What specific brand should I be focused on?


Hello everyone!
I am 18 years old and I am looking into being a small engine mechanic as a career. (ATV’s,Dirt bikes, motorcycle, etc). I do not know what I want to do yet,I would love to own a small shop to work out of and to own my own business but before I start to make moves towards this, I want to know your guys honest opinion in this field, is it worth it financially? (For me around 30-40 k yearly is great)
how is it all around work wise? (Hard on your back?)
What specific brand should I be focused on?
I do know it is seasonal business, but how seasonal is it? Will I need to find another job in the winter? I live in NC
Lastly… Anything else I should know before I jump into this field?
Thank you guys!

Hunter 5 years 41 Answers 1762 views 0

Answers ( 41 )

  1. Talk to a career advisor kid. Go apprentice at a shop. This is a forum for advice on how to fix victory bikes, not life skills

  2. A good mechanic /shop will always garner business.\nIf you have the passion, you should do it.\nI think you will find in this life that no matter what field your in. Some people succeed some fail. You have to be willing to to go to any length to succeed \nSome people just aren’t willing to make the sacrifices to get where they want

  3. I have a friend that was a Bike tech. 30 years. To make good $$$ hone your trade. And work in a high volume shop. He left for Oil field tech. Double the $$$$

  4. Look around your area see if you can possibly find a shop that you can Apprentice at. Even as simple as sweeping floors and cleaning up just to get a feel for what goes on in the shop and how everything works. With a little luck you’ll find a seasoned mechanic who will teach you the ropes

  5. Starting a shop with no education or experience behind you is like trying to cut a tree into lumber before you cut it down. Pull the trigger and go to school, get a JOB and when you can AFFORD to open a shop do it and take a 50 % pay cut.

  6. If I was going to wrench on bikes I would learn several brands….

  7. Stick to the ones that break down the most, like Harley.

  8. first of all kid, stop thinking about it for the money. success comes from heart, if the first thing you think about is the money then its not for you. go to a trade school and learn a trade that you are passionate about and the money will come in its own time. and then find a career councilor and stay away from asking this kind of question in a group that is only for one kind of motorcycle and nothing to do with life advice. oh and buy a ictory motorcycle and not a harley , it will last longer and give you less grief

  9. You can rock as a tech and get stuck in a shot shop breaking your back, moving units in an outta your work space for hours before you start or finish your day. You can know everything and get stuck with a public who doesn’t care as long as your answer is cheaper than the last guys answer. It’s all about how you do it, who you do it for and where you are

  10. Most of us didn’t have a real clue what we wanted to do in life at 18, Hunter, so this is a great and valid question. If you like working and wrenching on bikes I’d say go for it. You’re young enough and can change your mind several times over the next few years if you get bored or tired of doing that type of work. One of the guys I used to work with in a factory (31 years and talk about boring), started, in his spare time, his own bike repair business in his 2-car garage. He did great work and eventually opened a shop down the street due to an ever-growing customer base. He moved again, building a new set of buildings just north of town along a busy highway worth into the millions and had several people working for him. It’s doable but again, it’s work. But if it’s work you enjoy, is it really working? Good luck and keep thinking of what you want. Then go for it.

  11. If you like wrenching, become a diesel mechanic.

  12. like it or not, most or all motors are going electric. Sales are double every years. Only matter of time, 3-5yrs it looks like.

  13. Google median income of small engine mechanic compared to a diesel technician

  14. Hunter the generic answer is to find a shop that lets you get experience on bikes, atvs, side by sides and watercraft. In North Carolina there seems to always be a shortage of mechanics. So that part shouldn’t be hard. Once you get experience on each style of engine and the surrounding machine you’ll know what you need to do. If you’re going to work on bikes you need to get with the local Harley dealer and let them train you. What customers expect as far as quality of work, how not to scratch paint or chrome, maybe even find one that does custom fab work or upgrades and work toward that. Once you do that and you’re good at it (to the point that customers are requesting you work on their bikes routinely) then you’ll be ready to open a shop of your own. You’ll have the experience and a customer base. Harley’s break all summer and the owners waste money accessorizing all winter. Should have steady work if you’re close to a populated area.

