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#2010225 - 01/06/13 08:09 PM Best policy..
Emmery Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/08
Posts: 2481
Loc: Niagara Region, On. Canada
Question for the techs only...

You get a call from a potential new customer. They inform you that in a few weeks they are getting a piano in their home which is coming from a cold basement/unheated garage/barn or some other place with a different clime than their home. They want it tuned right away.

A/ Do you inform them about the benefits of acclimatizing it a few weeks to get a more stable tuning?

B/ Do you just schedule it and tune it?

C/ Do you schedule it, tune it, and then tell them it may need another tuning sooner than normal?

D/ do you do something different than the above 3?

All of these have some good things and bad things that can come of them. With A, you may lose the job if they lose their patiance, but you are giving them good advice. With B, they may think you can't tune a stable tuning if the piano shifts. With C, they may resent you for trying to weasle 2 tunings out of them when option A may have suited them better.

what do you think?
_________________________
Piano Technician
George Brown College /85
Niagara Region

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#2010230 - 01/06/13 08:17 PM Re: Best policy.. [Re: Emmery]
Jim Moy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/06/07
Posts: 292
Loc: Fort Collins - Loveland, CO
I tell them A, but then do B if I find they have some reason they want it tuned sooner: party, recital, etc.

Let them know of the tradeoff. I have had customers wanting it tuned for when a child is returning home from [college, military, out of town] and want it nice for them. It will certainly be more enjoyable for everyone if I tune it right away, and so what if it goes out a bit quicker after whatever event it was they wanted it tuned for.

Basically, I listen to the customer, try to put myself in their shoes, recommend the best path given what I understand about the situation.
_________________________
Jim Moy, RPT
Moy Piano Service, LLC
Fort Collins and Loveland, Colorado
http://www.moypiano.com

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#2010231 - 01/06/13 08:23 PM Re: Best policy.. [Re: Emmery]
accordeur Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/23/06
Posts: 1287
Loc: Québec, Canada
I usually go for A, but if I know the piano has not been tuned in years, left in a barn and that the customer would like to play it as soon as possible, I explain that even though the tuning that I will provide might not last too long, it will certainly be better than in it's current state.

Explaining to the customer inspires their confidence.

But it is really a case by case scenario.

In a case like the one you are describing, I usually tell the customer that there is a set fee for the call. I if am the bearer of sad news, they should expect it. If I can't tune the piano, I charge 75% of my fee.

If they don't call back, it is their loss I figure.

I don't like to condemn pianos for unsuspecting customers, and I like to provide sound advice.

So, bottom line. I answer A and try to explain the best I can.
_________________________
Jean Poulin

Musician, Tuner and Technician

www.actionpiano.ca

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#2010234 - 01/06/13 08:40 PM Re: Best policy.. [Re: Emmery]
accordeur Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/23/06
Posts: 1287
Loc: Québec, Canada
I've started making a habit of asking new customers to "play all the white notes from left to right slowly" over the phone. It certainly helps in making my answer more relevant to their situation.
_________________________
Jean Poulin

Musician, Tuner and Technician

www.actionpiano.ca

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#2010241 - 01/06/13 08:46 PM Re: Best policy.. [Re: Emmery]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
I tell them A and highly recommend that they wait. I am always booked 3 to 4 weeks ahead or more anyway so, I couldn't tune for a new customer within a week anyway, regardless of what they might want in most cases.

If they are a regular client with an emergency tuning I would be working after hours to do get it done or working through my lunch hour. These days, I'll send in my part time employee to accommodate them if they are insistent upon having it done when they want it done. However, I do explain fully the consequences of not waiting.

It is also highly likely that if the piano was left in a barn, etc., that there will be many more things required than just a mere tuning will provide. That is, provided, the piano is still worth tuning... I generally explain that to them in advance so they are not surprised by any negative information about their piano that I may give them once I arrive like, toss it in the garbage but, nicer. smile

I do the same as Jean. Provide a charge for my services. It isn't my fault that the piano was left in dire conditions nor is it my fault that I am providing them with an honest opinion. I want to be paid for it and, as Jean mentioned, if they do not call back then it is their loss.

Honesty is always the best policy regardless of if we may or may not lose the job. Waiting to tune the piano is always best when it is moved.
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#2010244 - 01/06/13 08:48 PM Re: Best policy.. [Re: Emmery]
Emmery Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/08
Posts: 2481
Loc: Niagara Region, On. Canada
I had done A with a few customers, they seemed to agree, but have found that they later changed their mind and called someone else (possibly to avoid embarassment or something). Trying to develop a more sure fire way to retain them yet still give them the best advice,
_________________________
Piano Technician
George Brown College /85
Niagara Region

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#2010285 - 01/06/13 10:01 PM Re: Best policy.. [Re: Emmery]
beethoven986 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3475
If it was me, I would want to limit my own liability, so I would inform the client about the benefits of waiting, and then ask if they would still like it tuned right away.
_________________________
B.Mus. Piano Performance 2009
M.Mus. Piano Performance & Literature 2011
PTG Associate Member
Certified Dampp-Chaser installer

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#2010286 - 01/06/13 10:13 PM Re: Best policy.. [Re: Emmery]
accordeur Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/23/06
Posts: 1287
Loc: Québec, Canada
Name, serial number, pictures or video by email. All these things contribute to an easier diagnosis, and are readily available to people buying a piano, getting it for free or whatever....and taking the time to call.

I prefer giving free advice over the phone or internet. I won't do it if I have to travel to get to the piano, regardless of distance.

It's just good Karma.

