Home Forums General Discussion Forum Charge for an estimate? Reply To: Charge for an estimate?


    Good morning all, hope all goes well and you are at your benches. On the subject of estimates: I have had 2 businesses where giving estimates was considered the norm. I have had 17 years now to look back on them. My conclusion is that whether you give estimates (free, or w/ a discount on the work if they agree to have it done) depends on the type of business you want to build. Personally, I think this is a very important decision to make early on. If you don’t make it and resolve to stick by your decision you could end up trapped in an unhappy and unprofitable business. If you are going to run a general “watch repair” business (I think clocks would be quite different), I don’t think you can offer anything more than the most cursory examination. You will get lots of quartz watches that need batteries, and other small repairs. You will also get mechanical movements which will generally need cleaning. If you make your free estimate on them a simple “the watch is in need of cleaning, there may be other problems that we can’t foresee”;I think you can avoid getting into a situation that you wish had never started. Keep your cleaning fee a fair representation of your skills. That could be (So Cal prices) from $75-$200 and up. Of course you will have to have to have the discipline to say that to a person who brings in an old Timex, and have thick enough skin to listen to their answer. It is human nature for a person to think that if they paid $19.95 for a watch, they should not pay more than that to have it cleaned. Maybe you will get some customers w/ some very nice and valuable movements drop in, and that will work out well. The other way to go about it is twofold, I think: You have to make a start so you probably can’t just have your cards and business sign indicate that you deal only w/ distinguished and exquisite timepieces. (unless, of couse , you are capitalized to open a store in an exclusive neighborhood, and really are a master watchmaker.) But, this is the second part, you should be organized and prepared to change the entire nature of your business (perhaps, even the location) when you no longer want the street traffic. I know this is tough, and you will be turning your back on old customers and dropins who like to say hello, etc. But it is what you will have to do if you want to end up w/ an exclusive clientele. I see no way you can be happy if you are cleaning and repairing a $25 watch for $75, and a $2500 watch for $200-$400 when you do each w/ the same degree of care and dedication. It is an easy way to become cynical and unhappy–I have been there. Well, that is some initial advice, or my opinions, however it comes out. Good Luck all……….prosperity for all who want to jump in and “do the work”……….b