expected to be remotely accurate. Unless, of course, they're one of those extra-special tipping customers to whom the regular rules don't apply.
You'll fit right in.
 

thebornotaku

Monkey
May 19, 2008
359
0
Northern Bay Area
I have a couple ideas for cheap biz cards you could hand out while hangin' at the LBSs. No other youngster is handing out cool, bike related cards.

Whatta ya got for donation components?
Donation components? The only thing I have spare right now is my old broken left crank arm. The one that this shop replaced.


Chaz essentially told me to write up a bit about how I want to work at a bike shop. He said if he or his wife liked it, I was hired. Simply put, just because of my age and enthusiasm I have a really good chance at it and probably won't have any need to hand out biz cards.

What was your idea, though?
 

thebornotaku

Monkey
May 19, 2008
359
0
Northern Bay Area
Just write about how you're anxious to begin a lifelong career that will garner neither respect from your peers nor respectable wages. Talk about how the conformist attitude of earning an education and/or an honest living just isn't something you're prepared to commit to, and that you'd rather waste your days completing the type menial tasks that any orangutan with a manual and a spanner could figure out if it wasn't so busy watching American Idol and unceasingly stuffing its morbidly obese face with hydrogenated fats. Then write about how one day you hope to attain such enlightenment that you fully expect customers to have to hang out, talk riding and tip you in beer, food or other such gratuities just to receive some modicum of satisfactory service. And last but not least, make sure to tell him how you don't believe any estimation of turn-around time with regard to repairs should be given to customers, or if they are, shouldn't be expected to be remotely accurate. Unless, of course, they're one of those extra-special tipping customers to whom the regular rules don't apply.
You'll fit right in.


As much as I love being brutally honest (all those things seem to apply here sans the turnaround time, they always give me good time estimates, but then again, they know me by name...), I somehow doubt that lovely paragraph is going into my write up.

Funny, though, so +rep'd.
 

greenchris

Turbo Monkey
Jun 24, 2005
1,381
0
DA BEARS.
throwing out trash- cutting down bike boxes
sweeping up/ cleaning up
changing flats
airing up and cleaning bikes that been sitting on showroom floor
filling up shelves
 

thebornotaku

Monkey
May 19, 2008
359
0
Northern Bay Area
I've noticed that most bike shops have disgusting bathrooms, if you don't mind mucking out the urinal - you might list it in your skill set.
the bike shop I'll be writing this for is actaully just a house with most of it's walls removed, meaning no urinal. I actaully think this is the one bike shop I've seen with a cleanish bathroom, but I will add that in there regardless. Thanks.
 

sanjuro

Tube Smuggler
Sep 13, 2004
17,373
0
SF
The key for new employees is understanding you know NOTHING about fixing bicycles professionally.

What is more important is your ability to learn how to fix bikes professionally as well as the way your shop wants you to fix it (sometimes it is not the same).

I remember TheMontashu in his first month at the shop trying to space out an Avid mechanical brake with business cards, a trick I showed him with Hayes hydraulic brakes. Just the fact that he flipped over the bike in front the customer is a sure sign of an amateur mechanic.

When I first made the transition from road to mountain bikes, I asked a very mediocre but experienced mechanic how to disc hydraulic brakes and rebuild forks. It was a little humiliating considering he only had about a year of professional experience and I had several, but I wanted to learn properly.

In your interview, I would point out that you have mechanical aptitude (which is critical to learn bike mechanics obviously), but I would not emphasis what you have done on your bike or others. The next you know is you mention you've adjusted your disc brakes (i.e. tighten the rotors) and the next question is, "How do you bleed a Magura brake?"

They are hiring you on your potential as a good employee: reliable, quick to learn, hard working, and how you deal with customers.

But if you know the owner and you are on good terms, you are in like flint.
 
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thebornotaku

Monkey
May 19, 2008
359
0
Northern Bay Area
The key for new employees is understanding you know NOTHING about fixing bicycles professionally.

What is more important is your ability to learn how to fix bikes professionally as well as the way your shop wants you to fix it (sometimes it is not the same).

I remember TheMontashu in his first month at the shop trying to space out an Avid mechanical brake with business cards, a trick I showed him with Hayes hydraulic brakes. Just the fact that he flipped over the bike in front the customer is a sure sign of an amateur mechanic.

When I first made the transition from road to mountain bikes, I asked a very mediocre but experienced mechanic how to disc hydraulic brakes and rebuild forks. It was a little humiliating considering he only had about a year of professional experience and I had several, but I wanted to learn properly.

In your interview, I would point out that you have mechanical aptitude (which is critical to learn bike mechanics obviously), but I would not emphasis what you have done on your bike or others. The next you know is you mention you've adjusted your disc brakes (i.e. tighten the rotors) and the next question is, "How do you bleed a Magura brake?"

They are hiring you on your potential as a good employee: reliable, quick to learn, hard working, and how you deal with customers.

But if you know the owner and you are on good terms, you are in like flint.


I already know how little I know. I only fix and adjust small things on a bike-to-bike basis, and it's only ever been on bikes I've owned. From how much I've been in the shop and see the mechanics working on bikes, I already know that what little I do know pales greatly in comparison. Chaz already said that once he does allow an employee to fix bikes, he will slowly train them on different aspects.


Should I, however, make mention of my ability to do very simple tasks such as change tubes? I figure they'll already know I can tighten things down and adjust them a little bit (I mentioned it to Chaz today, talked about how I needed the T25 bit to tighten down my rotors). I don't know if Chaz would let me do simple stuff like that or not yet, but if you guys think it's worth mentioning, I'll put it in there.
 

sanjuro

Tube Smuggler
Sep 13, 2004
17,373
0
SF
I already know how little I know. I only fix and adjust small things on a bike-to-bike basis, and it's only ever been on bikes I've owned. From how much I've been in the shop and see the mechanics working on bikes, I already know that what little I do know pales greatly in comparison. Chaz already said that once he does allow an employee to fix bikes, he will slowly train them on different aspects.


