(Topic ID: 189572)

What to charge for repairs?


By kobayashimaru

1 year ago



Topic Stats

  • 28 posts
  • 21 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 1 year ago by
  • Topic is favorited by 6 Pinsiders

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#1 1 year ago

Greetings!

Recently, I sold a United Caribbean and brought it to set it up at the guy's house. Turns out he had about 15 other machines in his basement, many of which need little things looked at and he asked me if I could have a look at one of them. So up until now, any machine I've worked on has either been in my personal collection or one I bought to flip. I've never charged to work on someone else's machine. I know this may be a loaded question but what is a fair rate? If I weren't underemployed at the moment, I probably wouldn't bother, but money is tight.
The job at hand would be diagnosing and/or replacing a sound board and a stuck flipper on a Gottlieb Genie

#2 1 year ago

$75 a hour is the going rate around these parts.

#3 1 year ago
Quoted from vid1900:

$75 a hour is the going rate around these parts.

That's what I was gonna say. I suppose it might be lower in more depressed areas.

#4 1 year ago
Quoted from pezpunk:

That's what I was gonna say.

Great minds sink alike

#5 1 year ago
Quoted from pezpunk:

That's what I was gonna say. I suppose it might be lower in more depressed areas.

my area must be really sad then, because if you make $45 an hour here, you can live like a king.

#6 1 year ago
Quoted from CaptainNeo:

my area must be really sad then, because if you make $45 an hour here, you can live like a king.

If it's a rich SOB rather than an operator, I charge $100 a hour.

Lately it seems like only people in McMansions have pinball at home.

#7 1 year ago

Wherever a pinball machine is not working is a depressed area.

But seriously. I have been asked to do repair work in the past and always passed. (unless free for a friend). If it is a straight forward simple fix then great. But sometimes you can't find the issue or spend too much time. Maybe never solving without a board replacement. I would feel guilty charging for time not spent reaching a solution. Maybe that is why I never did consulting and stayed with the steady paycheck and benefits.

#8 1 year ago

People around these parts make you feel guilty for even trying to charge them $20 for the entire day. This is another reason I don't mess with house calls any more as there always more trouble then there worth.

John

#9 1 year ago
Quoted from vid1900:

$75 a hour is the going rate around these parts.

That is what techs around here charge. Sadly most of them are crap and just take advantage of people. I spent two hours last week cleaning up hacks a previous guy did for a home owner.

#10 1 year ago

Bottom line is before you start agree on a price or price per hour (or job) so there can be no hard feelings.

Remember guys that do it for a living have overhead so they need to charge more per hour than they actually make. Working on the side (without insurance & other overhead) I feel as though people should charge about 1/2 the "going rate" of someone that does it for a living. So in my eyes $35 to $50 an hour would be realistic in PA, NJ area.

If I was in your shoes and could use the extra cash I would offer him something like $150 a day (5 to 8 hours) to work on and shop his machines as necessary plus cost of parts. That would make it worthwhile for you and still be fairly cheap for him.

Just my 2 cents on things!

#11 1 year ago
Quoted from too-many-pins:

Bottom line is before you start agree on a price or price per hour (or job) so there can be no hard feelings.
Remember guys that do it for a living have overhead so they need to charge more per hour than they actually make. Working on the side (without insurance & other overhead) I feel as though people should charge about 1/2 the "going rate" of someone that does it for a living. So in my eyes $35 to $50 an hour would be realistic in PA, NJ area.
If I was in your shoes and could use the extra cash I would offer him something like $150 a day (5 to 8 hours) to work on and shop his machines as necessary plus cost of parts. That would make it worthwhile for you and still be fairly cheap for him.
Just my 2 cents on things!

That's about what I was thinking. He's also got a Royal Flush with reset issues and a Duotron that won't count past the first ball. I figure that is a couple of afternoons worth of shopping and troubleshooting

#12 1 year ago

Might want to offer repairs on a piece work basis. You don't want someone to be suprised by the bill after the job.

I know we all run into unexpected problems that take more time. Probably should bid the job a bit high for unexpectec problems and you can always bill less if you dont have any problems and leave the customer happy.

#13 1 year ago

Problem here is what are you getting for your hourly rate. A capable tech can be worth 10 times the money as opposed to a novice. I feel if you are putting your shingle out to repair a game you better be able to fix it. None of this it needs a board. Fix the darn thing. Just venting a little, On our local pinball community we have a half dozen guys running around charging enough to get beer. I guess that is great for some but none of these guys have liability insurance, business licence or charge or remit tax. After they have messed around with the game and have given up, the machine makes it way over to our shop.

#14 1 year ago

$125 to show up and first hour, $75 for additional hours. Sliding scale if it takes 6 hours maybe give em a break.

I like to walk out of a repair with $200-350 or it's really not worth my time. House calls are potentially a major pain in the ass and you never really know what you are getting into. It's impossible to bring all the parts you might need and most homeowners are terrible at describing issues. In the event that it's something really simple pad it out with a cleaning/light bulb check to get to the two hours.

It's really up to you. But I always make it clear that I can't diagnose issues on the phone and that it's gonna cost $200-400 most likely. You can feel em out pretty quickly and see if they are too cheap to deal with. Your time and skills are valuable.

#15 1 year ago
Quoted from foramusementonly:

Problem here is what are you getting for your hourly rate. A capable tech can be worth 10 times the money as opposed to a novice. I feel if you are putting your shingle out to repair a game you better be able to fix it. None of this it needs a board. Fix the darn thing. Just venting a little, On our local pinball community we have a half dozen guys running around charging enough to get beer. I guess that is great for some but none of these guys have liability insurance, business licence or charge or remit tax. After they have messed around with the game and have given up, the machine makes it way over to our shop.

