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Repair prices, is it just me?


#1

I had a disagreement with a (former) client, (I’m a to-the-trade
repairman) concerning my prices.

He “informed” me (seein’ as how he’s a retailer with no jewelry
making experience, but is (was) The Customer, that I charge too much
because I insist on using plumb solders, and preferably hard or
medium solder in my repairs.

His new jeweler uses repair solders exclusively.

He wants me to charge $10 to size up (gold and silver) rings and $5
to size them down, with no extra charge for removing and replacing
stones, in some strange bid to corner the repair market in our
fairly small town.

I told him I’d rather not have his business than to do a shoddy job
and make next to nothing for my labors.

Your thoughts?
Paf Dvorak


#2

Good for you! Stick to your guns. The man obviously has no
clue(either that or he’s being ridiculously greedy) Good luck. Sheri


#3

Paf, I’m a painter and people want me to give them my paintings but
what does that do to my gallery selling? You have a reputation of
doing excellent work and you deserve to be compensated for that.
Restaurants constantly ask musicians to play “for experience” in
their restaurants.

Unfortunately, the landlords won’t take “experience” for the rent.

Barbara on a rainy day on the Island when the fox spent most of the
day under the cedar tree sleeping (are the frogs keeping her up at
night?)


#4

Being a repair man to the trade is almost as bad as sitting at home
with your feet on the table.

Repairs should cost MORE than new work as it demands a lot more
skill to do a proper repair to what is largely an unknown item.

If you want to earn what your worth, design make and market your own
products.

We all have to survive or fall by our own efforts.

Yove done the right thing telling this shyster where to go.

He will bring your trade into disrepute in your small town.

What did he do before trying our trade? work for Walmart?


#5

Pat, if you have high standards, don’t compromise them. You did the
right thing in letting your customer know you’re not a pushover. The
pricing you mention wouldn’t even cover putting the lights on in my
workshop. My price to the trade is exactly the same for my retail
customers. I need (and want) to earn a certain amount per hour. If
someone doesn’t like my pricing, let them go to a hack and discover
why I charge what I do.

If you produce only the best quality, you’ll never get a bad name. If
you produce only the best quality, you should be at the very top of
the ladder for an hourly rate. Once you’re considered mediocre, it
will be almost impossible to improve your image. What I sometimes
hear from a customer is: “You’re expensive, but you’re worth it.”

Jeff Herman
hermansilver.com


#6

Hi Pat,

Good for you!

my minimum charge is $15.00 and it goes up from there. I was once
told that a person only has one thing they have control of and it is
their integrity.

One can choose to keep it or loose it.

Good luck,
Ken


#7
He wants me to charge $10 to size up (gold and silver) rings and
$5 to size them down, with no extra charge for removing and
replacing stones, 

Paf, that’s too, too funny. I won’t light my torch for $5. $5
doesn’t even really even cover the time to invoice it. One of our
clients pays us $35 to clean, polish and rhodium a wedding set, no
soldering. I’d truly just laugh at your guy. He’s either stuck in
1965 or he’s dreaming or both. Five sizings in a couple or few hours,
finished, means you make a whopping $10/hour. You should be grateful,
I guess. Too, too funny!


#8

Hi Pat;

I ran a trade shop for years, so I’m not just blowing smoke here.

That’s way too low a price, and screw the repair solders, you’re not
talking about a measurable savings and do you want to risk
customer’s complaints about discoloration of seams and possible skin
irritation? He’s just fishing for a way to argue down your prices.
Plus, the lower melting temperature of those solders makes it more
likely that for repeated soldering operations, you’ll encounter a
problem with the solders etching into the piece you’re soldering.
Keep your integrity and to hell with anyone who doesn’t think it’s
worth it. Doing the job right, and for the right price, is always the
way to do business in the long run. You might get a copy from David
Geller of his price list and run that by your client, let him see
what a deal he’s getting. If he wants to “corner the market”, let him
take it out of his end.

