(Topic ID: 258285)

Service Call Stories

By JethroP

4 years ago


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  • Latest reply 4 years ago by russdx
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    #1 4 years ago

    Tell us your stories, good and bad, of service calls. I’ll start:
    I posted an ad on CL a few months ago looking to buy a pin project. I got a reply from a guy saying he had two old non-working machines, and that if I could fix one of his machines he would give me the other one. He said the game he wanted fixed had a bad flipper. The game he would give me was manufactured by Game Plan. I looked it up (had never heard of Game Plan before) but figured it was worth a few hundred dollars, non-working, so what the heck.

    I had never gone on a service call. My experience is only working on my own projects. But the guy was local, so I went over to see the games and diagnose the problem. Was there for 2 hours. The guy talked a lot, and I gave him lots of info on pins and websites for parts. Checking out the flippers, they worked fine. The problem was a locked on solenoid. That turned out to be a bad solenoid driver board (SDB). So I told him I thought I could fix the board rather than buying a new one. He also wanted new rubbers which he would buy if I would install. I agreed.

    Two weeks later he had the new rubbers in hand and I had the repaired SDB. Made an appointment to put his machine back together, and brought my son along to help load out the machine he was to give me. As soon as I walked in the door he hands me a piece of paper, an eBay ad, showing the game he was giving me for sale at $3,000. I told him….that’s not a sold price, but someones ridiculous asking price…..but I knew where he was going with this. I installed the SDB and problem fixed. He asked me to wax the play field before I installed his new rubbers and I did. Checked all the switches and solenoids and all worked fine. Then the guy looks at the play field and says there are 4 lamps that aren’t working. I jiggled them and 3 out of the 4 came to life. One didn’t, and a few others weren’t as bright as the others. He says….well, the game isn’t fixed, and that was the deal. Now he confirmed my suspicions, he wasn’t going to give me a $3,000 game for the repairs I did.

    I told him his game was fixed and he could enjoy it once again….burned out lamp or not. He asked me what I wanted for my work, and figured something is better than nothing. I said 200….he quickly paid and I was out of there. Lesson learned….I will never do another house call.

    #2 4 years ago

    Yes, you should never do weird, ambiguous house calls. In this case, you were way too nice, spent what 5 hours at the guy's place, and undervalued your service since you thought you were getting a "free" pinball machine in return. If you had been clearer on the expense and difficulty and hadn't given him 2 hours of free consultation, he might have realized his shitty Game Plan project isn't worth that much considering the amount of time and work that's going to go into getting it "ebay ready." You did a full shop out on the guy's game and that's worth WAY more than $200.

    I keep that shit separate. If someone wants a game fixed, and it's not too much of a pain in the ass, I'll fix it. I always aim to get $200-400 for a repair call or it's not worth my time, and I let them know this before hand.

    If I'm trying to buy a game, I buy a game. You should never try to combine the two or it gets messy.

    I wouldn't let this turn you off on repair calls, just avoid dumb deals and situations like the set up here.

    My first repair call was a Williams Grand Prix, which is a probably the worst first repair call you could have. I got the thing working at least, if not 100 percent.

    #3 4 years ago

    Once I get a call from a friend telling me I need to come see what's going on at a punk rock location. I get to the site and people are standing on the pins. I ask what the hell is going on and the gal says "we are just testing to see if the machines can hold the weight of people. Keep in mind she is standing predominantly on the side rails. I tell her nicely that it's not something they can do and please do not do it ever again. I ask if we should move the game and she say no and that they are part of the back drop. I come back to check on the pins the next day and they have built a stage on the games. Wood screws into the sides of the cabinets as extra support. Wow. I was upset. They finished the 4 day event and I learned a rough lesson. Overall it's all good but I was shocked that someone went to that extent to have pinball backglasses as a back drop for a rock show. Lol

    #4 4 years ago
    Quoted from CrazyLevi:

    Yes, you should never do weird, ambiguous house calls. In this case, you were way too nice, spent what 5 hours at the guy's place, and undervalued your service. If you had been clearer on the expense and difficulty and hadn't given him 2 hours of free consultation, he might have realized his shitty Game Plan project isn't worth that much considering the amount of time and work that's going to go into getting it "ebay ready."
    I keep that shit separate. If someone wants a game fixed, and it's not too much of a pain in the ass, I'll fix it. I always aim to get $200-400 for a repair call or it's not worth my time, and I let them know this before hand.
    If I'm trying to buy a game, I buy a game. You should never try to combine the two or it gets messy.
    I wouldn't let this turn you off on repair calls, just avoid dumb deals and situations like the set up here.
    My first repair call was a Williams Grand Prix, which is a probably the worst first repair call you could have. I got the thing working at least, if not 100 percent.

    The reason I wouldn’t buy a project Grand Prix again. OMG what a nightmare

    #5 4 years ago

    People in my “area” have a sniff that I’m a pinball hobbyist and I have been getting a few calls lately actually.
    I’m sure these people have zero idea on how to maintain/repair a pin, I get it. And what I hope they know if they call me that I’m a hobbyist, not a pinball tech and not to expect the world handed to them in repairs. I’d like to help people out, and I like the challenge.
    But I need to spell it out real thick for then before I help that I’m a hobbyist and I can figure it out and fix things

    #6 4 years ago
    Quoted from JethroP:

    Tell us your stories, good and bad, of service calls. I’ll start:
    I posted an ad on CL a few months ago looking to buy a pin project. I got a reply from a guy saying he had two old non-working machines, and that if I could fix one of his machines he would give me the other one. He said the game he wanted fixed had a bad flipper. The game he would give me was manufactured by Game Plan. I looked it up (had never heard of Game Plan before) but figured it was worth a few hundred dollars, non-working, so what the heck.
    I had never gone on a service call. My experience is only working on my own projects. But the guy was local, so I went over to see the games and diagnose the problem. Was there for 2 hours. The guy talked a lot, and I gave him lots of info on pins and websites for parts. Checking out the flippers, they worked fine. The problem was a locked on solenoid. That turned out to be a bad solenoid driver board (SDB). So I told him I thought I could fix the board rather than buying a new one. He also wanted new rubbers which he would buy if I would install. I agreed.
    Two weeks later he had the new rubbers in hand and I had the repaired SDB. Made an appointment to put his machine back together, and brought my son along to help load out the machine he was to give me. As soon as I walked in the door he hands me a piece of paper, an eBay ad, showing the game he was giving me for sale at $3,000. I told him….that’s not a sold price, but someones ridiculous asking price…..but I knew where he was going with this. I installed the SDB and problem fixed. He asked me to wax the play field before I installed his new rubbers and I did. Checked all the switches and solenoids and all worked fine. Then the guy looks at the play field and says there are 4 lamps that aren’t working. I jiggled them and 3 out of the 4 came to life. One didn’t, and a few others weren’t as bright as the others. He says….well, the game isn’t fixed, and that was the deal. Now he confirmed my suspicions, he wasn’t going to give me a $3,000 game for the repairs I did.
    I told him his game was fixed and he could enjoy it once again….burned out lamp or not. He asked me what I wanted for my work, and figured something is better than nothing. I said 200….he quickly paid and I was out of there. Lesson learned….I will never do another house call.

    You should have told him $3000 for your repair!!

    #7 4 years ago
    Quoted from JethroP:

    I got a reply from a guy saying he had two old non-working machines, and that if I could fix one of his machines he would give me the other one.

    What a prick that guy is for not giving you what was promised.. (he could have atleast give you more then $200..)

    My dad and I did something similar for a guy once too: repair a Fun Fest, get paid with a (broken) Cyclone. The Fun Fest had a special place in his heart and was a lot of work to repair, but hey we got a Cyclone in return that we still own to this day

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    #8 4 years ago

    I no longer do any new customer In-house service calls unless they bring the machine to my shop. The problems I have over the years:

    1. They call me and say their machine is broken BUT do not know the game title that they have. They usually say it's the blue one or the game with the race car on it, etc.

