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#630092 - 01/15/09 01:49 PM True Piano Values in this economy
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
Hi all,

First, for those that are no doubt wondering why Jerry is posting all day long? I've been home sick all week... \:\(

At our last tuners meeting this past Tuesday which I was unable to attend at a local dealership due to being sick, the person doing the meeting for our chapter and, who also, just happens to work FOR the dealership not only as a tuner but as a salesman said that the value, or appraisal worth of pianos is dropping. In other words, he said, a piano that was worth let's say, $1,800.00 5 years ago, is only worth $900 now. (Where and how did he come up with this price?) When asked WHY? He said "because they are not selling."

Before I go any further with this I would like to make a statement about something that was said at one of our meetings a long time ago.

At one point, a couple of "technician/salesmen" that work there have said in the past that all of the older pianos should be condemned so that people will buy new ones.

For the record, I TOTALLY DISAGREED WITH them. I said, "if they are worth fixing, fix them. If not then, trade them in. It is not fair or honest to the customer to simply condemn all pianos for the sake of another sale for yourself!"

They did not like to hear that as salesmen. I believe they were more interested in sales, rather than the customer themselves. At least that is my personal opinion on that one.

I wonder what your opinions on this might be not only as dealers reading this but, also as full time technicians?

Pianos, for the most part over the years if well taken care of, have always at least retained their value. More or less.. This would be the first time that I know of, where pianos are actually losing value because "they are not selling." IF this is true?

Could it be simply, because they are a dealership and want more sales?

Could it be true that because pianos are not selling that even the used ones are also losing their value as well?

The dealerships are not selling very many new pianos or used either for that matter HERE but, people are buying used pianos from elsewhere like estates, out of the newspaper etc.

Does this mean that dealerships will be the dictator's of the appraisal values of pianos in particular used ones selling between private parties?

What are your opinions on this matter?

Looking forward to your responses and thoughts.
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#630093 - 01/15/09 02:09 PM Re: True Piano Values in this economy
Rod Verhnjak Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 3659
Loc: Vancouver B.C. Canada
Those that sell new pianos most often tell prospective clients old or older pinaos have no value.
Funny those that use to sell the Korean pinaos 10 years ago are now saying don't buy a used Korean piano, buy the new shiny black one from China.
Have you seen the prices of 10 year old Korean uprights, they are almost free. Some old vintage pianos sell for more.
When selling new cheap pianos the client will take that hook line and sinker when they see the price of the new xyz brand.

10 years from now we may see another picture.
_________________________
Verhnjak Pianos
Specializing in the Restoration, Refinishing & Maintenance
of Fine Heirloom Pianos

Exclusive Dealer For Charles R. Walter Pianos
www.pianoman.ca
Verhnjak Pianos Facebook


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#630094 - 01/15/09 02:27 PM Re: True Piano Values in this economy
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4204
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada
Jerry,

When my father and I were involved with the Heintzman Co. here in Canada back in the 70’s in the warehouse at the very back were a bunch of old uprights. These were the tall old uprights previous to 1936. When I discovered them, I asked my father if we could approach Bill H. about purchasing them,and restoring them to sell as good used instruments.

My father told me that the company was sending them to the dump/ landfill to get them off the market so they would sell more new instruments. It was part of the overall marketing strategy to sell new goods and have people “consume” after the Second War. So this part of your story is correct, and not just for the piano industry. The car industry has done this also and a long time back. Most of the old Model T’s would still work today if they were around…the car manufacturers did not want this.

For the used piano market here in Vancouver, the problem is not the quality of the used pieces. The problem is saturation point….there are too many used instruments for sale here (more than 1000 units) none of it is selling so what can they be worth? Not very much in this market, but they will have value in another market. At the moment we have too much used equipment on the market here, and this will drive the value of ALL OF IT down. But with this glut of instruments on the market here, I believe it is also affecting the new equipment sales too. I mean if folks look around and see a lot of used stuff not selling; will they buy a new instrument to end up in the same position a few years down the road?

Example: I have a 1980 Lesage upright for sale at $1500.00. Very good used instrument, but no takers. One the very same sold in Quebec City last year for $2600.00. A place 3000 miles from here…..

