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#2124315 - 07/28/13 04:50 PM How much do they make?  
Joined: Oct 2011
Posts: 33
Chrislw Offline
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Chrislw  Offline
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If I were employed by a piano store as a piano tuner who goes out to customers' homes to tune and service their pianos, what kind of compensation can I expect to receive? I would like to have some idea of what to expect. $8/hr? $12/hr?
Thanks.

Last edited by Chrislw; 07/28/13 05:40 PM.
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#2124320 - 07/28/13 05:02 PM Re: How much do they make? [Re: Chrislw]  
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Dave B Offline
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Philadelphia area
What did the piano tuner do after winning a million dollar lottery?

Decided to keep tuning pianos until the money ran out.


"Imagine it in all its primatic colorings, its counterpart in our souls - our souls that are great pianos whose strings, of honey and of steel, the divisions of the rainbow set twanging, loosing on the air great novels of adventure!" - William Carlos Williams
#2124330 - 07/28/13 05:13 PM Re: How much do they make? [Re: Chrislw]  
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Chrislw Offline
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Chrislw  Offline
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Thanks for the straightforward answer!!

#2124360 - 07/28/13 06:04 PM Re: How much do they make? [Re: Chrislw]  
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Tim Sullivan Offline
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Muskoka, Ontario
That's a tough one mainly because not too many people are willing to disclose their income to strangers online on a public forum. I don't think I'm alone in my experience. I basically starved for a year or two when I started out 22 years ago, even though I purchased an established tuning business. It takes a while for your name to get around if you're good. If you're bad, everyone will know almost immediately, so be careful.
After a while, with good care taken to improve your skills, both in piano service and in business practice, you can make a comfortable living. Just remember, it isn't how much money you make, but what you do with it that counts.

Tim


I'm a piano tech and dealer in Central Ontario.
www.huntsvillepiano.ca
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#2124423 - 07/28/13 08:14 PM Re: How much do they make? [Re: Chrislw]  
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Jbyron Offline
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USA
Originally Posted by Chrislw
If I were employed by a piano store as a piano tuner who goes out to customers' homes to tune and service their pianos, what kind of compensation can I expect to receive? I would like to have some idea of what to expect. $8/hr? $12/hr?
Thanks.


Piano dealerships don't usually pay tuners by the hour, they pay them as independent contractors. They are all different and pay varies from technician to technician depending on several factors. I don't think you'll have much luck finding out what they make.


Tuner-Technician


#2124426 - 07/28/13 08:16 PM Re: How much do they make? [Re: Chrislw]  
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Gene Nelson Offline
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Old Hangtown California
In store tunings = floor tunings and it is not unusual to get paid from 30% to 50% of your regular rate - sometimes a bit more.
The referral to a store customer may not be much different if the store is paying for the first tuning.
You keep the clients.
If you can voice and regulate and do solid tunings you will have something to bargain with at the store.


RPT
PTG Member
#2124486 - 07/28/13 10:32 PM Re: How much do they make? [Re: Chrislw]  
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BenP Offline
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South Jersey
Like others have said, fees vary very widely, and are not necessarily "hourly" rates. I can definitely tell you, though, even as a relative beginner in this profession, I would not do anything on a piano for $8-12 dollars an hour. Unless you are a high school student living with parents, with relatively few bills to pay, that is an extremely low hourly rate.

In New Jersey, where I live, you would need to make $25-30/hour (assuming a typical 40-hour work week) to have a comfortable/average standard of living. You should figure out the cost of living in your area and your personal needs, and base your tuning fee on that. If you're looking for work with a dealer, you should still have a number in mind, and should negotiate accordingly.


Ben Patterson, RPT
South Jersey Piano Service, LLC
www.sjpianoservice.com
#2124500 - 07/28/13 10:50 PM Re: How much do they make? [Re: Chrislw]  
Joined: Sep 2006
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rada Offline
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pagosa springs,co
I know many years have passed but I don't think I ever paid less than $50/tuning and nowadays it can be double to triple that amount....of course it is difficult to put a value on experience. When I took piano lessons they were $3/half hour and that was the expensive teacher...most people pay $10-%15 /hour for babysitting. Value and return....hmmmm..something to think about.

rada

#2124502 - 07/28/13 10:55 PM Re: How much do they make? [Re: Chrislw]  
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beethoven986 Offline
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Dealers typically pay a per-piano rate, and most of them don't pay well. I won't tune for dealers.