    2. They say something like the flippers don't work but when you fix the flipper issue you discover that there is some other major problem and you don't have those parts with you. Example: I just fixed the problem that I was told to fix. Then I asked the customer, "how long has the sound been out?" and they say "oh, the game has sounds?".

    3. I ask the question "how long has it been broken?". The most common response is that game has not worked in years and person XYZ tried to fix it but could not.

    4. Older games. Games that have not worked in years with missing parts, acid damage, prior repair attempts, terrible hacks, etc.

    #9 4 years ago
    Quoted from Tommy-dog:

    I no longer do any new customer In-house service calls unless they bring the machine to my shop. The problems I have over the years:
    1. They call me and say their machine is broken BUT do not know the game title that they have. They usually say it's the blue one or the game with the race car on it, etc.
    2. They say something like the flippers don't work but when you fix the flipper issue you discover that there is some other major problem and you don't have those parts with you. Example: I just fixed the problem that I was told to fix. Then I asked the customer, "how long has the sound been out?" and they say "oh, the game has sounds?".
    3. I ask the question "how long has it been broken?". The most common response is that game has not worked in years and person XYZ tried to fix it but could not.
    4. Older games. Games that have not worked in years with missing parts, acid damage, prior repair attempts, terrible hacks, etc.

    You can ALWAYS get the game name out of them now, worst case, have them take a picture.

    For your other issues, I take a middle ground on this. I'm simply clear with people that the game may have unforeseen issues, and I give them high quotes including parts. A lady called me last week, she has a TAF with "no screen." I informed her worst case it may need a new DMD or DMD board or both and that this could cost around $400 plus labor (always mark up boards and parts, they cost you money to buy and storage space).

    She was ok with it. I showed up and I shit you not, BOTH the DMD and DMD board were faulty. Replaced them with the working ones I brought, changed a few lights, was out of there in an hour with $650 and the customer was more than happy, because she knew what to expect.

    You can tell right away if a potential customer is very cheap, and in that case, you may consider declining the job.

    The other thing to consider is that these people don't need their game up to your standards. They just want it to work. So fix the most glaring issue first, and go from there, letting the customer know with each issue how long it's gonna take and what it's gonna cost. Sometimes you just fix the flipper, and the customer is happy, and doesn't need the broken rollover switch repaired or credit display replaced.

    Repair jobs can be a pain in the ass, and I'm selective with the ones I take now. But no reason to be scared off completely if you have some free time and want some extra money. By asking a few questions, you can usually figure out if its something you can deal with in 3 or 4 hours, or something that may require multiple visits and ordering of parts, and whether or not it's something both you and the customer are prepared to deal with.

    #10 4 years ago

    Repair service calls can be tricky. Many times clients assume that if a Kiss pinball thats been sitting for 30 years lights up when plugged in must be a simple and quick fix.
    Sure it could be a fuse and the game could play in 5 minutes but what about the other 50 parts? On calls like this the repairs and parts can easily exceed 500.00 plus which can be hard for clients to grasp.
    After a repair on a pinball which has been a paper weight for years or decades it becomes the center of attention again in the home. Clients can and will focus on things such as non working lamps etc.
    To insure a reliable game for the client and help avoid return trips marginal components must be upgraded or replaced. This can be flipper parts,bumper parts, rubber,lamp sockets,capacitors,connector pins etc,etc,etc.
    Home pinball repair has to be more complicated than any other type of in home repair.
    You have hundreds of different machines that were only designed for 7 years of commercial use. Add damp basements, hacks etc and it gets complicated.
    Furnace,dryer,fridge repair is pretty straightforward as components are pretty modular.
    I have one service call that brings memories from years back. Will post later.

    #11 4 years ago

    There was a house that had numerous dogs, and they used the pinball legs as a restroom. Imagine wet rust, floor boards soaked....I bought the Black Knight and threw out the legs.

    Another one was a Gottlieb game in even worse conditions , animal poo everywhere and it made breathing difficult. Needless to say I did not return to that house.

    #12 4 years ago

    One really, really good side outcome to going on these is the ability to pick up a “broken” game on the cheap of the customer doesn’t want to spend that much on repairs OR, in the end they just want it out.

