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#643420 - 10/02/08 08:26 PM So, how's the economy affecting your business so far?  
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 6,828
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member
Jerry Groot RPT  Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 6,828
Grand Rapids Michigan
Just curious how the rest of you are doing?

So far, I've not noticed a drop in my regulars that usually schedule. I have noticed a drop in incoming phone calls however.

I'm getting more price shoppers than normal. But, unfortunately, price shoppers usually go for the cheapest "tooners" either way. To bad they don't go for quality first and price 2nd.

I think being well established will help us that are through this screwy ordeal in the economy.

How are the rest of you faring?


Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.
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#643421 - 10/02/08 09:18 PM Re: So, how's the economy affecting your business so far?  
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 2,539
David Jenson Offline
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David Jenson  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 2,539
Maine
A little slowdown in the folks who come to Maine for the summer, and a bit of a slide in the regulars, but it's a bit hard to tell if it's a trend, or a temporary dip.

'No price shoppers yet ... thankfully.


David L. Jenson
Tuning - Repairs - Refurbishing
Jenson's Piano Service
-----
#643422 - 10/02/08 10:01 PM Re: So, how's the economy affecting your business so far?  
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 163
Dennis Kelvie Offline
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Dennis Kelvie  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 163
Caldwell, Idaho
A LOT of everything you said and a little more. . .But there is still enough to keep going. This week with the panic over the national finances has been especially quiet. Good thing I have as many of my regulars as I do. . .


Dennis C. Kelvie
Piano Tuner/Technician since 1976
#643423 - 10/02/08 11:21 PM Re: So, how's the economy affecting your business so far?  
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,292
Ron Alexander Offline
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Ron Alexander  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,292
North Carolina
I've had a pretty good week for calls. I scheduled about 50% of my regulars for the month of September. Most of the remainder want to wait until closer to the holidays. I havent began calling the October customers yet.

Here in the Southeast, like most places there is uncertainty. To further complicate this is the gas shortage that has affected us due to the hurricane in the Gulf a few weeks ago. The pipeline is still not back up to 100% capacity from what I understand. So in addition to the unsettled economic situation, people have been worrying about finding enough gas to get to work, and at a price under $4.00 a gallon.

So all in all, I think is is going to be an interesting autumn.


-----------------
Ron Alexander
Piano Tuner-Technician
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#643424 - 10/03/08 08:22 AM Re: So, how's the economy affecting your business so far?  
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 6,828
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member
Jerry Groot RPT  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 6,828
Grand Rapids Michigan
Personally, I'm not to worried about the fall as that it typically our busiest season. I wonder about after January and on? Especially with this new bailout going on.

I've been fortunate to have November and December booked out already. I have some openings yet in October. I'm one of the luckier ones maybe.

I know many other very good techs here have no work at all.


Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.
#643425 - 10/03/08 10:04 AM Re: So, how's the economy affecting your business so far?  
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 1,645
Dave Stahl Offline
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Dave Stahl  Offline
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Joined: May 2007
Posts: 1,645
There's been a slight drop in incoming calls, but business has held up well. The postcards are a huge help there. I'm generally booked 2-3 weeks out pretty solidly. I haven't had to get on the phone too often to remind people how badly their pianos need servicing...

Where I live, the economy is generally more robust than in other areas, because of the high-tech and cosmopolitan aspects of the SF Bay Area.


Promote Harmony in the Universe...Tune your piano!

Dave Stahl, RPT
Piano Technician's Guild
San Jose, CA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAniw3m7L2I
http://dstahlpiano.net
#643426 - 10/03/08 11:29 AM Re: So, how's the economy affecting your business so far?  
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 26
Amy Boyack Offline
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Amy Boyack  Offline
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Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 26
Dave,
What are you doing with postcards? Who do you send them to? Where do you get your lists? Can you be more specific? I'm new here.