  15. I think we’re a long ways off from having electric vehicles. It’s not that we don’t or won’t have the technology. It’s that the big oil/gas corporation have to much to loss. We’ll see small electric engine in the near future but Tesla and the like are just a fad.

  16. Even if all the cars are electric they still going to be running diesels to mine the ore for the batteries, copper, and metal to make them.

  17. The poster just wants to know how best to get into being a MC tech. His generation, a tech certificate from any school with integrity will get you a job. Just show up, not drunk or drugged…. Now, the if it were me thing and he likes to wrench, the MC shop or dealer is fine but dealers are now going powersport so boats, ATVs, etc. Small engine is still a good skill for a young man to have and get started. You can always get on repairing windmills and solar panels in the future. Diesel mechs are a big need, most dealerships only have one or two if they are lucky but that is not a passion love job, that is work. Electric may go big once the status quo get in front of the industry and buy up the small ones, just like with combustion did, etc. If you want career outlooks https://www.onetonline.org/help/bright/

  18. Hunter, just the fact that you’re asking is a good sign that you’ll be successful in whatever you do. If you do what you enjoy, are good at what you do and respect your customers you will do well. There are a lot of mechanics aging out and there will be a demand for your trade for a long time. And if it doesn’t work out with small engines, go for the big diesels.

  19. Good for you researching your future, even if in an odd place. I went to a tech school and became a certified auto mechanic thinking a lot like you are right now. I’m currently a Realtor (fast forward 40 years). I was a mechanic for about 5 years after trade school, and oddly the rest of my career moves (about 4 of them) make sense to result in a real estate career. Work hard, enjoy what you do, and be flexible. The money will come, and hopefully by the time you’re 56, you’ll know what you want to be when you grow up 🙂

  20. I always thought there would be a niche market to set up a trailer with tools and go to a neighborhood and do mower/blower maintenance on site. I have three machines that could use an oil change/plugs, etc. I’d definitely pay someone to park a trailer in my dirveway while I pull each one out for a service. If fact, if you live near central MA, I might be tempted to finance that.

  21. If you think 40,000 a year is great, do the math and think again. 40000 X .35(taxes) = 26000 net. If you think making 26000 a year can buy you a place to live (renting loses money), utilities, clothes, food you are delusional. Go to school and become a mechanical engineer. Engineers are they only people being hired to well paying jobs 80000 plus. Before you make a decision do the math!

  22. Go for something that makes real money. Save the busted knuckles for the weekend when working on the seven bikes you paid cash for.

  23. If that’s what you love, do it. Beats the snot outta workin for the man.

  24. If you do what you love you’ll never work a day in your life! Sounds good but it’s not true it does help a whole lot though!! Try everything you’ve got an interest in! God Bless, it’s encouraging to me that your asking.

  25. Find a dealership that sells and maintains everything, work and learn is the best training, shops usually sign you for apprenticeship.

  26. $10/hr job unless your dad owns the shop.

