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#2479520 11/11/15 05:46 PM
Joined: Jul 2012
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Tuned a Yamaha upright one and a half months ago (small pitch raise involved), customer calls last week to say its out of tune again.
About 25 mins drive away, whats your policy on this time of thing ?
I haven't had a call back in a very long time and not sure how to best handle it regarding fees etc etc
I do want to ensure the customer is happy and i retain their business in the long term.

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I will back my tunings for up to 2 months with certain exceptions:

If I did a major pitch raise

If there are obvious mechanical problems such as splitting bridges or loose tuning pins that I advise the customer about

If the piano has been moved

If another tuner has worked on it in the meantime

If it's being used for public performance

Etc.

I usually don't charge anything. It's such a rare occurrence that it really doesn't impact my income to retouch a tuning for free. Over the last 36 years tuning professionally, I've received maybe 6 or so calls about the piano drifting. (not including the above exceptions.)

In fact, i feel grateful that they call me when it happens. I would rather they call me back than get all upset with me and call someone else.

Btw, if you are certain that the drifting is caused by variable climate, this would be a good time to introduce your customer to the Dampp-Chaser Piano Lifesaver System smile


Joe Gumbosky
Piano Tuning & Repair
www.morethanpianos.com
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"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -Marcus Aurelius
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Go fix it
But find out what they are complaining about.
Your fault? No charge
Good customer relations imho
If it's environmental or structural that's more work for you


RPT
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It always helps to give them a mini-lecture about why pianos go out of tune at the first appointment. People ask me frequently "how often should I have my piano tuned?". I tell them that its a very hard question to answer. I've seen pianos go way out of tune within 2 weeks after a big humidity change, and I've come across pianos that I tuned 10 years ago that are still right at pitch with almost all clean unisons. I tell them that manufacturers recommend at least 2-3 tunings per year to compensate for seasonal change, but that concert venues tune the piano before every concert and sometimes at intermission too. I recommend humidity control in most cases to help deal with the effects of seasonal change and carry Dampp-chaser brochures plus one I made myself to leave with the client.

The client last November whose piano dropped by 10 cents in 2 weeks (right after the tuning they installed an insert into their old fireplace) did get a free quick tuning in addition to the mini-lecture. She is a piano teacher and has been regular, so I didn't mind doing it on the house in that case. The PR is worth more than the money.

However, I have charged for touch-ups in other cases. When you explain to people about the fact that concert instruments may get tuned 50 times per year or more, that helps them understand that to keep a piano in concert quality shape is going to take a lot more than 2 or 3 tunings a year, and that paying for a touch-up is reasonable.

One of my most important clients (Steinway D, and Steinway B both with complete DC systems, serviced 4 times per year) wanted me to stop by and touch up a few notes. I charged her a minimal fee, for about 15 minutes worth of work - about $40. If I hadn't charged her she might call me all the time, because she can be very sensitive! I think clients sometimes respect us more if we charge for our time - as long as the problem isn't our fault.


Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net
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Pitch rise mean the customer knows the tuning will bold, ... Or not so well.

That is one precaution, the other is to take a new date a few months later, depends of the season, conditions, etc. (the need for a true 440...

Sure if the customer call you and he is honest you should go back no deal with the trouble.

With experience you "knows" or have a gut feeling that the pitch rise will hold, I have seen some leaving a playable piano for 2 years UT those where old pianos.
A recent one will react more


Professional of the profession.
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Gotta go with Gene here. In my household, my son noticed a strange thing after I had been working with pianos for a while: at breakfast, whatever I complained about, was fearful about, pre-analyzed about that morning's piano was not the situation I described at length at lunch that day. Which is to say, all my time analyzing the piano's situation when I was far from the piano was a waste. Go and see what's up, and you will know what to charge after you see what to do.


Dorrie Bell
retired piano technician
Boston, MA

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