Staffing manual

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Updated by will 2009-08-29

Version 2 and Version 3 have the same content but different formats. This is bcecause, unfortunately, Open Office screws up the export to Doc. Also unfortunately, Crab Grass screws up the conversion from ODF to PDF.

As always, if you need to modify the latest version:

  1. Try to install Open Office, or
  2. If you have Word, try to install the Open Document Format extension, or
  3. Edit the latest Doc (Word) version. Don’t worry about the screwed-up formatting – someone (I) will fix it.

Updated with some new info and some clarifications in some areas.

The main area I see that still needs attention is EAB since the paperwork has not been finalized yet.


Upon stepping back and looking at it, I think the document has undergone some organic meandering that now obscures its structure, making it difficult for a first-time reader to find what they need. I would propose re-structuring the table of contents in the following way:

Free Ride’s Approach to Collaboration and Teaching

  • How to staff on different nights:
    • Open Shop
      • What is open shop?
      • Greeting & orienting people
      • Earn a Bike in Open Shop
        • Enrolling people in Earn a Bike
        • Earn-a-bike completion & safety inspection
    • Volunteer Night
    • Drop-in Classes
  • Opening & Closing Procedures
    • Opening the shop
    • Closing the shop
  • Common Tasks
    • Registering new members
    • Accepting Donations
    • Loaning out a library bike
  • Tracking the Bikes
    • Bike Tags
      • Numbered tags
      • Colored tags
    • Forms
      • Earn-a-bike form
      • Fix-for-sale form
  • Bike Pricing Guide
    • Fix for Sale
    • EAB appraisal
    • Determining Bicycle Base Price
      • Mountain Frames
      • Road Frames
      • Cruisers
      • Kids Bikes
      • BMX

What do people think? Due to the formatting difficulties I’m not going to try to implement this myself.


Formatting is painful. I moved lots around so this deserves more proof reading. There are no instruction on library bikes. The EAB form stuff is not finalized.

Also noticed that we need page numbers to make the table of contents more useful.


Definitely page numbers. Yes, the structure in Version 8 (Staffing mual 7) should be improved, but I don’t think the structure in Version 9 & 10 (Staffing manual 8) is the best. Having fewer levels of heading makes the structure easier to follow. Also, I think heading number like “1.2.3.” is easier to read than “1.B.iii.”. We should also try to minimize wasted space by starting the first section on page 1 rather than page 2. So I’d propose this structure:

1.  Approach
2.  Staffing Open Shop
1.1.  Greeting and orienting visitors
1.2.  Earn-a-bike enrollment
      (including: pricing; form)
1.3  Earn-a-bike completion
3.  Volunteer night
4.  Drop-in classes
5.  Opening the shop
6.  Closing the shop
7.  Registering new members
8.  Accepting donations
9.  Loaning out a library bike
10.  Fix-for-sale
     (including: what it is; form)
11.  Bike pricing
     (intro: repeat EAB pricing formula; how how to identify each type of bike)
11.1.  Mountain bikes
11.2.  Road bikes
11.3.  Cruisers
11.4.  Kids bikes
11.5.  BMX

The main reason I felt a need to address the structure is because the original table of contents looked like kind of like a random list of topics. For me, part of the goal was to provide a little bit more conceptual grouping in the table of contents, so it is easier for people to orient themselves to what the document is addressing. As far as I can see, it is necessary to introduce another level of headings in order to do that. However, I believe that difficulty in reading a multi-level table of contents can be alleviated with attention to formatting, and by removing the lower levels rather than the upper levels. Some of the deeper-level stuff I left in there in my list doesn’t really need to be there.


Formatting is not a problem for me, so I can do it. I am working on it in a private version and I updated the EAB form text.

Some questions:

Q1. Which of the tasks (EAB enrollment, EAB completion, Registering new members, accepting donations, loaning out bikes, filling the FFS form) will be done only by a greeter during Open Shop? Should we put those tasks under “Staffing Open Shop”? (Only the EAB process is under Open Shop now.)

Q2. The EAB enrollment process still sounds too much like a service job. Since we agreed that Open Shop will be less service-oriented, can we expect the EAB participants to fill out the form mostly on their own, and have it checked by a greeter. The form is quite self-explanatory. It’s an issue of how the manual is worded for the greeter.

Q3. How is it decided which bikes are to be for FFS?

Q4. How and who assigns the EAB tag numbers, and who puts the tag on the bike? This probably needs to be part of the guide.

Q5. Should the guide refer to the “Register instructions” for handling money?


Q1 – all of the tasks listed could be done during volunteer night as well, except loaning out a bike.

