I have a possible new client. They don't want the games now, so I will have to play the waiting game.
Quoted from golfingdad1:
In my opinion the only person permission you need to operate your machines is the business owner.
That would be true if they weren't locked into a contract. Some contracts have exclusive rights for the vendor. The client I am working with got their games from the vendor 16 years ago and don't even remember if they signed a contract. If you consider that they may be getting pressure from the vendor's sales person, and a good salesman will do that - it's his/her job, it is just easier for them to go with their current vendor and not Pecos Pinball.
Quoted from calla76759:
Great thread @Pecos! I just read virtually the whole thing top to bottom- I'm not an operator but just a pinhead who finds it fascinating to see how you make this work as a business. And it is a lot of work! Congratulations on keeping pinball in the public eye.
Regarding your rival vending company sales manager: that was gutsy of you to take him to lunch and talk about the market. The fact that he feels threatened by you is a sign that you are gaining traction. You're able to hustle sufficiently to keep your pins working, which is more than he can say for even his video game! You mentioned to him that some of your customers would be interested in video games--I think you were sharing that information for his benefit. But realistically, you could operate video games in your venues far better than he could. And hey, it could really improve your earnings at existing locations--you have put so much work into Hotrods Old Vail that perhaps you could add a crowd-pleaser like Ms. Pac Man or Galaga, and get some nice returns. There could be real value also in providing a game for non-pinball people: if the wife is playing pinball and the husband wants to leave, it benefits you to place another machine there that can occupy his time.
Thanks @calla76759! I don't know how 'gutsy' it was. I prefer working with my competition than against. Tucson is a big enough city that there should be room for all of us. It makes little sense for a vending company that is in business to make money to restore these older pins. I spend 50 to 100 hours restoring an EM, less for an SS but at $10.00 an hour for, it takes a lot of time for a vending company to break even on ROI at only a quarter per play. Then there is the cost of maintenance - much more than their other games. The only reason for a vending company to operate pins is to keep their clients happy. I do it for a different reason. I love pinball.
Quoted from MrBally:
True route operators are vicious, cut-throat sonsabitches. If you did place a machine at a location like that, it would soon be damaged in way where you'd have to pull it out.
First thing might be a line cord cut flush with the cabinet. Second thing would be ugly. Ex. All/most boards blown out or magically missing. Or the playfield glass blown up with a spring loaded center punch etc.
I'm glad you are here to share your experience, @mrbally. I know the reputation of route operators was cut-throat in the past. I was hoping that things would be different in 2019. A friend of mine knows the vending company I am competing with and tells me that they are business men and decent people. Still, it has crossed my mind that my pins are in the line of fire and I don't like that much, but what can I do?
Quoted from Matesamo:
I think Pecos business nativity is actually rather sweet. To take his business opponents sales manager out to lunch could really only end the way it did, to do otherwise for him probably wouldn't be a good thing. The vending company sounds like a "maximum profit/minimum effort" deal with contacts that they let "slide" until they are called on it. I wouldn't be surprised if they get a monthly payment from the location owners for having entertainment devices on property who never think twice about it, just paying the fee month after month, year after year.
You have pretty much nailed it, @matesamo , but naïveté is not how I would describe my business sense - been around too long and seen too much for that. Does that mean I'm bittersweet?
Ha ha! Thanks guys. Glad to see you are still hanging around here and appreciate the encouraging feedback.
Quoted from rufessor:
Pecos- keep it up!! Its so awesome to have high quality games in the wild. Wish I was closer and could play yours!
I wish you were too! I can use the business. I am getting older and asked myself a few years back what would happen to my pins if I were to expire my mortal coil. They would probably go to some collector's collection, never getting the chance to entertain more than just a few pinball lovers. Having my collection on route just makes sense to me at this point in my life. I like watching people smile, especially kids, when playing my pins and I am doing my small part to bring a few smiles to Tucson.
Quoted from cp1610:
Vending outfits like this are partly why pinball was so hard to find for so long they don't want to have to work for there money. Just think they buy a game dump it on route and only come when it breaks. As to you bust your hump and maintain your games deliver a better product then they do i can see why they are worried. Yes you many never be big but you will make them actually work as to sit on their butt. Keep up the work who knows maybe keep up the hustle maybe get to steal one of there locations for your better product.
It's always been this way, as long as I can remember. Putting a quarter into a pin on location in the 70s was a crap shoot. Most of the pins played, barely, with weak flippers and pop bumpers and features that didn't work.
Cool, hope Flash behaved herself for you!
Parts Be Parts:
I got an order from GPE. Just a side-note; it takes me a lot of time getting these orders together. I keep a list of parts I need in a text file until I have enough to place an order, but I still have to go through my stock to determine what I need to order, usually takes two evenings.
Ed at GPE is my favorite pinball parts vendor. His prices are super nice, he is very knowledgeable and answers my questions and always delivers more than expected. His website is pinball oriented so there are helpful notes and I don't have to page through thousands of parts to find the parts I need. I ordered 73 fifteen cent resistors and received 72. I also received a $5.15 credit from GPE. Huh? Ed, you are to generous. He has my business forever.
Included in the order are some parts that I will be experimenting with to try to reduce flipper EOS and flipper cabinet switch arcing.
That makes almost $500 in parts for the month of October and I already need to place another order with GPE! Gee, this hobby, now business, sure is expensive!
Maintenance Log: I had to replace, yet another , slingshot rubber ring, this time on Grand Prix. I've got to order those Titan Competition Silicone rings.
Restoration Log: Black Knight has gotten a tune up and is working 100%! Do you have any idea how hard it is to get a pin, any pin, working 100%? Well, I'll tell you. It's darned hard, especially for these older pins.
I replaced a broken flipper compression spring and got the lamp in the pop bumper working. And that is important because I ordered a 'proper' pop bumper cap. Nothing but the best for Black Knight!
There were a few other issues, that fortunately for you, I forget what they were.
I am making good progress on #eight-ball-deluxe-limited-edition. None of the solenoids were working and the 1A SB fuse under the playfield was blowing. I replaced the eight ball drop target solenoid and that fixed the fuse blowing problem, but the solenoids were still not working. I found that connector A3J3 had been repinned, poorly, with two connector housings instead of one. When pushing slightly on those connectors, the solenoids came back to life. I will need to place another order with GPE to get the 25 pin connector housing and some capacitors and a trimmer for the sound board. I repinned two of the wires and had a heck of a time doing it. Those .1 pins are tiny and my fingers too big. I am dreading repinning it.
One of the displays died and have decided to get one of the blue Pinitech LED display kits. Did I ever tell you that this hobby/business sure is expensive?
There is still a lot to be done, so I won't be putting #eight-ball-deluxe-limited-edition on route anytime soon - sorry @desertt1.