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Discussion Starter #1
So I am looking for some input. I had always wanted a bike and when I broke down about a month ago and started out with my Ninja 250, I got bit by the bike bug pretty hard. Heard about the Motorcycle Mechanics Institute (MMI) and requested info from them. From what they sent it looks like a pretty good deal to me. I haven't tracked down alot of job postings on the web yet, but from what I can tell, depending on the size of the dealership, and where it is at, you can make from $25/hr to $60/hr as a bike mechanic. Is there anyone here that has gone through there? Or for that matter, anyone in the industry that can offer me some real world advice on them? It would be a big change for me, going from B.F.E. Montana, down to Phoenix, AZ, but if they turn out to be as good as they look, I am going to go for it full force. So please gang, give me some input, good or bad, and please keep it to as much factual information as possible.

Mods: I think this is the right forum, but if not feel free to move it.
 

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I am with you. Been looking at going as well. I know a few people who have friends who went there, I asked what they were doing now. They all work at a factory dealer. Which classes you going to take? I am going for Kawi and Honda, just because Honda is huge, so it wouldnt be hard to find a job. My main goal though is to work with a race team, like Attack Kawasaki or something like that. Just working out when I will be going down there, and the financial aid and student loan part now. Will probably go sometime next March/April, we will see.
 

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If I could do college over again, I would probably have gotten the degree I have and gone to MMI classes as well. I relaly want to open my own bike shop and it would be so much easier with a mecahnics backround.
I say go for it. Then open up you're own place and do what you love.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
InsaneSaki, Kawasaki elective is a given. But I am toying the idea of doing ALL of them. Can't hurt right? Besides, once I completed one, I could start working as a mechanic, make good money, and keep learning
 

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yeah you can do them all for the same price as 2. I thought about going but i think im gonna finish my 4 year degree first. My roomate is thinkin about goin though.
 

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Going to be attending once i retire from the army in 5 years, figure it will be free for me...[:M6]Gotta love that GI BILL and i get paid each month from it..something like $900.00 a month.

From what i have read up on them good school, I am just looking to do this for a school and something to do after the army, as i want to be doing something i Enjoy & like.
 

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How much is this school? I have been interested lately also but i know the main deciding factor for me is....money. How long are the courses? im sure someone on here has been?
 

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I too am looking at going in another year when I finish my automotive degree. I asked for information and the packet they sent was good but there were no prices on anything. That is my main deciding factor now. Plus I would have to find houseing and a job to maintain everything. Plus I just want to move to fl for a year for a change of pace.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
As far as price I don't know yet. I'll update once I give them a call either today or monday, and let you guys know. As far as length of school, the packet said most people get done within 13-15 months. I'm assuming that is doing the core stuff, and 1 elective (IE: Kawasaki)
 

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Yea schools like that, seem to always save the price until last. you know....like right when you sign your life away. Where are the locations?
 

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AS a student currently attending MMI in PHX:

Classes go as follows:
Theory - 6 weeks
Clinic 1 through 9 - 27 weeks (3 weeks each)
2 core electives - 24 weeks (12 weeks each)

Total of 57 weeks minimum with the option of adding more electives each at 12 weeks

The above is approx. $18,500.

If you decide to take all 5 electives (K-tech, HonTech, YamaPro, Suzuki, BMW) you will be closer to $30,000.

I'm currently in clinic 8 and on a scale of 1-10 I'd rate the school at 5 or 6.

Honda is supposed to be going to 24 weeks soon. I've heard rumor that Yamapro is the least helpful clinic and Honda is leaps and bounds ahead of the other 3 imports. BMW is in a class of it's own. I'm taking Honda and BMW for that reason.

Also, PHX sucks. No offense to anyone living here, but traffic blows, summers are miserable (it's like 112 right now, low's in the upper 90's). I'm looking to get back to OH as soon as I'm done.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Dustin, what can you tell me as far as how valuable you are in the job market, for having gone through this school? Also, would you recommend it to others? What about pay? From the best I can tell from the few job ads ive seen online for bike mechanics, it looks that depending on the size of the dealership, and where its located, you can make anywhere from $25-$60/hr. Also, just how good is the school with helping you finding a place to live, and a job while you are down there? How possible is it to work full time while attending school? Hell, if you're willing, i'll give you my # or you can give me yours. I would LOVE to get the full, non b.s. perspective from a current student.
 

