The final morning of the 2 week Professional Repair and Shop Operation course at United Bicycle Institute was devoted to the “shop operation” portion of the title. We touched on the labor rates and service procedures that one might think about to keep the service portion of a traditional bike shop profitable. This wasn’t a business class, so if you’re thinking of opening a bike shop you should already know much more than was discussed, but for the aspiring mechanic it would probably offer a glimpse of the shop owners’ perspective and could be something of a reality check if you want to open a shop and haven’t done your homework.
After lunch we took our final exam. This was a written 90 minute test that touched on every area we discussed over the previous 2 weeks. While it was not the most difficult test I’ve ever taken, it certainly wasn’t the easiest either. If you want to call yourself a UBI Certified Bicycle Technician, you better be paying attention in class and absorbing the information in front of you.
So, what are my final thoughts about my time at UBI? I was thoroughly impressed with both the construction of the course and the way in which it was presented. I never found myself wanting information that wasn’t there, and I took more away from the course than I expected to. It was a totally positive experience and I would absolutely recommend it to everyone from the teenager looking to work in a shop, to the home mechanic who wants a better technical background for his own repairs. I think it is a must for the prospective or current shop owner/manager who is more of a “business” guy/gal, and I think even working mechanics whose only background is on-the-job training would do well to consider the professional instruction this course provides. You will definitely learn some things. Many thanks to Steve, Jeff, Dylan, Tony, and everyone at UBI!