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Clock repair pricing

K

kenknox

Is there some guidlines I should be following in pricing my clock repairs? I am the only one in my area that does this kind of work and mostly its word of mouth. I have many years of experiance and have taken a corespondance corse in clock repairing. Also my shop is very well equipped.And I strive for perfection in every job big OR small. I think I am underpricing myself by a great deal but am somewhat afraid to increase prices because most people in my area probably wouldnt be wanting to spend that much. I am currently have set prices for certain jobs and if it takes me twice as long as it should thats my probelm not thiers. I would appreciate and advice on this subject.

Kenny
 
K

kenknox

Is there some guidlines I should be following in pricing my clock repairs? I am the only one in my area that does this kind of work and mostly its word of mouth. I have many years of experiance and have taken a corespondance corse in clock repairing. Also my shop is very well equipped.And I strive for perfection in every job big OR small. I think I am underpricing myself by a great deal but am somewhat afraid to increase prices because most people in my area probably wouldnt be wanting to spend that much. I am currently have set prices for certain jobs and if it takes me twice as long as it should thats my probelm not thiers. I would appreciate and advice on this subject.

Kenny
 

harold bain

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Kenny, that is a difficult question. If your shop is too busy to keep up, you might be not charging enough. If you start charging more, and find your customers disappearing, you are charging too much. Obviously if you work in New York City, you will charge much more than if you work in the boonies. Just don't expect to get rich at this occupation ;)
Harold
 

Scottie-TX

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As Harold says: How many people who come in and receive your estimate, leave and elect not to do the job? I would think it should be more than ten per-cent. For me it's just a hobby but I can understand the business aspect.
 

MARK A. BUTTERWORTH

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WHIW, if you do the math, there is a general rule in business called the 80-20 rule to maximize profits that applies to everything from pricing hotel rooms to airline seats, to a clock job. 20% of the people should walk away due to cost..Keep in mind that if no one walks, then the cheapest guy in the region thinks your prices are just fine. You really don't want that. My suggestion would be to raise your prices incrementally by 10-20% at a time until that balance is achieved.
 

shutterbug

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Calculate what your time is worth (be realistic) and then how long it takes to do a particular repair. Your charges should include parts (not your cost - you should turn a profit and don't forget you have postage - plus your calculated hourly wage. Obviously, if you can do faster repairs, your price can go down. After calculating this, start working toward that price. I charge according to the number of trains, you may find a different formula. But don't do the job for less than it's worth. People tend to expect to pay for quality, and if it doesn't cost much, guess what they think? :)
 
K

kenknox

WOW very good advice from all of you!
I started out just doing my own and then for some family members and friends. Then all of a sudden people I didnt know were calling and wanting me to do thiers. I love doing the work and I have a hard time charging for something that gives ME pleasure so I set some basic prices because I dont want to be taken advantage of. The local Jewelery store somehow got my name and has been referring people to me. Its been alot of fun so far and on each movement I learn something. One thing I dont like is doing all the grandfather clocks with the hermle movements in them. It seems like they are all wearing out at the same time around here. I enjoy doing the old clocks the best but so far I have never turned down a challenge.

Kenny
 

Clockortwo

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Hi Guys

Have been reading through this topic. Want to add that customers may walk away not due to the fact that you charge want a fair value for your time and the quality of our work and think you are overcharging. Many people have or picked up -- ebay,garage sales, etc, --clocks that cost and are valued far less than your fees. Typical kitchen clocks for example are not worth in my estimation more than $100 --$150. They don't warrent $300-400 for repair work. That does not mean in any way you are not worth what you charge, but there is still this imbalance. It to me is like buying a museum poster for $20.00 and getting charged $200.00 for a nice frame and mat. I "may" do it once because I have an important purpose for the poster. But I don't think I would do it for 5 or 15 posters.