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Broken and others interested:

My biggest piece of advice from the questions you've asked, don't plan to work full time AND go to school. It is not going to work if you want to get everything out of the school that you want. Also as for a job while you are here, the school publishes a job list weekly, but in my opinion doesn't help with finding a job while you are here at all. The same goes for living arrangements, other than the housing coordinator being quite attractive (bonus), she posts a list of people looking for roommates and will recommend a guy to call for housing needs. For both I feel you are pretty much on your own.

If anyone is interested in some apartments in the area, I think you are better off finding someone who is going to school to talk to about the best places to live.

Alright now about the job market, etc:
I'm only halfway done so I'm not sure how completely I can answer this, but will do my best. Upon gradutaion, the school says you walk out with 1 year field experience, which equals about $12/hr in the shop...less or more dependent upon where you live. Your $25-$60/hr jobs, I have a feeling are for techs with 5-10+ years in the field. Also remember, most shops go by flat rate (meaning you get paid a rate the manufacturer publishes per job).

A bit about the school itself:
Theory is 6 weeks of lecture. 5 hours per day, with lots of down time, so it doesn't get horribly boring. Pay attention in there, I learned more about motorcycles in the first six weeks than I have the last 4 months.
Clinic 1 is your first look at an an engine, you tear down a 4-stroke (splitting the cases) and reassemble it, plus more paperwork.
Clinic 2 is suspension and tires, you do a front-end rebuild, swingarm inspection, brake service, and lots of tire changes.
Clinic 3 is machine shop, boring and honing cyclinders, crankshaft truing, etc.
Clinic 4 is electrical, THE MOST IMPORTANT CLINIC, in my opinion. First 2 weeks mostly lecture PAY ATTENTION and TAKE NOTES.
Clinic 5 Engine diagnostics, E.G.A machine, carb syncs, carb. rebuilds, over-all an interesting clinic with a lot of information.
Clinic 6 Useless...5 min of noise diagnosis (should be weeks in my opinion) Repeat of one except you take your engine you tear down and reassemble and put it in a frame to see if it runs.
Clinic 7 Performance review, everything 1-6 combined into 3 weeks of graded lab to see how well you can perform what you've learned. (toughest clinic)
Clinic 8 Review of 4, but well worth it. By the last day of 4 you finally understand what a 3 phase PMS charging system is. Then you go to 5, 6, and 7 and forget. So 8 is 3 weeks of working on motorcycle electric systems. (my favorite clinic so far)
Clinic 9 (I haven't taken it yet) Dyno-runs, and I'm not sure what else.

So about the school as a whole, in my opinion:
Many of the training aids and tools they supply to do the work required for each class could be updated. They are starting to have a lot of problems. Many of the instructors were at one time techs, so they have shop experience but no teaching experience. That can be interesting. What you get out of this school depends on what you put into it. If you don't ask questions you aren't going to understand stuff.

I came into the school with a general knowledge of how an engine works and have done top-end rebuilds on 2-strokes (which really isn't covered at all in any of the clinics I might add). So having that experience, I'm not sure if it helped or hindered me. The school up to this point provides you with the very basic workings of a motorcycle. If you walk into this never have taken your rear tire off a motorcycle, this school is going to benefit you a lot more than it has me. However if I could walk out tomorrow and take my money back would I? NO, the knowledge I've gained from ASKING questions has been invaluble. Teachers are there to guide you hands-on, I just don't feel they are very good at lecturing, but they can wrench.
I would also highly recommend talking to local dealerships to find out what they are looking for from their techs, what their shop turn-around is on employee's, starting pay, etc. Talk to tech's even find out as much information from the field directly before diving into all the schooling. From what I'm seeing, after graduation the first 5 years or so are going to be hell with a job. $30k-$50K a year, and you better know what you're doing on bikes.

Finally a bit about PHX since that is where I'm going to school:
Generally everything is close to the school, Shopping, food, living, all your essentials. Number one thing, if you bring a motorcycle, get a garage or lots of chains. Theft is rediculous down here (A story all in itself). People can't drive, I took a friend to the airport this afternoon, about 50 miles round trip. Saw two trucks shred their tires and about cause accidents, saw 3 accidents, and people never used turn-signals, they just dart around. Maybe that's just how cities are (I'm from the country), but it's crazy. My friend described PHX well...It's Hell's Asshole. It's not somewhere you want to live I don't think. Also cycle shops here pay about $7/hr for lot techs. Your best bet of a good paying job while you are going to school is in the restaurant business. Everything else is $7-$8/hr except for a few job's here and there.

