Making Motorcycles a Career


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Good motorcycle mechanics have traditionally been the guys that work out of their own garages or occasionally their own shops. Over the past fifteen years or so the profession has become a little more formalized. Motorcycles have never been more popular, and their appeal has been expanded by the development of the snowmobile and ATV markets. Here are some suggestions for developing a career in motorcycle service - it's still true that a good bike mechanic is hard to find.

Pick up all the formal education you can. There are many vocational schools and colleges that have motorcycle maintenance and repair programs, which result in either a diploma or a certificate. They also result in a basic education about motorcycles in general, two cycle and four cycle engines, and the characteristics of chain drives and motorcycle transmissions.

If you go to work for a dealer, take the manufacturer's courses in repair. Bike manufacturers invest a lot in providing education to professionals who service their motorcycles. Customer retention is as important with motorcycles as with any other business. Because motorcycle dealers have not always provided service, most manufacturers to their best to at least co-op classes with factory representatives.

Don't stop your education with motorcycles. Once you've established yourself in a shop and have some experience, consider taking courses in the maintenance and repair of other equipment that is driven by a small engine. If you live in New England you'll see a lot of "small engine" repair shops that work on motorcycles, snowmobiles, ATVs and lawn tractors. The more you can learn about products with similarities to motorcycles, the more marketable your skills will be.

If you have the initiative and aren't carrying a lot of family responsibilities, you should consider continuing education with factory programs for different motorcycles and for different manufacturers of other small engine products. Motorcycles may be your first love, but small engines may be your ultimate business.

The more credentials you have, the better off you will be. Motorcycle dealers and shop owners are looking for new employees that have had formal training. Consider seeking out certification as a motorcycle instructor. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation maintains a program that has certified over 20,000 instructors in their Rider Trainer and Rider Coach categories.

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