#2124714 - 07/29/13 09:59 AM Re: How much do they make? [Re: Chrislw]  
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rXd Offline
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A qualified and fully experienced senior tech with a large dealership can make a salary commensurate with a similar position in any other industry if not more.

A small dealership will employ tuners part time on piece work. An experienced tuner who can pitch raise a piano and have it solidly tuned within an hour can do rather well. An inexperienced tuner who takes 3-4 hours to do an inferior job on the same piece rate will struggle to make a living. The first will be an asset to the dealership. The latter can be a liability.

A piano used to learn tuning on is likely to be a whole different experience compared to a brand new instrument.

Dealers talk with each other in setting reasonable tuning rates. Traveling product represeentatives are also a good source of current information among dealers.

I hear from all types of dealers all over the world of the problem of finding tuners who can also make a simple repair or adjustment to a piano action.


Amanda Reckonwith
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.


#2124728 - 07/29/13 10:44 AM Re: How much do they make? [Re: Chrislw]  
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Nash. Piano Rescue Offline
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Nash. Piano Rescue  Offline
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East Nashville,TN Scottsville...
I just include the first tuning in the price along with the delivery, Sales tax and my dealer warranty on everything. You have to show people you have confidence in what you are selling period. I put a budget initially on every piano that gets delivered. The tuners sub for me but get their entire rate plus a trip charge if they need to charge one.

If they own pianos themselves sometimes we trade out for transportation of the pianos back to their shop if they want for future tunings. I do know of some tuners that work for other dealers making 40 bucks a tuning and I look at that like I wouldn't get out of bed for 40 dollars.

It's worth it to me to have a stellar job done by these people because they are the ones sitting there with your customer in the end. I've also found that the by the ear tuners who use a tuning fork to tune or machine to set temperament then go by the ear are highly requested so they are paid a bonus.


J. Christie
Nashville Piano Rescue
www.NashvillePianoRescue.com
East Nashville
Bowling Green, KY
Scottsville KY.
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Putting inspiration in the hands of area musicians
Through restoration/renovation
#2124774 - 07/29/13 11:51 AM Re: How much do they make? [Re: Chrislw]  
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 2,045
bkw58 Offline

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bkw58  Offline

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Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 2,045
Conway, AR USA
Originally Posted by Chrislw
If I were employed by a piano store as a piano tuner who goes out to customers' homes to tune and service their pianos, what kind of compensation can I expect to receive? I would like to have some idea of what to expect. $8/hr? $12/hr?
Thanks.


Expect to reap what you sow. If you love the work, you'll obtain benefits far beyond what you now imagine. If you do not, then it doesn't matter how much anyone pays. You will fail.


Bob W.
Piano Technician (Retired since 2006)
Conway, Arkansas
www.pianotechno.blogspot.com
#2124775 - 07/29/13 11:51 AM Re: How much do they make? [Re: Chrislw]  
Joined: Jun 2013
Posts: 78
Samthetech Offline
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Samthetech  Offline
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When I started tuning IN HOME with a dealership (Yeah, I read the question!!!), I made $8/hr... I had zero experience, they even had to teach me how to drive the truck! Within 3 months, I made $8/hr plus 5% commission. It equaled...up to $10/hr. That being said, I should have been making more like $15-20/hr after I was being sent out to tune in customer's homes, when my training/practice made me equal to being a "junior tech". However, I was sent out to tune in a customer's home after just a week. (I was in no way ready for that, but I didn't know any better at the time!) As you can probably tell from the answers you've been getting, it is very rare for a dealership to employ tuners in that fashion. If they lowball you an offer, and you want the training, go for it! But realize that if they only offer you $8/hr, you probably aren't going to be able to stick around too long after you're trained. Nobody can actually make a living on $8/hr for too long, especially when the alternative is much higher. But TALK to the people who work there before you agree to work there, especially if you are signing a contract to work there for any length of time. Even better, talk to people who USED to work there! You may find out that its better to learn on your own. I don't regret the time I spent at the company I trained at, but only because I learned a lot of life lessons that have come in handy! When I quit, I very much regretted working there!


