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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just wanted to start a discussion about relating to one' repair tech.
Moving around quite a bit, I've had to change techs a few times. Some let you talk to them at their bench and even sit along side them and watch them work. Those are my favorites!

On the other hand, there are techs who don't allow customers in the shop area; it's because of insurance, liability, blah - blah, etc. they say.
My latest tech does good work but I have to talk with him either by phone or through a front - desk salesman or clerk who takes my saxophone and message to the tech. This is not very satisfying to me.

I talked with the tech about this at a gig and he hedged a bit and said he could come out and talk with me out front sometimes. I suppose I'll just have to deal with him mostly by phone.

It's too bad because I really enjoy watching a good craftsman working. I feel like I miss something by not being at the bench.

Comments?
:bluewink:
 

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Forum Contributor 2007-2012, Distinguished SOTW Te
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I enjoy talking to customers. I love teaching people stuff. So much so I sometimes get much less work done than I was supposed to. Today I had a quick drop-off appointment where we ended up talking for almost two hours.

I think its a Good thing to do to educate the customer and education is good business; I also happen to enjoy it.
 

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My tech lets me back in to the 'sacred area of repairs'.
I tell him the problem, he checks things out, and then he'll go over my options. A little back room saxophone show and tell so to speak.
I won't stay and watch him work though. I ask too many questions and that only slows him down.
After my 'first experience' with a tech named Wendell I'll never go to anyone other than Mike for my sax repairs.
He's friendly, a player himself, and the best dag-gone tech in my area.
 

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I'm very happy for customers to sit and watch. I have nothing to hide, and fortunately am able to work most of the time while having a conversation.

And seeing is good for educating them as to just how much is typically involved. Then they know that they get value for money.
 

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I would have to disagree with some of the posts above. While I agree that having a conversation with the tech about what the problem may be or what it is one is trying to get done or accomplished with work on the horn, I do not think it is appropriate in any fashion to sit and observe the work being done. Look at it it from this point of view, perhaps. YOU are at your job, whether it be a plumber, electrician, accountant, doctor, lawyer, indian chief or whatever. Would you want someone looking over your shoulder, asking questions and tryting to have a conversatoion while you were trying to get your work done? I know I never did nor would I expect any instrument repair tech to either.
 

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I wish I had that opportunity. I talk with my tech at his bench, it's all in one large room. But with the amount of work he has coming in, I drop off the horn and pick it up a week later, so there really isn't the opportunity. I've had some clients sit with me during an edit, and it goes much slower because they don't understand what's going on and ask me to explain. Sometimes when I am showing them the "finished" product, they request changes or I pick up an edit that could be tighter etc. (when you live with things like I do, everytime you watch it you see something else you want to change) and then they are impressed with what is happening. But you can't make it look too easy. lol
 

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Belliott, you might be right in principal, but the fact is many repairers don't mind the customer watching and asking questions, so there's something to it. If you are a doctor you can have questions from the "instrument" you're checking or maybe their parents wait right there and watch and ask questions. Personally I don't mind at all eventhough it slows me down a little bit. Both I and customers prefer they wait in the repair room and not in the living room next to it. It's actually nice when someone, especially a young kid, is interesed in the details of repairs.
 

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I make more when the customer sees how long it takes.
I make less.

It's generally because I don't take into account the amount of time spent chatting - either swapping anecdotes or showing how the various repair techniques work.
I'm pretty sure there are quite a few posters here who've spent an hour or so by my bench, only to have me say "Call it a tenner" at the end of it. I mean, how much can you realistically charge to replace a pad and tweak a spring....and what price can you put on having an hour's worth of entertaining banter with a client? I've made some great friends that way over the years - but then I don't claim to be a high-flyin' businessman.

As with most things it's about the circumstances. I wouldn't want anyone sitting in while I did a major service - I need to move around, I need to stop and think, and sometime I just want to take a break and put my feet up for a few minutes...but in general, if someone wants to sit in I have no problems at all with it (just bring cake!).

Regards,
 

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Don't bring me cake!
I'm heavy enough already. :)
 

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My situation may be a bit different than yours. My techs, (two), are in a small city about one and one half hours drive away from my home. I sometimes "drop in" with a horn to have something tweaked, (I usually phone ahead). Both these guys will, in most cases, stop what they are doing, fix a small repair while I wait, and I go home very pleased. Sometimes, for major time consuming work, I'll drop off the horn, then return a week, a month...whatever, later. I always enjoy catching up on gossip and info, as these techs. know all the main players in the vicinity. Sometimes I'll arrive at the shop and find one or two other players hanging around. It's fun just to chat with everyone. I think I and most of my player friends are sensitive enough to
to judge when it's time to go. This is an interest subject which I am going to talk about with these two repairmen.
 

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I expect to be present when my doctor works on my body. And even for him to explain as he goes! He happily does both.

And a musical instrument is quite a personal item, not quite like a motor mower or washing machine.

And my hair dresser happily has a running conversation as he/she works, also in my presence!
 

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On the other hand, there are techs who don't allow customers in the shop area; it's because of insurance, liability, blah - blah, etc. they say.
My latest tech does good work but I have to talk with him either by phone or through a front - desk salesman or clerk who takes my saxophone and message to the tech. This is not very satisfying to me.

I talked with the tech about this at a gig and he hedged a bit and said he could come out and talk with me out front sometimes. I suppose I'll just have to deal with him mostly by phone.
My local shop went that route last year - I could no longer talk to the tech when dropping off my horn. I was told that he would look over my horn and then they would call me, tell me what work was required, etc.

When I take my horn to the shop, it is because I know that I want some work done (timing adjustments, spring tension, key height adjustments, etc.) - I know what needs attention.

I now drive an extra 50 miles (each way) to take my horn to someone that I can talk to and trust to do what I ask for.

BTW, the band instrument shop that wouldn't let me talk to the tech has since gone out of business.
 

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A customer came in with a sax for me to repair. While I was working on it he said he would never go back to the repair tech he had before. I asked him why. He said " That SOB had the nerve to HIT ON MY HORN!!!!! How could he take a hammer and hit my horn that */$%()@&*#.

When someone watches you work on a horn and they do not know how horns are fixed they may think you are ruining thier horn. If you look at a repair tools catalog you will see thing to hit,bent, hit,twist,drill,scrape and do all kind s of things to horns.

The other repair tech lost a customer because that person did not know that horns are hit on by repair tech every day to fix them.

I do not want people standing over my shoulder watching my every move.

I don't want them asking why am I doing that, or why did I not do that.

Also I work very fast. Doing this work for a long time and know what I am doing. If I do some work really fast some people will question the charge because it did not take long to do.

I will go away from the work bench and talk to the customer but I don't want them watching.
 
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