Thanks
Clockortwo NAWCC# 026716
 

shutterbug

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$300-$400 ?? Clearly I'm not charging enough :)
 

harold bain

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COT, you make a good point about what a clock is worth after repair. 3 or 4 hundred sounds like about twice what I charge for a typical American 2 train movement, assuming it just needs cleaning and bushings. Broken gears and missing parts will be extra of course. But if you just paid $150 on ebay for a worn out clock, will you spend what it takes to make this a useful clock, or just use it as a decoration? I get a lot of customers who were burned on ebay, and are happy to find that I can make it work for them. Investing $3-400 on an antique clock is better in my opinion, than spending the same amount on a Howard Miller Quartz mantel clock ( I have seen them priced higher than this). This is not from a collector point of view, but from the point of view of the average person who wants one nice clock to put on a shelf or mantel in their home.
Harold
 
C

Charles Vesser

I basicly only work on electric clocks due to the fact hardly anyone else in my area does. I live in a fairly large town and there's plenty of work to be done. I very seldom take any work in that I can't just jump right on. I charge 40.00 to repair electric clocks without alarms and chimes plus any needed parts. I charge 2.50 for a new cord, 25.00 for a good used rotor and 15.00-25.00 for a used coil. If the customer wants a new dial (reproduction) then add 5.00. So the long and short I try to fix most electric for around 65.00. I specilize in Hammond clocks. So I make a little, I don't rob any of the customers and I have many repeat customers who buy clocks for resale. Now if I have a customer who just needs a cord 5.00 and its out the door, if the clock just needs a rotor 25.00 and its gone. Total price. If I charge the 40.00 for the repair the clock is cleaned and oiled total 40.00.
I guess a lot of people don't want to here this, but bear in mind the clocks I work on are simple clocks that don't have a lot of value. But on the other hand if I stayed busy 8 hours a day 5 days a week I could turn 100,000.00 a year.
Now I don't stay busy and actually fix very few clocks as I only do it part time kinda as a hobby. But when I do fix one I feel as though I get paid well for my time even though it not a large bill. The secret is know what you are doing and be able to do it well in a reasonable amount of time. Have the parts on hand, have the correct tools and etc. Get it on the bench and off the bench.
Charles
 

Clockortwo

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OK

I went to a chapter 25 meeting in NJ and asked an officer for the names of a few repair people he felt were good. The prices were as I stated. Now , they did have stand alone shops and therefore overhead. Maybe because the population here is more concentrated and living costs are higher and charges are proportional to other ares of the country. But as a collector having about 15 clocks, right now, I would like to have worked on, cost is important to me. Surely I would not like the clean and repair cost to be more than the market value of the clock.

Respectfully
Clockortwo NAWCC# 026716
 

Tom Kloss

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I love doing the work and I have a hard time charging for something that gives ME pleasure
Kenknox

It isn’t a sin to be well paid for enjoying the work you do. Every body has their own philosophy on pricing. My own is that you can’t price your work on a “per job” basis. You have to spread the risk so to speak. If you get a simple job, I’ll guarantee you, there is a dog waiting around the corner that will eat your time away to no end. We’ve all had them.
I quote a job price, tell them if springs are needed that’s extra, what ever the cost, and ask for a 25% above estimate pad for the unexpected. If the price will go over the 25% that I’ll give them a call for permission to proceed. Fortunately I live in an area where things are still done verbally and you don’t need an etched in stone, iron clad, boiler plate written estimate to do things. I think the 20%,80% formula sounds good. Just remember you have to include, on an overall basis, replacement of your supplies and tools.
My wife has a saying “When your too good, your good for nothing”. Charge too little and people think your work isn't worth it. One last item, don’t be afraid to turn a job down. To quote one of my teachers, you can always say, “My shop isn’t equipped to do the work at this time”.
 
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Chris

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Regarding the value of a clock versus the price of the repair, I think you'll find that those who come to you are doing it for fond memories. 90% of my customers are having their clocks fixed because it means something to them, not as an investment.

So, with that said, I have an hourly rate. I charge double the rate on Time/Strike movements as each side takes about an hour. I charge triple the rate for chimers. Basically, I charge the rate times the number of winding arbors on the clock (plus any parts or repair needed). I think I'm too cheap as well, but since it's part-time with no overhead (other than the rafters in the basement!) I can keep it somewhat low for now. By the by, the Yellow Pages is a great advertiser. I'm getting alot more now that I'm in my local book (not one of those supposed "yellow books") Despite the internet, I think most people are still going to the book first.