Piano Technician, 3 years experience

And why yes, I know I'm a girl!
#2124799 - 07/29/13 12:39 PM Re: How much do they make? [Re: bkw58]  
Joined: Mar 2009
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rXd Offline
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rXd  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2009
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Originally Posted by bkw58
Originally Posted by Chrislw
If I were employed by a piano store as a piano tuner who goes out to customers' homes to tune and service their pianos, what kind of compensation can I expect to receive? I would like to have some idea of what to expect. $8/hr? $12/hr?
Thanks.


Expect to reap what you sow. If you love the work, you'll obtain benefits far beyond what you now imagine. If you do not, then it doesn't matter how much anyone pays. You will fail.


+1. Follow your bliss. Do what you enjoy and the money will take care of itself. I have found this to be very true.


Amanda Reckonwith
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.


#2124807 - 07/29/13 12:50 PM Re: How much do they make? [Re: Nash. Piano Rescue]  
Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 4,584
Bob Offline
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Bob  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 4,584
Florida
Originally Posted by Nash. Piano Rescue
I just include the first tuning in the price along with the delivery, Sales tax and my dealer warranty on everything. You have to show people you have confidence in what you are selling period. I put a budget initially on every piano that gets delivered. The tuners sub for me but get their entire rate plus a trip charge if they need to charge one.

If they own pianos themselves sometimes we trade out for transportation of the pianos back to their shop if they want for future tunings. I do know of some tuners that work for other dealers making 40 bucks a tuning and I look at that like I wouldn't get out of bed for 40 dollars.

It's worth it to me to have a stellar job done by these people because they are the ones sitting there with your customer in the end. I've also found that the by the ear tuners who use a tuning fork to tune or machine to set temperament then go by the ear are highly requested so they are paid a bonus.


This is a company I would buy a piano from.

#2124853 - 07/29/13 02:22 PM Re: How much do they make? [Re: Chrislw]  
Joined: Apr 2013
Posts: 422
Carbonblob Offline
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Carbonblob  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2013
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Los Angeles, Ca.
Bob..........+1


KAWAI RX-3 BLAK
YAMAHA GRANTOUCH GT1
#2124953 - 07/29/13 06:22 PM Re: How much do they make? [Re: rXd]  
Joined: Jun 2010
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Jbyron Offline
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Jbyron  Offline
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USA
Originally Posted by rxd
A qualified and fully experienced senior tech with a large dealership can make a salary commensurate with a similar position in any other industry if not more.

A small dealership will employ tuners part time on piece work. An experienced tuner who can pitch raise a piano and have it solidly tuned within an hour can do rather well. An inexperienced tuner who takes 3-4 hours to do an inferior job on the same piece rate will struggle to make a living. The first will be an asset to the dealership. The latter can be a liability.

A piano used to learn tuning on is likely to be a whole different experience compared to a brand new instrument.

Dealers talk with each other in setting reasonable tuning rates. Traveling product represeentatives are also a good source of current information among dealers.

I hear from all types of dealers all over the world of the problem of finding tuners who can also make a simple repair or adjustment to a piano action.


+1

I've found over time that some of the tuners who state they would never stoop to the lows of working for a store, probably couldn't.


Tuner-Technician


#2125010 - 07/29/13 09:19 PM Re: How much do they make? [Re: Jbyron]  
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 3,489
beethoven986 Offline
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beethoven986  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2009
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Originally Posted by Jbyron
Originally Posted by rxd
A qualified and fully experienced senior tech with a large dealership can make a salary commensurate with a similar position in any other industry if not more.

A small dealership will employ tuners part time on piece work. An experienced tuner who can pitch raise a piano and have it solidly tuned within an hour can do rather well. An inexperienced tuner who takes 3-4 hours to do an inferior job on the same piece rate will struggle to make a living. The first will be an asset to the dealership. The latter can be a liability.

A piano used to learn tuning on is likely to be a whole different experience compared to a brand new instrument.

