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  1. #21

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    Default Re: Costs for repair?

    The statement " they will try to take you for as much as they can " bothers me. When I set a cost for a repair I am not trying to "Take" anybody. I am charging for what I know how to do. Sometimes to a customer it seems high because I do it so quick and they complain. After I do it they think well, they could of done that. No they can not. They have no idea as to what to do. I do. Because I do something that they do not know how to do and they pay me for it is not being unfair.

  2. #22
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    Default Re: Costs for repair?

    Hi ken shouldnt bother you if you take it in the context it was said
    Quote Originally Posted by simso View Post
    I believe in fair and just pricing, just like anyone else that goes to work and earns an income, factor in any overheads and theres your price, and I also believe quite a lot of repairers in the wide wide world are of this mentallity as well, but some are just like any trade.... they will try to take you for as much as they can get
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  3. #23
    Distinguished SOTW Technician griff136's Avatar
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    Default Re: Costs for repair?

    Quote Originally Posted by KEN K View Post
    The statement "................ I am charging for what I know how to do. Sometimes to a customer it seems high because I do it so quick and they complain. After I do it they think well, they could of done that. No they can not. They have no idea as to what to do. I do. Because I do something that they do not know how to do and they pay me for it is not being unfair.

    I should imagine we all get this Ken, I have on occasion customers who complain or grimace about how much things cost. I usually explain to them politely that the reason they brought the instument in to me for repair is because they cannot do it themselves. I also mention that they wouldnt bat an eyelid if they had a new front door key copied by an unskilled worker at a cobblers shop have the key made in literraly seconds and pay £5 for the privillege. I now tend not to do "while you wait" jobs unless I dont intend to charge for them. I prefer to tell the customer to come back in 40 minutes.

    Henning - I would charge £12 to resolder a key post assuming there was no other associated work needed.

    as for the other work - without viewing the instrument I couldnt possibly estimate how long it would take and as I charge an hourly rate therefore could not give an estimate on price other than to say I charge £25 per hour labour and if it takes 3 hours it'll cost £75.

  4. #24
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    Default Re: Costs for repair?

    This thing of the fees for repairs or repads (whatever that means!) keeps on popping up at various times and there is the usual variation among techs and the occasional mild irritation towards those who have a lower price policy than others. The fact is that price of anything is a factor determined by many things and that local conditions might determine price differences, there are also other commercial reasons.
    Say, for example, that your practice has too many customers and you have problems to satisfy the demand, you can do 1 of2 things: one is to get someone else to help you (how much is that going to cost and is that going to take the whole profit or would there be some left from it? Am I prepared to put up with the aggravation of having another repairer in the shop?) and the other is to increase the price. So there is an immediate selection at the gate.

    Another example could be that there are very few customers but that you are the only tech available for miles around and have no competition. You can put up the prices if you want or need (to live in that area) to.

    In some areas or countries it is possible to live a very simple life for a very reasonable amount of money and the people who live there might have less disposable income that elsewhere so, tradespeople tend to charge what the people are willing to pay and is acceptable to make a living within the local conditions. This might not be the case (or it might) in Sweden as opposed to New York or Australia as opposed to Italy. So, in the end, all this , although informative and entertaining, has very little comparative value.


    My car mechanic feels that he needs to charge 80€ euros an hour , he works well and fast and is a wealthy man (although I just got news that he has Parkinson's desease at the age of 50 and has to retire!) , but for certain jobs his hourly rate is just killing the repair because it can easily exceed the value of the (used) car. This is one of the reasons why a lot of cars are declared " total loss" very quickly in the Netherlands while they would be perfectly repairable somewhere else where the mechanics could charge less. Why do they charge so much? Because they feel they need to and because the market tells them that they can. If they would charge less they probably would have too many customers and would require a completely different organisation.........we have many cars around here!

    So, one needs to take into account many many things when it comes to prices and the human (acceptable level of wages against cost of living ) and environmental factors (overhead costs and level of possible sales in the area where one operates).

    I wish I had access to good and cheap technicians around here but I am afraid that the two things HERE do not go together. As I said in other threads I marvel at what I read sometimes on this board and I know than many of the described techniques are not available from most of the technicians that I have access to and that prices tend to be very high.


    A job like the described one would cost , at least , 100€ by most technicians that I know of .

  5. #25
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    Default Re: Costs for repair?

    It seems that Simso (and Dogpants) have a completely different definition from what I have in my head, of what specialised skills are.

