(Topic ID: 183902)

Should repair costs increase inline with pinflation


By Drewblood419

2 years ago



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  • 31 posts
  • 20 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 2 years ago by mario_1_up
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    #1 2 years ago

    what would happen if pinball service techs increased their rates to fall inline with the pinflation that has been happening over the last 10 years or so? Nib games were roughly $3500 or so and now they are $8000,$10000 and up to $15000. Roughly what I've always charged for a repair is about $50 an hour. What would happen if repair techs raised it to $150-$200 per hour? Obviously there are different types of collectors out there. Some have money to burn and don't blink an eye at dropping $10000 on a new pin every few months and hey that's cool if you're in a spot in life you can do that more power to ya. Some folks with that kind of coin actually love to work on their on games and enjoy working on them as much as playing them, I have a lot of respect for that and to me those guys are true hobbyists. Then you have the type that will go out and drop $60000-$80000 on a bunch of high end titles have them delivered and setup for them and have no interest in even learning how to remove the glass or navigating the menus (yes I have been called to adjust the volume and clean the underside of the glass before lol) some will pay whatever and just don't care (and that's cool too) but there are some that watch you fix said issue and hem and haw about paying $50-$100 after the repair is complete all the time standing in front of a brand new $10000 game they had no problem purchasing lol. Now I'll say I'm not super flush with cash in fact quite the opposite lol I work maintenance for an apartment complex, and am a single father who has his daughter about 50% of the time and still gladly pays child support because I want the best for her. I have been able to stay in the hobby purely on money made from repair work and buying and selling pins over the years. I love the hobby and the folks I've met along the way. But honestly the prices have increased so much even on older games that need work it's tough to even find a good project these days. That's kind of what got me thinking about what would happen to the market if repair costs tripled. Would the prices on used games needing repair drop? Would the nib buyer that is unable/unwilling to repair their games sell them off to fund newer games with "warranties" or would they pay the piper increasing the pinball funds of repair guys that look to purchase projects? Would nib sales drop forcing a cost reduction of the nib market? What do you guys think? Do you repair your own pins or "pay the piper" ? Lol

    #2 2 years ago

    I repair my own games, so I don't have to worry about repair costs for the most part.

    Quoted from Drewblood419:

    What would happen if repair techs raised it to $150-$200 per hour?

    Go ahead and try it and see what happens. Sometimes the market simply won't support a big price increase like that.

    Compare it to an auto shop. People can spend all sorts of amounts on a car, but service usually costs about the same no matter where you go.

    #3 2 years ago

    I repair my own games, but when I do repair for others, I charge the same rates that I did ten years ago. I scale the value of my time up or down based one the value of the product that I'm working on.

    #4 2 years ago
    Quoted from Drewblood419:

    What would happen if repair techs raised it to $150-$200 per hour?

    Is "Broker" a word?

    #5 2 years ago

    It's apples and oranges. Buying toys is not the same thing as fixing toys.

    You probably can't get away with tripling or quadrupling your rate. But if you are charging the same rate that you were 10 years ago I would say it's time for an increase. So you would be looking at something more like $60 (which would actually outpace inflation a little).

    #6 2 years ago

    I do all of my own repairs except for certain board work which I have a someone available to help me with when needed. I think tech could increase their rates a little without resistance but anything along the lines you suggested would certainly not be accepted in my mind. JMHI. I would think most of the people buying older project machines are already fairly well schooled at repairs.

    #7 2 years ago

    I generally base my price on the customers willingness to learn especially if it's a local person new to the hobby. I use $50 as a standard rate currently. But if a customer dives into their game and all I have to do is help them diagnose the issue and even if I personally do the repair itself I don't mind spending 3 hours there "helping" them learn and may only charge the $50 and a few cold beers. But if I show up and start working on the game and they are off in another room and show no interest in learning it's full price at the end of the job. I enjoy the hobby and repair is a big part of the hobby I want them to enjoy it too that's what is most important to me.

    #8 2 years ago

    I tinker and repair what I can. I usually will try to repair something myself a few times before calling someone to repair it. I don't know how to solder, but I can manage my way through replacing coils and switches. Most of the issues I can't solve deal with a multi-meter. The two times I have had someone come by I will stick right with them to learn as much as I can about diagnosing and repairing the problem. The last person I went with asked what the problem was and gave me a price to fix it, rather than an hourly rate. At least this way I knew what it was going to cost me ahead of time. I have replaced a resistor on a board, but would rather have someone else do that work at this time. If the cost of a repair person increases drastically I would not be able to hire any to work on my machines. I would do everything I could to fix them myself and if I couldn't, I would have to do a cost analysis based on what the game is worth and what I would put into it by hiring a repair person (which I basically do already). If the cost of the repair person ends up putting my total cost of the machine well over its worth I would have to sell it as is and move on.

    #9 2 years ago

    If you are offering a high tech service, you should be compensated accordingly.

