(Topic ID: 274033)

General Gripe about Starting a repair business

By Md2020

2 years ago


Topic Heartbeat

Topic Stats

  • 15 posts
  • 11 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 2 years ago by jackd104
  • Topic is favorited by 2 Pinsiders

You

Topic Gallery

View topic image gallery

5AA132B7-F793-41A7-9DF6-62DB5C725ECB (resized).jpeg
D1B5992A-3E5E-485A-AAAA-914DD4A6A108 (resized).jpeg
AC11EA7A-ACDC-4128-9252-86B92F8D90F7 (resized).jpeg

#1 2 years ago

Hey all!
Haven’t been on in a while, it’s been busy at my house.
I’ve since picked up a fixed a few pins.
The game changer happened when I inherited a non-functioning 70s Wurlitzer Juke. Talk about a whole new level of complexity! I brought it back to life and absolutely loved every minute working on it. I was able to figure the whole thing out without a service manual. (i did end up getting one so I could get part #s).
All that said, I was looking around the net for more projects and found a whole bunch of wanted ads looking for a juke repair man. Well holy jeeze, a lightbulb went off in my head- I could start a small side business! Hell, I know these Wurlitzer jukes like the back of my hand. I reached out to and got replies from the 3 enthusiastic posters. Well, 1 of the three thought I’d come over to their house and fix it for free LOL. The other 2 got upset when I gave a price point of 40.00 per hour. Is that not fair? The average I saw was like 78.00 per hour, and that’s u-haul to the shop! It’s no wonder these old jukes end up rotting away in sheds.
This is probably the most common and oldest story in the world, but my ambition to start a little side business is pretty much null and void.
Anyway, cheers all!!

#2 2 years ago
Quoted from Md2020:

Well, 1 of the three thought I’d come over to their house and fix it for free LOL. The other 2 got upset when I gave a price point of 40.00 per hour. Is that not fair? The average I saw was like 78.00 per hour, and that’s u-haul to the shop! It’s no wonder these old jukes end up rotting away in sheds.

Yup, pretty typical response. For the most part, the average person doesn't want to spend much on repairing a non-essential entertainment device. $100-$200 is sometimes the threshold before they consider throwing it out and getting something else.

You could also turn it around and offer to buy the unit if they don't want to pay to have it fixed, fix it yourself, and resell it.

#3 2 years ago

One thing I learned about running a business is "Sell on price, lose on price". You don't want the business from the people that are worried about price. You want the business of the people that want the job done correctly. Period....End of discussion.

Also, learn from my mistakes. $40/hour is NOT worth getting out of bed for if you ask me. To someone that's making $12-$15 an hour, $40 sounds like a lot, but it is not.

You're going to be traveling, so there is wear and tear on your car. You'll need insurance in case you drop a screw driver on their dog, they sue you and try and take your house. You'll also be paying both sides of the taxes when you file, which they call the "Self-Employment Tax". I could go on and on.

Look at it this way, if you do a 1h job with 15 minutes of travel on both sides, you're making ~$27/hr. Subtract $3-$5 for fuel and you're down to $24. Wear and tear on the car another few dollars. Pay the taxes on that and you'll be lucky if you hit that $12-$15/hr I mentioned above. Oh, and you'll still have to deal with the phone calls, the emails, the call backs, going back because you don't have a part, people that don't pay, etc, etc.

I'm not trying to dissuade you from starting a business at all. I'm just trying to keep you from making the mistakes I made when I started. If you're good at what you do, you need to charge more....A lot more.

#4 2 years ago

Well, if I had a juke, I'd pay you 40 an hour to fix it. Your price was not the problem at all.

Let's see some pics of your work!

#5 2 years ago

Personally, my time is $75 to $100 per hour to do anything for someone else. I don't take that into personal restorations though.

#6 2 years ago

Place an ad in one of your local "Penny Pincher" type papers. You have to start somewhere, word of mouth will follow you if you do good work.
Good Luck

#7 2 years ago
Quoted from Spyderturbo007:

One thing I learned about running a business is "Sell on price, lose on price". You don't want the business from the people that are worried about price. You want the business of the people that want the job done correctly. Period....End of discussion.
Also, learn from my mistakes. $40/hour is NOT worth getting out of bed for if you ask me. To someone that's making $12-$15 an hour, $40 sounds like a lot, but it is not.
You're going to be traveling, so there is wear and tear on your car. You'll need insurance in case you drop a screw driver on their dog, they sue you and try and take your house. You'll also be paying both sides of the taxes when you file, which they call the "Self-Employment Tax". I could go on and on.
Look at it this way, if you do a 1h job with 15 minutes of travel on both sides, you're making ~$27/hr. Subtract $3-$5 for fuel and you're down to $24. Wear and tear on the car another few dollars. Pay the taxes on that and you'll be lucky if you hit that $12-$15/hr I mentioned above. Oh, and you'll still have to deal with the phone calls, the emails, the call backs, going back because you don't have a part, people that don't pay, etc, etc.
I'm not trying to dissuade you from starting a business at all. I'm just trying to keep you from making the mistakes I made when I started. If you're good at what you do, you need to charge more....A lot more.

