Many mechanics join the field to follow their passion for auto repair, and many have a special place in their heart for a certain type of vehicle. It could be race cars, classic cars, or just your run-of-the-mill cars that we drive every day. One up-and-coming specialty, motorcycle mechanic, is for those who love small engine repairs. It creates an opportunity to focus solely on repairing and maintaining bikes.
Some may see working in a niche area like motorcycle repair as exciting and unique, which can be especially true if they live and work in a warm climate where motorcycles are ridden year-round.
But while motorcycle repair may be enticing on the surface, it’s important to know that there are many factors that can make the profession a challenge. If you’re considering a career as a mechanic, read on to learn which path may be better for you: motorcycle mechanic or auto mechanic.
Life as a motorcycle mechanic certainly sounds like fun, and a unique niche can add the element of daily familiarity to your work life. However, as with any job, working as a motorcycle mechanic comes with its drawbacks.
Differences Between Motorcycle And Auto Mechanics
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, projected industry growth is not all that promising for small engine mechanics. In fact, there’s only a 5% projected growth in employment between now and 2026, which is lower than the average of all other occupations.
What does low projected growth in employment mean? Well, only around 3,000 new motorcycle jobs are expected by 2026. Meanwhile, projected industry growth for auto mechanics is at 6% through 2026, with 46,000 new auto mechanic jobs in that same period. That comes out to over 15x more new auto mechanic jobs over the next seven years!
Another factor to consider if you’re considering becoming a motorcycle mechanic is the climate. If you’re in a city with warm weather year-round, then it makes sense to join the industry. However, if you’re in a place where there’s snow on the ground come winter time, there won’t be much business for several months of the year. Conversely, working as an automobile mechanic means you’ll have a steady influx of customers twelve months of the year, regardless of where you live. Cars will be on the roads and accidents will happen, meaning people will need repairs and maintenance on a daily basis.
Another downside is that motorcycle mechanics tend to have fewer options when it comes to postsecondary education. It can be difficult to find a school near you with a motorcycle mechanic program, and if you do, you probably have to choose that specific one due to lack of alternative options. As a prospective auto mechanic, you can choose from a number of accredited programs and attend the school that best fits your individual needs.
In terms of compensation, the average 2018 pay among motorcycle mechanics was $39,260. While it’s certainly a competitive income, it’s nearly $4,500 lower than the average pay among auto mechanics. Not only do motorcycle mechanics tend to earn less than auto mechanics, but the career path has much less versatility due to the infrequent need for small engine repairs. In fact, there are only about 16,000 motorcycle mechanics employed in the U.S. as of 2018.
That lack of demand can make it hard to find a job in motorcycle repair. And, for those who do find work in the industry, it can be challenging to find future employment if your company’s shop closed or downsized.
A career as a motorcycle mechanic is great for anyone with a passion for it, but remember that it does come with its share of downsides. Pursuing a career as an auto mechanic can provide year-round stability, higher average pay, more projected growth, and more job opportunities. So, if you have a desire to work strictly on motorcycles, there are jobs out there for you. But if your hope is to work in the industry, a career in auto repair may be the more sensible choice.
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