Offhand, i have seen a lot of range.
- Vague, pay what you can
- $5/day, $50/year
- $5/hour, $20/month, $60/year, $200/lifetime

One I saw that I thought was a very bad idea was to charge based on level of experience. They charged beginners a lot more, which probably means their patrons were more likely to ride dangerous bike. At the very least, it meant only people who could afford the $15/hour or whatever it was would be asking for help.

Money comes from
- donations, fundraider parties
- complete bikes
- used parts and new (consumable) parts
- memberships
- one-off use of tools and expertise

Give a range and suggested prices. Most people act confused when there isn't a specific donation amount requested. If requestinv volunteer time in exchange, have an easily acessible, prominent list with a wide range of tasks and skill levels.

Consider implementing a safer space agreement from the beginning, if you don't already have one. How are you going to maintain a diverse bike repair community? 

One major issue that comes up a lot is more imbalanced patron:volunteer ratio. ( I believe this contributes to gender imbalance due to gender norms, but it also leads to volunteer burnout and inadequate instruction. )  Consider nipping this in the bud by implementing an appointment system, especially when you get a longer-term location. 

After meetings, take the key decisions from the minutes and use them to create your handbook. It starts with a few sentences and grows over time. The bikecollectives wiki is a good place to store your handbook.

 Back to your question. Whatever options you choose, spell them out in clear and simple language with prominent signage, and also verbally explain all the options for each patron. 

On Tuesday, May 1, 2018, Sarah FioRito <> wrote:

I might suggest that folks working in a community bike shop setting use neither the word "client" nor  "customer" but rather "community member," "friend" or "patron."

I personally never use the word customer when in the shop and encourage other facilitators to do the same. The word customer reduces the relationship between the shop and the community member to a financial transaction. As many of us are in the work from the ethos of supporting access, creating vibrant community spaces, etc, rather than seeing our work as a business transaction, finding alternatives to the word customer may be of interest since that term is pretty specific to a certain type of relationship.

On Thu, Apr 26, 2018 at 10:52 AM, Ron Kellis <> wrote:
One of the things we have done is to make up an 11X17" poster (easy to print) listing what a donation will buy:

And as another suggested, you can put a thermometer poster on the donation jar with how much you are trying to raise and whee you are at.

On Mon, Apr 23, 2018 at 9:19 AM, Sue Plummer <> wrote:
HI Folks,

I'm part of a start-up effort in an urban neighborhood in Cincinnati.  We hope to have our own shop, one day, where we will rebuild and sell bikes, affordably.  In the meantime, we have pop-up repair sessions (2 Saturdays/month) planned for the spring/summer, this year.  

We did a few of these part of last summer, but didn't charge anything.  I am not completely comfortable with that, and would like to ask clients to offer something in exchange.  i'd love any ideas about this.


Sue Plummer
WheelHouse Cincy


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Ron Kellis | Véloteer & Basic Maintenance Instructor  | VéloCity Bicycle Co-op | 2111 Mt. Vernon Ave., Alexandria, VA  22301 | | +1 (703) 549-1108


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