    How much does electronic bench work typically cost these days? $75/Hr. $95/Hr. More?
    How much does it cost for someone to show up and repair a washer, dryer, or Dishwasher? (which almost always requires a return trip)
    How much do Computer Techs usually want just to simply restore your computer back to Factory install?
    How much do A/C - Furnace repair techs get per hour.
    And, like was mentioned, how much does the Auto Dealer get just to "diagnose" your car which typically entails plugging in a ODBII code reader?

    IMO, if you are charging $50/Hr to work on a broken game, you are underselling your skills today. Granted, some owners can't afford more. And some games just aren't worth more. And certainly, we have seen some "Techs" aren't worth more. Obviously, some games require numerous hours of work to even get them functional, let alone, looking good (already discussed in another thread).

    For those that Volunteer to help out a friend for less or for free, then that's a very noble cause. If you are trying to make a go of repairs as a main business, then you have to keep up with the times.

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    #10 2 years ago
    Quoted from Monk:

    I don't know how to solder, but I can manage my way through replacing coils and switches.

    How does one do this without soldering?

    #11 2 years ago

    In Jersey, the going rate is $150 for the first hour (to account for travel), and $80 thereafter. So in TN, you're already pretty low.

    -2
    #12 2 years ago
    Quoted from beelzeboob:

    In Jersey, the going rate is $150 for the first hour (to account for travel), and $80 thereafter. So in TN, you're already pretty low.

    Shocker NJ sucks.

    #13 2 years ago
    Quoted from SUPERBEE:

    How does one do this without soldering?

    I have been teaching myself how to do it. I wouldn't say I know how to do it though. I have replaced the garage door coil on my TSPP and a switch on both my TSPP and Terminator. It took me longer then it should have.

    #14 2 years ago

    Well at least your learning. Gets easier and easier.

    #15 2 years ago

    I don't do any board work for people(yet), so I've only been charging $40/hr. Working on pins is fairly simple when there's no major board work involved. If board work is needed, I tell them to send it to Taro whose owner does great board work and will have it turned around fairly quick.

    I don't charge them for the time that I spend playing their game to make sure everything got fixed, though.

    #16 2 years ago
    Quoted from Monk:

    I would do everything I could to fix them myself and if I couldn't, I would have to do a cost analysis based on what the game is worth and what I would put into it by hiring a repair person (which I basically do already). If the cost of the repair person ends up putting my total cost of the machine well over its worth I would have to sell it as is and move on.

    That's pretty much exactly what I was wondering how many people that have no interest or skillset when it comes to working on their own machines would actually keep their machines and pay for the repair service or just sell them at a cheaper price as is and how would it affect both the new in box and used markets/prices? I don't personally have any intention of raising my prices as high as I previously stated lol basically just went off of current pin prices being 3x what they were in the past and putting repair costs on the same inflation scale. Could you imagine paying someone $600-$750 to led a CQ machine Lol

    #17 2 years ago
    Quoted from TheLaw:

    Shocker NJ sucks.

    No. We just make more than you. And touche on the down vote.

    #18 2 years ago

    You should be charging $100/hour minimum.

    #19 2 years ago
    Quoted from jwilson:

    You should be charging $100/hour minimum.

    Canadian yes.

    #20 2 years ago

    If I had to pay a pin tech I dont think I would be in this hobby. It would just be to out of control for me.

    #21 2 years ago

    Here in St Louis I think you would be hard pressed to find anyone that wouldn't charge $100/hr these days for in home repair. You could probably add travel cost to that, too. That is if you could even find someone willing to do it.

    Last year someone was looking for a repair on a Bally home model Fireball. The guy told me he looked for 9 months to find anyone to repair the game and no one would even come out to take a look at it, and he would gladly have paid them whatever rate they wanted. My point is that this type of service is necessary and should command the same type of rate as someone fixing an appliance or other similar product.

    #22 2 years ago
    Quoted from beelzeboob:

    In Jersey, the going rate is $150 for the first hour (to account for travel), and $80 thereafter. So in TN, you're already pretty low.

    Thats about what I charge

    #23 2 years ago
    Quoted from BrianBannon:

    Here in St Louis I think you would be hard pressed to find anyone that wouldn't charge $100/hr these days for in home repair. You could probably add travel cost to that, too. That is if you could even find someone willing to do it.
    ...

    Hi, my name is Rob Anthony, I live in St Louis and do service calls almost daily. I guess we haven't met...

    --
    Rob Anthony
    Pinball Classics
    http://LockWhenLit.com
    Quality Board Work - In Home Service
    borygard at gmail dot com

    #24 2 years ago
    Quoted from beelzeboob:

    In Jersey, the going rate is $150 for the first hour (to account for travel), and $80 thereafter. So in TN, you're already pretty low.

    I do $25 an hour. One time stayed at a house from 1:30 PM to 9:30 PM and got $190. Meh. Pinball money is pinball money...

