V-Twin Forum banner

1 - 20 of 30 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
312 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A recent thread on here and a friend attending has spurred my intrest in MMI. I have been planning to go back to school again anyway, but just trying to decide on what i want to be when I grow up.
But anyway my questions are:

1. Does graduating from MMI hold any weight with a hiring H-D dealership or independants? Will the program get you in the door or is it more a matter of experince.

2. How hard is it to get a job as a H-D tech? Are there lots of dealers looking or do you have to wait for someone to die. They are always a week or more behind so I am assuming there is atleast some shortage.

3. Also are they cool places to work, i am sure this is always different. But most industries stick together...some are alot more stuffy then others.

4. Is there some decent money in it, I am sure entry level sucks it always does, but what can be expected after a few years.

I am asking here because I have taken quite a bit of private training and the training companys have a bad habit of telling you exactly what you want to hear. Intrested in this because I have always heard, if you enjoy what you do you will never work a day in your life. So we shall see.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,186 Posts
Well I must admit, I do have a P.H.D.


I have a


PhuckinHarleyDavidson


Ok y'all here it comes!



BLA HA PhuckinHarleyDavidsonHaHaDotCom HA!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,496 Posts
Trade school and experince are what most look for inless they have a entry level job opening.

If you are willing to relocate have good refernces & experince it would not be to hard to get a job as a mech.

Some shops are "cool" others are "serious" and some are plan hard at work.

Good money comes with experince.

All this from the SOHK's.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,300 Posts
Man, you really don't want to hear the answer to that one.

But the answer depends on a lot of things.

I'm a firm believer that good wrenches are born, not made. I would hire a good gorn wrench in a heartbeat despite the MMI diploma.

Not trying to knock the school, Charlie himself at one time was a instructor at MMI, but they do tend to atract the wong type of prospects so to speak. LOL.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,300 Posts
One in a thousand gets rich working on motorcycles, mainly because they are masters at self promotion.

The real answer is simple, if you love working on motorcycles and would do it for free, go for it.
If you have natural mechanical ability and good common horse sense, they can teach you the theory.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
312 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Not looking to get rich, mainly looking to find some thing I won't hate doing 20 years from now. I love to work on cars, motorcycles, and just about anything. I was always the kid on the block that never could ride his bike cause i was always taking it apart for one reason or another. I do end up helping do lots of car/motorcycle repair stuff for free, helping others do things.

But I also don't want to waste a year in school for something that i can never get a job doing, or on a job that i can't support myself doing.

I am going back to school, and am nearly postive it will be for a automotive or motorcycle mechanic, dunno what kind yet. But I am still weighing options.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,300 Posts
Let me tell you, there was a time, in the 70's and early 80's where a specialized wrench could make $1500.00 a week easy if he was good and sought after. Keep in mind in those days you could buy say a loaded Chevy Suburban for a little under 7 grand. Those were the days when people could find good wrenches for the simple reason that the potential wages attracted intelligent and bright people that were happy doing their job.

The only guys making anywhere near that kind of money today are drivability guys at upscale and well managed auto dealers, they are the elite few and can write their own ticket.
If you can get a job as a dyno guy in a very well run HD dealership that does a lot of performance work you might get close.

I can't speak for Harley dealers across the country, but I can speak for the ones around here. They will require a MMI diploma, period. This will earn you somewhere beteween 8 and 10 bucks an hour. Then you get to buy thousands of dollars worth of tools. Then you get to work saturdays. No wonder they have a lot of personnel turn over.

If you stick it out for a couple of years, get all the right factory training, manage to stay out of politics, the dealer doesn't change ownership or management, etc, you will have a good position and make decent money.

I believe in the old way of doing business, if you are bright and pay attention and show a true interest in learning and don't have to be shown the same thing over and over, you shouldn't have a problem finding an old school independent wrench that will take you under his wing.

A few years down the road you probably make a little more money and will be much happier because you will have the respect of all of your customers. You will have a much wider range of knowledge and will be in a perfect position to start your own business if not take over the one of the old timer that trained you for it.
 

