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Contract work

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Turnaround, Jun 30, 2007.

  1. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    Who here does contract work for a guitar store - repairs, setups, refrets, etc. ? I am looking to get an idea of the rates/discounts you give to stores compared to what you charge your own customers. I have a suspiciaion that this varies a lot, but I am interested to see of there is some consistency.

    PM me if you would rather not share this info in a public forum.
  2. I do not do this kind of work, but a few close friends do and for the most part it seems to be a certain percentage of what the store charges. Say you get 60% and the store gets 40%, or 70-30... etc.

    As far as the ratio goes, there's no real set rate. Just depends on what you can get from the store, what you think you're worth... and how much experience you have.
  3. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    Check out the Luthiers bluebook on Stewart MacDonalds site, this will give you a competant idea of standard rates around the USA, and figure 10%-30% discount to retailers who are a steady customer.
  4. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    Had a look on the StewMac site but couldn't find the Lutiher's Bluebook. Can youpost a link?
  5. gfried84

    gfried84 Commercial User

    May 7, 2005
    Owner Fried Guitars Inc.
    I do this work and I generally charge the company 60% of my normal prices. If a setup is 50 I charge 30.
  6. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    When we did this type of work we set the rate and gave the store a twenty per cent discount. The stores were provided with a complete price list which they could use or not. They were also provided with guide lines for using the price list. That is just as important. They have to understand that sometimes the luthier/tech is going to find that the in-store diagnosis may be incorrect. When the error is costly it can cause some problems. Most of the stores were good about tagging the guitar with the client's name and phone number and actually preferred that the tech and customer communicate. It is important to remember that the customer belongs to the store, at least initially. A few guarded that information as if were gold. For obvious reasons, that almost always lead to a short relationship. If the store allows you to talk to their customer it usually saves a lot of headaches. Our agreements were such that the store would sell common parts and strings and we would provide service and order in the non-stocking parts. Remember to check the case for strings and parts before you leave the store.

    Stewart-MacDonald used to publish the Luthier's Bluebook in their catalogs. It doesn't seem to appear on the website anymore. You can make your own. Make a list of all your services. Be detailed. There are many services that you will be providing. Take nut work, for example. You will be replacing plastic nuts, making nuts from various materials (don't forget to charge for the individual material), adjusting slots, shimming nuts, etc. Each service should be on the list. If you are willing to intonate a guitar sans setup that needs to be on the list. If you restring without a setup that needs to be on the list. A detailed price list with accompanying descriptions will set you free. And save a ton of headaches and disagreements down the road. For examples of price lists, search the web for guitar repair. Get as many prices as you feel necessary and then you can tailor your price to your marketplace. If you are in the city your prices will probably be higher than in a rural area. If you are the only tech for a hundred miles you might be able to charge a little bit more. If you are still learning repair it still makes sense to charge the market rate. You can always give someone a discount but they will howl every time a price increase is announced. Don't forget to call around to the stores and shops and ask for their prices. They are always willing to give out their prices on set ups and fretwork and a few other items. It will let you gauge where your pricing should be.

    Most importantly, don't sell your services cheaply. Plumbers and electricians get fifty dollars an hour and up. They are not willing to work for less. Why should you?
  7. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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