David L. Huffman


#9

Good for you for sticking to your guns! If the guy doesn’t like your
prices, he has the freedom to take his repair work to someone else.
(You weren’t holding one of those guns to his head to get his repair
work, were you?)

Linda in central FL


#10

Thanks for this advise. I sometimes have the most trouble with
friends of mine who want me to do a “little something” with a piece
of junk jewelry. For one of their kids or grandchild. Something
sentimental that they ran across. “I don’t want you to spend a lot
of time on it…”, or “I want topay you for this…” all code for,
“don’t charge me a lot. I saw something at an art show or magazine
ad, and I want it for cheaper.” An electrician friend once told me
that he charges the same for friends, because everyone is his
friend. I remind myself of this whenever someone hits me up for this
kind of commission. They forget that I really do have to take the
time, the metal, the equipment, etc., and that I would rather make a
piece a jewelry that I feel is creative and has some merit rather
thanreworking the old and worthless. I sound like I’m venting right
now, sowill end my commentary.


#11
Keep your integrity and to hell with anyone who doesn't think it's
worth it. Doing the job right, and for the right price, is always
the way to do business in the long run.

Right. Another beef he had was that, if I was sizing a ring and
noticed that it had been resized (up) many times before, I’d just
reshank it and only charge him for the difference in weight at 33%
over spot (plus the sizing charge).

You might get a copy from David Geller of his price list and run
that by your client, let him see what a deal he's getting. If he
wants to "corner the market", let him take it out of his end. 

He, like many others, think Geller lives in a dream world.

Even I think he’s a bit over-optimistic, though I agree with him for
whatever that’s worth.

Paf Dvorak


#12
Being a repair man to the trade is almost as bad as sitting at
home with your feet on the table. 

On the contrary, I stay busy and support my household.

Repairs should cost MORE than new work as it demands a lot more
skill to do a proper repair to what is largely an unknown item. 

Preach it brother!

What did he do before trying our trade? work for Walmart? 

He was an electrician.

Paf Dvorak


#13
He wants me to charge $10 to size up (gold and silver) rings and
$5 to size them down, with no extra charge for >removing and
replacing stones... 

The most valuable thing you have is your time and you get to decide
what it’s worth. Ideally you want wholesale customers who will in
effect partner with you. People who care about building and
maintaining a long term relationship with you. That would include
them caring about your financial success because if you don’t
succeed you won’t be around for the long term. People like this guy
are short term thinkers, selfish people who you never want to do
business with. Don’t give him another thought.

Mark


#14

Keep doing quality work and you will keep food on your table…

…I have always been the most expensive person in my area to do
repairs and25 years ago was charging $20 to size a ring up one
size… had a 3 month back log of work for almost 18 years before I
retired. Made more worked lessand my clients were happy to know that
whatever I did was done right and they did not have to worry about
anything.


#15
I sometimes have the most trouble with friends of mine who want me
to do a "little something" with a piece of junk jewelry for one of
their kids or grandchild. Something sentimental... 

I had one of these yesterday from a casual acquaintance, “my friend
wants you to repair this bracelet as a favor to me.” What the heck?
I was very happy to tell her that it looked like something that
could best be repaired with a laser, and referred her to a good,
albeit high priced local repair jeweler. The need for a laser is a
good excuse to get out of this type of request.


#16

I second all those who support you in this, Paf.

Do you know how much this guy was charging his customers. 5 to 10
times what he wanted to pay you I bet. You do the work and he makes
the money.

I know a master engraver who has a big sign in his shop.

NO TRADE WORK DONE!

Why? He got sick of being told he was too expensive by the trade.

Because they could not make enough profit. The last time this
happened he rang the head of a Queen’s warranted jewellery store and
told them in no uncertain terms what he thought of them. He will never
work for them again. They can’t find this quality anywhere else.

The trade no longer expects a discount for his master engraving
work. Stick to your guns.

