At the Bike Library we charge $5/hour for Rent-a-Bench which includes (more or less) free use of tools, space and help. We sell a lot of project bikes and parts to people who use the shop space, so we make some money there too. If someone isn't interested in doing the work themselves we'll just direct them to a local bike shop. If they have no idea how to hold a wrench we try to encourage them to take a class before building a bike. If someone only uses a bench for 5 min or can't afford the full cost we usually just ask them to give whatever they think is doable/reasonable. A lot of times people will give us a $20 for 5min worth of help so it tends to even out pretty nicely. That said, right now we have city-subsidized space so when that changes our pricing might have to change too.

Sam, Iowa City Bike Library

Den 18-12-2013 22:58, Lauren Warbeck skrev:
Hey folks!

Here at Our Community Bikes in Vancouver, we're wanting to change our pricing structure for use of our tools and space.  I'm interested to hear what pricing systems other shops are stoked on and why.  I know this has been discussed many times before, but lets get real: I don't remember and I didn't save them.  So here we are again!

At present, we have a three-tiered system:
$6 to use our tools with no help
$12 to use our tools with help
$18 you stand there looking on blankly while we do it for you.

It's a flat hourly rate, all day every day.  No caps.

This system doesn't actually reflect how we charge.  No one gets the $18 treatment, even if they ask for it.  We don't have the staff to do it, and its not really what we like to do anyway.  More often that not, when a service user comes up to pay after using our tools, we ask them approximately how much time they worked alone, and how much time they had help, and agree on some combination of the $6 & $12 rate.  Now, I love qualitative analysis as much as the next community bike shop employee, but even I can appreciate that this leaves big gaps in terms of assessing appropriate payment, making the money that keeps us afloat, and makes our payment system ultimately unclear to our service users.

How does your shop charge for tools and space?  How did you arrive at that system?  Does it present any barriers to meeting your service users' needs or reflecting your shop's values?

Thanks pals!
Lauren @ OCB


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