    Quote Originally Posted by KEN K View Post
    ... After I do it they think well, they could of done that. No they can not. They have no idea as to what to do. I do. Because I do something that they do not know how to do and they pay me for it is not being unfair.
    And to me, that "something" is specialised skills. Not just in knowing how to do it, but also what to do. And even more specialised, knowing how to do it with great efficiency making it cost-effective, and reliable well into the future. As I have said, then chances are very high that my hair dresser, my motor mechanic, my plumber, my accountant, my sewing machine and computer technicians, all have their own specialised skills,m but would have little hope of doing my job well.

    And picking up some tips from an internet forum, even though this one has so much help to offer, is no substitute for the all-important detail that comes only with a lot of experience, not just repetition, but a thorough, on-going mechanical analysis and questioning of every aspect of what is being done. Somehow, judging from what I read in forums, and see coming through my door, I think that rather few repair technicians actually do this. (Fortunately this forum has in the past included some outstanding technicians willing to help) And that possibly applies to any field of technical work work. (And judging from recent spectacular failures, that may apply also to aircraft engineering!)
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  6. #26
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    Default Re: Costs for repair?

    Well said, Milandro. And I think there a whole lot more factors even than the ones you cover. One huge one is simply standard of workmanship. A higher standard takes more time, hence costs more both in time and equipment, sometimes a lot more. In the field of instrument repair and servicing, standard vary hugely.

    I hope people do not interpret your post as saying that many repair technicians rip off the customer for all they can get. I think that does happen but is actually not common. It is more common that technicians give the customer more than their moneys' worth, and often do work for free.

    An exception I've mentioned before, that sickens me, is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTecT...eature=related
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  7. #27
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    Default Re: Costs for repair?

    I certainly didn't mean to say that technicians are ripping off people but pricing of anything, labour included, is a very complicated thing indeed to compare because of all the variables included. In the end everything is priced at the level that it has and can be priced. If your prices are too low you will go out of business and if your prices are too high you will go out of business too.

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gordon (NZ) View Post
    It seems that Simso (and Dogpants) have a completely different definition from what I have in my head, of what specialised skills are.
    I cannot speak for drew but for me most definetly

    To me specialised skills are simple to understand,

    lets go the extreme and say that would apply to a doctor, he must have a good education to start with be highly intelligent etc before he is even evaluated at a university, he then goes and does a 4 year degree and then goes and does an internship to learn how to doctor, at the end of this he/she has a license to practice he/she would have a specialised skill and has the right to charge for it after all he needs a license to practice and a certified education to back him\

    now lets go the opposite end of the scale and pick a dog poo collector, he/she does not need a formal eduction and internship does not need a license to practice, they can start up there business today with no formal qualifications or certifications,

    now lets go midway and choose an electrician or plumber or jet engine mechanic, they need to do a formal education usually need a certificate 3 or higher, usually follwed with an apprenticeship....they cannot practice there job or exercise there skills without this education and license. They would to me be at the lower end of the specialised skilled workers statement

    Now as a repairer do we need a formal education - no, do we need a license to conduct business - no, can I start a business today as a musical instrument repairer just becuase I want to with no background in the industry, yes.....so a specialist skilled worker I think not.....to me Im a skilled worker "musical instrument repairer" , and my customers dictate whether my work is good or bad, whether I have appropriate analytical understanding or appropriate hand skills

    Quote Originally Posted by Gordon (NZ) View Post
    Because of my specialised skills with rather long learning curve, experience, efficiency of work, qualifications, expensive plant and stock and its maintenance, etc, I expect to charge more per hour at the bench than do most electricians, plumbers,
    you can use any justification you want to set your prices thats an individuals choice, but making the statement havong a specialised skill is really not an appropriate one, becuase to become a repairer and trade as a repairer you need no skills or education just a desire
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  9. #29
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    Default Re: Costs for repair?

    well, to me the argument is not existing, yet again because the market would determine most of it and it is self-regulatory. I have been a pro Photographer (and a Photography teacher) for many years. Do you " need" skils? Yes! Of course you do! Do most people" need " a diploma ? No, in most countries in the world you can just apply a plaque to the door of your place of business and get yourself some visit cards saying" photographer" and you are in business. But does that mean that you are gonna stay in business if you are not any good? No! I have seen also people acquiring diplomas (by the way, I have one in advertising photography) and still not being able to be the businessman that you need to be . So in the end if you are any good you will stay in business, if you are not, you won't. About fees. The fees of a photographer vary immensely, there are many types of photography, many locations in many countries and within the same country. So there is no " standard" comparable pricing for the same kind of work. A photographer, skilled, but lacking any formal education, might be payed very much money in New York working for very qualified and qualifying customer and a photographer with a college degree in Fine Arts and applied photography working as a portrait photographer in some small provincial town in a country with a not very buoyant economy might make very little money indeed! In the end, both of them would keep on doing what they are doing if the money that they are making is both satisfying them and their prices are enough to support their business and if the market agrees to pay the prices which they charge.

