Dallas bicycle industry job market?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Dallas bicycle industry job market?

    What's the job market in Dallas like for jobs in the bicycle industry? Plan on moving to Dallas or nearby surrounding area in about a year and considering a career change while I'm still young and fresh out of college... Are there even bike shop jobs that pay well enough too live off?

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    hello...

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    Ive read posts on MTBR about people wanting to get into the bike industry, but never worked in a bike shop myself. Seems like they all said the same things basically:
    - You wont get paid much (guessing youre not gonna make more than $10/hour)
    - Theres not a whole lot of upward mobility
    - Youll end up doing a ton of work on Wal--Mart bikes and basic, boring bike maintenance (installing housing, tubes, chains, derailleurs)
    - It's hard to get a job in a bike shop, especially if youve never worked in one before

    I wouldnt think Dallas would be a hot-bed of bike shops, and the ones that are there mainly focus on road bikes. If I was wanting to get into the bike industry, I would probably move somewhere where there are more shops, as well as bike companies. Maybe Cali or Colorado. I imagine working at a bike-maker would be better in the long-term than a LBS.

    What is your experience and what do you want to do (short term and long term)? Just be a wrench in a bike shop?

    Again, Im not speaking from experience at all, just what Ive read online and from a couple friends who worked in bike shops for years back in Denver.

  4. #4
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    Yeah, I've heard a lot of those same things also. Working at a shop doesn't seem like it'd be a great career move unless your the owner of one.

    I really was curious at to whether the Dallas area had caught on to the city commuter fad. I know a lot of other big cities (like Chicago) have really taken off in that industry with gas prices so high. The city slicker hybrid bikes have almost become a fashionable thing as well with there super sleak designs, meaning lots more bike industry jobs (marketing, promoting, sales, etc.).

    Another thing I was curious about was whether the DORBA organization had paid positions. It seems like every time I go ride in that area I see DORBA signs everywhere.

    As far as experience, I don't really have "working" experience in the industry, but in my opinion if your passionate enough about something...you'll succeed. I guess if I had to choose I'd really like to do a job involving something along the lines of trail advocacy, promotions, PR, community involvement. If there is such a job...

    Oh, and you're totally right about where you choose to live. In CO you may have 50 trails nearby with up to 3000ft elevation change, whereas in DFW you might have 15 trails with 500ft elevation change. Huge difference as far as the market goes. I really don't have a choice though (moving to DFW after wife graduates to pursue a job for her in fashion)...which is cool by me.

  5. #5
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    I don't see any of what you want in Texas. MAYBE some in Austin, but not really anywhere else. The culture here is not very conducive to highly popular "city slicker hybrid bikes", and the cities are WAY more spread out than Chicago, for example.

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    Dang, that's unfortunate. Do you know of any other job opportunities in compatible industries such as hiking, fishing, camping, etc.? I know REI is in DFW and was named a top 100 company to work for (although I'm guessing you couldn't make enough money to make a living working for them).

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    The corporate bike jobs can be lucrative. They don't have much to do with bikes though. Although, probably much more than most other jobs! The perks are killer from what I've seen!

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    Quote Originally Posted by CYCLEJCE View Post
    The corporate bike jobs can be lucrative.
    Which corporate bike jobs are we referring to here?...You've got my interest.

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    Jobs with the box stores! In my area (Houston) we have Sun & Ski sports, REI, Bike Barn, etc... Marketing, purchasing, accounting, web design jobs are all a huge part of these companies. They need skilled, educated people like yourself to keep the ship afloat! While not as hip as the smaller shops, the box stores usually offer insurance, 401k, paid vacation, and typically pay better.

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    This is true. I've never heard of Bike Barn, but I'll have to look into it. I guess it really comes down to if these companies have HQ in DFW. I'm assuming the accounting, purchasing, web design jobs are mostly performed at HQ. Now Marketing, that's something I'd be interested in doing for a co. like REI, Sun & Ski, or anything along those lines.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OK_MTBer View Post
    Yeah, I've heard a lot of those same things also. Working at a shop doesn't seem like it'd be a great career move unless your the owner of one.

    I really was curious at to whether the Dallas area had caught on to the city commuter fad. I know a lot of other big cities (like Chicago) have really taken off in that industry with gas prices so high. The city slicker hybrid bikes have almost become a fashionable thing as well with there super sleak designs, meaning lots more bike industry jobs (marketing, promoting, sales, etc.).