    #13 4 years ago
    Quoted from JethroP:

    Tell us your stories, good and bad, of service calls. I’ll start:
    I posted an ad on CL a few months ago looking to buy a pin project. I got a reply from a guy saying he had two old non-working machines, and that if I could fix one of his machines he would give me the other one. He said the game he wanted fixed had a bad flipper. The game he would give me was manufactured by Game Plan. I looked it up (had never heard of Game Plan before) but figured it was worth a few hundred dollars, non-working, so what the heck.
    I had never gone on a service call. My experience is only working on my own projects. But the guy was local, so I went over to see the games and diagnose the problem. Was there for 2 hours. The guy talked a lot, and I gave him lots of info on pins and websites for parts. Checking out the flippers, they worked fine. The problem was a locked on solenoid. That turned out to be a bad solenoid driver board (SDB). So I told him I thought I could fix the board rather than buying a new one. He also wanted new rubbers which he would buy if I would install. I agreed.
    Two weeks later he had the new rubbers in hand and I had the repaired SDB. Made an appointment to put his machine back together, and brought my son along to help load out the machine he was to give me. As soon as I walked in the door he hands me a piece of paper, an eBay ad, showing the game he was giving me for sale at $3,000. I told him….that’s not a sold price, but someones ridiculous asking price…..but I knew where he was going with this. I installed the SDB and problem fixed. He asked me to wax the play field before I installed his new rubbers and I did. Checked all the switches and solenoids and all worked fine. Then the guy looks at the play field and says there are 4 lamps that aren’t working. I jiggled them and 3 out of the 4 came to life. One didn’t, and a few others weren’t as bright as the others. He says….well, the game isn’t fixed, and that was the deal. Now he confirmed my suspicions, he wasn’t going to give me a $3,000 game for the repairs I did.
    I told him his game was fixed and he could enjoy it once again….burned out lamp or not. He asked me what I wanted for my work, and figured something is better than nothing. I said 200….he quickly paid and I was out of there. Lesson learned….I will never do another house call.

    Jethro, he will need help again and has lost your goodwill, repairman for these things don't grow on trees.

    Quoted from northerndude:

    One really, really good side outcome to going on these is the ability to pick up a “broken” game on the cheap of the customer doesn’t want to spend that much on repairs OR, in the end they just want it out.

    This is the primary reason for a few "I fix Pinball" Ads, look it over, charge too much or con the person out of a game.
    I considered going into repair but no way would I attempt it at the customers home. Even though small Business liability Insurance is pretty affordable Shiff Happens and in this litigious society not worth taking a chance.

    #14 4 years ago

    I would never bring it up, I’d let them offer it up without me even jacking up a cost.

    #15 4 years ago

    Let me start by saying I have a weird sense of humor, and can be spiteful at times.

    Back in the 1980’s, I sold a game to a family. My specialty has always been EM’s. A few weeks later they called to say the game did nothing, it was just dark. I head out expecting to fix it for no charge. When I arrive, my game is working fine, but the game next to it is dark. I tell them this is not the game I sold them. After a few back and forth comments they tell me they bought the game from someone else, but that person does not make house calls.

    I’m a little pissed, but I know the other guy, and he does good work/probably simple. I took off the glass and give it a quick glance. I’ll fix it for $100 - cash only. I put the money in my pocket, closed up the game, turned the power switch on (it was off), strutted out with a silly grin on my face, and drove away.

    I’m sure he tells a story about some SOB repair guy stole $100 from him. All I know is if he would have been honest with me, I would have done it for free.

    Another time, I got called to repair a Wms Travel Time. It was a very wealthy area of Orlando. The game was outside in a covered area by the pool. I opened up the game and there were live termites/dead termites everywhere. It was the worst infestation I had (or have) ever seen. The game probably weighed half of what it should. I jumped back and told the homeowner he should have it removed immediately and that his house should be checked too - as they were everywhere. His comment back - you’re not going to fix it? No! It should be lit on fire and burned NOW! I think I charged him $40 for the drive and told him that was cheap. I just confirmed he had a termite problem and saved him a call to pest control.

