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Old 09-20-2012, 12:45 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I'll just post a quickie for you since Chopperdude did a fine job. I am currently a student at MMI. I am planning on taking every single manufacturer offered which will allow me to be employable no matter where I am living. The school will give you back only what you put into it. Some of the instructors are phenomenal, and some of them you wonder how the heck they got a job teaching there. Thankfully there are more good than bad. I am attending on the GI Bill but wouldn't hesitate to spend my own money based on the classes I've attended so far. Keep in mind this is a for profit school so their minimum standard is low. If you plan on attending, give it your all and push yourself to be the best. The wealth of possible knowledge beyond the basic curriculum is amazing. A lot of these instructors have been there and done that for 20 or 30 years. Some have owned performance shops, some have ran dealerships, some have never worked for a dealership, but they all love bikes and have been doing it for a long time. Even the bad instructors might have a thing or two that will help you in the industry. Lastly, I believe what these guys are saying about not making you "rich," I was offered the chance to make six figures working overseas but I would have been miserable. Motorcycles make me happy, so broke and happy I will be.

P.S. If you are wanting to open your own shop, I recommend taking a metric manufacturer or two. Just incase someone breaks down outside your shop on a Goldwing!

Last edited by YoungCrossbones; 09-20-2012 at 12:47 PM.
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Old 09-21-2012, 07:40 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by FX-Rider View Post
You would be better off gettimg your CDL and going up to North Dakota to the oil fields.. there paying Big bucks..
My buddy from Billings told me there has been a lot of problems up there because of the boom.
Some of the drivers are being paid by the load and are driving like there are no laws.
Also companies are being bought out then the new owners reduce the workers pay.
Just what I heard.
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Old 09-21-2012, 10:20 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Half_crazy View Post
Be an electrician. Get a job at a union electrical shop, work hard, get them to enroll you in an apprenticship for 4 years. A journeyman electrician on Gov/union work makes $50 to $55/Hr.
50-55 per hour?

maybe 50,000 to 55,000 per year(depending on where you live, it could be lower), but I highly doubt 50-55 per hour.
I am an electrician and have a few friends who are union.

The average pay for the U.S. is 47,000 per year.
In northeast Florida here is what an electrician can expect...
residential electrician 14/hr.
commercial electrician 16/hr
industrial electrician 18/hr.
service electrician 20/hr.
a foreman could get 2-3/hr. more
those were merit shop prices,

union electrician 20-25/hr depends on experience
in New York, the average wage is 34/hr.

Unfortunately there are thousand of licensed electricians that are unemployed. They are willing to make less, so are more likely to get hired before someone else. If you are union, your job will be to keep the bench warm while you wait for your turn to work.
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Old 12-03-2012, 01:55 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by ChopperDude View Post
Maybe in the 80s, but I doubt it.

I went to MMI in 2003. If you want to work in a dealership with no experience, this is about the only way in. Dealership's just don't hire people without experience or something like MMI. Realize that MMI partnered with the MoCo in the 90's sometime.

The MoCo *requires* that dealerships send their techs to ongoing education. During my 4 years of wrenching, I went to 3 such classes. One was in Milwaukee at the MoCo original factory, but the other two were at MMI campuses... one in Orlando and the other in Phoenix.

The MoCo has a LOT of say in how MMI teaches the Harley courses. They are actually very good for learning how to work on bikes. There is no such relationship at any of the other schools to my knowledge... I know that AMI in Daytona was big in the 90s, and they had a chance to do the same thing, but would not agree to the involvement that the MoCo wants. A co-student went to AMI... for 2 months. He quit and came to MMI/Orlando and said it was a huge improvement.

Here is my experience as I wrote it shortly after graduating:

Bottom line? it wasn't for me. The money was NOT what I thought it would be. After just under 4 years, I was the #2 wrench in the shop and making $15 an hour. This was NOT "flat rate", but straight hourly time. That's not much money really. When I went to those classes I mentioned, a few guys indicated they were making closer to $50k a year and were happy, but the dealerships here in the Charlotte area pay nothing close to that.

I certainly won't say "don't do it", but being something like an electrician would probably pay better in the long haul.
Can you explain what MoCo is and the relationship between MoCo, the dealership and MMI?

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Old 12-25-2012, 06:14 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Test to see if I have permission to post. Argh!
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Old 12-25-2012, 06:21 PM   #21 (permalink)
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I like DoctorDee's earlier comment because I have experienced something similar. To make a long story short, I followed my heart and head and made money. You can't always see opportunities or obstacles when you plan things out, so using your passion or heart or whatever you want to call it for direction payed off for me. Its important to mention that I am also a Christian, so I pray and seek God's will for my life before making decisions. I believe the bible teaches to never go ahead with a big decision unless your at peace with it, and I believe its a good rule to follow. I only move forward when my head, heart, and the will of God are in agreement. I know Gods will by reading and studying the bible, and praying for direction through Jesus Christ.