    Another thing I was curious about was whether the DORBA organization had paid positions. It seems like every time I go ride in that area I see DORBA signs everywhere.

    As far as experience, I don't really have "working" experience in the industry, but in my opinion if your passionate enough about something...you'll succeed. I guess if I had to choose I'd really like to do a job involving something along the lines of trail advocacy, promotions, PR, community involvement. If there is such a job...

    Oh, and you're totally right about where you choose to live. In CO you may have 50 trails nearby with up to 3000ft elevation change, whereas in DFW you might have 15 trails with 500ft elevation change. Huge difference as far as the market goes. I really don't have a choice though (moving to DFW after wife graduates to pursue a job for her in fashion)...which is cool by me.
    honestly, DFW is a terrible commuter bike city. Its horrendously spread out. There are no bike lanes anywhere. You have to get on the highway to get anywhere. Youll see a little bit of that commuter culture in Highland Park or uptown Dallas, maybe, but nowhere near a real big commuter city (where you can get around 90% of the time without using a car).

    Dorba is basically a volunteer organization. They organize clinics, trail maintenance/cutting and its a big network of riders, but there are no paid jobs with them. (pretty sure)

    Austin would be a better fit as there is more of a biking culture...

    where in OK are you from? you go to school there?

    (take this with a grain of salt, as I lived in FW for a little over 2 years and hated every minute of it. )

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    Quote Originally Posted by sooner518 View Post
    Austin would be a better fit as there is more of a biking culture...

    where in OK are you from? you go to school there?

    (take this with a grain of salt, as I lived in FW for a little over 2 years and hated every minute of it. )
    I visited Austin once before, but it was before my biking days began. I'd like to go down there and ride sometime (heard there are some great trails). Shoot and I bet that's a place that could have good jobs for my wife too.

    I'm originally from Moore. Went to East Central University and am currently living and working in the area until my wife graduates.

    Oh, by the way, BOOMER SOONER!

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    If you want corporate REI jobs, you'll need to go to Seattle...and there you'd find other bike "industry" jobs (stuff other than typical retail jobs).

    small chains often don't even have their own in-house IT, marketing, or promotions stuff. they hire a lot of that out. IME, they've gotta get a little bigger before they can afford to keep someone in-house full time to do those sorts of jobs.

    as mentioned before, you can try to get into a retail location. if you have management experience, they might even cold hire you into a management position. and yes, perks for these kinds of places can be nice (employee discounts, pro deals, and some companies like REI also provide other bennies if you stick around). but also, you'll find you won't get paid a whole lot and it'll be difficult to be hired on as a full timer to get health care benefits.

    you're just not moving to a very good city to do much with bicycles. you'll be better off looking for something else entirely.

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    Check out DORBA | Dallas Off-Road Bicycle Association. Its the website for the Dallas Off Road Bicycle Assoc. Great goup, great site, lots of info on trails, commuting, etc. Pose this question on the forums and you'll probably get lots of info.
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    I think Dallas was rated as top 5 unfriendliest places to bike at. Houston or Austin is where it would be at if you are dead set for TX. I believe Austin has a bigger biking community than Houston, not to mention Lance Armstrong lives there.

  16. #16
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    Well it's looking like the collective conclusion is:

    - If your moving to Dallas and want in the bicycle industry, your career is going to pretty much begin and end at a Box retail store.
    - Even as a retail store manager with great perks, I'm thinking the hours wouldn't be so hot.
    - If you want to make a lot of money, well, you pretty much have to own a bike shop, rather than work at one.
    - And, if you want to do something other than sales or managment of sales (such as IT, accounting, etc...) , you need to be at HQ.

    Wells looks like I'll be looking for something different than bike industry jobs when that time comes around. Thanks for all the great responses everyone.

    If you have any other comments bring them on, I'm just feeling a similiar collective conclusion from most everyone here. Thanks again.

