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Bowling alley mechanics work to make sure that the pin-setting mechanisms and other key parts of the bowling alley are operating effectively. Although minor problems are often addressed by other staff, major issues and periodic maintenance need to be handled by a professional. Wages for a bowling alley mechanic vary according to location and the overall success of the bowling industry, which has been on the decline.
A bowling alley mechanic may work at a number of different alleys that need maintenance, or he may work full time for one large bowling alley. To a certain extent, the wages made depend on the experience that the mechanic has with bowling alleys, especially with a wide variety of styles and systems. These mechanics need soldering experience for advanced repairs, as well as knowledge of pin-setting schematics and access to different types of hand tools or power tools needed for the job.
Bowling alley mechanics are often paid by the hour, although work schedules vary. At the low end, a mechanic makes around $7, as of 2011, working at bowling alleys, close to or below minimum wage in certain states such as Iowa. On average, however, bowling alley mechanics tend to make twice as much — around $14 per hour for basic repairs. On the high end with experience in the field, mechanics may be able to make as much as $30 per hour in such areas as Michigan.
Salaries for bowling alley mechanics may vary considerably based on where they work. From an annual perspective, a mechanic working at an alley in Chicago in 2011 may be able to make more than $40,000 on average. However, according to SalaryExpert.com, an individual working in a similar position in Miami may be able to make only $25,000. Places such as Houston, Phoenix and Los Angeles all have average rates between $30,000 and $35,000.
Bowling alley mechanics start as trainees, working as assistants to real mechanics in an apprenticeship until they're fully qualified to do repairs on their own. Wages only increase to typical levels for the position once they advance into the full role, which may require certification from a school or apprenticeship program. In full-time positions, mechanics typically receive paid vacation time and health insurance, as well as a retirement plan, though specifics still depend on experience and location.