    #16 4 years ago
    Quoted from phil-lee:

    Shiff Happens

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    #17 4 years ago

    Guy calls me and says, "Can you fix my game?"

    "What's the name?"

    "Gottlieb"

    #18 4 years ago

    C'mon cosmo, if it was political it would be Schiff happens, I'm just trying to keep it clean.

    #19 4 years ago

    Not pinball, but years ago I used to be a cable guy, and later had an onsite computer repair company for a number of years. The things I saw as a cable guy were crazy, not so much for computer repair.

    Those were bad enough, I can't imagine what you walk into with pinball machines that haven't been turned on for years...

    17
    #20 4 years ago

    My policy has always been, I don't do home repairs. You get married to them, or a month later something breaks and they haul you into conciliation court and owning an arcade I most likely will lose.

    In the mid 1980's, a very good friend of mine asked me to help a friend of his that was running an estate sale with 2 pins. This guy had done me some big favors so I agreed, no questions asked.

    I get there. A Bally Hawaii and a Gottlieb King of diamonds. Both worn out, not much left. I cleaned them up, all new rubber rings, all new light bulbs. Got them both playable so you could play games on them. The best I could do with what was there.

    The lady running the estate sale asked what she owed me. I told her nothing. John had done many things for me, asked me to help, and I did so gladly.

    Then the fun begins. This was an upper class neighborhood. An attorney bought the house. And bought the two pins. $200 each. Then he calls me up. He wanted them working better. I told him they were run out and that was as good as they were going to get.

    He's expecting brand new pins, so now he's threatening to sue me. John and the lady were dragged in ( John would have told him where to stick it, but his friend the lady was scared ). So I agreed to go back over and try and do more. The attorney gave me a time painters would be in the house and they'd let me in.

    I go over. No one there. Sat for four hours, gave up and went to work. I was at work only a few minutes and fukwit calls and wanted to know where I was. I told him I sat there for four hours and no one was there to let me in.

    So no he's going to sue me again, etc. etc. Calling many times a day. I finally changed my phone number to get rid of the dickwad.

    John and the lady apologized profusely, I let them know it wasn't their fault.

    Thus ended my career of doing home repairs.
    LTG : )

    #21 4 years ago
    Quoted from northerndude:

    I would never bring it up, I’d let them offer it up without me even jacking up a cost.

    I wouldn't imply you are guilty of this, a lot of this goes on though. For some others the desire to get the machine for a song weighs against making 100 bucks.

    #22 4 years ago

    Nope, I haven't done anything like this, I wouldn't even create a scenario for it to happen, but if it came up naturally and someone offered up something, I would definitely see if it's worth it to me.

    I have paid asking price and up for pins. I have got one or two for unreal deals, but that was me replying to an ad and paid asking price.

    #23 4 years ago

    An operator buddy would drop games off at my house for me to shop and re-rubber.

    The running gag became ‘This one will be easier than the last one’ because each game was more broken than the last. It was fun, though, because I got to keep the games for a few weeks and enjoy them.

    He gave me a broken Drop A Card as payment to fix a handful of games. Of course, I restored the game for the hell of it and wound up selling it back to him with some other games.

    I wouldn’t do service calls as a way to supplement income, but certainly for beer money amongst friends.

    #24 4 years ago

    Years ago a friend of mine did home service calls until he burned out.

    He told me a few of his experiences.

    When someone called him, he asked a lot of questions and made notes. Name of game and manufacturer, even if he had to guide them around the game to find it. Does it work at all ? light up ? all there ? etc. etc.

    He went on one call . Turned the solid state game on. Nothing. Started digging into it. Not a single board in the head. He asked the owner about it, since he said it was complete. The guy told him he thought he'd have boards with. Right, every board for every game ever made. Guy was unhappy he had to pay for a service call.

    He went on another call. Fixed the game. Owner was happy and paid. A couple years go by. The owner sold the game. New owner calls in the middle of the night demanding he come over and fix it immediately, for free, since he was already paid once. He told him no. The guy responded with he would bring it over and put it in his driveway and he better fix it. My friend told him that if he brought it over and put it in his driveway, he'd keep it. That ended that.