Amy Boyack
part time piano and voice teacher
http://SisterSingers.com/blog
#643427 - 10/03/08 04:42 PM Re: So, how's the economy affecting your business so far?  
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 1,930
88Key_PianoPlayer Offline
1000 Post Club Member
88Key_PianoPlayer  Offline
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Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 1,930
El Cajon, CA
My status currently: as good as unemployed. frown
I've been this way for close to a year, now, if not more. :\
I've distributed business cards to several places, like coffee shops, teaching studios, etc, but the fish aren't biting. mad Is it possible my tuning fee might be too high? I'm still somewhat lower than most of the local RPTs whose prices I'm aware of, even though I'm a Jackson over the base triple-digit level...
I'm in San Diego, CA, area, btw.

And here I got rid of my old piano cause I'd like to get a better one... what gives? confused
About the piano, let's see... I'm looking for a... ok, ok, I'll spare the details for some other topic, which IDK if I'll post anytime soon. One thing, though, if I don't get a job anytime soon, budget for said instrument would be $750 max including moving costs. Also, I plan to record some songs for a CD on said piano, possibly starting the same day the instrument is brought home, so I'll want it to be good enough as is for that purpose.

If I'm not able to find a job (to enable me to get a better quality piano), or a good deal on a decent piano within the next several months.... I may resort to drastic measures to realize my goal of getting my (hopefully sooner rather than later) upcoming CD recorded and mastered (I'll be doing the mastering myself) before the holiday season... including, but not limited to, recording on a 1930s spinet that has not been serviced and is straight strung, has a birdcage action, a speaking length of A0 around 24" and backscale around 1.5", bass bridge mounted on the wrong side of a cutoff bar, wound strings up to A4, cracked soundboard, bridges, pinblock AND plate.... need I describe more?


Associate Member - Piano Technicians Guild
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#643428 - 10/03/08 07:53 PM Re: So, how's the economy affecting your business so far?  
Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 4,497
Bob Offline
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Bob  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 4,497
Florida
My gross is down 14% year to date over last year, but I cut expenses, so my net is up. Phone was very quiet this past week due to bailout worries. I expect 2009 to be the same as 2008 at best, and hopefully not worse.

#643429 - 10/03/08 09:37 PM Re: So, how's the economy affecting your business so far?  
Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 3,715
Rod Verhnjak Offline
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Rod Verhnjak  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 3,715
Vancouver B.C. Canada
We are still busy in our part of Canada but what has affected me of late is our exchange rate. We were at par or above par with the U.S. over a year now. Today with all the stuff going on we are around .92 cents. So every big U.S. check I write is being affected. I was just getting use to have an equal dollar.

It was fun while it lasted. We were for a very short time able to purchace pianos or materials from the U.S. for $1.09 per a U.S. buck.


Verhnjak Pianos
Specializing in the Restoration, Refinishing & Maintenance
of Fine Heirloom Pianos

www.pianoman.ca
Verhnjak Pianos Facebook

#643430 - 10/03/08 10:38 PM Re: So, how's the economy affecting your business so far?  
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 1,645
Dave Stahl Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Dave Stahl  Offline
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Joined: May 2007
Posts: 1,645
Quote
Originally posted by Amy Boyack:
Dave,
What are you doing with postcards? Who do you send them to? Where do you get your lists? Can you be more specific? I'm new here.
Hi Amy,

I send them to people whose pianos I've tuned 6 months or a year ago, depending on the piano's stability. They have a picture of my cat lounging at the lyre of my piano, with my motto "promote harmony in the universe: tune your piano!" arcing over the top. The other side has the saying of month (some little piano ditty that I make up or steal), followed by "your piano ______ was last tuned on ______" Even if that doesn't get them to call immediately, I can't tell you how many times people have said the really like the postcards. I always see them on pianos, kitchen counters, and fridges when I go to customers' homes.

I have a fairly lengthy list of contacts in my database--that was developed in no small part with the help of two former employers when I first went solo about 7 years ago--so I was able to accumulate clients fairly quickly.


Hope this helps! It's a tough time to start a business right now, that's for sure.


Promote Harmony in the Universe...Tune your piano!

Dave Stahl, RPT
Piano Technician's Guild
San Jose, CA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAniw3m7L2I
http://dstahlpiano.net
#643431 - 10/03/08 11:05 PM Re: So, how's the economy affecting your business so far?  
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 1,645
Dave Stahl Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Dave Stahl  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: May 2007
Posts: 1,645
I have a long-time client is a locksmith. His business is booming...sadly, much of it is coming from banks wanting him to change the locks on foreclosed homes.