I think for the present economic situation on this continent, it is safe to say that ALL GOODS have depreciated to a certain extent. I mean look at the price of a barrel of oil. Last summer just 6 months ago it was priced on the open market at $150 a barrel or more. So everyone stopped buying it and driving last summer….no demand for the product creates an excess of this product and the price tanks ……today oil opened at 44 dollars a barrel. Economists call this a “market correction” I believe…

I am of the opinion that consumers have not realized that they are the ones who will dictate the prices of the market, by consumption or by not consuming…….

Well at the moment I think we are in for a “world market correction”.
But ever since the Wall Street fiasco happened my phone has gone berserk with folks wanting to repair the old stuff rather than purchase a new unit….

And then since Christmas I have sold 4 high end restorations of period pieces…. All of them previous to 1930 in age……one thing about the market is you will NEVER figure it out. You are just along for the ride…..enjoy or not enjoy…it is like the weather…….

www.silverwoodpianos.com
_________________________
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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#630095 - 01/15/09 02:42 PM Re: True Piano Values in this economy
Kymber Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/25/08
Posts: 1348
Loc: MA
I am not an expert here but I have don't don't believe anything old should be condemned.
I've had two antique dressers for about 16 years now. I don't know how old they really are great.

I wonder... do you think this is a good time to buy a piano???

I was planning to wait a year or two but if I can get a good price now AND support the piano market - that would be good for both of us.
_________________________
“The doubters said, "Man cannot fly," The doers said, "Maybe, but we'll try,"
And finally soared in the morning glow while non-believers watched from below.”
― Bruce Lee

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#630096 - 01/15/09 03:00 PM Re: True Piano Values in this economy
charleslang Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/13/08
Posts: 2080
My tuner says one of his older tuner friends always says the pianos he gets in are worth twice as much as he actually sells them for. I think craigslist is a cause, and also the other stuff that is often mentioned, like digitals. I think digitals have upped the expectation of sound quality too since they sound better than some entry uprights.
_________________________
Charles Lang
Working on: A Night in Tunisia; Memories of Tomorrow (Keith Jarrett).
Just started: Brazilian Like (Michel Petrucciani)

Baldwin Model R (1974), Hardman 5'9" grand (1915), Rieger-Kloss 42.5" vertical

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#630097 - 01/15/09 03:15 PM Re: True Piano Values in this economy
Rod Verhnjak Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 3659
Loc: Vancouver B.C. Canada
Yes Craigslist has been a major reason for falling prices.

I can give countless stories of people who purchased a used pinao from Craigslist that I would not even think of repairing.

And Dan is correct in our market there are many used pinaos available and many of these new pianos are not necessary.
_________________________
Verhnjak Pianos
Specializing in the Restoration, Refinishing & Maintenance
of Fine Heirloom Pianos

Exclusive Dealer For Charles R. Walter Pianos
www.pianoman.ca
Verhnjak Pianos Facebook


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#630098 - 01/15/09 03:35 PM Re: True Piano Values in this economy
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4204
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada
Rod,

There is a good point in your first posting but hidden somewhat. I believe there will eventually be a backlash of some sort against the new cheaper instruments, and soon, just like the discovery about digitals being worthless 5 minutes after you buy one.

You mentioned that there are a lot of Korean pianos for sale here and for almost nothing. This is very true and I can confirm this also for this area. Now people are going to look at that and say to themselves “will this happen to my new Asian built instrument?” I mean if it has happened to the early Japanese stuff and now the Korean stuff who can deny that the very same will happen to the Chinese/Indonesian equipment too?

You are correct also in your observation that most of the new stuff here is not necessary for this market, but a certain segment of our population here refuses to purchase anything that is used, period.

Yes I have seen some nightmare purchases from the free sites for used goods too….

The whole idea of building cheap stuff is to have it wear out and have the consumer purchase another model. This creates a never- ending consumer of cheap crappy goods that are no good to begin with.

Here is a very interesting fact I found out from the Canadian rep for Blüthner. Would you like to know where the new big market for Blüthner is developing at the moment? China. They are purchasing as many models as they can. Interesting to see that the Chinese are supplying North America with cheap goods and taking the money and purchasing quality……and not just pianos ok? Cars and tools and all kinds of good German quality stuff….