    When people come in and suggest I do home repairs because I could make money. I laugh and tell them since it's so lucrative that they should consider doing it, I work 12 hours a day and don't have the time.

    LTG : )

    #25 4 years ago

    Don't forget " my flappers aren't working"

    #26 4 years ago

    I got a call from pinsider RONSS a couple of months ago to go look at a pin a guy wanted out of his house for free. We got there and he told us that the game never worked since he moved from his last house a few years back and it has to go because he sold this house. I turned the switch on and the game came to life, he did not know it had an on\off switch under it. He had always plugged and unplugged it but when it got moved someone turned the switch off. He was a man of his word and we got a free pin that day.

    #27 4 years ago

    I did home service calls for about 25 years and had been slowly cutting back for about 2 years. Used to cover pool tables, fix Jukes, Videos & Pins. Seen just about everything and dealt with every type of person. Had some great experiences and made some good side money, but It's at the point that I just don't have the time.

    The thing that got me was how inconsiderate some people were. Forgetting I was coming over, leaving crap piled around and on the stuff I was supposed to fix, not knowing where the keys were, etc. And I don't mind a question or two, but stay out of my way and shut up so I can think! And get your dogs outta here please!

    Wrapped up my final service call a few weeks ago and am done. I might still do an occasional one, but for now, it feels great to have my schedule clear.

    A few that come to mind...
    - The threatening call on Christmas eve about how the juke I fixed quit working and it needs to be fixed before tomorrow noon because there's people coming over. He'd just put on some Xmas records, so I talked him through moving the switch from "service" to "on". He suddenly changed his threatening tone.
    - Fixed a Stargate Pinball in a corporate penthouse meeting room during an employee review. "It's OK, don't mind us".
    - Covered a pool table while being constantly being chatted at by the owner. Everything went wrong and what should have taken 3 hours, took 6. I had a love/hate relationship with pool tables. Good money if it goes right, but when it goes wrong, oh boy.
    - Did a service call at the local Mental Health facility. Had to go through a half-dozen locked doors to get to the patient game room. Fixed the 6 Million Dollar Man Pinball, but couldn't fix the mangled bent rods on the Foos Ball Table.

    #28 4 years ago

    Very happy to have come across this topic. It is very unfortunate that those with the skill set required to work on pins get treated so poorly! I have one guy that works on my e/m’s and is relatable and good at what he does. Always pay whatever he asks. Handy when I need to call again for something else. Than there is the story of a local woman who works for an operator. Does great work, is conscientious and, I say the following with respect and reverence, is like a coon dog on a hunt. She will not quit till she finds the issue. She no longer does house calls any more. Damn shame as she is really great at what she does. Miss her! Lisa, I am talking about you! There is a local guy that does work on them but only at his location. Now I have a better understanding of why that maybe! Thanks for all the good stories fellas. Unfortunate!!

    #29 4 years ago
    Quoted from fiberdude120:

    I got a call from pinsider RONSS a couple of months ago to go look at a pin a guy wanted out of his house for free. We got there and he told us that the game never worked since he moved from his last house a few years back and it has to go because he sold this house. I turned the switch on and the game came to life, he did not know it had an on\off switch under it. He had always plugged and unplugged it but when it got moved someone turned the switch off. He was a man of his word and we got a free pin that day.

    Man you got lucky on that one. I have learned to never tinker with or plug in games that are being sold as non working as in the past i have tinkered and fixed something on the spot and made a game work, then all the sudden the price went up or the game wasn't for sale anymore.

    #30 4 years ago

    Great topic, things are a lot more weird out there than I imagined!

    Question for you guys:

    Would any of you ever consider a job involving a few 1-2h visits over time to mentor a pinball owner who desires to learn to do repairs on his/her own?

    Assume the person in question has the aptitude to learn this stuff and already has a good basic fund of electronics/mechanics knowledge, but is in need of a bit of pinball-specific tutoring to boost his/her mojo and fill in the knowledge gaps.