My biggest obstacle with MMI is the cost and return. Tuition to attend MMI and take the late model Harley Davidson elective is over $25,000. Its another $7500 to take 1 additional elective (BMW, Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki). The cost is very expensive, and for most people it requires getting student loans. Student loans are with you for the rest of your life or until you pay it off. I have been an avid motorcyclist all my life, and I picked up a lot of knowledge about maintenance and repair from personal experience. I had the opportunity to work at a Yamaha dealership at one point in my life, and it was one of the worst jobs I ever had. I made very little money, shop was very small and poorly equipped. My work mainly consisted of prepping bikes, and removing and installing tires. There were no tire machines, and all tire work was done on a small barrel with tire irons. If you rated shops, the shop I worked at had to be one of the lowest rated, if not the lowest rated shop on earth, and its probably not fair to judge other motorcycle repair shops from my experience.

From my experience (someone on the outside looking in) Harley Davidson seems to have the best equipped and nicest repair shops I have seen. Haven't really seen any European brand bike repair shops. The Japanese dealerships seem to be the worst, especially the older shops that have been around since the 70's without any upgrades. BMW seems to value the quality of their technicians more than the other manufactures because 1) The requirements to take the BMW elective at MMI is stricter than the other electives 2) BMW has a program called STEP for MMI graduates. If your selected they train you for 8 weeks free of charge in exchange for working at a BMW motorcycle dealership for 1 year after you graduate from STEP (Good deal and oppurtunity!). I have seen a few comments online from BMW techs that said they are happy with their jobs and making good money. One BMW tech said he is making 1k per week. I've heard of HD techs also making good money, but I have never seen a complaint from a BMW technician about poor pay. Not true with Harley Davidson. BMW would be my first pick because of these things, but the only problem I see with BMW is there are not very many BMW dealerships in the USA.

I agree with the Chopperdudes comment that without experience you pretty much need to attend and graduate from a motorcycle repair school to get hired as a tech. There are so many MMI graduates working in this industry that MMI is pretty much a prerequisite for landing a job without any experience. And because motorcycles now use computers and electronics to make systems work, it takes school to really, truely understand how these systems work.

If I knew a person could make a decent wage, than I would be all for attending MMI. I have read comments online about MMI graduates landing jobs at motorcycle dealerships and only making $10 or less an hour. I think making less than a living wage is just not right for a tech job. The problem is I don't know if this is common in this industry. I do know that if you stick with it, and get some experience, there are some good jobs to be had. Police departments like the LAPD, CHP, Las Vegas PD, all use motorcycle technicians to service and repair their fleet of motorcycles, and the pay and benefits are good.

Another source of information about For Profit Schools like UTI (MMI), go to your favorite search engine and type in UTI stock, and read the market news. The stock ticker symbol for MMI is UTI.

Last edited by BadJack7; 12-25-2012 at 11:59 PM.
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Old 12-25-2012, 08:13 PM   #22 (permalink)
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I'd suggest a Welding career. It's a trade that can translate into other fields. Making frames? Construction. I don't really know anyone who is making it turning wrenches. These technical colleges are insane with their tuition compared to what kind of wages you can expect in return. If your going to start your own shop anyway. It might be better to partner up or hire someone already with the know-how.
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Old 12-25-2012, 09:57 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by LoboFxdl View Post
I've been thinking about getting enrolled in this tech school and taking the harley early and late model courses. One of these days I would like to open my own shop. I was wonder what you all thought about this school, and if this would be getting me started on the right track to opening my own shop? I would probably be going to the phoenix campus so a riding season that doesn't end would be a plus.
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Old 12-26-2012, 03:15 PM   #24 (permalink)
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This is all hearsay. I understand MMI, and similar schools, charge a lot of money for their training/education. A person who has initiative, motivation, and drive can do as well getting an entry-level job at a dealership, and learning via OJT (on the job training). You will need to do the OJT in any case. How much will the formal school help? You'll have to answer that for yourself. Certainly, if you have never wrenched before, the school can give you a condensed course in tool-use, etc., and prepare you to have the basic skills needed to hold down an entry level technician's job.

Then, too, it's like others have said here: other jobs pay a lot more. You can expend the same amount of time and effort elsewhere, and make more money.