Kymber
Now is a very good time to purchase any goods you are thinking about. We have been doing the same here……..

www.silverwoodpianos..com
_________________________
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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#630099 - 01/15/09 03:38 PM Re: True Piano Values in this economy
pianoman11 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/15/09
Posts: 1
Loc: Houston, TX
This is my first post...i have absolutely NO idea where it will show up or how i'll be able to see the reply...quickly, please, is a Pramberger Young Chang PE116 in excellent condition worth 1600$??...i feel good about it but i don't know if there are any landmines...thank you for your help...maybe you could reply to:

jhopkin3@yahoo.com

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#630100 - 01/15/09 03:42 PM Re: True Piano Values in this economy
Rod Verhnjak Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 3659
Loc: Vancouver B.C. Canada
It seems like some build pianos like computers.
Not knowing we do not replace our pianos in the same manner as electronics.

Perhaps if it keeps up we will be. :rolleyes:
_________________________
Verhnjak Pianos
Specializing in the Restoration, Refinishing & Maintenance
of Fine Heirloom Pianos

Exclusive Dealer For Charles R. Walter Pianos
www.pianoman.ca
Verhnjak Pianos Facebook


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#630101 - 01/15/09 03:45 PM Re: True Piano Values in this economy
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4204
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada
pianoman11,
I sent you an email. Best to do a bit of reading about the forum previous to posting so that you don't get blasted by one of the grumps around here.....did I write that?? Must have been looking in the mirror when I typed that......anyways welcome to the forum......

www.silverwoodpianos.com
_________________________
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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#630102 - 01/15/09 03:51 PM Re: True Piano Values in this economy
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
That is another thing mentioned at the meeting that I had forgotten about, craigslist, and others. Along with so much other disinformation circulating about the internet pertaining to pianos, piano prices and the simplicity of the inner workings of them. We see these examples on the Piano Forum all the time. "I wouldn't pay more than XXX for a piano." If a dealer pipes in, they get blasted as if they know nothing about the market or true piano prices.

Another question to think about would be, are we going backward with the general public's knowledge and/or awareness of pianos and piano prices due to misinformation being presented? Or, is this all inner related to the economy in general?
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#630103 - 01/15/09 04:38 PM Re: True Piano Values in this economy
Rod Verhnjak Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 3659
Loc: Vancouver B.C. Canada
 Quote:
Originally posted by Jerry Groot RPT:
"I wouldn't pay more than XXX for a piano." If a dealer pipes in, they get blasted as if they know nothing about the market or true piano prices.
[/b]
I had more than a few come in and say my Walters are only worth $,$$$ because they heard or read that they are selling for that price.

Hard to work around it when another dealer may be putting that unrealistic info out there.
_________________________
Verhnjak Pianos
Specializing in the Restoration, Refinishing & Maintenance
of Fine Heirloom Pianos

Exclusive Dealer For Charles R. Walter Pianos
www.pianoman.ca
Verhnjak Pianos Facebook


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#630104 - 01/15/09 07:25 PM Re: True Piano Values in this economy
Sam Casey Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/05/05
Posts: 1135
Loc: SW Missouri
The price of any commodity is what you can get for it. Read the PTG 1914-1917 book. W B White stated firmly that pianos of the day should last at the most 20 years before junking. Those are the pianos we still work on today. The makers were complaining about the sales pitch of a "piano to last a lifetime." Can't sell many new pianos that way.

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#630105 - 01/15/09 07:50 PM Re: True Piano Values in this economy
b3groover Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/05/08
Posts: 119
Loc: Lansing, MI
I regret missing the meeting, Jerry, but I did earn bonus points with the wife (and got rewarded for it!) \:\)

Anyway, I regret missing the meeting because it sounds like it might have been an interesting discussion. One thing he said he was going to touch on was the ethics of attempting to fix an un-fixable piano.

Regarding market prices, Sam is right. It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that piano sales are suffering here in Michigan, considering we have the highest unemployment rate in the country.

My father always specialized in the pianos that other techs didn't want to mess with... the old, beat-up uprights, spinets, consoles, etc. Some might try to argue that he shouldn't have repaired those pianos, that he should've told the clients that their pianos were junk and to sell them a new one or point them in the direction of a salesperson.