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    I dont have any advice to give you but im in the exact same boat. I grew up in and graduated from Flower Mound (about 15 minutes north of dallas, south side of lake lewisville) in 03. My wife and I are currently living in southside Oklahoma City and are planning on moving back to the northern dfw area within the year. It seems like the hot tickets in DFW right now are in IT and aviation. I have a couple of friends that work at Boeing and make rediculous money. And by IT I mean corporate IT companies like Cisco Systems.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by SuperSlow35th View Post
    I dont have any advice to give you but im in the exact same boat. I grew up in and graduated from Flower Mound (about 15 minutes north of dallas, south side of lake lewisville) in 03. My wife and I are currently living in southside Oklahoma City and are planning on moving back to the northern dfw area within the year. It seems like the hot tickets in DFW right now are in IT and aviation. I have a couple of friends that work at Boeing and make rediculous money. And by IT I mean corporate IT companies like Cisco Systems.
    Yeah, I can see why you would want to move back. Just from visting the DFW a couple times, I've noticed that their are just so many more bike trails than in OK.

    Just out of curiosity, did you buddies at Boeing have IT degrees?

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by OK_MTBer View Post
    Well it's looking like the collective conclusion is:

    - If your moving to Dallas and want in the bicycle industry, your career is going to pretty much begin and end at a Box retail store.
    - Even as a retail store manager with great perks, I'm thinking the hours wouldn't be so hot.
    - If you want to make a lot of money, well, you pretty much have to own a bike shop, rather than work at one.
    - And, if you want to do something other than sales or managment of sales (such as IT, accounting, etc...) , you need to be at HQ.

    Wells looks like I'll be looking for something different than bike industry jobs when that time comes around. Thanks for all the great responses everyone.

    If you have any other comments bring them on, I'm just feeling a similiar collective conclusion from most everyone here. Thanks again.
    ha! you're not going to make a lot of money owning a bike shop in the DFW area, either. otherwise, I think you've summed it up well.

    in my experience living a handful of places, it's more important to me that the available trails are of high quality than that there are lots of miles.

    I lived in Pittsburgh, PA for a few years before coming to Texas. It's one of the better cities (esp on the eastern half of the country) for mountain biking. There are a LOT of trail miles there to choose from. But not all those trail miles were very good. It took me a few years to pin down my favorite trails even at the one park close to my house. The good miles did not begin at the obvious trailheads, and not all of the locals were willing to just share the locations of the better public, legal trails. I ended up having to find most of them on my own. To make it worse, the park only had the crappy stuff mapped and marked. The good stuff was neither mapped nor marked (it is now, of course).

    DFW may have more trails than you're used to...but you're not exactly coming from a hotbed of bike activity, either. You'll end up developing preferences, for sure. When I lived in Pgh, I only rode regularly in a small number of places because I didn't want to fight traffic every time I wanted to go ride. It was more (and in some ways, better) than what I currently have available, but because the proportion of quality trails was low (it's a little better now), it wasn't quite as enjoyable as I'd have liked.

  20. #20
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    Careers that I have seen get you into a bike company gig...

    Shipping & recieving
    Sales
    Marketing (social media specialists are in high demand)
    IT
    Engineering

    You can do these jobs pretty much anywhere to build experience, than when the time comes that you'll have the opprotunity to move to a better "bike" market, you will have a great shot at getting a job within the bike industry.

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    To get in with Bell or Lockheed you will need an engineering degree usually focused in mechanical or electrical engineering.

    Mountain biking is no where near as popular or supported in Dallas as it is in Austin and even in Austin you will be hard pressed to get anything with benefits and over $12 an hour and of those few higher level positions available from time to time, you better be a well known Cat 1 racer or have rep or race team experience to land the job. Austin has a healthy cycling scene and industry but it's inflated and that's why it's hard for even some of the best shops in town to make it.

    As far as the fashion industry goes in Texas your wife is far better off in Dallas than anywhere else, its one of the biggest print markets and has a lot of buyer/vendor action. Unfortunately for you I would focus your jon efforts else where and push hard to get to Austin in the future if you want to be amongst a stronger cycling community/scene.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by TejasMTB View Post
    you better be a well known Cat 1 racer or have rep or race team experience to land the job.
    We're leaning more towards Dallas over Austin (for my wife). Mainly because she can probably make more money in Dallas than I could in Austin. A little off topic, but referring to your above statement, what is the cycling team opportunities like in Dallas. Do teams in Dallas support their CAT1 racers pretty well and if so how?

    Here in Oklahoma there are a few teams that pay for their CAT 1 racers traveling expenses, repairs, and some free parts/apparel. Of course, these are the CAT 1 guys who are consistently placing top 10 and are actively involved in many of our regional trail building/advocacy organizations or clubs.

    My goal for this year's racing season is to place top 5 in two CAT 2 races so I can race CAT 1 2013 in DFW (Pending application approval of course).

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