Q2 – the manual can do three things -

  • serve as a reference for what all the parts of the form mean, so staffers themselves can learn
  • instruct staffers to have EAB people fill the form out themselves to the extent possible
  • instruct staffers about common mistakes they should check for when the EAB person does the paperwork, and on points they need to make sure the EAB person understands (the two week limit, they are responsible for writing their own hours, etc.).

Q3 – there is no set policy on how bikes are identified as FFS. Bikes can be picked for FFS by individual mechanics who will work on them on commission – in that case it is a question of what they are interested in working on, and what they think will make a bit of money for them (nice enough bike it will sell, needs enough work they can put some time in it but not so much that it will raise the price beyond what people will pay). Bikes can also be picked by staffers and tagged for FFS. Personally I pick cheap bikes that need 1/2 hour or less of work and put a low price on them just to get them out the door, or I pick bikes that are really nice and need no work. Occasionally someone wants to work for these bikes; that’s fine if no commission labor is involved.

Q4 – someone needs to grab a random tag out of the bin on the administration desk and affix it to the bicycle. There are enough existing tags that it is rarely neccessary to write new numbers on blank ones; the only criteria for what number gets assigned is that it isn’t already in use, and if a previously used tag is picked up out of the storage bin on the desk it is pretty well guaranteed that number is not in use. I think it’s really not important who puts the tag on the bike. Theoretically the people could do this themselves – but really, the staffer has to tell the people where the bin is anyway, so what’s the difference between saying “there’s the bin – grab a tag” and grabbing a tag to hand to them. If I am standing in the greeter area behind the counter, between them and the bin, as I explain the form process, it is dumb to ask them to do it. However if I’m in another part of the shops sometimes I will direct them to do it themselves. Perhaps there is some way to word this part of the instructions without specifying exactly who is supposed to put the tag on the bike. The other issue is that you have to make sure the people affix it securely, sometimes people put it in a place it will fall right off (end of handlebars). I don’t care how it is worded, whatever is least complicated.

Q5 – sure.


As a new shadow greeter, I’ve been studying the manual and picking people’s brains with questions. This is a list of items that seem like they might be written in error, or maybe just out of date. I don’t have a solid feel for everything here at this point, so please excuse anything stemming from my own misunderstandings.

Section 2Aiiib:

Last bullet looks like a word or two might be missing, not sure exactly how it should read. “Check that the headset by clamping…”

Section 3A:

5th bullet item describes a breaker box near the tire recycling bin, but the tire recycling bin is is in a different location. Maybe “behind the accordion door” or something like that would describe the breaker box’s location better now.

9th bullet says to put four stands out to the left of the entry way. This might be something old?

Section 3B:

7th bullet says to lock all four lockers. Seems like we’re only using the one locker?

Section 5Aii:

There’s some lack of consensus on this, but it seems the green tags may now mean “library bikes”? I guess the communications committee will give a final word on that at some point, as that’s where the issue got delegated to at the Aug general meeting.

Section 6C:

In (I) mountain bikes, it gives $105 as median and then the next line says 105 is the lower end, for something like a Trek 800. I assume that it should either read that 105 is the middle of the road, or they meant to copy 72 there (range was $72-$156). Either that or the median and range figures are wrong.

In (II) – the road frames section – it says Median $72 and range $88-$228. So we know that can’t be right, since the median has to be within the range. Not sure what it should say, though.


Thanks everyone for the questions for clarifications. I’ve updated the manual with changes to:

  • Colored tags system
  • EAB safety check guidelines
  • Median prices in the bike pricing guide
  • EAB form instructions
  • General clarifications and additional information

One area of the manual that I left for future work is filling out the library bike paperwork. Once that system is determined, we can update the manual with instructions.


Well, looking at this I’m thinking there’s a typo in section 6.C.i., since $10 can’t be the median in a $56-$156 range. I’m guessing the $10 should read $100, but am not sure how to fix this. Does anyone have advice on a safe, free pdf editor I can download? I’ve never needed to edit a pdf file before. Also, I’m not completely sure $100 is the actual median figure as it should read – seems like most bikes in the shop go for lower, but someone jump in and correct or advise please.


The $10 is a typo that I just changed it to $100.

Pricing is confusing since you start off with a base price assuming the bicycle is like-new. Then you subtract value based on damage, ect. So it is quite possible to give a final price that is lower than the minimum in the given price range.

For editing the document, I upload a couple of file formats. You see the PDF version, but right before it I also upload the native file format. This document is ODT, which is an open source version of Microsoft Word Document. See comments from Phillip about editing ODT.

I also added page numbers which seem to have been missing for some reason although I thought we put them in there before.