But one thing my father understood and I have experience firsthand (as I'm sure everyone here has) is both the pull of an instrument as a family heirloom and also the pull of getting something cheap that provides enjoyment. Most people who own pianos are not concert pianists, nor anything even close. They just want something to play Andrew Lloyd Weber tunes or church hymns on. They just want something that little Madison can practice on and who knows if Madison will even continue piano lessons for any length of time?

My job, as I see it, is to get the piano in the best operating condition that I can within the budget the customer can afford. (This kind of ties in with Keith's thread about "Why tune a piano?"... most people can't even tell when their piano is out of tune, much less when it is out of regulation).

So... I'm kind of getting off topic here, but the value of a piano is tied intimately with the value of servicing said piano. I think everyone, including piano techs, have to re-adjust their expectations in this economy.
_________________________
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
Jim Alfredson
Musician / Tuner
www.organissimo.org

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#630106 - 01/15/09 08:10 PM Re: True Piano Values in this economy
Ron Alexander Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/17/03
Posts: 1292
Loc: North Carolina
I would guess there has always been some degree of tension between new piano sales and technicians. Since the 1st of January I have looked at a total of six pianos that people are thinking about fixing up and keeping. Some are worth it, some not.

I was speaking with a sales rep before our chapter meeting Tuesday evening, and he told me that during Christmas sales were absolutely dead.
So far this month, they have sold six pianos, four lower end and two high end pianos.

Most of the new calls I get are from people, who bought a piano off of Craiglist or from the want ads. So as long as unemployment doesnt leap skyward, my guess is people will be buying mostly used pianos with the expectation they will have to spend some money to fix them up if they need it.....most do!!!
_________________________
-----------------
Ron Alexander
Piano Tuner-Technician

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#630107 - 01/15/09 08:49 PM Re: True Piano Values in this economy
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4204
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada
“I wouldn't pay more than XXX for a piano." If a dealer pipes in, they get blasted as if they know nothing about the market or true piano prices.

Another question to think about would be, are we going backward with the general public's knowledge and/or awareness of pianos and piano prices due to misinformation being presented? Or, is this all inner related to the economy in general?”
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
There is an ongoing and continuous problem with this on PW, I would agree with this statement Jerry. What I have observed is that often times members state “opinions” as “facts”. It seems, at times that a good percentage of the members do not want to read the truth about some of the issues that permeate not only this forum, but the marketplace in general.

I do not think that this problem is indigenous to the forum here. I would presume that ALL forums have this problem, the plumber’s forum, electrician’s forum, hair dressing forum etc.etc. Most of those forums are probably filled up with trolls doing un- repairable damage to those markets for an entertainment value I will never understand…..

One of the problems that I have observed is that folks tend to forget that this is the internet and statements MUST be taken with a grain of salt. Especially from members who refuse to identify themselves correctly, and truthfully. They are free to spout any disinformation and inaccuracies that they desire, and do so; taking no personal responsibility for the damage it may cause the rest of us, or the market for that matter.

Rod’s posting a couple above this is a good example. Folks will read somewhere that Charles Walters should be priced at X and then when the instruments are not, they complain. Now we can’t pin those complaints entirely on PW, but dealers of new goods tend to eat each other in that way, and not just in the musical instrument business……

People tend to forget that the price of an instrument in Chicago will of course be different than the same instrument in the middle of Kansas….. What Sam states is very true; a commodity is only worth what a consumer will pay for it. Now that consumer living in a metropolis like New York would expect the price to be higher than in North Carolina…. To expect the price to be the same is somewhat unrealistic…. And one could put forward a good argument for price fixing…….

We all collectively on this continent, in your country and mine, have allowed ourselves to be convinced that cheaper and faster is better. In some cases it might be, but in the arts and performing arts, I think this is a fallacy. There is no shortcut to being a technician, or a performing artist. In other words there is no substitute for hard work and dedication in this field, at either end of the spectrum.

Some will see value in old equipment and some will not. In reality it depends upon the definition of the word “value” in a person’s life. For some it is financial value. For others it is sentimental.

