So you’ve been to your local bicycle store and you’re impressed with how quickly they can fix your bike. You’re also often wowed by the wealth of knowledge your bike mechanic possesses.
If you love bikes as much as the rest of us, you may have even thought of becoming a bike mechanic yourself. So how much do they actually make?
On average, a bike mechanic makes $29,282 a year according to data from PayScale. Hourly, that’s about $12.82. Pay can increase depending on a bike mechanic’s level of experience, education, and certifications. They may also get commission, bonuses, and overtime pay that boosts income.
In this article, we’ll provide an in-depth look into the salary of a bike mechanic. We’ll also discuss what it takes to get a job fixing bikes if you’re interested in entering this field yourself. Let’s get started.
How Much Does a Bike Mechanic Make?
In the intro, we discussed that a bike mechanic might make about $13 an hour on average. On the lower end, this job might net an hourly rate of $9.12.
PayScale says about 10 percent of bike mechanics who use their site reported that hourly income. A good chunk, 50 percent, said they made $12.92 an hour. Especially skilled bike technicians might earn $17.42 an hour.
If they work overtime, a bike mechanic’s income could increase. They may make $13.59 to $25.14 an hour, but just for overtime.
Sometimes bike mechanics receive a commission, assumedly if they fixed X amount of bikes in a week or month. Data from PayScale says this commission could add $2,000 extra dollars to their salary.
If they earn a bonus, that could vary from $50.17 to $2,073 depending on location and the mechanic’s level of skill.
How Much Does a Bike Shop Owner Make?
What if you don’t just fix bikes, but you own the bicycle shop yourself? How much money can you expect to make then?
According to a 2014 article on Bicycle Retailer, bike shop owners could bring in an annual salary of $49,877. Of course, this number radically varies. The same article says most bike owners have a store that’s at least 50 square feet, sometimes even bigger.
They tend to have fewer than nine employees, including the bike mechanics. In a year, a store of that nature might make $891,084 in gross sales. That’s the average.
So why doesn’t a bike shop owner make more money? There’s so much that gross sales total gets used for. The owner has to power the building, pay their employees, pay for bikes to get transported to the store and advertise and market themselves. All these costs add up.
Of course, if your store doesn’t sell nearly $900k in bikes a year, then you can expect a bike shop owner’s income to drastically decrease. Even popular, well-loved stores can see an influx in sales from one year to another.
This has become especially true in the advent of the Internet. With bikes widely available online, bike stores have to work that much harder to incentivize people to come in and shop.
How to Become a Bike Mechanic
You’ve done the math, crunched some numbers, and you’ve decided you still want to become a bike mechanic. After all, you know a lot about bicycles and you have a strong passion for them. Now you want to help people fix their bikes.
How do you get started becoming a bike mechanic?
Ideally, you should have at least a high school diploma. Any other certifications look great on your resume, but you don’t need them. Some employers want experience more than degrees or diplomas.
If you don’t necessarily have a lot of experience, you can always enroll in a bike mechanic training course. We’ll talk about this more later in the article, so keep reading!
Bike shop owners or others who employ bike mechanics prefer the following skills in their employees:
- Clear vision
- Dexterity at manual labor
- Expertise in bike repair tools, including painting equipment
- Welding equipment experience
- Bike repair abilities
- Good, active listening abilities
- General troubleshooting skills
- Critical thinking
If you have a high school diploma, then you should move on to looking into enrolling in a bike mechanic training course. Here, you can learn the ins and outs of repairing all sorts of bicycle problems.
From basic repairs to more complex ones, you’ll walk away from the course having mastered them all. Some topics these courses cover include tire replacements, brake adjustments, handlebar alignments, and seat positioning.
Then, get a job in a bike shop. You don’t necessarily have to work as a bike mechanic yet. You just want to immerse yourself in an environment where you can absorb even more knowledge. Talk to the other mechanics and the bike shop owner if he/she is available.
With time, you might get your hands on a bike. The more skill and ability you show, the higher your chances of moving up. If there’s no room for advancement in the current bike shop you work at, then look for a job at another one.
Before you make that jump, you might want to consider getting a certification. You don’t need these, as we said before, but they do help you get the job you want.
If you’re chasing a certification, start by looking at the Barnett Bicycle Institute and the United Bicycle Institute or UBI.
Also, know that you’re never quite done learning as a bike mechanic. You must stay abreast of industry changes, trends, and advancements. Keep sharpening and improving your skills and you’ll always be in demand.
What Does a Bike Mechanic Do at Their Jobs?
As a bicycle mechanic, you must repair, maintain, and service bikes that come into the shop for fixing. You will also have to deal with customers, sometimes on the phone, other times via email, as well as face-to-face. Having good social skills helps, as does at least some customer service experience.
You’re not a salesperson, so you won’t sell new or used bikes. You’ll just take care of the bikes customers bring in, getting them back to working order. To do this, you usually have your own dedicated workspace. You may be the only bike mechanic or one of several at the bike shop you work at.
Which Bike Mechanic Training Courses Are Available?
If you have passion and interest but you lack skill in bicycle repair, then you might want to consider enrolling in a bike mechanic training course.
We already mentioned one such course you can take. At the Barnett Bicycle Institute, you will learn the following skills and abilities:
- e-Bike fundamentals
- Suspension tuning and service
- Bicycle overhauling and repairs
- Spoke wheel lacing
- Bike maintenance
- Bike assembly
You can also earn your Bicycle Standard of Excellence or BSE Certification at Level 1 or Level 2 here. To do so, you’d have to pass an exam.
Another place to learn about bikes is the United Bicycle Institute or UBI. They have classes on frame building, bike mechanics, and so much more. You can also move on to earn your certification here, just like at the Barnett Bicycle Institute.
At Park Tool School, you’ll learn all about bike repairs through lessons inspired from the Big Blue Book of Bicycle Repair. Of course, you’ll do more than just sit in a classroom.
You’ll also get to work with real bikes, repairing and maintaining them. By the time you’re done here, you’ll have the skills needed to become a bike mechanic.
A newer school that’s been around since 2010, Appalachian Bicycle Institute offers the following classes:
- Old School Tech
- Frame Building
- All About Paracycling
- Electronic Shift Systems
- Essential Bicycle Fit
- All about e-Bikes
- Rescue Tactics for Repairs
- Total BMX
- Shop Employee Prep
We recommend researching each of these institutions. Compare prices, locations, and curriculum to decide which one school is for you.
Remember, you don’t necessarily need a certification to become a bike mechanic, but it can help. There’s also a possibility you can make more money with such a certification.
A bicycle technician repairs and maintains bikes in a shop. On average, they make about $29,282 a year. While many agree bike technicians get woefully underpaid, their salary can vary based on location and experience.
To become a bike technician, you need a high school diploma. Certifications help, but it’s better to have relevant skills and experience.
Now that you know as much as you do about this field, you can decide whether you want to become a bike mechanic. Good luck!