The more you charge, the more you are respected. All you have to do is be prepared and competent to deliver.
_________________________
Jean Poulin

Musician, Tuner and Technician

www.actionpiano.ca

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#2010366 - 01/07/13 01:58 AM Re: Best policy.. [Re: Emmery]
Maximillyan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/11
Posts: 1664
Loc: KZ
D
If the client is a man, then try to explain the negative consequences. Any subsequent claim for him me invalid be . If the piano for a long time was in an unheated room it's works poorly

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#2010443 - 01/07/13 07:04 AM Re: Best policy.. [Re: Emmery]
UnrightTooner Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 5256
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Do "A" in order to open up a conversation.

My gut feeling on the situation is that it will get tuned once and you will never hear from them again. Serious piano owners are not interested in neglected pianos. Tuned right away, or tuned after a couple week, or tuned after a couple of weeks and then again after a couple of months because it needed a 237 cent pitch raise won't matter. It will probably be a one-time tuning, just for the piece of mind of the owners that they got it tuned.

Something you could suggest is that they wrap it in blankets and plastic before the more and then let it sit a couple days to avoid condensation and perhaps rust on the strings and pins. Tell them it would be like having your glasses fog up when coming in from the cold. This way it will give the piano at least a little time to acclimatize.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#2010554 - 01/07/13 11:56 AM Re: Best policy.. [Re: Maximillyan]
Emmery Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/08
Posts: 2481
Loc: Niagara Region, On. Canada
Originally Posted By: Maximillyan
D
If the client is a man, then try to explain the negative consequences. Any subsequent claim for him me invalid be . If the piano for a long time was in an unheated room it's works poorly


I've don't judge the ability to understand something (not related to my genetalia)based on someones sex. I have plenty of female customers who would understand my explanation as well, or even better, than their husband...much in the same way as I have seen some woman tune and repair pianos better than some male techs. Perhaps in your part of the world, this understanding of equality has not developed yet, but I am not keen to the idea of trying to reverse this here, where it has.
_________________________
Piano Technician
George Brown College /85
Niagara Region

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#2010916 - 01/07/13 11:22 PM Re: Best policy.. [Re: Emmery]
Dave B Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 2166
Loc: Philadelphia area
Emmery, Are you hiding a piano somewhere???

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#2011079 - 01/08/13 09:10 AM Re: Best policy.. [Re: Emmery]
RPD Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/07/05
Posts: 961
Loc: Kalamazoo Michigan
Interesting post. We go with our intuition, but frequently in such situations Jane will book me for a good will examination of their piano prior to the customer tying up their money and hopes...in particular where its a family heirloom (as distinguished from some Craigs list "bargain") W do this to move the entire matter forward in the best interest of the customer. I occasionally have to tell the clients to abandon the piano but then that service call is typically very brief and its a small amt of time for me and a HUGE favor to the customer.

Offering a little bit of my time occasionally for no, or a
limited fee proves to be a huge trust builder as well
_________________________
MPT(Master Piano Technicians of America)
Member AMICA (Automated Musical Instruments Collector's Association)
(Subscriber PTG Journal)
Piano-Tuner-Rebuilder/Musician www.actionpianoservice.com

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#2011083 - 01/08/13 09:11 AM Re: Best policy.. [Re: Emmery]
RPD Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/07/05
Posts: 961
Loc: Kalamazoo Michigan
Interesting post. We go with our intuition, but frequently in such situations Jane will book me for a good will examination of their piano prior to the customer tying up their money and hopes...in particular where its a family heirloom (as distinguished from some Craigs list "bargain") W do this to move the entire matter forward in the best interest of the customer. I occasionally have to tell the clients to abandon the piano but then that service call is typically very brief and its a small amt of time for me and a HUGE favor to the customer.

Offering a little bit of my time occasionally for no, or a
limited fee proves to be a huge trust builder as well
_________________________
MPT(Master Piano Technicians of America)
Member AMICA (Automated Musical Instruments Collector's Association)
(Subscriber PTG Journal)
Piano-Tuner-Rebuilder/Musician www.actionpianoservice.com

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#2011146 - 01/08/13 11:52 AM Re: Best policy.. [Re: Emmery]
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4263
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada
Getting into long explanations about required maintenance procedures and/ or humidity/ heat changes and the waiting periods because of that, especially on the phone, can be incorrectly interpreted by some folks as the technician trying to extract more fees than necessary.

I have always found it best to book an appointment and then discuss what is found with the client onsite.

Being there and finding problems that can be demonstrated to the client in person is a far more effective way to sell service rather than trying to tell them what to do without first interviewing them and the instrument.

For example if the piano was left in a barn, I would book an appointment for two weeks following and say nothing about the changes in temp or humidity. That way the instrument has gone through a certain amount of acclimatization already.



_________________________
Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
http://silverwoodpianos.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/SilverwoodPianosDotCom
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."

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#2011149 - 01/08/13 11:56 AM Re: Best policy.. [Re: Emmery]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 22785
Loc: Oakland
Around here, a garage may be a more stable environment than indoors.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2011217 - 01/08/13 02:22 PM Re: Best policy.. [Re: BDB]
Emmery Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/08
Posts: 2481
Loc: Niagara Region, On. Canada
Originally Posted By: BDB
Around here, a garage may be a more stable environment than indoors.


Why is that, if I may ask?
_________________________
Piano Technician
George Brown College /85
Niagara Region

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#2011255 - 01/08/13 03:37 PM Re: Best policy.. [Re: Emmery]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 22785
Loc: Oakland
Because the climate is very stable here.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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