Spot on! Very awesome pointers you’re making. My “day job” is in HVAC control systems. so the concept of eliminating callbacks is definitely not lost on me when I sent my price over, I also said that the only right way to fix it is to disassemble the components entirely, clean, lube, and reinstall. I told them that the cleaning part is incredibly time consuming since they likely haven’t been touched since the mid 80s at best. All that hardened grease is a total pain and getting to it is complete disassembly central. That being said, my 40 an hour would easily turn into 300 total just for the cleaning portion, not including install.

But you’re right, if they nickel and dime now, it just means they haven’t figured out they’re going to be getting rid of a jukebox lol.
That’s a good idea, ForceFlow. Maybe I’ll reach out to the gal that wanted the free repairs and see if she wants to sell it.

#8 2 years ago

Yup a lot of these points above is exactly why I quit doing house calls almost entirely (depends on there game) because when it came right down to it I wasn't making anything charging them $20 to come fix everything that's wrong on there pinball machine. And once you do it they feel that they know own you and they have a life time warranty if a bulb goes out. Just not worth it no matter what.

John

#9 2 years ago

The one pic is it running with the room lights off. The other are from when it first arrived at my house. When these sit unused for long periods of time, it’s crazy amounts of labor to get them running again. I posted a picture of the pinbank- you literally have to take all the pins out and clean each one. There are 200 pins (100 albums x 2 sides) also clean both the wiper boards. The hardest part is the record changer itself, the whole thing HAS to be taken apart.

5AA132B7-F793-41A7-9DF6-62DB5C725ECB (resized).jpegAC11EA7A-ACDC-4128-9252-86B92F8D90F7 (resized).jpegD1B5992A-3E5E-485A-AAAA-914DD4A6A108 (resized).jpeg
#10 2 years ago
Quoted from Dayhuff:

And once you do it they feel that they know own you and they have a life time warranty if a bulb goes out. Just not worth it no matter what.

Haha that was my experience too!

“Hey you fixed my flipper last week, now I don’t have any sound. When you coming back to fix it?”

Now when someone has a problem, I send them a PDF of Clays repair guide and let them go for it.

rd

#11 2 years ago

Here's a couple of awesome videos going over the technology in these Wurlitzers:

#12 2 years ago

Yeah it’s a pretty thankless job.

I’m selective on the jobs I accept and I make it clear I’m not leaving without 200-300 and there’s a good chance I won’t get to everything in one visit. Weeds them out Pretty easily.

#13 2 years ago
Quoted from Crash:

Here's a couple of awesome videos going over the technology in these Wurlitzers:

Cool video. When I started fixing this juke and was figuring out how the “mechanical memory” worked, I couldn’t believe it. The whole machine in my mind was a “Rube Goldberg” device. Nobody builds stuff like this anymore since computers easily do everything that once required crazy mechanical knowledge to achieve. It almost seems like when transistors became commonplace, it was when quality of manufacturing quickly went downhill. Have you ever seen a Tonewheel Hammond Organ? (B3, M3, etc). Spinning wheels and electromagnetic pickups to generate tone, ingenious. As soon as they figured out a way to generate tone electronically, all of a sudden the organs looked like crap. Cheap particle board, flimsy plastic pieces etc. anyway, I’m getting carried away here...

#14 2 years ago
Quoted from CrazyLevi:

Yeah it’s a pretty thankless job.
I’m selective on the jobs I accept and I make it clear I’m not leaving without 200-300 and there’s a good chance I won’t get to everything in one visit. Weeds them out Pretty easily.

Wow, I think I just up-voted Levi....Someone write that down.

What Levi said is a great way to pre-qualify someone before you actually do the work. You can tell right away if they are serious by saying something like, "I charge $80/hr and most jobs can be completed in 4 - 5h, so probably no more than $400 plus parts to get her it up and running". You'll find out really quick if they are serious or not.

I do that all the time with clients and it has saved me so much time it's not even funny.

I stopped doing work for home owners years ago. They are just a pain in the ass and expect the world for the price of a ham sandwich. But with your business, you're going to have to deal with home owners, so just make sure you charge a lot.

#15 2 years ago

Agree with others that $40 an hour is too low of anything. Granted I Live in an expensive area but I couldn’t get anyone to show up to my house for any less than $100 at least for the first hour. And maybe a bit lesser after that depending on the service.

Reply

Wanna join the discussion? Please sign in to reply to this topic.

Hey there! Welcome to Pinside!

Donate to Pinside

Great to see you're enjoying Pinside! Did you know Pinside is able to run without any 3rd-party banners or ads, thanks to the support from our visitors? Please consider a donation to Pinside and get anext to your username to show for it! Or better yet, become a Pinside+ member!