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#2055861 - 03/28/13 08:27 PM commisions and discounts for teachers ?
michaelopolis Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/11/12
Posts: 36
I have good working relationships with all of the piano teachers i regularily tune for , i try to look after them and give small discounts here and there as they sometimes pass new work on to me.

Whats the norm here regarding commisions/discounts etc ?

Very rarely a teacher will ask for a discount from me and never once has anyone asked me for a commision.
If they did how would you respond ?

Michael

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#2055904 - 03/28/13 10:15 PM Re: commisions and discounts for teachers ? [Re: michaelopolis]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 2414
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
Respond as thoughtfully as you can-and by thinking ahead you are doing just that right now.

There is a post by me covering some of the aspects of this topic so search the archives.

There are some musician/teachers who are very aggressive in pursuing commission/discount opportunities. I find them very hard to get along with.
_________________________
In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible

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#2055960 - 03/29/13 12:16 AM Re: commisions and discounts for teachers ? [Re: michaelopolis]
beethoven986 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3371
I refuse to give discounts unless I'm very close with the person. There is a cost to what we do, and what I charge reflects that. Now, for certain high volume and/or enthusiastic clients, I will (on occasion) do little extras for them that I wouldn't normally do. For example, one church I service owns eight pianos, which are in various states of decay; earlier this month, the music director asked me to assess each one and write up a budget/report. I did this as a complimentary service, even though it cost me over $300 of my time.
_________________________
B.Mus. Piano Performance 2009
M.Mus. Piano Performance & Literature 2011
PTG Associate Member
Certified Dampp-Chaser installer

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#2056085 - 03/29/13 08:47 AM Re: commisions and discounts for teachers ? [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT]
David Jenson Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/22/06
Posts: 2200
Loc: Maine
Originally Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT
...

There are some musician/teachers who are very aggressive in pursuing commission/discount opportunities. I find them very hard to get along with.
And how!

I've discovered that few pure service businesses like ours give discounts for any reason. Discounts always seemed to get me in tight spots back when I tried them. I don't do that anymore. Now it's - choose me, choose my fee.
_________________________
David L. Jenson
Tuning - Repairs - Refurbishing
Jenson's Piano Service
-----

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#2056548 - 03/29/13 10:28 PM Re: commisions and discounts for teachers ? [Re: michaelopolis]
SuperTuner Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/30/07
Posts: 110
Loc: Manhattan, Montana
I think I've found a nice arrangement for this - and it has cost us very little. Our tuning invoices now have a $10-off voucher on the bottom, for giving to the client's piano teacher, church or school. They can be saved up & used for up to the price of the tuning, but expire in 6 months. When we get asked about discounts, we simply point out the voucher system, and leave it at that. It's been a great way to build goodwill with some of the teachers & churches, especially.

We ran out of them one week, and went back to using the regular invoice forms. I had three people ask about them in two days! All the fine print is on our website, but they're pretty simple.
_________________________
Elizabeth Heppler, R.P.T.
www.hepplerpiano.com

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#2057142 - 03/30/13 11:20 PM Re: commisions and discounts for teachers ? [Re: SuperTuner]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 2414
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
This is brilliant marketing Ms. Heppler, RPT!

One question though; can the coupons be combined so as to increase the discount of any particular sale?
_________________________
In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible

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#2057149 - 03/30/13 11:53 PM Re: commisions and discounts for teachers ? [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT]
RestorerPhil Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/26/12
Posts: 212
Loc: Georgia, USA
Voucher Program FAQ

I like it! The Heppler's seem to have the answers to your questions there.
_________________________
Lavender Piano Services
Established 1977
Tuning, Concert Maintenance,
Rebuilding & Restoration

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#2057154 - 03/31/13 12:21 AM Re: commisions and discounts for teachers ? [Re: michaelopolis]
Gene Nelson Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/10/04
Posts: 1533
Loc: Old Hangtown California
I give discounts when they are appropriate and I feel good about it.
Not limited to teachers or anybody in particular.
I do work for free sometimes too.
_________________________
RPT
PTG Member

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#2057332 - 03/31/13 12:15 PM Re: commisions and discounts for teachers ? [Re: michaelopolis]
TunerJeff Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/22/11
Posts: 498
Loc: Oregon Coast
I give churches and schools, music educators (piano or voice) a discount, too. But, on the advice of a dep't chairman years ago, I limit the discount to a time-period. 10-days....which I interpret as 10-business days, or about 2 weeks.