  10. #30

    Default Re: Costs for repair?

    Quote Originally Posted by milandro View Post
    In the end everything is priced at the level that it has and can be priced. If your prices are too low you will go out of business and if your prices are too high you will go out of business too.
    Well said - another version is "The price is what the ( local) market will stand" - it's the "free market economy " stupid!

    Sax techs are not immune from it, but thank goodness we are not owners of Mercedes / BMW's and other "luxury brands", who design their unnecessarily complicated electronic control systems with "added value servicing" designed into their "Business Model . This conveniently, includes diagnostic equipment and ridicously priced " complete sub assemblies " and Patented parts ( so pattern substitutes are not available ). So, potential servicing competitors, outside the favoured Main Dealer network cannot buy them ! - so how is that the "Free Market" working in the customer's interest , anyway?. Even Government "Offices of Fair Trading" cannot deal with such abuse.

    Sadly , any any market system is open to abuse! - Even the Communists and dictatorships have their bribery problems too! .

    Blowhard2
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  11. #31
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    Default Re: Costs for repair?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gordon (NZ) View Post
    An exception I've mentioned before, that sickens me, is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTecT...eature=related
    I dont know steve, have never met him/spoken to him/ or had dealings with him, but you can clearly see he was not aware he was being videod, the person who did the video and posted it is in my opinion lower than the dirt on my foot, I would not assume and feel it is presumptious of others to condemn a person on this video, he could for all we know simply be trying to break the ice with some students in a class room mode and its not been as funny as he had intended it to be, or for that point it could all be true, but I think a clip like that should not be given any credit to the character or repair skills of an individual
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  12. #32
    Distinguished SOTW Coffee Guru milandro's Avatar
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    Default Re: Costs for repair?

    he must have been aware of the filming (the fact that he is not looking in the camera is irrelevant) as there are at least two cameras involved (at an height consistent with a camera being mounted on a tripod) and they do not appear to be in anyway concealed or be a spy camera mounted in spectacles , for example. He is, anyway, clearly addressing some people with this less than funny talk and to me there is no doubt that this is un-coerced opinion on these matters.

  13. #33
    Distinguished SOTW Technician griff136's Avatar
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    Default Re: Costs for repair?

    To become a repairer I studied woodwind and brass instrument manking and repair for 3 yrs full time, and then took a job in a shop working under a well respected technician. To get my place at college I had to demonstrate I had a decent level of education and the course included subjects such diverse as Business studies for self employment and Acoustics. I am still learning as we all should be, with newer tooling and equipment and sharing information on how to approach problems on forums like these. I still consider myself a speciallist with speciallist skills. I also believe that these skills can be obtained by practice coupled with and analytical mind, in order to be able to understand how things work and how to rectify problems when they go wrong. Having an engineering background would certainly be advantageous.

    Can I trade as a repairer without any of the above - of course i can - would I last in business very long - of course I wouldn't

    whatever your background, training, apprenticeship, being self taught etc if you do a good job people will come back, if you dont they wont.

  14. #34
    Distinguished SOTW Coffee Guru milandro's Avatar
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    Default Re: Costs for repair?

    Quote Originally Posted by griff136 View Post
    Can I trade as a repairer without any of the above - of course i can - would I last in business very long - of course I wouldn't

    whatever your background, training, apprenticeship, being self taught etc if you do a good job people will come back if you don't they wont.
    Well, I find these two phrases contradictory (wouldn't you say?) . One can in fact trade without any of the above (as in my former trade, photography) and also be an excellent repairer (in a country where there is no formal musical instrument repair school most repairers have learned by apprenticeship ) and be also avery good business man and succeed at all of it.

    [
    Quote Originally Posted by griff136 View Post
    whatever your background, training, apprenticeship, being self taught etc if you do a good job people will come back if you don't they wont.
    This is the fact of the matter........the proof of the pudding of any craftsman is not the diplomas or any such useful thing but whether you can or cannot do what you are supposed to be doing.

    Salvador Dalì was asked by a lady whether it was difficult to paint as he did, and he answered " Madam, it is either easy or impossible........"

  15. #35

    Default Re: Costs for repair?

    Quote Originally Posted by griff136 View Post
    If you do a good job people will come back if you dont they wont.
    Well said - In the end, that's why I patronise my favourite techs for Sax, Car, shotgun, domestic appliance repairs etc - If they serve you well, continue to patronise them, and be thankful- ( and pay a fair price)

    Blowhard2
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  16. #36
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    Default Re: Costs for repair?

