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 Post subject: Refret price
PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2018 4:53 pm 
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Mahogany
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What’s the going rate these days?

Since we’re talking pricing, Is there any information on pricing overall out there?

Or is it just make it up as you go?

Thanks


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 Post subject: Re: Refret price
PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2018 8:47 pm 
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It's variable - what kind of frets? Is the neck bound? If maple - will it need a refinish? Many times with a refret, it will need nut work (possibly even a new one), and of course - a complete setup of the instrument with new strings to complete the job. On an electric, probably will need to be intonated, too. There is much to consider.

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 Post subject: Re: Refret price
PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2018 10:38 pm 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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Years ago Stew Mac used to publish repair price lists from various shops around the country in their Trade Secrets magazine, It was actually helpful to try and compare and see what others were doing. Of course all this stuff is online now, you can just google around to various repair service websites.

But what I found very useful for myself was simply to determine what my costs were to keep the shop running and how much per hour I think I deserve for doing this type work, and of course what it takes to live in my area. In the end my prices tend to be way lower then most and that is simply becasue I live in a very low cost area.

It seemed more fair to myself frankly, to come up aith an hourly rate rather then a per job charge. As anyone knows in this business you can get a set up from hell and if it says it costs $30 bucks on your website then it costs $30 bucks even if it takes you 3 hours. On the other hand sometimes you reach into your parts bin and find a used bone saddle that literally fits right in without any modification and 5 minutes later you just installed a new saddle for a customer, why charge him $50 bucks?

It works for everyone in the end, at least for me and my experience.


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 Post subject: Re: Refret price
PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2018 5:45 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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My general over the phone answer $250-$600 and in special cases even more...... As noted there are many many variables. There are things you will learn the hard way before you price them accurately like how easy shark fin inlays sand through at the edges when you dress the wear out of the board, better have covered replacing 3-4 of those in your quote!

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These users thanked the author B. Howard for the post: Clinchriver (Mon May 07, 2018 4:51 pm)
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 Post subject: Re: Refret price
PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2018 4:52 pm 
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B. Howard wrote:
My general over the phone answer $250-$600 and in special cases even more...... As noted there are many many variables. There are things you will learn the hard way before you price them accurately like how easy shark fin inlays sand through at the edges when you dress the wear out of the board, better have covered replacing 3-4 of those in your quote!


Yep


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 Post subject: Re: Refret price
PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2018 5:48 pm 
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I guess I'm getting old, I've never charged more than $100 for a re-fret but I only work on classics and flamencos. If it's one of our guitars I usually do it for free.


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 Post subject: Re: Refret price
PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2018 6:58 pm 
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Koa
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Here are a few recent tabs for refrets:

1942 LG-2: $240 in nickel silver
1942 D-18: $260 nickel-silver
1943 00-18: $260 nickel silver
1972 Strat (maple): $410 in stainless
1973 SG: $300 in stainless
1975 D-35: $340 in stainless

Usual base pricing in DC area is $240 unbound, $280 bound, and $350 for maple board. Stainless is +$60 and EVO is +$80. Nut work is separate.

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 Post subject: Re: Refret price
PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2018 12:17 am 
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Woodie G wrote:
Here are a few recent tabs for refrets:

1942 LG-2: $240 in nickel silver
1942 D-18: $260 nickel-silver
1943 00-18: $260 nickel silver
1972 Strat (maple): $410 in stainless
1973 SG: $300 in stainless
1975 D-35: $340 in stainless

Usual base pricing in DC area is $240 unbound, $280 bound, and $350 for maple board. Stainless is +$60 and EVO is +$80. Nut work is separate.


I can understand the upcharge for stainless but why for EVO? Thanks!

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 Post subject: Re: Refret price
PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2018 12:51 am 
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jshelton wrote:
I guess I'm getting old, I've never charged more than $100 for a re-fret but I only work on classics and flamencos. If it's one of our guitars I usually do it for free.


I can't compete with 'free' but I was charging $100 in '98 for a classical. That's by far the cheapest quote I've ever come across from a pro repairer.


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 Post subject: Re: Refret price
PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2018 5:53 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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Wow, I do the evo for only a few bucks more than nickle.....

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 Post subject: Re: Refret price
PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2018 6:47 am 
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John Lewis wrote:
I can understand the upcharge for stainless but why for EVO? Thanks!


In a word, the market. We can charge more, so we do.

If the world was a rational place, I would support that price difference with the following:

- Vendor pricing for the three wires generates a 25% cost increase per instrument with stainless wire and a 90% increase with EVO, so a materials up-charge for EVO is clearly warranted

- A fairly consistent additional 1/2 hour of labor with stainless or EVO in widths of 0.095" and up, so a labor up-charge for both EVO and stainless is merited

- In those larger wire sizes, both stainless and EVO are tougher on tool steel edges than nickel silver, so some adjustment of overhead burden for use of those wires is reasonable to recover those costs

But as I am reminded nearly very day, rationality is apparently in short supply and very tightly rationed. Gold is more precious than silver - even where there is no actual gold content, as with EVO. Guitar buyers are well-conditioned to accept higher pricing on guitars with gold hardware, despite very little actual difference in the manufacturer's costs versus chrome or nickel plating. Even us über-rational repair people willingly pay 35% to 65% more for gold-plated machine heads that have at most a dime's worth of difference in materials cost.

So yes, Mr. Lewis - that pricing is market-driven. We charge more because we can charge more.

Oh, and the boss hates the stuff.

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Last edited by Woodie G on Wed May 09, 2018 6:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Refret price
PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2018 8:35 am 
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Woodie G wrote:
John Lewis wrote:
I can understand the upcharge for stainless but why for EVO? Thanks!