Why? Because if they fail to pay within the window, they'll have to explain that to the auditors at the end of the year! It has certainly helped to 'train' the various bookeepers and treasurers at the school districts and churches that an invoice from the piano tuner needs to be paid NOW, and not later.

I carry a sheet of small address labels, in pink or yellow usually, with;

Prompt Pay Discount!
If paid by __________
Send Only____________

I put the sticker/address label at the bottom of the invoice, next to the 'Total', and the bright color attracts the eye to the message. In a stack of invoices...they stand out, too. It does help, I believe!

I've done this as a 10% for years.....but I'm finally kicking it down to 5% so that I can pull a little more income without actually raising my rates this year.

Why discount at all? Because these are supposed to be regularly maintained pianos that require less energy and attention than 1st-time customers. Because teachers provide references that lead to thousands of dollars of income each year. Because in my own small way I am thanking the people that helped me in my musical life. Because I am supporting the churches and schools, who need the tunings the most, and can afford them the least.

That's just my opinion, of course.
Yr. mileage may vary,
Respectfully,
_________________________
Jeffrey T. Hickey, RPT
Oregon Coast Piano Services
TunerJeff440@aol.com

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#2057351 - 03/31/13 12:44 PM Re: commisions and discounts for teachers ? [Re: TunerJeff]
beethoven986 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3371
Originally Posted By: TunerJeff
I give churches and schools, music educators (piano or voice) a discount, too. But, on the advice of a dep't chairman years ago, I limit the discount to a time-period. 10-days....which I interpret as 10-business days, or about 2 weeks.

Why? Because if they fail to pay within the window, they'll have to explain that to the auditors at the end of the year! It has certainly helped to 'train' the various bookeepers and treasurers at the school districts and churches that an invoice from the piano tuner needs to be paid NOW, and not later.

I carry a sheet of small address labels, in pink or yellow usually, with;

Prompt Pay Discount!
If paid by __________
Send Only____________

I put the sticker/address label at the bottom of the invoice, next to the 'Total', and the bright color attracts the eye to the message. In a stack of invoices...they stand out, too. It does help, I believe!

I've done this as a 10% for years.....but I'm finally kicking it down to 5% so that I can pull a little more income without actually raising my rates this year.

Why discount at all? Because these are supposed to be regularly maintained pianos that require less energy and attention than 1st-time customers. Because teachers provide references that lead to thousands of dollars of income each year. Because in my own small way I am thanking the people that helped me in my musical life. Because I am supporting the churches and schools, who need the tunings the most, and can afford them the least.

That's just my opinion, of course.
Yr. mileage may vary,
Respectfully,


Hmm... I might have to try that. My churches are kinda slow, sometimes.
_________________________
B.Mus. Piano Performance 2009
M.Mus. Piano Performance & Literature 2011
PTG Associate Member
Certified Dampp-Chaser installer

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#2057398 - 03/31/13 02:46 PM Re: commisions and discounts for teachers ? [Re: michaelopolis]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7904
Loc: France
The discounts for piano teatchers is in the traditions.

It is somewhat a source of problems, I have seen piano teatchers that does not want to ask the technician to do maintenace because they think the technician will not ask to be paid (he ask no money yet, considering the piano teatchers are making him sell pianos)

It is also the case where a repair is "offered" to the piano teatcher, I have seen a hammer change and some action work very poorly done (we had to change the mammers AND shanks less than 10 years later, and despite the piano was a recent85 Steinway, the heads used where not Steinway heads.

Not to say I dont have good relations with teatchers but all depend the commercial relation we have in the end.

I generally tend to provide some maintenance free of charge on the instruments.

I am paid by the hour, and they are also.

One teatcher of a friend, that want to buy a good grand (second hand) , came to the shop where he have seen a Bechstein, and proposed to the shop owner to "make the sale" for 1000 Euros.

Then she pushed my friend to buy the piano, proposing to go there whith him to try it.

Unfortunately, the secret was dead (I am friend with the shop owner)...

Wonderful !

There are all kind of people , some are very kind and not particularely mean. We all know that life is not always easy under some circumstances.
The fundamentals to me, are to provide and added quality , the best service I can in regard of the situation.
This only is noticed enough, as the time spend for the job, to provide advertising and a web of customers.