·
Just bad
Joined
·
698 Posts
HIPPO said:
The only guys making anywhere near that kind of money today are drivability guys at upscale and well managed auto dealers, they are the elite few and can write their own ticket.
That would be the guy married to the dealership owner's ugly daughter and blowing the service manager during lunch hour. Outside of that, the only person who makes good money turning wrenches is a shop owner and that's if he likes to get his hands dirty because the big $$$$ comes from other peoples work. Either way, entry level mechanic's wages are probably not bad money if you're currently boxing french fries or bagging groceries.

Now you understand why bikes come out of the dealerships with stupid $hit like thread tape on o-ring sealed oil plugs.

Sounds like the situation in m/c dealers is actually worse than automotive. For those of you that are dealership mechanics - this is not a flame at you, but more at the sorry state of the trade. True professional mechanics are rare only because they have a love for the work and are willing to put up with the BS at the job and low pay. You will also know it takes one to know one ;) I was a driveability/electrical guy working in indie auto shops. I loved the trade but finishing my undergrad degree and tripling my salary made more sense after 10 years of hard knocks. The best part is the "retirement package": a life time collection of tools and equipment at home so you only have to pay for service if you're too tired or lazy to do it your damn self :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,069 Posts
thomas_l said:


That would be the guy married to the dealership owner's ugly daughter and blowing the service manager during lunch hour.
Hey don't forget the UPS drivers and mechanics! :rolleyes:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,496 Posts
I am going to give you the best advice about meching belive it or not.
Go to school for automotive tech I ant talking about trade school Im talking 4 years of collage. When you get your deploma starting pay will be about 55,000 / YR. This is no joke. If you really like to be a mech get a degree and write your own meal ticket.
Hippo 's reply was great but one thing: A great mech can be tought to be.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
312 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Kags
What kind of school are you talking about, or do you mean like mech engineering. I have a associate degree already so, i could transfer into a 4 year program fairly easy. I have looked at a ton of tech schools but i have never seen a four year program anywhere.

Everyone else,
Thanks for the info that is just the kind of stuff i was looking for, soon enough i will figure out what i am going to do.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,300 Posts
A great mech can be tought to be.
Maybe I didn't word it right. Even a great natural talent has to be given the knowledge or the means to acquire the knowledge. But the best school or support system in the world will not be enough without the natural ability and certain character traits.

In any case it's just one mans opinion.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
312 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I completely understand, certian things just take a little something that noone can teach.
 

·
Just bad
Joined
·
698 Posts
The characteristic of a "natural" is a knack for problem solving - specifically being able to look at an assembly and understand why it goes together a certain way versus just being able to follow the book. This is even more important on driveability and electrical repairs that aren't cut and dried like a broken part or leaky seal. For that matter, that leaky seal can be replaced by anyone but how many dealer techs will take the extra step to spot the screwdriver gouge left by the last guy (causing the leak) and dress it up with emory cloth? That's the stuff that separates a real pro from the rest.

IMO, a technical school will develop that ability in someone who has never discovered it on their own. If they didn't have it in the first place, the tech school grad will gain good knowledge but will always rely on others when some jobs require steps that fall outside the bounds of the service manual.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,496 Posts
BW The tech end I am refering to is all about CPU enginerring for the automotive industray. All new cars (as you well know) have state of the art tech with complex electroinics. Todays high end auto mech is not a mech but a tech. The country has a real shortage of quailfide techs just look in any news paper. I thought most any 4 yr collage offers 4 year programs in the automotive electronic technolagy enginerring.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
312 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Kags, I have never looked into that, that is along the lines i was thinking about. I design computer systems now, so i was really wanting to find a mix of wrenching and computers. I will look into that at some universitys.

thomas, I somewhat disagree, if i was only capable of repeating steps I learned in school, then I would never have got anywhere. I am sure that tech school is no different. A decent school would give me the knowledge not to fvck something up while i am in there. I mean a school can only teach so much, but much of what holds me back when deciding what to fix, or send to the dealer is, A: Scared I will screw something else up, even though i am 99% sure I could do it, I can't afford to trash my 20g scoot. B: Not having the right tools, or a good place to work on it.

