[TheThinkTank] Paying People who Refurbish Bikes

Kevin Dwyer kevidwyer at gmail.com
Fri Nov 27 20:32:20 PST 2020

Hi Tegan, All-

The Salt Lake Bicycle Collective has, for years, employed mechanic staff
(in addition to program staff, some of which is contracted, others
employees). Last  I checked, the pay scale is pretty flat with most
mechanics earning about $15/hr. With a vibrant bike community in Utah and 4
locations, the Bicycle Collective has acted as a training grounds for
future commercial bike shop employment, with several former employees in
key/leading roles at local for-profit bike retailers, where wages are in
the $18-24/hr for skilled mechanics. Donna McAleer is the executive
director and somewhat new to the job, I don't think she's on this list.

In my experience, many community bike shops in larger, bike popular towns
operate with paid staff: Portland-Community Cycling Center, City Bikes,
North Portland Bike Works; Boulder-Community Cycles; Seattle- Bike Works;
San Francisco- Freewheel; Boise-Boise Bicycle Project. I'm not sure if any
of those orgs are on the list, but you may be able to contact them for
insights. Bikes are getting increasingly complex and diverse so it's nice
to see that someone could make a decent wage while promoting this great


On Fri, Nov 27, 2020 at 4:30 PM Thomas Butler <thomas.unavailable at gmail.com>

> In 2013 we at Austin's Yellow Bike Project started a staff program, mostly
> because our big new-at-the-time shop seemed underutilized. It seemed fine
> until the last few years. The staff feels there is a lack in accountability
> from the board, which is a loosely organized group of volunteers. So when
> the staff has problems, they seem not to get solved and people quit. We're
> down to 2 employees (one of whom is part time) from a peak of 7 a year ago.
> Almost all staff were board members before their hire date, so the
> arrangement has had the added detriment of gutting the board of (often its
> most) capable members.
> To answer your questions:
> We pay them hourly, and all the same hourly (which was their choice). But
> that may be about to change as there's talk of re-organizing from a
> collective to a manager-and-staff. They set the bike prices.
> Thomas Butler
> he | they
> Austin's Yellow Bike Project
> austinyellowbike.org
> On Thu, Nov 26, 2020 at 5:39 PM Tegan Moss [B!KE] <
> director at communitybikeshop.org> wrote:
>> Hi Folks,
>> B!KE does not currently pay anyone to fix bikes. We do not have any staff
>> members who do repairs for clients or refurbish bicycles to sell. Our
>> hundreds of refurb that get completed each year are currently done by
>> volunteers.
>> We have occasionally talked about how to compensate volunteers who are
>> particularly prolific bike builders. What do other shops do? Do you pay
>> people to refurbish bikes? Is it per bike or per hour? Are all bikes worth
>> the same amount? Are all bike builders compensated equally?
>> If you have a system that is working well for your shop I would be very
>> interested in talking to you about what you do. Please send me an email if
>> this is something you'd be open to talking about.
>> Thanks,
>> Tegan
>> --
>> Executive Director
>> B!KE: The Peterborough Community Bike Shop
>> 293 George St, Peterborough ON
>> (705) 775-7227
>> communitybikeshop.org
>> she/her
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