I just gave a single mom with 3 kids a free old upright….cracked sounding board, broken cabinet parts, action all worn out….. They are playing it every day all day with BIG smiles and fun all around. Now that is the best value that I have ever seen……

www.silverwoodpianos.com
_________________________
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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#630108 - 01/15/09 11:08 PM Re: True Piano Values in this economy
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
Seems to me that "some" dealers, could be even most of them may be trying to get us as technicians on their side for the sales purposes as much as possible in these harder times for them. I can understand that, but only to a certain degree of honesty. Honesty is a MUST for me anyway! Deceit or outright lying for the sake of a sale is, well, I won't stand for it.

It also seems to me that again, "some dealers" are trying to manipulate the used piano pricing market to as low as possible.

I'm on the side of the client. I'm working for them. We all are. They are, our livelihood.

The client relies on us to give them on honest opinion on their piano and an honest opinion on X brand if they are purchasing a new one and I give it.

I know of one dealership in particular that insists that all pianos 30 years and older should be condemned. Yet, many are worth repairing. That just isn't right.

Trying to force the technician/s to agree to condemnation isn't ethical at all IMO. Neither is trying to bring the market value down intentionally.

I remember when one of the dealers started selling Kimball. They unequivocally stated that they had improved so much that they are actually fabulous pianos. When I confronted the salesman on that one face to face with "who you trying to BS?" The salesman simply said "well, we sell what we have to sell." As he laughed. I said well, good luck but, I'm not helping you out on that one.

One fact will always remain. We all have something to sell. Ourselves! Those of us who are the most honest and reputable will make it. Those who are not, won't. My reputation is worth more than anything else to me and my clients know it.
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#630109 - 01/15/09 11:41 PM Re: True Piano Values in this economy
Rod Verhnjak Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 3659
Loc: Vancouver B.C. Canada
Well said Jerry
_________________________
Verhnjak Pianos
Specializing in the Restoration, Refinishing & Maintenance
of Fine Heirloom Pianos

Exclusive Dealer For Charles R. Walter Pianos
www.pianoman.ca
Verhnjak Pianos Facebook


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#630110 - 01/16/09 03:03 AM Re: True Piano Values in this economy
88Key_PianoPlayer Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/02/02
Posts: 1906
Loc: El Cajon, CA
Speaking of low-priced pianos on Craigslist....

A couple months ago I got two pianos.

This one , built in 1956, was $349.
This one , built in 1950, was free.

Both pianos are, IMO, in fairly good condition. The 1956 piano is in better shape overall, but I like the tone (except the low bass) of the 1950 piano better.
The 1950 piano's finish isn't in as good of a shape, and there's a couple keys that occasionally stick.
Both pianos are the same make and model. They have slightly different scale designs due to the manufacturer changing the design of that piano during that time frame.

I uploaded a few songs on the 1950 piano here and here , and the last one also on the 1956 piano here . (The first link of songs was recorded a couple weeks ago, right after I had tuned that piano).
Also here's a video (and better-quality audio track of same) of me playing a weekly technology-oriented video podcast's theme song on the 1950 piano.

Ok seeing as I got both pianos for a total of under $350... should I quit panicking (sp?) about having possibly gotten ripped off? (I about blew my budget out of the water for the next few years to buy them.)

BTW so far I'm enjoying both pianos, even though I had to significantly downgrade in the tone in the bass (I had previously had a 9x-year-old 57" upright that had new bass strings, and just about blew every single new upright (yes, including the 54" Steingraeber and 55" Heintzman that I played) away, and WOULD have if it had new hammers.) (It was a major upgrade in every other way though, even though I had been hoping (and unable) to find something in my budget that would have blown away what my old upright would have been like when new.) \:\)

So even if I did get a good deal... who's gonna be the next dealer to offer a deal good enough to blow the one I got off the planet? ;\)
_________________________
Associate Member - Piano Technicians Guild
1950 (#144211) Baldwin Hamilton
1956 (#167714) Baldwin Hamilton
You can right-click my avatar for an option to view a larger version.