I got into computers, I self taught myself much of it. but i never got all that good until i took a few classes and got confident that I wouldn't hurt them. That gave me the knowledge to learn more on my own. As well as learn on the job, I have learned more in first 2 months on the job then i did in 3 years of school.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,089 Posts
blackwhisper said:
but much of what holds me back when deciding what to fix, or send to the dealer is, A: Scared I will screw something else up, even though i am 99% sure I could do it, I can't afford to trash my 20g scoot. B: Not having the right tools, or a good place to work on it.
I know what ya mean..........and I'm a Barber!...:eek:

I @M GONNA FIX IT!!!!!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
193 Posts
Ditto to what Thomas said. I've been in automotive service for many years, but not as a technician. The "naturals" as he calls them are only about 10% (if that) of all the technicians out there. What sets them apart is the ability to diagnose tough problems and be able to preform any job quickly, efficiently and properly. You never see them guessing. They have a innate desire to fix a problem, if they don't have the answer in a manual or prior experience, they have the ability to figure it out more or less on their own. The vast majority of technicians (auto or other) are plenty competant for most shops, but they make less on flat rate. A smaller group is the hackers and flat-raters...they either lack natural abilty or honesty, and butcher your car/bike/truck up or steal you blind on flat rate...or both...those are the sons of bitches you don't want near your vehicle no matter what.
 

·
Just bad
Joined
·
698 Posts
blackwhisper said:
thomas, I somewhat disagree, if i was only capable of repeating steps I learned in school, then I would never have got anywhere. I am sure that tech school is no different. A decent school would give me the knowledge not to fvck something up while i am in there. I mean a school can only teach so much, but much of what holds me back when deciding what to fix, or send to the dealer is, A: Scared I will screw something else up, even though i am 99% sure I could do it, I can't afford to trash my 20g scoot. B: Not having the right tools, or a good place to work on it.

I got into computers, I self taught myself much of it. but i never got all that good until i took a few classes and got confident that I wouldn't hurt them. That gave me the knowledge to learn more on my own. As well as learn on the job, I have learned more in first 2 months on the job then i did in 3 years of school.
I hear what you're saying and I didn't mean to imply that a tech school grad was incompetent or anything. Crawdaddy's post speaks to that well.

As you found in your first profession, confidence comes with experience and that hesitation (your point A) is the best thing you can have for a career mechanic. To quote Dirty Harry :D "A man's gotta know his limitations." Knowing when to stop before scrooin the pooch is the mark of a professional. Not knowing your limitations is a mark of incompetence. As you gain experience, that limitation goes farther away and you need less guidance. The best thing you can do is put your money where your mouth is and work on your own bike. You probably did that when learning computer assemblies (just a guess) building different configurations and network layouts since most companies won't let you touch anything meaningful until you have proven yourself with experience. If anything, working with your own "skin" in the game will make you more sensitive to limitations :) and possibly lead to side jobs with riding partners as you work on getting hired at a retail shop. When they see you ride up and your scoot isn't a clattering leaky piece of sh1t, and they know you do your own work, that speaks volumes.

Not having a place to work on your own is definitely a setback. Short of renting a storage shed or borrowing garage space from a friend or family member, that is a tough one. Also, I'm sorry to tell you: having the right tools is a part of that trade. Think of it like a student loan that you never pay off. You will get to know thy tool trucks and which day of the week they will bless you with a visit :D Save some space on a credit card for your mail order HD specialty tools as you sooner or later encounter a need for them. The best rule of thumb is buy it if 1. You can't borrow it or 2. You have already borrowed it once. Before you know it you won't be borrowing stuff and the Snap-on man will be giving you free coffee mugs and sh1t :D

I guess my only reason for staying with this thread is that deciding to make a career change to motorcycle (or automotive for that matter) mechanic is a bigger deal than meets the eye and takes a strong committment. Unlike building computers, you are facing a couple of really lean earning years as you climb the learning curve. Having been there and done that I can say it's rewarding from an achievement perspective but I can also say from experience that the money flows much better in I/T. Good luck to you on whatever you set your mind to accomplishing :)
 
1 - 20 of 30 Posts
Top