In a word, the market. We can charge more, so we do.

If the world was a rationale place, I would support that price difference with the following:

- Vendor pricing for the three wires generates a 25% cost increase per instrument with stainless wire and a 90% increase with EVO, so a materials up-charge for EVO is clearly warranted

- A fairly consistent additional 1/2 hour of labor with stainless or EVO in widths of 0.095" and up, so a labor up-charge for both EVO and stainless is merited

- In those larger wire sizes, both stainless and EVO are tougher on tool steel edges than nickel silver, so some adjustment of overhead burden for use of those wires is reasonable to recover those costs

But as I am reminded nearly very day, rationality is apparently in short supply and very tightly rationed. Gold is more precious than silver - even where there is no actual gold content, as with EVO. Guitar buyers are well-conditioned to accept higher pricing on guitars with gold hardware, despite very little actual difference in the manufacturer's costs versus chrome or nickel plating. Even us über-rational repair people willingly pay 35% to 65% more for gold-plated machine heads that have at most a dime's worth of difference in materials cost.

So yes, Mr. Lewis - that pricing is market-driven. We charge more because we can charge more.

Oh, and the boss hates the stuff.


I had no idea that EVO was any tougher than nickel silver wire. That make sense if it's a pain to use. Thanks again!

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 Post subject: Re: Refret price
PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2018 9:28 am 
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Cocobolo
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Michael.N. wrote:

I can't compete with 'free' but I was charging $100 in '98 for a classical. That's by far the cheapest quote I've ever come across from a pro repairer.

We used to do a lot of repair work but after we moved to the country that part of our business is pretty much over (good riddance!). Now it's all building and an occasional repair for one of our guitar customers. We frequently do basic repairs for free since it offsets the cost of shipping or a long drive to our shop and makes our customers happy.


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 Post subject: Re: Refret price
PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2018 3:40 pm 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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Cost of the wire itself is a minor part of the job.....Even at 100% markup it is less than 10% of the final invoice.

What you should be charging for is labor and overhead (tooling comes in here, along with rent, lights, insurance, etc). Most of us combine that into a shop rate. I bill jobs like stainless frets an additional 5% on the shop rate to cover the extra tooling costs which is actually 10% of the overhead portion of my rate. It takes me longer to do a set of SS of the same size than it does for EVO, so I bill accordingly.

I prefer an honest invoice to the whatever the market may bare approach. I sleep better and my customers are intensely loyal, a fact being proven out by my move to another state and those who are making arrangements to get their instruments in to still be serviced. Of course I realized the other year that I am not in the business of dealing with guitars. The guitars are subsequent...... I am dealing with the person on the other side of that guitar. Helping them play better, sound better and have more fun! That is the job here.

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 Post subject: Re: Refret price
PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2018 8:20 pm 
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Koa
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I admit the market comment was a bit of a troll, but I suppose that if you do the delta in labor ($50) and the materials ($3.52 for nickel silver, $4.52 for stainless, and $6.80 for EVO), we're padding the bill to the tune of $5 for stainless and closer to $25 for EVO (assuming the cost to order and inventory is zero...which it COULD be, right?). I think it might have more to do with the boss's intense dislike of EVO than the excellent market in the DC area for good guitar repairs. :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Refret price
PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2018 11:10 pm 
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What's to not like about Evo? I don't notice it being any more difficult to work than nickel silver when cutting, beveling and doing a light level. Unless it's just the color...

I'm getting ready to do my first refret with it and trying to decide how much more to charge. I was thinking just 10 bucks, but then again when toiling in the Seattle area one needs to find some way to offset all of the brilliant social justice type taxes. We'll see what the market can bear...

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 Post subject: Re: Refret price
PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2018 5:59 am 
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In larger sized wires, which is what we often see with EVO-seeking customers, the wire is definitely tougher than nickel silver and - at least based on the refrets and new instruments we've done in this shop - more similar to stainless wire of the same size than nickel silver. Also, this is not just more tool wear or more time to crown/level/polish - some refrets require work to fit the tang to slot, and EVO requires more time and effort to crimp, as well as to precisely match radius after that process.

The first time I did an EVO refret, I expressed my now-informed opinion that the wire seemed to work much like nickel silver - just a little slower on crowning. The boss's response was to let him know if there was any refinement of that opinion after I had done a few dozen more. After two years of tackling the bulk of the refret work here, I look forward to any refret with standard wires (0.080"-0.085" width) and try not to wince when there is a stainless or EVO job in that calls for 0.110" x 0.057" tall jumbo stuff.

Interesting to think about recasting 'market' pricing as a surcharge on things we choose to dislike or fear - however irrational that emotional response might be. That sheds an entirely new light on the boss's EVO hate...I'll have to see if I can get away with suggesting that he is becoming a bit of a fret-wire justice warrior. wow7-eyes

Note: I've used a sub-optimal smiley above because the site lacks a proper Edvard Munch-inspired 'The Scream' variant.

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 Post subject: Re: Refret price
PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2018 6:24 am 
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Interesting to know about the larger wire sizes, Woodie. I've used only narrow EVO up to this point and found it to be just slightly more difficult to work with than nickel. In comparison, I hate stainless and charge a LOT more to use it.

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 Post subject: Re: Refret price
PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2018 1:07 am 
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Good point about the jumbo Evo being noticeably more difficult to work. I've never touched it. Speaking of jumbo, I recently decided it's so much more work to level jumbo frets, that I'm charging $10 more. Although $25 is probably a little more in line with how much metal your sloughing off sometimes.

I might charge a chunk more for Evo and just call it a "fret tax".

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