Dealers talk with each other in setting reasonable tuning rates. Traveling product represeentatives are also a good source of current information among dealers.

I hear from all types of dealers all over the world of the problem of finding tuners who can also make a simple repair or adjustment to a piano action.


+1

I've found over time that some of the tuners who state they would never stoop to the lows of working for a store, probably couldn't.


The problem, at least in my area, is that most of the dealers are paying around $30 for a floor tuning, and aren't investing much in terms of regulation. So, if you're a normal person who does four tunings per day, that's $120. Well, I can make that in one non-dealer tuning. I suppose it'd be one thing if the dealers were actually able to give their tuners new clients, but most of the dealers aren't selling very many pianos right now. Not much of an incentive...

#2126199 - 08/01/13 01:34 AM Re: How much do they make? [Re: Chrislw]  
Joined: Feb 2002
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88Key_PianoPlayer Offline
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88Key_PianoPlayer  Offline
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El Cajon, CA
I was doing floor tunings a few years ago for several months in San Diego, CA. At the dealer I did most work for (they dealt an east coast American brand and a Japanese brand), I started at $15 per piano, then after a few months they upgraded me to $20/piano. (Also at first I was working in a warehouse down the street, then they moved me to the store after a while.)

Also, another dealer (who sold pianos from a midwest company, now owned by a guitar firm and made in China) recruited me for a going out of business / change of ownership sale to tune pianos there for a week or two. They paid me $40 per piano. I worked there on days I wasn't at the first place. Around this time I was charging around $80-100 (forgot exactly now) for in-home tunings. (I never did any of those for either store. My rate is considerably less than what I believe RPTs are charging, as I'm not at that level yet.)
Apparently the first place didn't like me working for a competitor, so they let me go. In the last few years since then, I've probably tuned my own pianos more times than the combined paid tunings I've done. (Apparently I'm not that good at advertising.)


Associate Member - Piano Technicians Guild
1950 (#144211) Baldwin Hamilton
1956 (#167714) Baldwin Hamilton
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#2126401 - 08/01/13 01:04 PM Re: How much do they make? [Re: rXd]  
Joined: Mar 2009
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bkw58 Offline

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bkw58  Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 2,045
Conway, AR USA
Originally Posted by rxd
Originally Posted by bkw58
Originally Posted by Chrislw
If I were employed by a piano store as a piano tuner who goes out to customers' homes to tune and service their pianos, what kind of compensation can I expect to receive? I would like to have some idea of what to expect. $8/hr? $12/hr?
Thanks.


Expect to reap what you sow. If you love the work, you'll obtain benefits far beyond what you now imagine. If you do not, then it doesn't matter how much anyone pays. You will fail.



+1. Follow your bliss. Do what you enjoy and the money will take care of itself. I have found this to be very true.


thumb

Last edited by bkw58; 08/01/13 01:05 PM. Reason: typo

Bob W.
Piano Technician (Retired since 2006)
Conway, Arkansas
www.pianotechno.blogspot.com
#2126642 - 08/01/13 09:32 PM Re: How much do they make? [Re: Chrislw]  
Joined: May 2005
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showard Offline
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showard  Offline
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Hortonville, Wisconsin
When you're starting out as a tuner and need work, just about anything a dealer will pay is better than sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring. When I was a new tuner I would tune the pianos in the lesson studios every three months. They had 10 pianos and they paid me $35 per piano. This is also the rate they paid for floor tunings and if they sent you out to tune the first tuning on a new piano. I was glad to have the work and the experience. I was even able to pick up some work tuning for some of the teachers who taught at the store which is a big plus as this generally turns into quite a few referrals. Even though I wouldn't tune for this rate now, I was glad to have the job at the time. And if I needed more work I would certainly be willing to do it again.


Steve Howard
Piano Technician
Owner of Howard Piano Industries
www.howardpianoindustries.com
#2134134 - 08/17/13 12:09 AM Re: How much do they make? [Re: Chrislw]  
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Gary Fowler Offline
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If you are a beginner piano tuner, honestly you should be willing to work for free just to get the experience on as many pianos as you can. Once you can tune your way out of a paper bag, it might become more clear what you are worth to a piano store.


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