As for starting your own business as an Indy, you have an apprenticeship to serve first (years of learning the mechanics' ropes), then when that's done, you have to learn the entrepreneurial part of running your own business. That's really two careers--one as a master mechanic, and one as a small business owner--to master. Lots of work, and effort.

My Indy told me just the other day he'd thought about packing it in, and taking a job with the dealer. Not that he doesn't love what he does, but this economy sucks, business is off, and there's lots of headaches...not the least of which is worrying about having enough business walk through the door to keep the doors open. At some point, you get burned-out. He'll hang in there. But the point is, he thinks about it, because it's not a bed of roses, running your own shop.
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Old 01-02-2013, 10:30 AM   #25 (permalink)
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its up to you

i graduated from the arizona campus in 1994, worked at 3 different factory dealers. its up to you to decide your future employment, however, as stated by others, entry level techs rarely make over 12 bucks/hr. this is partially because dealers have issues with turnaround hiring mmi techs. its up to the individual to absorb the teachings no matter where you train. i myself have seen many guys and gals come n go because they couldnt thrive in the environment of a dealer. dealers try to turn as much work as possible and its not easy work. maintaining quality while being speedy is not something you find in every one. with my job at the dealer and side work at my shop at home i'll make 60 some grand per year. thats after almost 20 years of field experience. its all up to you.
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Old 01-02-2013, 03:28 PM   #26 (permalink)
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I graduated from a motorcycle academy years ago in Jacksonville, FL. I've wrenched on everything from Helicopters, Diesels, Autos, Trucks, Hydraulic/Electrical Tech... Offered a job as an instructor at a motorcycle repair school. If you want to make good money wrenching look into some marine or industrial fields. Huge differance in pay. They start a green deckhand out with no experience on a towboat at 53,000/yr. In 6-8 months as a tankerman, about 60,000+/yr. Working 30 days on the boat and off 15 or 30 days, which ever you choose. In 4-5 years pilots make 6 digit figures. You can do a lot of riding and trips. And if you want to wrench on bikes, you can do it as a hobby with your friends, and avoid the frustration of dealing with irrate customers that don't have a clue. The only people making decent money, own the dealership. You only have one life, dream Big.

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Old 01-09-2013, 09:33 PM   #27 (permalink)
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my cousin went MMI a few years back. He now owns his owns shop and does what he loves everyday. He's not getting rich but he is making a living.
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Old 02-19-2013, 03:09 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Below is a comment from a good BMW motorcycle technician. I am convinced, just from talking to people, that new technicians working for a motorcycle dealership are lucky if they can scrape by living paycheck to paycheck. In this field you have to work for yourself to make a decent living, or work for the city, state or federal government. I would guess there are not very many gov jobs, so plan on working for yourself.

I left Digital Electronics ($13.00 per hour) in 1998 to go to work at the BMW dealership where I had bought a new K1 in 1991 and a new K100RS in 1992. I started as the #2 (of 2) technician making $6.00 per hour. I soon became the only technician (#1 of 1) and was paid $7.50 per hour. Then I was made 'Head Technician' AND Service Manager. My pay? $9.00 per hour (1999~2000). I worked there a total of 26 months and left as Head Tech, Service Manager, Service Writer, Shop Foreman and head baby-sitter making $10.00 per hour. The Honda motorcycle dealer offered me $18.00 per hour but I decided to start my own BMW shop. BMW customers were begging me to fix their bikes since the dealer was ****ing them up since I left. Been slugging along on my own now since August 2000 and never been happier though I have been wealthier!
I hired a kid a few years ago, fresh out of MMI, top of his class, etc. Nice kit but useless. He was book-smart but had no clue or logical application of wrenching. He didn't last long after he dropped a K1100LT and cost me $3800 at the body shop. These schools thrive to make money, YOUR money. I do not, can not and will not suggest that you attend one. It will NOT help you get a job in a motorcycle shop and any shop that does hire you based on your MMI credentials will abuse the **** out of you. Visit the dealer that you want to work at, talk to the service manager, the owner, everyone and BEG to allow them to let you show what you are capable of doing. Hopefully that will not work and you will move along and apply at the car dealership down the street where you will get hired, have benefits, make three times the pay you would get in a motorcycle shop and have 'normal' hours. That will allow you to make more money to buy more bikes and work on them after your car repair week is over.
As for BMW dealers specifically: BMW has such financially crippling mandates regarding # of employees, what tile you must use in your showroom, how many more bikes you must sell each year, etc. yet they have such a humiliatingly tiny market share (2% of bike sales in the US are BMW-2 %!) that the dealers have to afford it somehow. That somehow comes from raping the service department. Less pay, less benefits and less quality. Don't do it. Go to work for Toyota instead.
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