When I wholesaled jewellery I was often told I can buy this at a
quarter of the price, good I would say I will buy a 1000 of them for
one third the price. And you will make serious money.

Guess who they bought from me.

On the opposite side of the coin, why do some jewellers want to
charge a fortune?

A customer said she has Bolivian onyx square stone to be set in a
simple ring design.

I asked what she was quoted by the jeweller, $500.

I nearly fell over I said depending on the quality cut of the stone,
about $100.

Metal cost plus workshop expenses $10 time about 1 hour profit about
$90.

Richard
Xtines Jewels.


#17
Thanks for this advise. I sometimes have the most trouble with
friends of mine who want me to do a "little something" with a
piece of junk jewelry. 

For friends I always charge nothing. If they insist on paying, I
charge them full retail.

Paf Dvorak


#18

Just dump this joker you’re working for and set your hourly rate to
at least $75 per hour. If it helps, set-up a spreadsheet and
calculate how long it will take to perform each task. Tally up the
minutes at the bottom and multiply that number by what you would
charge per minute ($1.25 at $75 per hour).

Jeff Herman


#19

Amanda- My sweetie Tim taught me this motto…

“If you can’t charge your family and friends well then who CAN you
charge?” Mothers and Grandmothers are the exception.

Vernon is right on. It’s all about perceived value. If you charge a
lot folks think, “Gee he must be really good if he’s that
expensive.” Don’t participate in the race to the bottom.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.
Jo Haemer


#20
He wants me to charge $10 to size up (gold and silver) rings and
$5 to size them down, with no extra charge for removing and
replacing stones, in some strange bid to corner the repair market
in our fairly small town. 

Yeah. I want a new Porsche 911 Turbo for $2500 too. Let him corner
the market by getting his own bench. Then he won’t have to pay
anybody a dime for anything.

Seriously Paf, don’t waste another second on that guy. Not another
second.

And to Amanda, doing work for friends and family has the potential
to be one of the biggest hassles there is. Most want it for free or
just your cost, will be offended or even insulted if you don’t do it
for free and then will end up being among the toughest to please. I
would recommend that you do anything you can to avoid doing such work
unless the cost is a non-issue for them. In my experience, when cost
is a factor it is really hard to come to any conclusion that’s
positive for both, and sometimes for either of you. If you find that
you have no choice, at least unapologetically charge them the same as
you would anybody else. If they want you to do your best work (and
they most certainly will), then the cost shouldn’t be a major
factor. If it is, refer them to Paf’s friend. He speaks Cheap
fluently.

David Geller knows what he’s talking about. I won’t revisit his
whole pitch, but try it before you knock it. I was shocked that I
could get what I now get for everything. If 10% aren’t walking,
you’re not charging enough. Repairs really are trust based, good
wholesale clients know that too. I charge 66% of Geller Blue Book
labor and a 1.7 markup on parts and metals to my wholesale clients.

The only reason I do any wholesale work at all is because the very
few clients I have have been with me from the beginning and really
made my current business possible. Plus, rather than bellyache to me
about my pricing, they justify their prices to their customers.
That’s the way it should be, and trust me, it’s a lot better that
way. I will continue to do their work for as long as they want me to,
even if it isn’t as profitable as retail work.

Why don’t you consider going retail, Paf? Retail customers are SOOOO
much easier to work with. They appreciate a craftsman and fine work,
especially with their most prized possessions. Best of all, price is
seldom an issue, provided you take the time to properly explain it.
If you earn their trust, you can charge pretty much whatever you
want. Do it right and they’ll blab about you to everyone they know.
You can’t buy that kind of advertising for any money. Why don’t YOU
go out there and corner your market if it’s ripe for cornering? If
your “buddy” there would be your primary competition, how can you
possibly lose? Even the dumbest retail customer can spot a
money-grubbing shyster like that a mile away.

Dave Phelps