    Quote Originally Posted by griff136 View Post
    To become a repairer I studied woodwind and brass instrument manking and repair for 3 yrs full time,
    I have the utmost respect for those that put themselves through a repair school, in some ways Im also envious, I have a friend here in australia who was a lawyer and went to the usa to learn instrument repair, his dent repair skills are exceptional and far exceed mine.
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  17. #37
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    Default Re: Costs for repair?

    Quote Originally Posted by simso View Post
    ...to become a repairer and trade as a repairer you need no skills or education just a desire ...
    I think there is some confusion here.

    To label yourself a technician (or photographer as mentioned, or anything else) is very different from actually being one, doing the job well.

    True, you need no specialised skills to label yourself.

    I could label myself as a doctor and probably do a reasonable job 60% of the time until the law caught up with me. (Medical stuff has been a significant side-line interest of mine)

    But to do the job well is quite a different story, and actually has little to do with formal qualifications. Of course specialised skills are needed. Try replacing a trouser zip in yourself in 10 minutes. The fact that I cannot do it successfully demonstrates I do not have the specialises skills.

    I think you sell yourself short by not acknowledging you have specialised skills.

    In any field of endeavour, the more specialised skills appropriate to that endeavour that the person has, the better he carries it the endeavour. It so happens that the doo-doo collector does not need many skills for the job. It so happens that doing good instrument repairs requires a very wide range of skills. Even using a feeler appropriately effectively to detect small pad leaks is a skill beyond most people until they have learnt from a lot of experience. Likewise, the the precision adjustment of pad closure. Likewise tidy dent removal, and soldering without a mess. It goes on and on. Hence the large learning curve, the extent of which budding technicians seem not to be aware of until they have been in the job, ever-improving, for quite a while.

    You mention the time in training.

    It is well known that after 3 years in a repair training institute, there is a huge amount of experience teaching that is required before a technician is a great technician. That is a lot of training in total.

    Personally, I repair woodwinds far better for being an accomplished player on several of them. It took many years to become that accomplished player. The associated skills are "specialised".
    I am an engineer. That took many years of self teaching and experience before I formalised it with study and formal qualification. It involves much specialised knowledge and skills which undoubtedly make me a better technician. (Likewise previous machining experience)

    I actually think that the overall time/study/experience that makes me what I am as a technician has been arguably as great as that for the average doctor. (A big difference is that for me, lives are not at stake, which is why I ponder charging comparisons with theodolite technicians or dental technicians rather than doctors.)

    I think the key cutter in the local mall that somebody mentioned is a good example. I would feel insulted if my specialist skills were equated with his (or the doggy-doo collector's), and I would expect you to be too.
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  18. #38
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    Default Re: Costs for repair?

    A nice polite reply with no undertones, thankyou,

    Quote Originally Posted by Gordon (NZ) View Post
    I I think you sell yourself short by not acknowledging you have specialised skills..
    I have specialised skills dont stress about that, I just dont view instrument repair in that category, a skill most certainly just to me not very specialised thats all as there are no formal education requirements to do it
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  19. #39
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    Default Re: Costs for repair?

    Last week my tech charged £9 for 3 Vandoren Blue Reeds and installing 2 needle spings.

    Was I ripped off?

  20. #40
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    Default Re: Costs for repair?

    Quote Originally Posted by simso View Post
    ...now lets go midway and choose an electrician or plumber or jet engine mechanic...
    In the USA, some but not all counties require electricians and plumbers to be licensed. I don't know about jet mechanics or what happens in Australia or New Zealand. This is in large part due to the fact that if you mess up a plumbing or electrical job and one would assume jet engine, there is the potential for property damage, death and injury...

    I've been doing my own and families plumbing and electrical work for years. I am not a licensed plumber or electrician but in my county it is perfectly legal as long as I am not charging them and I get my work inspected.(I do). I find this work incredibly simple, far easier than the repairs I do. I have no formal training in these areas, other than reading books and being smart enough to find out what the local and national codes are when I am doing a job. When I wired my in-ground pool because I couldn't find a local electrician to do it the electrical inspector asked me who did the job for me. I replied I did. He responded wow you got a much better job than if you had hired an electrician. Really? I just followed the electric code.

    So while I wouldn't say it was rocket science, I wouldn't lump BIR in with dog poop picking and I wouldn't lump Electrical and plumbing in with the rocket scientist either. I personally think that BIR takes the same level of skill as many trades, including the ones you mentioned. And yes, if I had a jet engine, I'd probably work on that as well

    Matt

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