  27. The guys at the customization and audio shops are doing well right now.

  28. I have-had a local guy who had a couple lifts on his Dad’s farm to work on my “stuff”, (7.3 F-350, wife’s Lexus, my 75′ CJ, 65′ Impala), but I can’t get him much anymore because a local Ford dealer stole him from the Toyota dealer he was at and he gets so much overtime he doesn’t have time for side work anymore. My other local shop a small family business bills at $80.00/hr. and I’m lucky to get it in there without waiting one to two weeks. I now keep about four guys on my “list” so if something goes down I have options. Electric is coming but the mechanics that know how to trouble shoot and problem solve (not just swap “maybe parts) are dying faster than electric is gaining not to mention electrics infrastructure issue. Saying that good practical solar techs are as scare as hens teeth also. Learn both and you will always have a job. Solar is getting bigger in the R.V. sector and it is currently on a tear, people are buying them in droves. Someone has to fix those NASCAR rigs and their fans rigs. Practically anyone who can fix anything is getting scarce. Learn how to problem solve and trouble shoot practically. Sign on with some sort of “program/school” go work for someone, learn both sides of the coin, be flexible, learn the ropes, work the side angles as you can and when you are ready and have some equity make your move. Stay out of crazy debt or at least leverage capital wisely, some debt is good especially for tax purposes. Right now I am trying to find a CAT mech. that knows 3208’s that can help me on the side because my application doesn’t justify paying mobile shop rates. Practically impossible and I’m near an oil patch with lots of service rigs running around. If you are willing to work and make a sacrifice or two here or there in the short run the long run will be there for you. I’m a farmer with a college degree, the process was worth it but the cost today I’m not sure my degree is over 30 years old and was cheap. Look up Mike Rowe WORKS he is all about not getting college degrees but education that pays.

  29. Do 4 years active army being a mechanic.
    They train you, feed you, and give you something 95% of people never find, themselves.
    Another bonus is they pay you, give you clothes, and a place to sleep.
    Worked for me and it gave me assurance of what I was going to do.

    Hit up recruiters and see what they have to offer. Heck you may even like it to retire from it!

  30. If your heart is in it, and you enjoy the work the money will come. I’ve had jobs as a mechanic from small engines (lawn mowers, chain saws) to industrial diesel, with just about every thing in between. If you are conscientious and treat people right, you will do well in anything you decide to do.

  31. I think alot of kids today especially up north here in NY donot want to get involved in any trade. I think whoever does and wants to will do very well because eventually there is going to be a shortage of people to do these trades. I guess they dont want to get there hands dirty. I work for a crane rental company with same 3 mechanics work there for over 20 years once they come to retire its going to be real hard to replace them because the people are just not out there. Go learn a trade and eventually you will be able to write your own ticket wherever you go.

  32. Be careful entering a trade in a shrinking industry

  33. Talk to Kevinx Cross

  34. I don’t have any advice for ya but if you keep that level head and focus you’ll go far regardless of what career you chose!

  35. you wont get even close to that much money starting off

  36. Problem I see is peopel dont fix stuff they throw it out.(real small engine) Bikes…Yeah..Get a dealership gig..Stick with it for awhile.Go out on your own as an ndy at some point

  37. I graduated from trade school in 78. Went to work for U-Haul right away and did 12 years there as a truck mechanic, left there. Money sucked and no future and went to work for a school district and am there presently. 25 years now. I make $60.000. 4 weeks vacation, 10 sickdays with 14 paid holidays, paid snow days.

    I have over $40.000 in tools, my back is shot and so is the rest of me at 60 years old. Got 5 more years to go.

    Get a real job with benefits and start your business as a side job. Start small and if it takes off consider doing it but if it dosent you’re not in the bread line. Good luck

  38. Depending on where you live, also consider boat engines and snowmobiles. Maybe even yard equipment, lawnmowers, tillers. weed eaters, etc and you could be busy year round.

  39. Hunter, I see some great advice here; I can’t add much to it other than if you can do something you’re passionate about, doing it well will reap rewards. Maybe not right away, but it’ll happen. Keep your debt down and your head up.

  40. Sorry to say that you will do far better financially as a car mechanic, plumber or electrician. The field you are looking at is at best seasonal and not the most lucrative. Yet the training apprenticeship period and tool investment is the same. Follow your heart but let your head make informed decisions. Yup I started as a motorcycle tech but having a family changes your financial needs quickly

  41. I make mad money as a business intelligence IT dude and I hate it.

    I make 12.50 an hour firefighting and love every minute of it. I’m 44. I wish I would have found out what makes me wake up saying fuck ya with a grin when I was your age.

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