Promote Harmony in the Universe...Tune your piano!

Dave Stahl, RPT
Piano Technician's Guild
San Jose, CA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAniw3m7L2I
http://dstahlpiano.net
#643432 - 10/04/08 10:27 AM Re: So, how's the economy affecting your business so far?  
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 6,828
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member
Jerry Groot RPT  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 6,828
Grand Rapids Michigan
When we went to Germany in the fall of 2006 and exchanged U.S. dollars into Euro's, $1,000 here, now became the equivalent of $700 there. That really sucked! Lost $300 right off the bat.

I have my doubts as to if this so called bailout with $150,000 worth of ear marks, is going to actually work. Why must they always add ear marks? What makes them think they have that right???

I see a long time before things turn around to where they used to be and not before we suffer from a lot more corporate greed and a lot more hurt from the little guys like us.

Sounds too, like many CEO's of these companies might be getting decent payouts just to leave. What a crock!!!

Our congress and Senator needs to be fired for doing such a lousy job of handling our money.

A couple of days ago, via email, I had a client try and get me to drop my price for tuning by $20 per piano to tune hers and her daughters. They both live within a mile apart...supposedly.. Neither piano has been tuned in God knows how long and one has at least 3 broken notes. I said well, to help you out, I'll give a 10 % discount but, that's the best I can do. Everyone wants a discount. The more discounts you give, after a while, word spreads and everyone else will expect it too. Usually, I say no. Haven't heard back from this one yet.

What's CA or FLA or the East Coast like or other areas?


Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.
#643433 - 10/04/08 06:53 PM Re: So, how's the economy affecting your business so far?  
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,292
Ron Alexander Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Ron Alexander  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,292
North Carolina
Dont be a wuss Jerry...hehehehe...These are hard times for us pore old tuners. Keep that no discount attitude.

I swear this has been one heck of a week!!! I kidd not, every darned piano I have tuned this week except for two have been Wurlitzers. Next week I have 4 of these "gems" scheduled. What is going on out there in Wurlitzer World!!! They wait ten years to tune these d*mn things, and then they want me to tune all of 'em within the same week!!!! It enough to drive a nutty piano tuner even crazier!!!

I had one Wurlitzer already scheduled for today and thought I had scheduled another for today, when the lady called yesterday morning. The lady said she thought it was a Wurlitzer. When I arrived it plainly stated "Grand" right there on the fallboard. Yep, you got it: a Grand Spinet!!! It was all I could do to restrain myself from falling to the floor and weeping bitter tears!!!

I'm thinking of re-do'ing my tag here in Pete Summers fashion...only mind will read:

Ron Alexander
Ancient & Modern Era Wurlitzer Specialist

I guess Wurlitzer World is gettting ready for hard times!!!


-----------------
Ron Alexander
Piano Tuner-Technician
#643434 - 10/04/08 07:15 PM Re: So, how's the economy affecting your business so far?  
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,292
Ron Alexander Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Ron Alexander  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,292
North Carolina
Sorry Pete...I know your name..I really do. Sumner not Summers. Guess I'm really hating the thought of Summer (the season) being done and gone.


-----------------
Ron Alexander
Piano Tuner-Technician
#643435 - 10/04/08 09:04 PM Re: So, how's the economy affecting your business so far?  
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 852
Peter Sumner- Piano Technician Offline
500 Post Club Member
Peter Sumner- Piano Technician  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 852
San Francisco
Business is bad in Wasilla...lots of geezers with funny accents...I know they're not locals...they drive Lada's and mopeds instead of the four wheel drive trucks with 10 foot tires....and they only ask for a bottle of Vodka instead of a fee.....
There's this guy George who's following them around making notes in a big black book...it would have been a little black book, but he can't do cursive.....he also looks interested in the Vodka...hmmmmmmm...the plot thickens...
This Vicadin is soooooo good.....
Peter Sumner
Piano spy...I mean tuner...
Wasilla, Alsaka


Peter Sumner
Concert Piano Technician


#643436 - 10/04/08 10:26 PM Re: So, how's the economy affecting your business so far?  
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 6,828
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member
Jerry Groot RPT  Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 6,828
Grand Rapids Michigan
Peter, I think you need a double dose of that stuff and then post in here! We're all waiting to see what comes out of you next.... Your mouth, that is...


Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.
#643437 - 10/04/08 10:50 PM Re: So, how's the economy affecting your business so far?  
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,292
Ron Alexander Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Ron Alexander  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,292
North Carolina
Somebody get that Vicadin away from him. Next thing we know he will be Mousse hunting!!!! laugh


-----------------
Ron Alexander
Piano Tuner-Technician
#643438 - 10/05/08 07:43 AM Re: So, how's the economy affecting your business so far?  
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 2,539
David Jenson Offline
2000 Post Club Member
David Jenson  Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 2,539
Maine
" Everyone wants a discount. The more discounts you give, after a while, word spreads and everyone else will expect it too." Jerry Groot RPT

That could be another thread. Not only does the discount virus spread, but folks start wanting tuning, repairs, piano moving and house painting (slight exaggeration, 'sorry) all on one charge, and they start suspecting that you are overcharging as a matter of course.

I'll admit to giving the occasional "secret" discount, but I learned as a result of many frustrating experiences to NEVER give an up-front discount ... EVER!


David L. Jenson
Tuning - Repairs - Refurbishing
Jenson's Piano Service
-----
#643439 - 10/05/08 10:01 AM Re: So, how's the economy affecting your business so far?  
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 1,645
Dave Stahl Offline
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Dave Stahl  Offline
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Joined: May 2007
Posts: 1,645
Quote
Originally posted by David Jenson:
" Everyone wants a discount. The more discounts you give, after a while, word spreads and everyone else will expect it too." Jerry Groot RPT

That could be another thread. Not only does the discount virus spread, but folks start wanting tuning, repairs, piano moving and house painting (slight exaggeration, 'sorry) all on one charge, and they start suspecting that you are overcharging as a matter of course.

I'll admit to giving the occasional "secret" discount, but I learned as a result of many frustrating experiences to NEVER give an up-front discount ... EVER!
That's why I list all of my prices on my website and at the bottom of every invoice. No mystery, no haggling, discounts at my discretion.


Promote Harmony in the Universe...Tune your piano!

Dave Stahl, RPT
Piano Technician's Guild
San Jose, CA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAniw3m7L2I
http://dstahlpiano.net
#643440 - 10/05/08 12:20 PM Re: So, how's the economy affecting your business so far?  
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 498
Randy Karasik Offline
Full Member
Randy Karasik  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 498
Arvada, Colorado, USA, Earth
Normally I'm swamped this time of year. Instead I'm enjoying a less hectic pace, but still have plenty of work.

I'm taking more time to go to the gym and have benefitted from some business decisions I made a year ago.

Life is good.


Registered Piano Technician
Serving Colorado Since 1978
randy@karasikpiano.com
www.karasikpiano.com
#643441 - 10/05/08 12:38 PM Re: So, how's the economy affecting your business so far?  
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 852
Peter Sumner- Piano Technician Offline
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Peter Sumner- Piano Technician  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 852
San Francisco
Randy...
I'm very happy that for you that "Life is good"....
For me also....
I work very hard and am grateful for the opportunities I have been given....
Please remember the 750,000 good folks who have lost their jobs in the past eight months...
Some of them in the piano trade....
For them life is far from 'good'


Peter Sumner
Concert Piano Technician


#643442 - 10/05/08 01:14 PM Re: So, how's the economy affecting your business so far?  
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 6,828
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member
Jerry Groot RPT  Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 6,828
Grand Rapids Michigan
Maybe I shouldn't say this but, but I will. It is how I feel... My hope, is that the "tooners" out there that should never have gotten into this business in the first place; you all know who these people are in your area, i.e., those that are not honest and do continual lousy work, fail and go out of business...

When I first started, my dad told me; "Jer, always do the best job possible under any given circumstance. Always pretend that you're following up after yourself and what would YOU think of YOUR work?" That way, you'll always be one step ahead of yourself.

