Most visitors online was 1660 , on 12 Dec 2020
I've been hesitant to chime in here on this topic, because I don't want to offend the very same people that have been incredibly helpful and kind to me, sharing their expertise gladly and willingly. They are THE reason I joined NAWCC..I wanted to do SOMETHING that showed how much I appreciate the help. None of what I am about to type should be taken as an indictment in any way of what anyone decides to charge; capitalism is the best system we've come up in real life so far, and charging what people are willing to pay is absolutely appropriate.....If you charge too little (assuming you are correctly providing quality service) you either find it not profitable (especially with a troublesome clock or warranty issues) or you diminish the true value of the service. ....
The most important thing for one starting out as a hobbyist who feels that he/she is "ready" to begin repairing clocks for others is to concentrate on doing quality work and build your reputation. After you do a hundred clocks there will still be more that you don't know than you do know, and you really won't know if the repairs you make today are pro quality for 5 or 10 years. Rank beginners should probably only charge for parts and focus on fixing clocks for family and friends. Consider it a learning experience and accept what ever gratuity may be forth coming. Once you are confidant that you can repair a clock as well and anyone else, and that may mean limiting the types of clocks that you will accept to those like or similar to others you have done for yourself, then you should be entitled to the same rewards as anyone else "in the business". If you charge too little you will be inundated with junk clocks that people pick up at flea markets and yard sales for $15 dollars and expect you to fix it about the same money. That's when it is no longer fun and becomes a chore. On the other hand, if you charge a substantial rate to fix a clock and the repair fails and you have to pay someone else to fix it under your warranty, you can quickly find yourself in a bad situation. And yes, if you charge standard rates you really do need to offer a warranty and be prepared to standby it.May I ask about reasonable rates for hobbyists? It sure is different because there are not shop utility costs (working from home) and no schedule. I would think a hobbyist is the same, if not being able to make, quality repairs as a shop would.
I guess I'm saying that it really depends on where you plan to go with your clock repairing. Is it going to be a hobby that you enjoy and not depend on to make a living, or do you one day hope to build a hobby into a business that provides a living income in a highly specialized competitive market place.
You are right, I would like to do quality repairs because otherwise you won’t be contributing to horology at all. I am only at the point where I fix clocks and work it into the selling price (to recoup the costs). I never really plan to do any service work out for the public. I do plan, however, is to contribute to horology by collecting and gathering information from my clocks. Fixing clocks is one thing but actually putting a story or purpose on it is far more important, IMO. Ask questions like “Why did this manufacturer choose to do this?” Or “How why is this feature important?”. To me, that is important; to know about the clock. I commonly know of people say that they repaired this or that super rare clock but never documented any of it.concentrate on doing quality work and build your reputation.
Are you referring to non quality repairs for expensive?I struggle with two things there. The first, and least worrisome, is that I know there will be those that COULD easily afford $90/hr would take advantage. To be honest, I don't care; nasty selfish people have to live with themselves, and I'll still be able to sleep well at night. The second is the concern that my approach would harm the livelihood of other clock repair people, and/or alienate me from the clock repair "community." THAT is a great concern...I don't wish for either
I agree!I'll work on watches and clocks because I love it, not because I'm trying to make a living at it. What money I make at it is icing on the cake. Getting paid for what is essentially a hobby? Heck yeah. The fact that I make other people smile by fixing their timepieces is the cherry on top. (Not to mix food metaphors or anything...)
Charging what is necessary is very important as I can tell. My least favorite thing I see is when repair rates are inflated because they are being worked on by this or that shop.My basic rates are pretty simple. A time-only clock is $120 plus parts, two-trains are $150 plus, three-trains are $200 plus, multi-tune-three-trains or other complications are more, cuckoos somewhere in there. Alarm clocks or electrics usually fall somewhere below that range. Quartz movement swaps are usually a bit above the cost of the movement (including shipping) plus about $20. If parts are needed I make a bit of profit on them if I can buy them. Most times I make the parts and dream up a cost for them (usually wa-a-a-ay too low). If there is case work needed or whatever (besides the movement) there is an additional charge. Any parts or extra expense is discussed with and approved by the customer ahead of time. I always promise there will be no nasty dollar-based surprises at the end. Many times I've ended up making way less than $2 per hour because of troubleshooting and making parts. I choose to ignore that fact - it's MY time. Finding the "ah-HAH! [foul language redacted]" solution to a vexing repair is delicious.