    #31 4 years ago

    Start with a set of the TOPS videos.

    #32 4 years ago
    Quoted from Thermionic:

    Would any of you ever consider a job involving a few 1-2h visits over time to mentor a pinball owner who desires to learn to do repairs on his/her own?

    I have on occasion helped people who bring a game or board in. ( no more games now, no room to work on them ) Fix something or teach them how on their stuff. No charge, except for parts if I provide them. Then just cost of part and not shipping.

    I won't let someone into my games that I make my living on. To great a risk of someone innocently hurting a game. We see here on Pinside too often. People fixing a switch or changing a bulb, and now they've blown stuff up. A person going down a row cleaning could knock a whole row of games out and causing a very negative impact on my income.

    LTG : )

    #33 4 years ago
    Quoted from DanQverymuch:

    Start with a set of the TOPS videos.

    And a beater game. Learn as you go.

    Youtube has lots of short videos. How to solder, use a meter, check fuses, continuity, etc. etc.

    More learning stuff out there now than ever before. Including all the help on Pinside.

    LTG : )

    #34 4 years ago
    Quoted from Thermionic:

    Would any of you ever consider a job involving a few 1-2h visits over time to mentor a pinball owner who desires to learn to do repairs on his/her own?

    As this is how I was taught, I have no problem doing the same with someone else. Just need everyone to be on the same page: "I can screw your machine up just as easily as you can!".

    #35 4 years ago
    Quoted from Thermionic:

    Great topic, things are a lot more weird out there than I imagined!
    Question for you guys:
    Would any of you ever consider a job involving a few 1-2h visits over time to mentor a pinball owner who desires to learn to do repairs on his/her own?
    Assume the person in question has the aptitude to learn this stuff and already has a good basic fund of electronics/mechanics knowledge, but is in need of a bit of pinball-specific tutoring to boost his/her mojo and fill in the knowledge gaps.

    I do this. I do it mostly because I love teaching/helping and I enjoy fixing more than I enjoy playing much of the time.

    #36 4 years ago

    Hey guys, thanks for all the interesting stories....

    #37 4 years ago

    Sold a WCS to guy that had a laundrymat. He wanted me to stop over every 3 months or so to maintain it. I showed up over there after about 4 months and that game was black! I couldn't believe it. The thing really needed to be shopped again. They played the shit out of it. I knew right then that I was no longer interested in service calls.

    #38 4 years ago

    This all reminds me of why I would never fix someone's PC back in the day. You got married to your neighbors PC.

    Pinball repairs- I like to do my own, but I have only one game. Here in OC ca we have some good options.

    I figure if I keep working on my one game, atleast I'm good on that one. Theater of magic!

    #39 4 years ago

    One of the all time best-a competitor calls me to fix his jukebox. 90 miles away from my office. I go. Within 5 minutes I determine it’s a bad power cord. Replace it. Write him an invoice for 4 hours out of shop labor plus the cost of the cord. He gets pissed from a $500 repair that “took you 5 minutes.” I reminded him that I drove almost 200 miles round trip and he’s paying for what I know, not what I do. He repeatedly threatened me with bodily harm, called me a scam artist. Long story short, I didn’t get my ass beat, I got paid and guess the first person he called when he wanted to sell his route years later, acting like we were old friends!

    When I was a kid, all my buddies got excited for Cinemax movies and titty magazines. I always laughed my ass off because from the time I was old enough to drive, dad had me going to strip clubs to fix pool tables, cigarette machines and Megatouches.

    #40 4 years ago
    Quoted from JethroP:

    Hey guys, thanks for all the interesting stories....

    This is a great thread, should be some more interesting reads as the stories come in.

    #41 4 years ago
    Quoted from JethroP:Tell us your stories, good and bad, of service calls.

    Curious, anybody have any good stories?

    #42 4 years ago

    Went to house to fix Xenon,been there couple times before over the years, got it running. He said was moving and asked if I wanted to buy it. Said yes settled on $450. Didn't have room in van to haul that day gave $50 to hold. Couple hours later he called said wife really enjoyed playing again and she didn't want to sell, ok send me $50. Year later he calls finally moving offered the pin to me for $350. Over the last 35 years doing home calls never had experience. Many times get tips $20-100.