I like it when some use another tuner at some occasion, then ask me again, and tell me they where unsure, but they noticed how the tuning last longer, the piano quality is raised more, etc wink
Serious pianists often have to pay for on hour of maintenance, only if the tunings are done often this is not necessary.

They tell me they are not afraid to ask me when something is not correct on a note or a pedal or anything . I often have reports of the tuner not capable of doing those corrections, sometime before a concert, and pianists stopping to ask anything for that reason (or working only with a little number of technicians well known and respected).








Edited by Olek (03/31/13 02:48 PM)
_________________________
It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


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#2057578 - 03/31/13 10:46 PM Re: commisions and discounts for teachers ? [Re: michaelopolis]
Bob Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 3896
I think each tech has to decide for themselves if discounts are good for their business model. For every tech who does not discount there is a tech that does. That's what gives clients a choice.

I would set pricing policies according to your own business model, and not worry about what others do. Adopting someone's model as your own, just because you perceive them to be busy might not be the best approach. You have to do what works for you - and if that is discounts, go for it - if that is no discounts, go for it.
_________________________
www.PianoTunerOrlando.com






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#2057595 - 04/01/13 12:02 AM Re: commisions and discounts for teachers ? [Re: michaelopolis]
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
I do not discount for piano teachers. Teachers are already getting a discount or paying 20 - 25% less, depending on how you choose to look at it, because they can write off piano tuning as a business expense on their taxes.

I do value teachers and their patronage highly. I appreciate their referrals and their word of mouth for my business. I return the favor by recommending them to my clients, and pass their business cards on to people looking for piano instruction. I make sure they get the best service possible, including short notice appointments to fix sticking keys etc, etc. At times I may include some work alongside a tuning for which I may not charge.

The relationship is an important one which can be mutually beneficial. I don't think giving a 10 % (or whatever) discount will buy a professional's loyalty in the long run - there are much more important things. People fishing for or asking for discounts have already demonstrated to you where their loyalty most likely lies: at the lowest price. I am not interested in making a name as being the cheapest technician in my area. I would prefer to have the reputation of being one of the better, if not the best technician in my area.
_________________________
Jurgen Goering
Piano Forte Supply
www.pianofortesupply.com

Piattino Caster Cups distributor

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#2057623 - 04/01/13 01:58 AM Re: commisions and discounts for teachers ? [Re: Supply]
kpembrook Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 1344
Loc: Michigan
Originally Posted By: Supply
I do not discount for piano teachers. Teachers are already getting a discount or paying 20 - 25% less, depending on how you choose to look at it, because they can write off piano tuning as a business expense on their taxes.

I do value teachers and their patronage highly. I appreciate their referrals and their word of mouth for my business. I return the favor by recommending them to my clients, and pass their business cards on to people looking for piano instruction. I make sure they get the best service possible, including short notice appointments to fix sticking keys etc, etc. At times I may include some work alongside a tuning for which I may not charge.

The relationship is an important one which can be mutually beneficial. I don't think giving a 10 % (or whatever) discount will buy a professional's loyalty in the long run - there are much more important things. People fishing for or asking for discounts have already demonstrated to you where their loyalty most likely lies: at the lowest price. I am not interested in making a name as being the cheapest technician in my area. I would prefer to have the reputation of being one of the better, if not the best technician in my area.


I thoroughly agree. thumb
_________________________
Keith Akins, RPT
USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair

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#2057624 - 04/01/13 02:03 AM Re: commisions and discounts for teachers ? [Re: Gene Nelson]
kpembrook Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 1344
Loc: Michigan
Originally Posted By: Gene Nelson
I do work for free sometimes too.


I'd rather do free than discounted.

The premise behind the discount is that there is actually less value than is normally being charged for -- in other words "water" in your pricing that can be "wrung out".

On the other hand, the reality of our world is that no economic system perfectly allocates resources with needs. There will simply be people/situations where the piano should/ought to be tuned but there is no money or no one to take responsibility. I'd rather just step in to make happen what needs to happen and not worry about whether I get paid at all.
The difference from discounting is that there is no question about the value of the work but in the situation that isn't the point. It's on a completely different wavelength.
_________________________
Keith Akins, RPT
USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair

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