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Clock repair prices

gocush

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Jun 24, 2016
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I'm not sure where to ask this question. So feel free to send me elsewhere.

So far I have not charged for repairing clocks. The clocks have all been either mine or close friend's and I have done it as a hobby or a gift to friends.

But I keep getting the question, "How much does it cost to have a clock cleaned, or serviced or repaired?" If some of those who do this for a living would care to answer in a Private Message or otherwise, I would like to hear. Thanks in advance.
 

novicetimekeeper

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Jul 26, 2015
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I'm a customer, not a repairer, I rarely get away with less than £500 but my clocks are usually in need of help and end up spectacular.
 
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R. Croswell

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Apr 4, 2006
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The clocks have all been either mine or close friend's and I have done it as a hobby or a gift to friends.

But I keep getting the question, "How much does it cost to have a clock cleaned, or serviced or repaired?"......
That depends on a number of things. The cost for basic cleaning and servicing obviously will depend of the type of clock, how complex it is, ...and generally how lone it will take to perform the service. Some here claim to be able to tear down, clean, and reassemble a basic American time and strike movement in 4 hours. In the real world most clocks will need some pivot and bushing work as well. Generally, I think that a skilled clock repair person should expect to be compensated at a rate comparable to other skilled trades in your area such as electricians, plumbers, carpenters, auto mechanics etc. (that is the rate the individual is compensated, not the rate the service company or dealership may charge for that person's work). Then there are "administrative costs" that are not usually billed directly, things like the time spent talking to the customer and writing a repair order and invoice, bookkeeping, and in some cases rent, etc.

Then there are market considerations and what type of clocks one will accept for service. $50 hr. x 5 hrs. = $250 for example is about the point (in my area) where customers with an ordinary American kitchen clock or mantel clock or "thrift-shop find" are going to start to "walk away". The value of the clock should not affect the charge to repair it, in fact some cheap clocks can be more difficult to properly repair, but the repair cost/value ratio will determine to some extent what clocks are left for repair and which estimates are declined. The less you charge the more junk you will be working on.

Finally, and perhaps most important, what are your qualifications to repair clocks, and what is the quality of your work? If one is "learning by doing" and has been fixing clocks for family and friends for free, perhaps the next step should be to accept whatever gratuity the 'customer' may offer. So when is one ready to begin charging "market prices" for clock repair? That's difficult to say but one's track record is one indicator. How frequently do you get called back because one of your "free family and friends" clocks stopped running before 3 years? The AWCI standards document is available elsewhere on this site is a good reference for what skills and methods one should have. At the minimum I would suggest that one should have successfully repaired 100 clocks of their own and family and friends with very few or no "call backs" before accepting customers and charging market prices.

RC
 
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shutterbug

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Oct 19, 2005
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Here's an older thread on the same subject. Bear in mind that we are paid for what we know, not so much for what we do.
 

Willie X

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Feb 9, 2008
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I can't add much to what RC said.
One thing I have learned is to never ever make any kind estiamte, or a ballpark figure, or a flat rate. NEVER EVER mention a dollar amount, UNTIL you have removed the movement or otherwise looked the clock over good.
The only dollar amounts I will mention up front is the minimum flat rate charge for prepairing the estimate, this is payable only if the customer backs out ($15). And, I will give them the aproximate amount for service calls ($65+
$1.10 per mile, one way) I work a wide area so a flat rate isn't fair for me or the customer.

IOWs, tossing out a quick estimate may seem to be professional and a good idea but "fight the feeling", this practice will bite you over and over, until you stop doing it!
Good luck,
Willie X
 

kinsler33

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Aug 17, 2014
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Again, I will issue a caution about discussing repair prices on such a forum, for Federal authorities in the USA may interpret such discussions as price-fixing, which is illegal here. The classic case occurred a couple of years ago when discussions on a similar forum for piano teachers attracted the attention of our Federal Trade Commission. I don't think there were any real repercussions, but it was certainly a surprise when they started getting official letters.

The moderators here may have different policies, but I thought I should mention this.

M Kinsler
 

kinsler33

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Aug 17, 2014
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Maybe Kins is with th FBI?
Willie X
Nope. I'm as interested in everyone's price list as anyone else, and I'd read them if they were posted. But posting them in a forum like this is inadvisable, for the reasons stated. I don't actually know what the law is in such matters, so I was just going by the story of the piano teachers' group.

Mark Kinsler
 

klokwiz

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Feb 4, 2009
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Mark,

You have gotten some excellent suggestions already. I for one having been in the labor market think you need to determine what your time is worth (and skill as mentioned)

One item not yet mentioned ( unless I overlooked it) is charging for parts (material) and supplies ( all the lubes and grease and pins, wear and tear on tools and equipment) you can also look at the cost of lighting and heat. Don't just include this in your labor , or your effective labor charge will be less than you think.

But above all do a good honest job with out short cuts and be willing to sublet or admit your not having the skills for some jobs.


Joe
 

Willie X

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Feb 9, 2008
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gocu,
This book:
"Clock Repair, Part time hours - Full time pay" by John Pierson will be the best $15 you ever spent. It expalins all the ins and outs of a small clock repair business. The book would actually apply to just about any small business. The only thing that is out of date is the advertising part, not pre internet, but before internet as we know it today. The book could have updated editions, I'm not sure about that point.
Willie X
 

bangster

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Nope. I'm as interested in everyone's price list as anyone else, and I'd read them if they were posted. But posting them in a forum like this is inadvisable, for the reasons stated. I don't actually know what the law is in such matters, so I was just going by the story of the piano teachers' group.

Mark Kinsler
So: Send your answers in PMs, rather than in open forums.

Is what I think.
 

AJSBSA

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Nov 24, 2009
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My prices are on my website for all to see the website has had no major updates for years it seems to work quite well as it is but I always keep the prices up dated
 

kinsler33

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Aug 17, 2014
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My prices are on my website for all to see the website has had no major updates for years it seems to work quite well as it is but I always keep the prices up dated
That's a fine website, and I am impressed by your craftsmanship as well. I learned quite a bit.

Mark Kinsler
 

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