    #43 4 years ago

    I remember when my mom had a plumber do a service call.

    butt_crack_joe_the_plumber1 (resized).jpgbutt_crack_joe_the_plumber1 (resized).jpg
    #44 4 years ago
    Quoted from o-din:

    I remember when my mom had a plumber do a service call.

    If this was someone else's Mom, I'd ask if she had the plumber over working under there regularly for the nice view.

    But your Mom is too much a Lady, so I digress.

    LTG : )

    #45 4 years ago
    Quoted from Kredmore:

    Curious, anybody have any good stories?

    Dear Penthouse Forum,
    I never thought this would happen to me. I arrived at my service call, grabbed my tools and knocked on the door. I was greeted by a sexy gal who had a Sexy Gal that would not power up. When I turned around and leaned over the game......

    #46 4 years ago
    Quoted from cosmokramer:

    When I turned around and leaned over the game......

    Sexy gal grabbed your tool?

    #47 4 years ago

    I’ve got some good pizza delivery stories, but that’s a different thread.

    #48 4 years ago

    I’ve only ever done one service call, and it went great. It was an Addams Family that needed a new flipper coil sleeve and some solder reflowed on the THING lights on the backbox. I was glad to help out and was going to do it for free, but as I was leaving the owner slipped me $100. Basically the opposite of most stories here.

    #49 4 years ago

    Went to a Pinsiders home to help with his 'Star - Jet'. The game has been in their family since the early 1970's. It was not running properly.
    You might quip, 'Gottlieb guy going to fix a Bally, HA!'

    While assessing the start up issues, I noticed the 2 masking tape splices in the power cord. One inside the game, and one in the middle of the cord. Few minutes later, I accidently stepped on the cord and the game went dead. There was no power at the fuse so I told him to get a new power cord. I said, "I was mad at myself that this happened'. He replied, 'You don't look mad'. He offered me some money, which I quickly declined. I have never left someone with a game in worse condition than when I arrived.

    I posted this a few years ago, a day later Vid1900 sent me an Email stating that not to feel to bad, as I most likely saved his home from burning to the ground.

    #50 4 years ago

    Below is a post I made in Rec Games. Pinball in 2006. To this day as far as service calls its the most memorable one:

    Been doing home service calls for 20 years now. Probably over a
    thousand home calls. This one took the cake. Went to a guys house to do
    a cap rebuild on a matt mania and dk . Also exchanged a cpu for a
    jungle king. I went to the home last Friday and took the boards with
    me. I quoted the guy 200.00 for this repair and went back today. When I
    got back today I installed the 3 components and the games worked. All
    the time he's asking me weird questions why do caps go bad etc etc.
    Upon leaving I meet him in his kitchen to get paid. He than tells me
    that I stole his hockey puck and hes not paying me. He says he has me
    on tape and proceeds to show me a nanny cam . I deny this and ask to
    see the tape. I also ask him to call the police if hes accusing me of
    theft. He says its not necessary to call the police he just wants his
    hockey puck returned and hell pay me. At this point I have my cell
    phone and I was going to call the cops . He says wait here and goes
    downstairs and brings the puck upstairs. This is an autographed hockey
    puck from the Minnesota Wild. He than claims he found it inside the
    Matt Mania, that I put it their and was planning on stealing it at a
    later time ( i was going to return to install a cp on the Dk) At this
    point I just decide to leave and Im out 200.00. As Im driving away I
    decide to call the poiice myself. If this guy is so insistant that I
    took this item why dont he follow through and press charges right? So
    I go to the guys house and im on his front lawn talking to the cops,
    the guy comes out and wants to talk with me ,I tell him I called the
    cops. He follows me to my vehicle saying he wants to work it out . I
    ignore him . The police show up and I tell him my story . the police
    interview the guy and bring the guy over to me . The guy pays me my
    200.00. I ask the guy about the tape and he says he does not have me on
    tape. What a bunch of BS! How was your day? jr

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