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