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Forum Contributor 2012, SOTW Saxophone Whisperer,
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Discussion Starter #1
Below is a link for a sheet that I have been wanting to create for a long time now. It is something that can be copied and used as an estimate guide.

Another reason I did this is because many times I see a "price per pad" option that a repair place may use - but when reality hits it calulates out to be cheaper to replace 24 pads then pay the re-pad price.

Also - is there anybody interested in comparing Rates so that maybe a bunch of us are all charging similar across the country? - If not - thats fine by me - just another thought.

so anyhow - here is my 1st draft in .pdf form - please feel free to critize to your hearts content.

Charlie

http://members.aol.com/jfkbanddirector/saxrepairsheet.pdf
 

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Nice job Charlie! There are a variety of pricing formats used across the country and they seem to be clustered in a wide range of territories. If the format works for you and you make money using it, by all means use it! I used to work for a store years ago that used something similar to your pricing guide as a diagnostic evaluation spec sheet. All that paperwork was a time killer for us though.

I do have a question; When pricing/replacing stack key pads does that price per pad include a full re-regulation as needed? If you replace the Bb bis pad for $20, and you have to take some keys off to get to it for key-cup heating and not burning felts reasons, and also you replace the low F pad for $25, you will probably have to re-regulate the instrument again in the process. That's only $45 to do all that work. That's about the only bad side I see to that pricing scheme. Also, as we often find, what do you charge to strip the horn down and clean the body, oil, re-assemble, not including any other work? We figure 1-1/2 hours labor. Also in our shop we have what we call a price "guide", not a price "list", as each job is estimated individually upon inspection. Our student alto repad guide price is also $450, but that's the only area where our job descriptions are roughly the same as yours. I'd venture to say that you are close to the US average in terms of pricing, from what I have seen and know of. :)

It is tough to compare rates unless you are using the same pricing formats, and you are doing exactly the same work, using same pads/resos, materials, etc.. Different markets bear different prices, and store/shop/tech experience and reputation can also dictate price.

I will say that it's great that you have a set system which is self-explanatory and easily understood for all whom it concerns. Now, go ask for a raise due to all the $ you will make for your employer using your system. ;)
 

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My prices are probably irelevant because I'm in another country, but some things are interesting here. How can you charge the same for pads it takes very fast to change and pads it takes much longer (for example, more adjustment needed after, or you need to remove a lot more keys, etc.)? Of course I'm not saying there is anything wrong with that approach!

I also wanted to have some comparison but now I see more than ever how it is completely impossible to compare between different countries. Your (Charlie's) hourly rate is the same as the hourly rate of the most expensive music teacher in our country. She is considered one of the best in the world in her field (developing hearing). I understand some teachers in USA actually charge more and even a lot more thant that. So it is impossible to compare between places with so different average paychecks, etc.

Jerry, I think the type os resonators used and similar things have mostly nothing to do with how much someone charges. I think by far the main factor is overhead. Someone renting a shop in the center of Manhattan is obviously going to cost more than someone working from his home in a saburb. I don't even want to think how much the shop in Manhattan pays for rent.

JerryJamz2 said:
Also, as we often find, what do you charge to strip the horn down and clean the body, oil, re-assemble, not including any other work?
Do you have people request that often? I've never had anyone ask me to do this! I don't know about anyone who wanted this done either. Usually people come to repair long after that type of service would help.

The charge of $450 for a student repad, like I heard people say in America - it wouldn't fly here (am I using the word correct?). But again this is meaningless....

When I started I thought a lot on how to decide about the price. I asked several repairers (not local) and eventually decided to have a price per hour no matter what I do. Possibly I'm the only woodwind repairer in the country who charges that way (but I can't be sure).

Not sure any of this helps anything, but this is just a subject that is interesting for me :)
 

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Graysax said:
Also - is there anybody interested in comparing Rates so that maybe a bunch of us are all charging similar across the country? - If not - thats fine by me - just another thought.
Charlie, it's not a good idea for individual businesses to agree to set similar prices. I'm not a lawyer, but my understanding is that it's illegal. No ifs, ands or buts.
 

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Nitai,

We usualy don't get a "request" for it, but there are often instruments with so much crap oozing out of and growing on the instrument we have to clean it before we do any pad work.
 

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The way I work is that I only give a price on a repair when I see the horn.

I never give prices over the phone or off a price list.

There are too many things that can be wrong with a horn to give a repair price without see the horn.

I do give free estimates but I must see the horn.
 