Should I, however, make mention of my ability to do very simple tasks such as change tubes? I figure they'll already know I can tighten things down and adjust them a little bit (I mentioned it to Chaz today, talked about how I needed the T25 bit to tighten down my rotors). I don't know if Chaz would let me do simple stuff like that or not yet, but if you guys think it's worth mentioning, I'll put it in there.
I think it is natural for any new employee at any experience level to want to be as useful as possible. I have just with newbs a tendency to overcompensate and try to do more than they are capable of.

If asked specifically about what you have done, then of course answer the question, as specifically as you can. I think most shops assume you can at least change a tube.

I think the next key to being a professional mechanic is doing every job proficiently and quickly. For you, no one is expecting you to braze a frame or lace a wheel, but for example, with tube changes, be sure to check if you have seated the tube correctly. I would actually check the entire tire just to be sure.

It is a simple job but if you screw up and the tube blows in a customer's face (saw it happen this year), then you really look bad.
 

thebornotaku

Monkey
May 19, 2008
359
0
Northern Bay Area
I think it is natural for any new employee at any experience level to want to be as useful as possible. I have just with newbs a tendency to overcompensate and try to do more than they are capable of.

If asked specifically about what you have done, then of course answer the question, as specifically as you can. I think most shops assume you can at least change a tube.

I think the next key to being a professional mechanic is doing every job proficiently and quickly. For you, no one is expecting you to braze a frame or lace a wheel, but for example, with tube changes, be sure to check if you have seated the tube correctly. I would actually check the entire tire just to be sure.

It is a simple job but if you screw up and the tube blows in a customer's face (saw it happen this year), then you really look bad.
Thanks for the pointers (again).

I'm already pretty quick with changing tubes (you get to be when you have to do it thrice in a day) and they haven't messed up yet (and this was like three months ago).
 

thebornotaku

Monkey
May 19, 2008
359
0
Northern Bay Area
draft for the "why I want to work at a bike shop" bit:

My name is Michael Baker, and I want to work at a bike shop. There are, in fact, several reasons why I want to work at a bike shop. One of the reasons is the atmosphere, another is my willingness to work, and the last reason that I will discuss is the experience I hope to gain.

Something that I feel is very important in any establishment is the atmosphere, and I am very fond of the atmosphere at the Hub Cyclery. It is a friendly, helpful atmosphere, where, as a customer, I have felt welcome and properly helped in a timely and polite manner. Not only do I greatly appreciate this about the Hub Cyclery, but I also believe that I can attribute to the atmosphere and personality the shop has. I am enthusiastic, helpful, and motivated. I would gladly help customers and help with the general upkeep of the shop

Speaking of motivation, I should make mention that I am quite motivated to work. While I understand that I will not be fixing bikes right away, I would be more than happy just to have a job at the Hub Cyclery. I am willing to do most any job, such as cleaning, answering/making phone calls, taking out the trash and/or recycling, stocking and organizing things onto the shelves, taking inventory, working the register, and any other jobs I might have missed.

As I am still a high school student, during the summer I can work any hours from 11am onwards (and any time on weekends), and during the school year I can work any time from 4pm onwards (and any time on weekends), unless I make specific note of exceptions in advance. I hope that the timeframes I am available to work are acceptable and helpful to the shop.

Lastly, I wish to work at the Hub Cyclery for the experience that it offers. While my ultimate goal at a bike shop would be to eventually become a bicycle mechanic, experience in customer relations and organizational skills will greatly benefit me both in the short term and throughout life. Although I have no professional bicycle fixing experience, I am mechanically inclined by nature and a quick learner.

I hope that what I have said here will lead you to consider me as a potential employee at the Hub Cyclery. I am enthusiastic, motivated, responsible and mature. I am also a member of the biking community who wishes to serve and possibly help expand our community in a helpful, friendly, and encouraging manner.
 

sanjuro

Tube Smuggler
Sep 13, 2004
17,373
0
SF
Thanks for the pointers (again).

I'm already pretty quick with changing tubes (you get to be when you have to do it thrice in a day) and they haven't messed up yet (and this was like three months ago).
Like I said, quick is good, but just check that the tube has seated properly. That's the professional way.

And I looked over your cover letter. It looks good.
 

sunny

Grammar Civil Patrol
Jul 2, 2004
1,107
0
Sandy Eggo, CA
Hey Michael.

I'm impressed. You're well written for a HS student. You give me hope for the future.

Check the word "attribute" in your letter. I think you mean "contribute."

Cut your letter down by about 1/4 or more. Say more with fewer words and your letter will have more impact.
 

thebornotaku

Monkey
May 19, 2008
359
0
Northern Bay Area
Hey Michael.

I'm impressed. You're well written for a HS student. You give me hope for the future.

Check the word "attribute" in your letter. I think you mean "contribute."

Cut your letter down by about 1/4 or more. Say more with fewer words and your letter will have more impact.

Thanks. I take pride in my literary prowess. It's a cunning advantage I have over a lot of my peers.

Somebody on another forum pointed out the attribute/contribute bit. Thanks for catching that, though.

Thanks for the feedback, and how about a round of +rep to all...
 

BigMike

BrokenbikeMike
Jul 29, 2003
8,931
0
Montgomery county MD
You may want to stick in there how you are really good at sitting around in the winter months for hours at a time.

Things can slow WAY down, and finding ways to keep yourself entertained is KEY!

(one of my favorites was always throwing the tire caps into the tire cap bucket from across the shop)