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Thread: Out box getting full

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    Senior Member Sowhat's Avatar
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    Out box getting full

    I don't know if anyone has noticed this or not lately but my inflow is exceeding my outflow to the point that I'm running out of room. I am getting more and more finished repairs that are not being picked up and paid for on any reasonable timescale. I know money is tight and musicians are notorious for being perpetually broke but come on! Don't bring it in unless you got the money to get it back. I certainly don't want to use the scorched earth policy of selling the gear to recoup the loss but In some cases that's exactly what I'm forced to do just to keep my doors open... makes for hard feelings and is bad business but I seem to have no alternative.

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    ... That's $1.00 for the chalk mark and $49,999.00 for knowing where to put it!

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    Old Timer nosaj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sowhat View Post
    I don't know if anyone has noticed this or not lately but my inflow is exceeding my outflow to the point that I'm running out of room. I am getting more and more finished repairs that are not being picked up and paid for on any reasonable timescale. I know money is tight and musicians are notorious for being perpetually broke but come on! Don't bring it in unless you got the money to get it back. I certainly don't want to use the scorched earth policy of selling the gear to recoup the loss but In some cases that's exactly what I'm forced to do just to keep my doors open... makes for hard feelings and is bad business but I seem to have no alternative.
    What about taking deposits after an estimate?
    Will show you seriousness and job order.

    Curious how do you do it? free estimate or flat rate diag, etc?

    nosaj

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    Senior Member Sowhat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nosaj View Post
    Curious how do you do it? free estimate or flat rate diag, etc?nosaj
    I have a standard diagnostic bench charge which turns into an hours labor if the job is accepted. In many cases, I waive the bench charge because I feel for the poor broke musician if they bring in an unfixable mess that's well beyond economical repair. Once accepted I do the repair, buy the needed parts and do the needed work... pretty straight forward.

    My job order is first in first out unless some mitigating situation like waiting for parts juggles the order. I think my turn around time might be throwing them a curve because 1/4 of the jobs get done while they wait, no problem there, they seem to like seeing how the sausage is made and over 1/2 of them get done in a day or two. Other shops in the area reportedly take many weeks and even months to get the same jobs done.

    I work through a music store, my shop is located inside the store, in the back right next to the stockroom. All initial customer interface is done sans me. It's done by the sales guys and these jobs just magically appear in my inbox, most times without an intelligible complaint... you know... sales guys! God love em. I don't get to initially interface with customers because the sales guys say that I'm too intense and frighten off potential customers... what a load of bull, but that's the mojo they got working on the sales floor and I don't want to interfere with any of their techniques that they believe gives them sales.

    I do have my send or mail in clients who have known me for years ( I just moved to this city recently) and I directly interface with those people but they are not the problem, they pay up immediately and often in advance, with a nice fat tip added in.

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    ... That's $1.00 for the chalk mark and $49,999.00 for knowing where to put it!

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    Supporting Member Jazz P Bass's Avatar
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    I will never understand, for the life of me, why someone would drop off a piece of gear that needs repair, and then not pick it up in a timely manner upon completion of said repair.

    Try that with your auto mechanic and see how far you get on the next repair.

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    Stray Cap DrGonz78's Avatar
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    I remember working for a local guitar shop where was I fixing amps for him and his customers. Many times I would return over and over to see my repaired amp(s) sitting in the back room still waiting for pick up. I asked him once about it and he just kinda rolled his eyes. A few more weeks passed and those same amps were sitting out on the sales floor. So it is important to have a time table for the customer to follow in regards to pick up of repaired equipment. Have them sign something when they drop the amp off stating that abandoned gear will be sold off by a certain time period.

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    don't forget the joker g1's Avatar
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    Do you charge the 'standard diagnostic bench fee' up front? If not, it may help keep away some of the stuff that isn't worth your time.

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    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    I hope if he sells your unclaimed repairs, you at least get the repair bill paid from the proceeds.

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    Education is what you're left with after you have forgotten what you have learned.

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    This is a real problem for me and I've tried taking deposits or payment in advance, and neither have worked. I also like to get paid when the job is done. Somehow the disconnection between being paid up-front and doing the job doesn't have the same work/reward fulfillment of doing the job first and being paid immediately after. I have some gear that's been waiting for over two years to be collected. I try to be fair; to recognize that people have bereavements, divorces, house moves and all the rest, but there's a limit. I no longer take further work from those customers, as I can't afford to spend time and money on uncollected repairs, especially when my warranty on tubes etc is time-limited.

    When I'm really busy I now agree a collection commitment up-front with my customer and this seems to be a better way. I tell them that I can only take in the repair if they can agree to prompt collection, otherwise recommend that they find someone else or contact the manufacturer. I've never resorted to selling gear to recover costs - in the England this isn't straightforward and can backfire if not done to the letter of the law.

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  9. #9
    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    My sign said

    "Repairs left over 90 days past notification will be sold or discarded."


    I have held things for very long times, some people are on tour and can't run right over from Idaho when I fix something. Loccal people usually get three "Oh, I'm gonna..." conversations before I tell them I will sell it next monday.

    I think it is important to learn to filter the incoming. A lot of people automatically say "Oh go ahead" at the estimate, and then only when you call do they realize they are putting $90 into their $50 amp. Have that discussion at the start. Or just be up front, "I can't do a good job on that and keep the price reasonable."

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    Senior Member Sowhat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enzo View Post
    I hope if he sells your unclaimed repairs, you at least get the repair bill paid from the proceeds.
    That's the plan, wish I could get a little something for the pain and suffering but that never happens.

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    ... That's $1.00 for the chalk mark and $49,999.00 for knowing where to put it!

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