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I agree with Ken. Also i might add 15? for a neck cork? seems low. When i was at the Presidio in1975 i needed a neck cork and the low c guard flange soldered. The bill was 35.00..{ in 1975] what would that be in todays dollars? I charge 25.00 for a neck cork .
 

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That is brilliant charlie, very nice and professional presentation, absolutley blew me away. Ive got all our prices just written in a book, after seeing what youve done there mate, Im going to do myself up similiar for all instruments that we service, if you dont mind, Ill pinch your picture there as well. If you do no probs Ill just grab a good one of the net, for info we are located in australia very similiar pricings 55 music shops 69 general public

Steve
 

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Forum Contributor 2012, SOTW Saxophone Whisperer,
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Discussion Starter #11
Ok......
Hornfixer: - I am about 50 miles nort of NYC in the hudson Valley of NY - Poughkeepsie to be exact

JerryJamz2: - regarding the pricing for the stack keys - my intent was to price the Keys with the arms alittle cheaper than the rest of the stack because the rest in the stack has to be regulated to that key. So Yes, I was attempting to factor regulation into the cost of that estimate.

Retread: - My intent was not to invite price fixing - but rather start an open discussion of what we charge. I also gig and I know around here there is a few of us that are of a higher quality of musician and we are trying to raise the pay of what musicians make - and it is working to some extent. I was more or less courious what "going rate" would be in the repair industry.

Ken K: - This list I did not design purly as a blind price quoting service - but more as a guideline for those people who walk in and dont understand what they are paying for. I feel what we do is viewed as voodo all to often and people can easily leave feeling disatisfied if they do not fully understand what it is that we do. I see myself also using this as part of a receipt where i just circle what i did and make comments to help clarify the cost.

Anyone else - I have the plans for making a similar sheet for flute and clarinet. I am doing this in MS Word 2007. I can post this in that version but any attempts in making 07 files backwards compatable hasnt worked well IMO.

So I can upload these files so you can edit as you wish - I have no problem of any of you SOTW'ers benefiting from my efforts - thats what we are here for - right?

Charlie
 

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Looks like a pretty acceptable pricing sheet. Your prices are quite a bit higher than I've had to pay in the past, but if you're getting work at those amounts, good for you! They are lower than many prices I've seen online, so I can only assume that I'm lucky and getting work cheap! One local repair shop uses a fairly similar diagram, upon which they circle the things that they've done work on, but there are no prices. Seems like common sense to combine such a diagram with price lists.
 

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I just now got a look at the pricing chart ,it would not load until now.

The chart might make people think that the only thing that can go wrong with a horn are the pads. I never give a price per pad . There are so many things that can be wrong with a horn ( too many to list here).

After looking at a horn I give a Playing Condition price. That includes fixing all the problems I see. If the customer wants to know what I will do I give them a brief description . I don't go into detail because they would not have any idea what I am talking about ( most of them ).

Giving a price per pad,spring,bent key.loose screw,bent post,leak,cork etc etc would not work for me.
 

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"If the customer wants to know what I will do I give them a brief description . I don't go into detail because they would not have any idea what I am talking about ( most of them ). Giving a price per pad,spring,bent key.loose screw,bent post,leak,cork etc etc would not work for me."

Likewise. On one well-made, relatively new sax a certain task may take a certain time, whereas on a decades-old, neglected, or poorly made sax, the same task, especially along with what OUGHT to be done in association with it (and often the actual root cause of the problem), could take 5 to 20 times longer.

So if you buy a decent, relatively problem-free instrument to work on, are you expected to subsidise all the guys who buy instruments with big underlying problems for every task undertaken? I wouldn't expect that if I were the customer, so I don't do it to my customers.
 

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You forgot C melody :) Seriously, I think that all techs who can should advertise C melody work. There is a kind of renaissance going on, especially with church sax players and amateur rock bands. Europe, as always, is somewhat ahead of the trend and is rapidly buying up all the instruments from the US, where they were primarily manufactured.
 

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bfahle - Thank you ! Both for those kind words about C-Mels, and for the "Europe, as always, is somewhat ahead of the trend..." comment.

Sadly, the (current) relatively low resale value of most C-Mels means that it's often not logical to pay 'top dollar' for a complete overhaul - unless it's really going to be a long-term "keeper" - but there are still some techs who will do a good (and sympathetic) job at a sensible price.

If at all practical, it's usually best to initially get a C-Mel 'just playable', to see if it suits the player, and vice-versa, before making a large investment in repair costs. ;)
 
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