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[AJM Magazine] Repair pricing


#1

AJM Magazine emailed me and wants people who do repair to send along
to them their repair lists so they can publish what is being charged
across the USA. So I emailed them that I would post here and let YOU
folks send directly to the magazine your price list. I told Shawna
that my customers have ONE list :slight_smile: and therefore I’d ask the rest of
you to send to her yours.

David Geller

Hi David,

AJM Magazine is currently conducting a comprehensive pricing survey
of repair shops and retail stores nationwide for a feature article
slated to appear in our September issue. We’d like to send the survey
out to as many repair and retail establishments as possible and we’re
hoping that you can assist us. Do you have a database of repair shops
and retailers that you can share with us for the purposes of this
survey? No one’s personal will be published; we are
simply collecting from various regions in the country
from which we will draw conclusions about average prices. We feel
that the survey results will be beneficial for jewelers because it
will allow them to compare what they are charging to an average.

Ideally, we’d like to be able to mail the surveys out on Wednesday,
June 25. If you would like to provide us with contact for
repair shops and retailers, we would appreciate it if you could send
it to us by Wednesday. Digital files can be e-mailed to me at
shawnak@ajm-magazine.com. Hard copies can be mailed to: AJM
Magazine, Attn: Shawna Kulpa, 45 Royal Little Drive, Providence, RI
02904.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to
contact me.

Best Regards, Shawna

Shawna Kulpa
Editorial Coordinator/Special Projects Editor
AJM Magazine
45 Royal Little Drive
Providence, RI 02904
800-444-6572, ext. 3038
401-274-0265, fax
www.ajm-magazine.com

#2

I agree with David . I see nothing but damage to come from this
report on repair prices. I am a firm believer in the age old theory
of ’ what the market will bear’ for your area, skill level, sales
ability,etc,… The free market will handle the rest for it. I use
to attend regular seminars for watchmakers in my state, and one of
the topics discussed in length was “What do we charge”. Our state
trade associations attorney informed us that we could only discuss
repair pricing in ‘generalities’ using XYZ variables in formulating
costs and profits. If we discussed on an official basis, any specific
prices , that it could be considered price fixing by a trade
association,and could potentially be considered as a legal liability
at some point in the future. He advisede us that the IRS could
potentially use these numbers as a baseline for taxation, much as how
waiters and waitresses are taxed on tips by use of an 'average’
baseline figure , rather than the actual amount of tips recieved,so
why help the IRS establish a precedent with which to pursue us with.
The IRS has been making an attempt for years to get a better grasp of
the repair business of all fields and product lines. All I’ve seen
come of providing them with our own honest data, is they often use it
against us. ‘diamondeddy’


#3
 This will do to repair margins exactly what the RAPP sheet did for
diamond sales. Commodify repairs and eventually these prices (which
will have little bearing on the real cost of repairs) will be in
the public domain. 

Actually repair work is not a commodity as there are a full range of
qualities of repair work available. Besides, as with diamonds,
those people who are creative enough will find ways to justify
whatever price they need to make on a particular service.

 This will be skewed that will skew the marketplace,
much like the infamous salary review that another trade rag
publishes. 

I don’t think collecting data from the marketplace will necessarily
skew the rest of the marketplace. I don’t change my salary or my
employee’s salaries based on what I read in the JCK salary review,
but it is extremely valuable to see where in the picture we fit in.
Perhaps you could inform us exactly how the salary review is "used"
to skew the marketplace.

Daniel R. Spirer, GG
Spirer Somes Jewelers
1794 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02140
617-491-6000
@spirersomes
www.spirersomes.com


#4
    I don't think collecting data from the marketplace will
necessarily skew the rest of the marketplace. I don't change my
salary or my employee's salaries based on what I read in the JCK
salary review, but it is extremely valuable to see where in the
picture we fit in. Perhaps you could inform us exactly how the
salary review is "used" to skew the marketplace 

Good day! Is this survey also looking for data from silversmiths like
myself who specialize in silver holloware and flatware restoration?

Jeff Herman


#5

Hi Orchidians and hello Daniel;

    Actually repair work is not a commodity as there are a full
range of qualities of repair work available. 