I'm not sure what else, just keep asking questions and I can answer as best I can. As for the number thing, I think it'd be more beneficial to be public than just for one person to see so I'll keep it on here and hopefully some other students may jump in with their opinions as well.
 

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Hmm. Just a word about "FLAT RATE" pay, It sucks! I was a Tech working at a major Metro Detroit area dealer. The way flat rate works is: every maker has a book with job descriptions and what they pay in terms of hours or fractions of. example Tune up 2.5 hrs. Regardless of how much time it actually takes you to complete the job. So needless to say some jobs are better than others, these are termed "gravy". Other jobs jobs you say there's "No f-ing way someone got this done in that amount of time". Doesn't matter that's what you get paid. How much you make is also determined by your service manager is he/she giving you any "gravy" or are you getting all the shit warranty jobs? I don't want to pop your bubble but you wont make a lot of money doing tech work, it's all job dependant (no or little work coming into the shop who gets it? the top seniority techs first). Season changes, if you live in the northern part of the country be prepared to work on watercraft and snowmobiles. Dont forget the cost of tools not cheap. Bottom line I want to tell you not to become a service tech but I wont, I'd tell you to become the service writer then manager. If your determined to do this I'd tell you to learn all the short cuts you can these are your key to making any money at all, good luck finding these at MMI.

Sorry to be sounding so down about this but I got a really bad taste of flat rate when I was a tech. I would do some serious reaserch into just how much tech's in your area make not only hourly rate but how many billable hours per week do they average,(what's high/low). Is there a need in your area for techs?

Good Luck
 

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+1 on what Oldninja said. If you aren't fast, you'll be working for minimum wage. And if you aren't good, like a LOT of the wrenches in my area, I won't even let you change my tires. :D
 

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I live about 15 miles North of Dayton. So ready to come back to Ohio too. School is good, but Phoenix just sucks. I like my small town and 4 seasons.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Dustin, you said don't work full time and goto school to get everything out of it. Is that just do to school schedule/homework? or what? Exactly how hard is it to find a reasonable job down there, along with a place to live? What about housing costs? How possible is it to have your OWN place, and only work part time with minimal bills? (IE: cell phone & insurance on bike/cage?
 

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Originally posted by Oldninja
Hmm. Just a word about "FLAT RATE" pay, It sucks! I was a Tech working at a major Metro Detroit area dealer. The way flat rate works is: every maker has a book with job descriptions and what they pay in terms of hours or fractions of. example Tune up 2.5 hrs. Regardless of how much time it actually takes you to complete the job. So needless to say some jobs are better than others, these are termed "gravy". Other jobs jobs you say there's "No f-ing way someone got this done in that amount of time". Doesn't matter that's what you get paid. How much you make is also determined by your service manager is he/she giving you any "gravy" or are you getting all the shit warranty jobs? I don't want to pop your bubble but you wont make a lot of money doing tech work, it's all job dependant (no or little work coming into the shop who gets it? the top seniority techs first). Season changes, if you live in the northern part of the country be prepared to work on watercraft and snowmobiles. Dont forget the cost of tools not cheap. Bottom line I want to tell you not to become a service tech but I wont, I'd tell you to become the service writer then manager. If your determined to do this I'd tell you to learn all the short cuts you can these are your key to making any money at all, good luck finding these at MMI.

Sorry to be sounding so down about this but I got a really bad taste of flat rate when I was a tech. I would do some serious reaserch into just how much tech's in your area make not only hourly rate but how many billable hours per week do they average,(what's high/low). Is there a need in your area for techs?

Good Luck
Flat rate can suck if you work for the wrong company, or if you are new to the product. I currently work for a high end dealer and have seen techs pull in 80 hour weeks (in 40 hours time). Rarely do you see a tech pull in less flat rate hours than time worked. If your dealer has a good dispatcher/service manager than the "gravy" worke will be spread out to benifit everybody.

Sorry to highjack.
 
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