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Old 11-16-2020, 09:07 AM   #1
flipstyledsm22
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Should I, or not...

Strongly considering becoming a motorcycle repair technician, but lack the experience and schooling. Any advise or pro tips? What is the average starting pay for someone with little-to-none experience? I'm moving back to Houston in April of next year, so I'm making plans now for work.

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Old 11-16-2020, 10:59 AM   #2
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Strongly considering becoming a motorcycle repair technician, but lack the experience and schooling. Any advise or pro tips? What is the average starting pay for someone with little-to-none experience? I'm moving back to Houston in April of next year, so I'm making plans now for work.

Experience is what shops hire.... in my experience and shops anyways. Most likely you'd start as the techs' grunt for minimal pay (pull bikes here and there; sweep floors; hold this; wash that; get lunch; etc.)

Are you the kind of person that can knock out high quality work the first time or do you find yourself re-working things? What's your experience diagnosing various types of mechanical/electrical/hydraulic issues?
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Old 11-16-2020, 11:29 AM   #3
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I currently work a second job (volunteering my time and labor) at a performance fabrication shop, here in California. The owner has been an amazing mentor and has taught me a lot, especially in the areas of quality craftmanship.

I don't expect an easy start or great pay. I know this type of work requires critical thinking and eventually timing/quality will be the factoring indicator for success.

My current experiences in motorcycle repairs, has been mainly restoring older carburetor bikes... so there has been a lot of re-working due to no prior experiences, BUT... I truly enjoy the challenge and love working with my hands.

I never envisioned myself as a mechanic, but I like the environment and the feeling of getting something fixed or improved, along with the comradery of a good shop.
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Old 11-16-2020, 03:24 PM   #4
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Strongly considering becoming a motorcycle repair technician, but lack the experience and schooling. Any advise or pro tips? What is the average starting pay for someone with little-to-none experience? I'm moving back to Houston in April of next year, so I'm making plans now for work.

I've always wanted to be a moto repair technician. So I say do it!!!
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Old 11-16-2020, 04:59 PM   #5
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I was a mechanic for Texas Yamaha for a couple years. It was long ago but looking back it was one of my favorite jobs.
Lots of work but we had some fun times, met and worked with a lot of great people. PLUS, got to ride different motorcycles almost everyday!
Most were normal everyday bikes but some were cool. Like the sheriff that had the siren and all the lights etc!
Couple race bikes, assembled a side car rig and, of course, had to test ride it... a few times.
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Old 11-16-2020, 11:59 PM   #6
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I was a mechanic for Texas Yamaha for a couple years. It was long ago but looking back it was one of my favorite jobs.
Lots of work but we had some fun times, met and worked with a lot of great people. PLUS, got to ride different motorcycles almost everyday!
Most were normal everyday bikes but some were cool. Like the sheriff that had the siren and all the lights etc!
Couple race bikes, assembled a side car rig and, of course, had to test ride it... a few times.
This really motivates me further!
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Old 11-17-2020, 07:15 AM   #7
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On the other hand I wasn't making enough money to pay my bills and my girlfriend was half supporting me. I wasn't fast enough to prosper at it, because I was paid flat rate.
I went to aircraft mechanics school, got my license and eventually was hired by continental airlines. That was a MUCH better job!
Good pay, benefits and the work is not like digging ditches in the hot sun. Worked with good people there too. It wasn't as fun and there's a higher level of responsibility for the work you do but if you asked me that's the direction I'd suggest.
For me, motorcycle mechanic was a job, aircraft mechanic was a career.
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Old 11-17-2020, 10:38 AM   #8
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Since you're good w carbs,...Just .02. One of my buddies is a ex Cornwell dealer, knows tons of people but anyways. One guy he used to call on specialized in older bikes.
He had sold himself to dealerships, shops that didn't want to work on old stuff and they'd send him all the business. Guy retired recently, but supposedly did very well taking all the carb/older bike jobs that the bigger shops didn't want.
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Old 11-17-2020, 10:39 PM   #9
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That's a great idea! Carve out a niche and you won't have much competition.
Older bikes are starting to gain cred as collectibles and values are increasing on some models. Seems like a trend that could possibly provide a good living for someone that's willing to work hard and put the effort into learning about old school bikes.
Probably won't get rich but a roof, food and some good friends have value too.
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Old 11-18-2020, 08:24 AM   #10
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Motorcycle related career in the US is not something I would consider if I was young again - unless you're really business savvy and can make it work. It's a niche market. I do love wrenching on my own bikes however.
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Old 11-18-2020, 07:17 PM   #11
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I agree with Oskar. Motorcycling is NOT a growing activity. Pick something with a future. Something involving electronics, computers, wind, solar, batteries, etc. have growth potential. I started out my life as a bike mechanic. I enjoyed it at first, but it didn't take long to realize it was a dead-end job. You need to be in New Tech, not old tech.
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Old 11-18-2020, 08:00 PM   #12
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...........You need to be in New Tech, not old tech.
That depends if you can really lock down the niche market

This guy does pretty well and has been for a long time - toploaders are pretty old tech with a small market
https://www.4speedtoploaders.com/

Pony carbs had a run of 20+ years rebuilding and selling 60's carbs - I wasn't impressed with the work they did for me
https://www.ponycarburetors.com/

You will have to run your own business
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Old 11-19-2020, 12:48 AM   #13
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I really appreciate the ideas and supportive comments

I should really explain the endgame and the drive to wanting such a job, along with an idea of what type of lifestyle I'm trying to create for myself.

I really want to buy older/unique motorcycles and restore/customize them for my personal gratification. I also want to do track days and buy a dedicated race bike for hard beatings. With that being said, servicing/customizing all these bikes will be costly, if I don't know how to work on them myself. I believe I can work two part-time jobs to support my lifestyle... which one of those will hopefully be a motorcycle related job. I'm hoping that by working at a motorcycle shop, I can learn to become a proficient mechanic and learn to work on newer bikes in the process. I am not looking to make a living on this type of work, just a means-to-an-end, so I can build confidence and move forward to supporting my obsession's with motorcycles. My primary career will always have something to do, with utilizing my CDL experiences.... so don't worry my friends, I will not go hungry anytime soon
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Old 11-19-2020, 07:59 AM   #14
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On a cost/time basis you might come out better just watching youtube.
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Old 11-19-2020, 12:46 PM   #15
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On a cost/time basis you might come out better just watching youtube.
Yes, but YT is not as detailed as real life experiences in a professional setting, like a shop.

There are so many steps leading up to the initial repair and sometimes those steps, if not done properly, could ruin your finished product. I've spent weeks trying to learn carbs on my KZ750 based on internet searches and I struggled. I know I would do it again, but I rather learn it the right way and do it right, the first time. I also know, with proper training, I can save more money in the long run, because I will know what to buy and how much to buy. My last experiences left me with a lot of extra parts and unnecessary tools purchases. Plus, I learn WAY BETTER, with hands on experiences.
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