Well. that’s my point really. Being a GG, you’d know that all VVS,
E colored 2 carat diamonds are not created equally too. But that’s
not what the RAPP sheet would have us believe. A price list for
repairs will give the customer the idea that he has the right to
expect the same charges from a jeweler in a prime location with a 25
dollar an hour master craftman doing the work and a massive jeweler’s
block insurance bill as he would pay to have it done in some sweat
shop office on the 13th floor of a Dallas office building by some
poor schmuck hoping like hell that the INS isn’t closing in on him.

    I don't think collecting data from the marketplace will
necessarily skew the rest of the marketplace. 

Collecting isn’t the problem. Interpreting is the problem.
Somebody (many, I think) is going to think they are paying too much
and that makes opportunities for the unscrupulous. I’m talking about
large and less than scrupulous venues who will view this as an
opportunity. Here’s the scenario as I saw it happen with diamonds.

First, customer’s started coming in with copies of RAPP sheets.
They don’t undertand make, table percentage, girdle thickness,
flourescence, etc. All they know is 1 carat SI2 G-H goes for $4,800
so why can’t you sell me it for that? You get to make the 20% under
RAPP you bought if for or get tough about it and send them packing.
Then came internet diamond sales, which were below RAPP in many
cases. Few customers understood the meaning of the on
the “second page” of that cert (see above about flourescence, girdle
thickness, etc.). They just came in with printouts from their
internet searches and couldn’t understand why we had to make any
money on a diamond sale. Now suppose some organization, maybe MJSA,
starts selling the monthly updated “repair price list” and your
customers start coming in with the bootleg copy they got from their
brother-in-law who worked for a time as a sales clerk in a commision
only mall jewelry store. They are now demanding to pay $6 to size
down that platinum eternity band. Or the very massive silver ring
with the intarsia inlay. Got laser, anybody? Well “McJewelry Repair
Kiosk” does, and the customer will never know that their 14K ring
was sized with 10K gold and repair solders by a minimum wage fluncky
who didn’t mention that he polished the facets off that tanzanite if
he did notice it or could have noticed it.

    I don't change my salary or my employee's salaries based on
what I read in the JCK salary review, but it is extremely valuable
to see where in the picture we fit in 

Well, why do you care where you “fit in” if you’re confident that
you are paying your employees according to their contribution to your
business? Most retailers would like to know that they’re not paying
their employees too much (more than they have to) or paying them too
little (low enough for the competition to easily hire them away). I
could go into the ways in which, I think, JCK deliberately skewed the
but I’ve already done that on this forum and others have
agreed with me. They did this to keep their “constituents” happy and
it was obvious. I’m assuming you’ve carefully considered what you
could afford to pay your people and are intent on keeping it that
way, but if you are, from my experience (which is extensive) you
aren’t in the majority. Call me a pessimist, but my entire point is
that things tend to descend to the lowest common denominator, so
let’s not help it go that way if we don’t have to. What I see if
this happens is more jewelers leaving their bench to go retail and
more trade shops closing to open retail repair facilities.
Independant mom and pop venues will take it in the keister as they
did when J.C. Penny’s took their lower end watch sales and WalMart
took their gold chain market. But it’s OK with me, I’ll just go
retail if I have to survive, and if I only made a keystone markup on
my repairs, I could whip the merchandizer and still double my income.
I’ll get inventory for cost of materials and cost of wages. I’ll
find an cheap office to sell out of. . . oops, forgot, I already have
one. Fries with that, sir?

David L. Huffman


#6

Hello Ed and Orchid;

    I agree with David . I see nothing but damage to come from
this report on repair prices 

thank you, Ed.

    Our state trade associations attorney informed us that we could
only discuss repair pricing in 'generalities' using XYZ variables
in formulating costs and profits. If we discussed on an official
basis, any specific prices ,  that it could be considered price
fixing by a trade association,and could potentially be considered
as a legal liability at some point in the future. 

It’s those XYZ variables I’d worry about. Would classifying prices
by state, region, store sales volume, etc., get them around that
condition I wonder, by providing such “variable”?

    He advisede us that the IRS could potentially use these numbers
as a baseline for taxation. 

Boy, I never thought of that, and I hope that wakes some of us up
too. Not that I hide anything from the IRS, mind you.

David L. Huffman


#7
Actually repair work is not a commodity as there are a full range
of qualities of repair work available. 