Keep your fingers crossed that someday soon I can make this full time! Chris
 

BIG D

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Keep your fingers crossed that someday soon I can make this full time! Chris
Careful what you wish for.... you might get it!


Surely I would not like the clean and repair cost to be more than the market value of the clock.
Clocks like other items have value other than "market Value". Let it be owners decision if the repair is worth as much to them as it is to you. At least thats my opinion.
 
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I

Ian D Pomfret

Hi Kenny,

Good topic, I've been watching this thread with interest and I would like to mention various pricing policies I've come across and use. Please be aware that these ideas are from a business rather than collector viewpoint and that I have no wish to offend.

1/ Location counts.

2/ A bricks and mortar location counts, walk ins (talk ins) cost a lot of wasted time. This is retail jail.

3/ Decide what types of clocks you do and do not want to do, or cannot do. Price such that movements you don't want to do such as Hermle are profitable but replace the movement with like, or refuse the job.

4/ Give a free estimate and a firm price with a guarantee. I have only had to go cap in hand a couple of times in the last ten years for some hidden problem.
Most estimates are based on a price list, with additions for extras such as case work, polishing, parts, outside work.

5/ If all your estimates are accepted, increase your fee until you get about 20%-30% rejected, otherwise your underpricing your market. Nothing is as bad as being overloaded with work and being unprofitable.

6/ "Not wanting a repair to approach the value of the clock" - It takes as much time to fully overhaul a movement regardless of its value, actually many times the higher grade movement can be easier to work on. The less valuable clock is seldom easier to work on, but in time will be a more collectable clock.

7/ Search the internet for clock repairers, many have online prices, use these as a basis for your region.

If you travel,to pickup and deliver, setup etc, charge acording to milage radius plus in house time. Make sure that you know when to call it a day, give an on the spot estimate and if acceptable take it back to the shop for an overhaul.

Best wishes,

Ian
 

Bruce Weeks

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I charge a set rate per hour of shop time plus a travel fee if ouside my normal area of coverage. My estimate to the customer is really comprised of (shop hours X hourly rate) + (parts estimate X 2) + any O/S the area fee. So I am estimating hours. An American kitchen clock takes an hour to clean and reassemble. Bushings are per each. Pickup and delivery is free otherwise. But from the comments above, I clearaly am not charging enough because I only get 2 or 3 walk-outs a year. Time to add 15-20% to those fees.
 

shutterbug

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Clockortwo - Your view of this discussion is clearly from the other side of the door :) Yes, 15 clocks will set you back a bit initially, but like other investments should increase in value over time. Most of us who do repairing started as clock collectors and started learning repair for the same reasons - cost saving. It's time to jump into clock repair my friend. You'll enjoy your collection even more when you know them inside and out :)
 

Clockortwo

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Shutterbug

Thanks for the comments. But, I was only trying to add a dimension to the walkout issue. As for your suggestion about doing my own work, well, I own a big home and pay someone to clean it, and for now I will apply the same process to my clocks. Can't imagine that doing the work myself will make me love/enjoy them any more than I now do.

I think the answer for lies in percentages. What I will do from now on is buy very expensive clocks and the repair cost will be a smaller percentage than a cheap clock. Then I will not walk out the door. This is a joke guys please!!! No nasty replies. :biggrin: ;)

Off to New Hampshire --RO Schmitt-- to buy some big boys.

Clockortwo NAWCC# 026716
 

harold bain

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Clockortwo, you are looking at it from the wrong perspective, unless you have plans to sell the clock in the near future.
People spend small fortunes to fix their teeth, which are not worth very much at all. Our ancestors would just whittle a new tooth from a piece of hardwood, rather than waste money repairing them.
Our recent ancestors put these mechanical clocks into storage because electric and quartz clocks were so much cheaper than repairing the old clocks. Now they are collectable.
If keeping your collection going is too expensive for you, then I guess just display them as non-working examples.
Harold
 
D

david bishop

Has anybody read the book " Clock repairs- part time hours, full time pay" by John R. Pierson.

I haven't read it but I've always thought that he'd mixed up the title. The part time shoud have referred to the pay, and vice versa!!

David
 

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