Those that do lousy work come and go for that very reason but, those that insist on always having good quality will not only make more money but, they will be able charge more for it and rightly so. Plus, they will fare better in times of recession or worse."

While it sounds like things are down a little bit for all of us, some more than others, probably dependent upon the area and competition, or perhaps other things as well, our clients are still able to give us enough work to keep us going so that we can make a living. For that, many of us are fortunate.

I believe we will all be affected one way or another, sooner or later if this failed economy trend continues however.

Speaking of discounts, I know of several people RPT's in my area, that give an automatic 10% discount to all churches and schools regardless of even if they only tune one piano for them. I totally disagree with that theory but, I'm not running their business, they are and in my opinion, it is then being run in a constant discount mode.

Your thoughts?


Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.
#643443 - 10/05/08 01:32 PM Re: So, how's the economy affecting your business so far?  
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 498
Randy Karasik Offline
Full Member
Randy Karasik  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 498
Arvada, Colorado, USA, Earth
I give discounts for quantity consideration as well as frequency. A church that tunes one piano once a year gets no discount. But a church that tunes 4 pianos 4 times a year gets a discount.

Also, a second piano is always discounted and a piano teacher that has me tune her piano on a regular basis always ... ALWAYS ... gets a 'teacher discount'.


Registered Piano Technician
Serving Colorado Since 1978
randy@karasikpiano.com
www.karasikpiano.com
#643444 - 10/05/08 01:38 PM Re: So, how's the economy affecting your business so far?  
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 6,828
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member
Jerry Groot RPT  Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 6,828
Grand Rapids Michigan
I give a discount for 2 or more tuned in one setting normally. Gives them incentive to tune more than one piano. And, if teachers give me referrals, I'll give them a discount too.


Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.
#643445 - 10/05/08 11:33 PM Re: So, how's the economy affecting your business so far?  
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 6,828
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member
Jerry Groot RPT  Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 6,828
Grand Rapids Michigan
Ok, so, let's see how we can improve business then with new ideas.

Here is one idea. Each of you add to it.

1. Be a happier sounding person when we answer the telephones or return calls. (Ummm, Peter, you off from the vicodin first??? eek ) wink


Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.
#643446 - 10/06/08 12:23 AM Re: So, how's the economy affecting your business so far?  
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 1,645
Dave Stahl Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Dave Stahl  Offline
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Joined: May 2007
Posts: 1,645
2. Learn something on each job, be it a new repair, a new way to tune, or a new way to interact with customers.


Promote Harmony in the Universe...Tune your piano!

Dave Stahl, RPT
Piano Technician's Guild
San Jose, CA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAniw3m7L2I
http://dstahlpiano.net
#643447 - 10/06/08 04:39 AM Re: So, how's the economy affecting your business so far?  
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 976
snoopycar Offline
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snoopycar  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 976
Singapore
3. pls allow me to oil your squeky hinges with my prolube - complimentary service, for limited period only smile


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#643448 - 10/06/08 08:52 AM Re: So, how's the economy affecting your business so far?  
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 498
Randy Karasik Offline
Full Member
Randy Karasik  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 498
Arvada, Colorado, USA, Earth
Learn how to be a better piano player.


Registered Piano Technician
Serving Colorado Since 1978
randy@karasikpiano.com
www.karasikpiano.com
#643449 - 10/06/08 10:27 AM Re: So, how's the economy affecting your business so far?  
Joined: Apr 2007
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JDelmore Offline
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JDelmore  Offline
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Posts: 634
Read a book on Marketing...then apply what you learn.


PTG Associate Member

"There is always room above; there is only the ground below."....F.E. Morton (with props to Del F.)
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Blanking out randomly?
by luckiest_charm. 06/24/17 04:44 AM
Peter Bence Arrangements
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Software Piano Comparison at KVRAudio
by Joe Garfield. 06/24/17 01:50 AM
Curious, how often do you play on an acoustic?
by Gombessa. 06/23/17 09:25 PM
How about those spinets?
by RonTuner. 06/23/17 06:46 PM
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