How to Avoid the 9 Most Common Mistakes Watchmakers Make Pricing Repairs | Esslinger Watchmaker Supplies Blog
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Posted by Esslinger Staff

No matter if you are a regular watch repairer, a hobbyist repairer, or a beginning watch repairer, chances are you are making one of these common pricing mistakes. Hear from an expert the things you can do and change to make your watch repair business more successful without making a big change to what you do.

 

9: Not offering your customers rush or express service.

Your customers want the convenience of while-you-wait service or similarly fast service. Many jewelers keep a price that has an additional column for “Express Service,” and they charge about 50 percent higher to do any repair within 24 hours at the longest. And about 40 percent of the customers that are offered an express or rush service take advantage of it! Another thing to consider is that this particular service generally generates the least customer complaints as well.

So, consider adding a Rush Service price to your personal price book. You might be surprised how many of your customers will pay for the convenience combined with your personal quality because you are someone they trust.

 

8: Not telling the customer about your warranty.

Even if you haven’t written it down anywhere or don’t think about it very often, you do warranty your workmanship. Consider this, if a customer had you repair something for them, and something you fixed goofed up and they brought it back to you, you would fix for them free of charge without ever having mentioned that before. That’s because you are a craftsman and you are proud of the work you do, even if you don’t talk about guaranteeing it.

Therefore, since you do it anyway, you should tell your customers that you warranty your work. By doing so, you will increase their confidence in you and your work and increase the likelihood that they will come back to your for future repairs or recommend you to their friends.

 

7: Not telling the customer about all the things that need to be fixed.

A customer hands you a watch and asks you what it would cost to get it running again. You’re looking over the watch and realize that you could get it running if you just fixed one, fairly expensive, thing, you also notice that there are two other things that are wearing out and will probably need to be replaced in the near future. Tell your customer about all three things that are wrong with the watch and be upfront about the costs and which fixes are necessary and which could wait awhile, then let them make the decision about what they want you to do.

You’ll find that most customers will follow your objective advice about what is wrong with their timepiece even if it costs them more money in the end because they want to have their watch working again. By hiding the additionally problems to keep from scaring your customers away with a high price tag, you create a potential for distrust: when their watch breaks later because of one of those other problems they will feel like you didn’t properly their timepiece previously because they weren’t aware of those other problems.

 

6: Prejudging what a customer will be willing to pay for a repair.

Maybe someone just brought in a fairly inexpensive quartz watch that is broken. You look at it and realize that it will cost at least twice what the watch cost originally. Fearing that you’ll lose their patronage you quote the price lower than it will actually cost you in time, labor and parts. It is not your place to decide what a customer will or will not be willing to spend to repair their watch. Sometimes a ‘cheap’ watch might have incredibly sentimental value that can’t be replaced by simply buying a new watch. Be honest with your customers, if you charge $75 dollars to clean a mechanical watch, do so consistently on the Chinese made movements and on the more expensive Swiss made movements. Your customers will appreciate it.

 

5: Calling the customer back later with an estimate.

No matter what the repair is, always quote your price up front. First of all, unless you can’t be sure what the problem actually is with the watch until you start working on it, there really isn’t a good reason to wait to give your customer a price. And secondly, while the customer is in your shop, their watch is paramount in their minds; as soon as they leave they may start to lose their enthusiasm for fixing the watch. Stop wasting your time and theirs, tell them what the repair will cost up front.

 

4: Estimating the repair costs too low.

On the surface a repair may look simple and straightforward, but once you start working on the watch you realize that there is a lot more involved than you had anticipated. When estimating your costs for things that can be variable, be sure to take into account all the things that might affect the cost of the repair and estimate on the high end. You can always tell the customer that their repair was less expensive than expected when they come to pick it up again and give them a refund if necessary. It is much harder to ask them for more money when they come to pick up their watch and they already assumed it was a lower price.

You deserve to be fairly compensated for your time and labor, just make sure that you present it to your customers at the beginning so they aren’t surprised by a high cost later.

 

3: Not explaining to your other employees how repairs are actually priced OR Making up prices on the spot.

If you work with one or more people, maybe they deal with the customers while you’re working on watches, it is important to spend the time training them to evaluate watches that are coming in for repair so that they can accurately quote prices to a customer. There’s nothing worse than having to tell the customer they owe more money when they come to pick up their watch later because someone quoted the wrong price initially.

The same goes if you just work alone, don’t guess or make up prices on the spot. Always completely evaluate the repair before giving the customer a price. People are willing to accept prices that are understandable. If you can explain to them that a particular type or repair costs more than another and why they need a particular one they will take your word for it.

Therefore, avoid taking losses on expensive repairs and make sure that everyone in your shop, including yourself, knows the pricing system.

 

2: Just speaking the price orally.

There’s a common fact in psychology: People are apprehensive about what they hear, and believe what they see. If you just tell a customer a price and they think it is too expensive, they may be tempted to haggle over costs with you. This is okay if you stay firm, but if you give in, you set a bad precedent of undervaluing your time and your work.

If you have all prices written down in one place, you can refer to the particular repair they request and quote a price to them. This gives you the power to stand by your work and the cost of a repair without making customers feel like they are being ripped off.

 

And, the top mistake that watchmakers make is:

1: Assuming that customers are price sensitive to repair work like they are to new products.

Your customers come to you because they trust you. They also bring their watches in to be repaired because they genuinely like them and want them to work again. Look at it this way: Many people who look at jewelry in a jewelry store do not end up buying anything because quality is expensive, but 90 percent of people who come to have something repaired end up paying to have that item repaired, no matter how much it costs. You should trust that no matter how expensive a repair may be, if the watch is worth more to them than the cost of the repair, they will pay to have it repaired.

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