Finding the right person to work in bike retail is about landing on someone with the right personality and skill set to do the job and move the business forward, In order to do that many retailers may have to search deeper pools of talent and begin courting people respectfully and professionally. Hanging a sign in the window isn't good enough any more. Here are some of my tips for finding great people.
Get it posted. Put the job description up on your site. List out all the duties, who they will be reporting to, what will be expected, and all the benefits of working at the store (list benefits all the way down to “free socks” if you do it). Pics of the store and their work space would be nice if you have them. As would general information about the city and the cycling culture.
Widen the search. The more qualifications you want, the wider the search has to be. Finding someone who is awesome in your city can really narrow the talent pool. You’re usually left with the 2-3 people that no one else wanted. Be prepared to hire from out-of-city or out-of-state and have people relocate. This is expensive on the front end, but done right the return can be made back within a year. Relocation packages usually require a moving and living stipend.
Hit Linkedin. Doing a search for “bike fitter” on Linkedin has more than 100 results (you have to upgrade on Linkedin to see more). You could also search "bike mechanic" or "bike technician". I would message all of them with the link to the job and ask if it seemed like a role for them. This is a hook to have people start researching you, and ideally beginning the interview process. If they tell you no, ask them if they know someone qualified, and increase your search by 100x.
Hit Twitter. A people search for “bike fitter” or "bike mechanic" on Twitter brings in a couple hundred more results. Send them a direct message similar to your LinkedIn message. It’s ideal if you didn’t message the same person twice.
Look for the person in second place. If you start looking to hire from other shops, I would look at look at the number 2 person doing fitting or service there. That person is usually being blocked from growth by the number 1 fitter, they are generally more open to opportunities elsewhere, and likely to be cheaper.
Once hired, pay accordingly. First, establish the level of service you want given. With that done, I would build a pay structure around the profit from the that area of the store (not sales, not margin- but profit). If this person doesn't have a fit or repair to do, they will want to be in the store selling it.
Train heavy. For bike fitters or technicians, I would want them trained everywhere and build them up to be one of the most knowledgeable people in the world when it comes to their skill set. I would want this person to have every certification possible. However, the better they get the more money they deserve.
Don’t forget bedside manner. Technical knowledge only goes so far. People in bike retail need to have an amazing bedside manner and an eye towards creating an amazing experience.
I hope this helps you out on your next search.
Thank you for reading this far. If you found this information valuable I would appreciate it if you shared it on your social feeds. Thanks again- Donny