Yep gotta make sure and remit that tax

#16 1 year ago

100 for firat hour and 50 after that. Plus all parts. Most around here do board swaps to make it easy and charge around 200 with old board.

#17 1 year ago
Quoted from hoby1:

100 for firat hour and 50 after that. Plus all parts. Most around here do board swaps to make it easy and charge around 200 with old board.

Or you fix the games for free if its at the playboy mansion

#18 1 year ago
Quoted from CrazyLevi:

$125 to show up and first hour, $75 for additional hours. Sliding scale if it takes 6 hours maybe give em a break.
I like to walk out of a repair with $200-350 or it's really not worth my time. House calls are potentially a major pain in the ass and you never really know what you are getting into. It's impossible to bring all the parts you might need and most homeowners are terrible at describing issues. In the event that it's something really simple pad it out with a cleaning/light bulb check to get to the two hours.
It's really up to you. But I always make it clear that I can't diagnose issues on the phone and that it's gonna cost $200-400 most likely. You can feel em out pretty quickly and see if they are too cheap to deal with. Your time and skills are valuable.

VERY good advice! I have found that the more comfortable I am with charging a fair price and being up front about it, the better it is for both parties.

$125 to go out the door with all the gear loaded up is a very fair price, even if it ends up only being a fuse. I dont actually like doing house calls and have found my time is more valuable than the $40 an hour most want to pay. If I am not going to make $200 on the trip then in general it is not worth my effort and I would be rather working on my own games.

Other thing is I always tell homeowners up front that I am not married to the machine. The only promise is that it is working 100% now and it will for sure break again. When it breaks again, it is a new trip.

5 months later
#19 1 year ago
Quoted from vid1900:

If it's a rich SOB rather than an operator, I charge $100 a hour.
Lately it seems like only people in McMansions have pinball at home.

What if it’s a rich nice person ?

#20 1 year ago

the hourly rate is really apples and oranges. you can't say, "i charge X per hour and he charges Y". because some people just take a really long time to get the same result as a good (efficient) tech. therefore saying what anyone charges per hour is really kind of pointless.

Also if you're a tech and you show up without the correct parts, that's your problem, not the owner's. you knew ahead what you were fixing, and if you had a clue, you would come prepared (with the correct parts and schematics.) Every once in a while you can be surprised with a part you don't have. But if this happens consistently, you're not coming prepared.

#21 1 year ago

to that point, i would always encourage everybody to have schematics/manual for each of their games. Unfortunately, in my experience, this happens about 20% of the time. Personally i can fix stuff without schematics, just sometimes it takes a lot longer. For this reason, personally i have close to 1000 schematics in my library. I don't ask people if they have them, i just bring them. I don't unfortunately have everything, but 96% of the time i have it.

Having schematics is especially important to EM repairs. They can really save significant time. If i don't have schematics and the owner doesn't either, it just takes a lot more time. Which means the owner is paying more. Sometimes a lot more than steve young's $16 schematic fee...

#22 1 year ago
Quoted from cfh:

the hourly rate is really apples and oranges. you can't say, "i charge X per hour and he charges Y". because some people just take a really long time to get the same result as a good (efficient) tech. therefore saying what anyone charges per hour is really kind of pointless.

completely agree.. If you are a novice, I don't even want you looking at my machine because you are probably wasting both of our time. Gavin "local chicago tech" is amazing how quickly he can diagnose and fix problems.. Obviously you're on par with that Clay just based on watching your videos. I typically don't call a tech unless I have more than one machine that needs to be looked at so it's worth it.

#23 1 year ago

I only know one way to repair, remove the boards and inspect/clean/repair everything.Rebuild pop bumpers and flippers.
I would charge by the job and know what I was getting into before agreeing.

#24 1 year ago

Wow, these prices are compensating for it not being a full time job. If you could could do this full time, $75/hr is $156K a year all to you; no car mechanic shop or engineering firm taking a cut. Engineering fees are often $90/hr, so 75 would be steep for me. Enough to make sure I work on my own games. I once had the mistake of calling Roto Rooter to my house for a clogged drain, and when I got the bill, I paid it, and got my own snake.

#25 1 year ago
Quoted from RyanStl:

If you could could do this full time, $75/hr is $156K a year all to you

Most techs don't work 40 hour work weeks, and it's a lot of driving and buying a bunch of parts up front which is a huge investment. A mechanic might have to invest in a lot of tools, but as far as parts they can typically have local parts the same day.

Quoted from RyanStl:

Engineering fees are often $90/hr

I wish I could make $90/hour as an independent contractor, is that the typical rate?

#27 1 year ago
Quoted from vid1900:

If it's a rich SOB rather than an operator, I charge $100 a hour.
Lately it seems like only people in McMansions have pinball at home.

Not related to pinball repair, but around here many businesses have two different price scales. There is the scale for working class neighborhoods. And then there is the scale for the high rent district in town. In the high rent district getting your lawn sprinkler system repaired will cost a lot more for the same amount of work.

#28 1 year ago
Quoted from cottonm4:

Not related to pinball repair, but around here many businesses have two different price scales. There is the scale for working class neighborhoods. And then there is the scale for the high rent district in town. In the high rent district getting your lawn sprinkler system repaired will cost a lot more for the same amount of work.

It's too bad that things are that way. They shouldn't be.

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