Hello David,

And at the same time, When I get about what others are
charging, I can get the courage to give myself a raise. Trying to
be honest and ethical and give customers the best price determined by
my competition is not practical now for me. I used to charge $12 to
size down. If I did send it out, I could get it done for $6. I was
trying to meet or undercut my competition. From David Geller I
understood repair is a trust issue. I have a retail store, so what
works for me might not apply for a wholesale repair shop. I raised
my price to size down to a minimum of $20 for silver or gold. People
actually buy a silver ring for under $20 and pay $20 to size it.
Really easy silver sizings I will do for $12 if it takes me 5
minutes or less, or it is a good customer. I realized my customers
are my customers. They are not price shopping.

    I could go into the ways in which, I think, JCK deliberately
skewed the but I've already done that on this forum
and others have agreed with me. 	 		 

This has a conspiratorial flavor to it. While I understand that
there are some who would agree with you, that is not a basis for
reality. There is a basis in reality for what JCK reports that is
true for some of their audience. I don’t know who their
"constituents" are. Constituent is a political term relating to those
that are served by a elected offical. So I would pose to you, is JCK
the tail wagging the dog? There are retailers that do millions of
dollars each year, their customers will pay prices for custom and
repair that I would not dare charge. I do not have that calibre of
client. I know what my strengths and weakness are, and I am fortunate
that I have chosen,(or it chose me?) a profession that stimulates my
creativity and passion, and I get paid to play. Sometimes extremely
challenging, sometimes seemingly easy. Make no mistake, many
decisions I make could have serious finacial repercussions. Last
week I made the largest diamond sale. Seemed so easy. Only took 30
years. Sometimes I am ecstatic about what I do, other times I can
feel jaded,and cynical. Seems to have something to do with
acknowledgements and graditudes.

Richard in Denver


#8
Now suppose some organization, maybe MJSA, starts selling the
monthly updated "repair price list" and your customers start coming
in with the bootleg copy they got from their brother-in-law who
worked for a time as a sales clerk in a commision only mall jewelry
store.  They are now demanding to pay $6 to size down that platinum
eternity band. 

My real point is that people can only do this to you if you let them
(and that is why I don’t think the list would skew the prices). I
don’t let my customers dictate my diamond prices (I get keystone on a
large number of my goods), which is why I couldn’t care less if they
have every list in the world to try to base a price on, and I
wouldn’t let them use a repair price list to tell me what to charge
either. It is up to us to educate the customers about the
differences in the level of work they receive.

We already charge top dollar for our repair work. When the
customers complain (this only happens less than 5% of the time) we
tell them that there are dozens of places in downtown Boston that
will do it for much less than us. And do you know what? Less them
5% of them walk out and go downtown. Why? Because we show them and
explain to them the difference between the work we do and what
everyone else does and we explain our guarantees. But do you know
what? If 50% of them turned around and walked out I still wouldn’t
charge any less. If I did, my repair work wouldn’t be profitable,
and to me making good money on half the business makes good business
sense. You work less and earn more.

So many of you have bought into the concept that price is the only
thing anyone cares about, but it simply isn’t true. People trust my
shop because they know I do good work, they know friends who have had
the work done by us, they know we’ve been there 20 years and they can
see the level of work we do in our cases. This is what makes them
feel comfortable about spending whatever they have to in our shop to
see that the job is done right. It’s up to all of you to create a
similar atmosphere in your own shop. It’s also up to all of you to
stop whining about the competition and do something to make
yourselves stand out. Daniel R. Spirer, GG Spirer Somes Jewelers 1794
Massachusetts Ave Cambridge, MA 02140 617-491-6000
@spirersomes www.spirersomes.com


#9
     It's also up to all of you to stop whining about the
competition and do something to make yourselves stand out. 

Daniel, 100% agreement, my experience also! Repetitiously, most
objections to raising prices are fear based. Quality works deserves
quality pay. Doctors get it, lawyers get it, and I am a jewelry
doctor. Richard in Denver


#10
 It's also up to all of you to stop whining about the competition
and do something to make yourselves stand out. 

This is exactly how my former employer, Smith & Bevill, does
business. When all the stores in town were scrambling for work, and
few were buying, our repair department kept things afloat by being
busy and charging for quality work. The sales staff hated charging
full price from the price list, but the customers almost always
ponyed up. Those who didn’t went over to the Fred Meyers jewelry
kiosk and later came back to us to get it fixed properly. Like one
salesman said to a customer, “Why on earth would you go to a grocery
store for jewelry??” after they toasted a Philip Youngman peridot.

Spike Cornelius
Portland, Or.
RC ArtMetal