    #25 2 years ago
    Quoted from Borygard:

    Hi, my name is Rob Anthony, I live in St Louis and do service calls almost daily. I guess we haven't met...
    --
    Rob Anthony
    Pinball Classics
    http://LockWhenLit.com
    Quality Board Work - In Home Service
    borygard at gmail dot com

    ...and he's an awesome guy to boot.

    Quoted from Otaku:

    I do $25 an hour. One time stayed at a house from 1:30 PM to 9:30 PM and got $190. Meh. Pinball money is pinball money...

    ...which is about $21.65 more than I made at your age, when I had barely sprung pubes. You know what we call that when you're 52?

    Beer money.

    #26 2 years ago
    Quoted from Borygard:

    Hi, my name is Rob Anthony, I live in St Louis and do service calls almost daily. I guess we haven't met...
    >

    Ha ha...Rob you were probably out of town at a pinball show when these people called up

    Seriously, I have mentioned your name when someone asks about repairs. I still think that there is plenty of opportunity for a full time tech in the area. Some people can fix their own stuff and some people should leave it to someone else.

    #27 2 years ago

    I'm usually at 155.00 plus parts for 2 hours upon arrival. Not sure if that's too cheap. I try to bundle calls that are in the same area doing 2-3 to make it more lucrative. If I have to go back with a part I don't charge a return call.

    Comparing pinball repair to lets say furnace/appliance repair is night and day. So many variables go into pinball machines. Age, past mods/hacks, corrosion and the HUGE variety of manufactures. On top of that the hundreds of parts a tech needs to stock. A pinball repair can take hours if a weird issue is present.
    Comparing to furnace repair. My mothers furnace quit.It was a limit switch. Parts and labor was 240. Took 15 minutes. I asked the tech how many calls he does in a day. He said about a dozen.
    A good pinball tech should get paid well. A while back I did a call on an Elektra out of state. A tech charged him over 700 in repairs to go through the game. The tech was charging 60 per hour to try and fix his game. His main issue was the mini pf flippers would quit occasionally. The tech even installed new altek driver bd which was not needed. (I gave the customer a trade credit for his driver board as it was still good.) He called me venting his frustration. Wife wanted game at the curb. I was able to diagnose in 15 minutes. Cracked solder joints on expander board. This was because I,ve seen that before. I rebuilt 2 other flippers and was on my way. Gave him a discount because he almost spent more than the game was worth already.
    Sometimes I would rather be repairing a furnace or HVAC system. I heard those switch matrix issues on those new style furnaces are a piece of cake

    #28 2 years ago
    Quoted from beelzeboob:

    ...and he's an awesome guy to boot.

    ...which is about $21.65 more than I made at your age, when I had barely sprung pubes. You know what we call that when you're 52?
    Beer money.

    You drink a lot of beer (and also must have been a late bloomer)

    #29 2 years ago

    Around here people balk if you charge them $10 an hour(which is what I did for years)...seriously. This is one of the reasons I don't do home repairs anymore, it's more trouble then it's worth and I could be working on my own games.

    John

    #30 2 years ago

    The only reason I have the games I have right now is because I like working on stuff. But I'm at the low end of the pinball collecting world.

    In the past I worked on Pocket and mechanical watches as a hobby. This kind of reminds me of that. Rare parts got more and more expensive, cleaning solvents, tools, etc ... to do it right aren't cheap anymore. Even new parts(if you can find them) don't just drop in and have to be worked on the lathe to get it just right. etc..... The older crowd wanted to pay the same price that their "friend" use to charge. New collectors didn't care, most of them were flippers, as long as the total price of their broken watch and the repair would make them a little on the end. Basically all types of collectors.

    How do you charge? I had to constantly change prices depending on who I was doing the work for. If it was a guy that brought me tons of work and it was good stuff "clean broken stuff" , I'd cut a break, to keep him coming back! Then there were guys that bought complete mutilated hacked up crap that wanted it fixed and complained about price or something wasn't perfect. You don't want those guys as customers in any hobby!!

    I would imagine it's like any hobby and repair. Depends on the person doing the repair! Some people get a reputation and people flock just to say "I had so and so fix my machine!!!". And will pay about anything for the bragging rights!

    The area, era of machine, etc..... I don't see how you guys could charge a flat rate, or hourly type price. Maybe a minimum. And by job.

    Cars are different prices! Your not going to get your Luxury car fixed for the same rate as the old chevette. Watches are the same too! I cost way more to have a Patek or rolex cleaned than it does the old timex in the drawer! So, I think your right! As the hobby grows repair will change, and pricing to reflect the value of the game.

    #31 2 years ago

    I charge $50hr for calls. But most of the time I have to travle minimum of 25 miles to town. And if it needs a shop job I have them bring them to my place and charge $200 for a standard shop job. The only thing I hate is when they don't want to pay to have it fixed nor do they want to sell it.

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