Working At a Motorcycle Dealership

They work hard for their money.

dealership jobs, motorcycles
During a slow spell, technicians might find themselves working on whatever vehicle rolls into the shop.©Motorcyclist

I hear it all the time: “Jeff, you’re so lucky to work at a dealership. It must be a blast hanging out with customers and talking about bikes all day long.”

Who am I to complain? It actually is a pretty good job, and anyone with a passion for motorcycles will find working in a shop to be quite interesting. But like any business, eventually you find out how the sausage is really made. Let me give you a peek behind that curtain.


Whenever we hire a new salesperson, it is usually someone who frequents the shop. This is a logical choice; they have the enthusiasm and an obvious interest in motorcycles, so it’s usually a good fit. Techs, on the other hand, can come from any of the motorcycle technical institutes or from other shops. Good help can be hard to find, as this business requires extensive product knowledge, long working hours during the prime selling season, and, above all, an outgoing personality. Oh, and a desire to live an ordinary lifestyle because the compensation is pretty average.

I was surprised by the inner workings of the shop when I was hired—how deals are put together, how financing, trade-ins, and payoffs work, and the many systems to support the customer after a sale. There’s more to it than you’d think, seeing it from the outside, and our goal is to make each transaction as seamless as possible.

I’ve witnessed good customer service, and I’ve also seen the ball get dropped—though the customer, so caught up in the excitement of buying a new motorcycle, might not have noticed. Excitement can mask hiccups in the customer-service process. Each department within the dealership puts a lot of pressure on the others to deliver an excellent customer experience, but we aren’t always at our best.

If you have ever had a bad experience at your local shop, you know what I’m talking about. We have no motivation on our part to make any buyer’s experience bad, but occasionally mistakes are made. If dealership management cares enough they will fix the problem for you individually and, one hopes, also fix the system that broke down. Good dealers learn from their mistakes.

If you have any desire to go from customer status to shop employee, keep in mind it’s not all what it appears. It is a fun job with a many built-in perks, and more often than not it can be exactly what you hope it will be. But you will work hard for your riding money.

Jeff Maddox is the sales manager for a multiline dealership in the Midwest. Questions for him? Email us at