That is great! This is a great way to deal with “Karens” who complain at the slightest thing. If somebody has something they want to improve, they can kindly discuss with you how to make it happen! Another thing that everyone should be open to improvement. This is what I do when buying stuff on marketplace: I will kindly notify somebody that their listing has something incorrect or (what is see is) a mistake - Such as somebody had a listing where they were selling a Vienna regulator for a certain price, but there was a grave mistake that could hit hard. They set it for “9 dollar” shipping. This was on FB marketplace. Listed an hour ago (at the time). I kindly notified them and they gladly changed it. They admitted that they didn’t know about that. Just saved them hundreds dollars loss.All of my rates are wildly negotiable. If someone hears my usual rate and wilts, we talk about it. I've done several repairs for free. I get such joy out of making other people happy that it's pretty easy to negotiate my rates. Add to that the fact that I get to fix things and make things to bring a mechanical system back to full operational status, and the fact that I'm always learning new techniques and buying or making new tools - Glen is a happy boy.
I'm not sure what you're asking me. The part of my epic that you quoted was in regards to harming the livelihood of other clock repair folks or alienating myself from other clock folks. I'll take a stab at answering your question, but let me know if I missed your intent.......
Are you referring to non quality repairs for expensive?
As long as that the entire procedure of what your charging to do is clearly stated, I think this is a good rule and integrally sound.I would never do a "non-quality" repair, but what I WOULD do is what I prefer to have auto shops do; tell the customer, "Item A needs to be done now for the (clock/car) to run and be safe, Item B should be done soon and would be cheaper to do now, and Item C can be done if you really want to keep this for a long time." In my mind, doing only item A is not a "non-quality" repair, but I think that differs from the philosophies/thoughts of at least several learned people on this forum. It is simply deferring maintenance, which is an accepted practice where safety is not an issue. Case in point... A friend recently brought her late 1890s New Haven gingerbread clock to me that a friend had just given her. The movement was intact, but the pendulum (one of those that had a center cylinder and side clear tubes..) was in pieces. I assembled the pendulum, put it in beat, and it ran and struck correctly, but the strike train was really loud and incredibly fast. I told her it should really be gone through thoroughly, and that it would probably take me about ten hours give or take, but she could just take it now and enjoy it until it stopped. She chose to take it, and no money changed hands. That was fine. It's still running. I'm guessing that there are several shops that would have looked at the clock, quoted at least several hundred dollars, and said take it or leave it. I know one that did.
Sound great as well!Also, i would not do anything I wasn't confident I could do very well and would never to hesitate to recommend a more experienced shop to a customer (should I ever have one).
Really? The guys I know seem to have more business then they can handle. Long wait times, reservation systems so they don't get buried, frequently turning down new work, etc.Well, clock repair has been steadily declining for years. So, unless you have an area that can give you a steady demand for your services, might as well think about something else.
Alternatives are few, like buying out an existing shop in a high population area, or moving to a high population area. If the population is skewed to old folks, that's all the better. At least 200,000 population and one good clock repair person is about right. If a second good repair person moves in ... your screwed. Willie X
Here on my planet, Telechron produced 10's (maybe 100's) of millions of clocks during their 80 year run. Add to that, the electrics from Seth Thomas, Jefferson, Hammond, etc, etc, etc. There's a huge base of these in need of service. (driven by "deep pocket" sentimental attachment and that many were some of the coolest designs ever in horology).Electric ... volume?? Maybe we are on different planets?
I like that very much... harkens back to a day when we actually related to other human beings rather than cyber-based representations of lifeforms. Thanks!I now live in a small town. I have a banner hanging in the local bowling alley, and pass out business cards where ever I can. Antique shops, laundry mats, anywhere you see a bulletin board for the purpose.
Laws differ from state to state. You might inquire at your local city hall. I would expect that someone there could tell you what you need to do. Zoning laws differ from place to place but you may need a home occupation permit, which usually has limits what you can do in a residential area. There are usually restrictions on signs and a permit is usually required if a sign is allowed at all. At the federal level, if you have income from a business you will need to file a Federal Tax form for profit and loss from business with your federal tax return. You will also have to pay federal self employment tax. As for at what point a "hobby" becomes a "business" and is required to regulated as a business, you should probably ask a local attorney or someone who knows the laws and codes in your area.So how do you go about actually doing this? Do you use a program for taxes and money made etc? I live in NH, I need to file a trade name. But also, we don’t have a sales tax here, or income tax. What do I do federally ?? Never had a business. Taxes and ss?