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#630111 - 01/16/09 03:45 AM Re: True Piano Values in this economy
charleslang Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/13/08
Posts: 2080
88key, those sound INCREDIBLE. I'm amazed that the later Hamiltons were sold under the same name. I played an old Hamilton once and noticed how great it was and stayed at it for an hour even though it was in a shop. My craigslist deal was 1,850 for this Hardman (this is a new, better recording of it than I've posted earlier) (had brand new Abel hammers installed in 2006 before I bought it):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6Juyfk1r74&fmt=18

It needs new strings but I'm happy with it for the moment.

If only I had the space I would look at this one:

http://sacramento.craigslist.org/msg/994346654.html
_________________________
Charles Lang
Working on: A Night in Tunisia; Memories of Tomorrow (Keith Jarrett).
Just started: Brazilian Like (Michel Petrucciani)

Baldwin Model R (1974), Hardman 5'9" grand (1915), Rieger-Kloss 42.5" vertical

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#630112 - 01/16/09 06:18 PM Re: True Piano Values in this economy
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
Bringing the topic back on course again....

What are your opinions on this. A piano was worth $2,000 5 year ago. Should we still be appraising it at this same price now? Or, should we be appraising it lower because it is not selling? I realize, the market bears what it bears...

If the actual value of the piano hasn't really changed, for example, new piano pricing hasn't changed dropped has it? It doesn't cost them any less to produce them....should a used pianos value then, change?
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#630113 - 01/16/09 07:34 PM Re: True Piano Values in this economy
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4204
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada
It is my understanding that new piano pricing has dropped here Jerry. I am not aware of how much though....

What I do is try to observe the stores and what they do. If the pricing drop for new equipment is 20% down then perhaps I should adjust my appraisal figures.

Generally a rule for me is this. When used equipment is advertised for sale, if it doesn’t not sell in one month, then the price is too high. Reduce the price by X amount thereafter until the unit sells. The price it sells at is the fair market price. Not completely scientific, but you have to have a starting point I guess…

Now of course with pianos there are hot and cold times of the year for sales.... we all know this part....

www.silverwoodpianos.com
_________________________
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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#630114 - 01/16/09 07:40 PM Re: True Piano Values in this economy
Bob Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 3869
The value of a piano is what the buyer and seller think it's worth at time of sale. In my market, a piano worth 2k five years ago is likely worth 40% less today. My appraisals take that into account, and I explain the current market to the customer. My appraised value can rise, if the economy improves. $500 Craigs list pianos sell well here.
_________________________
www.PianoTunerOrlando.com






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#630115 - 01/16/09 09:16 PM Re: True Piano Values in this economy
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
So, are any of you planning on dropping your tuning or servicing fee's as well then?
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#630116 - 01/16/09 10:43 PM Re: True Piano Values in this economy
rysowers Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2402
Loc: Olympia, WA
Well it all comes down to supply and demand. If the bottom drops out of my schedule at some point I might have to have a "special".

On the other hand with the prices of pianos dropping it will make it easier than ever for people to get one, which may mean more people may own and play them, and thus potentially have them serviced.

My sense is that the piano has gained in popularity the past several years. The number of books with pianos in them, and the studies about music and the brain may have both resulted and contributed to this. All the top teachers in my town have waiting lists and sometimes I'm not sure who to refer clients to when they ask about teachers.
_________________________
Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net

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#630117 - 01/16/09 11:01 PM Re: True Piano Values in this economy
88Key_PianoPlayer Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/02/02
Posts: 1906
Loc: El Cajon, CA
I've already dropped my tuning fee back to what I had it at several months ago. (I had raised it a little, but that was before the crash, and last month I lowered it back down.)
_________________________
Associate Member - Piano Technicians Guild
1950 (#144211) Baldwin Hamilton
1956 (#167714) Baldwin Hamilton
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#630118 - 01/16/09 11:35 PM Re: True Piano Values in this economy
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
88key,
how many pianos have you tuned - in total as well as for pay?
_________________________
Jurgen Goering
Piano Forte Supply
www.pianofortesupply.com

Piattino Caster Cups distributor

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#630119 - 01/17/09 12:18 AM Re: True Piano Values in this economy
88Key_PianoPlayer Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/02/02
Posts: 1906
Loc: El Cajon, CA
Total... do you mean how many individual pianos, or does multiple tunings on the same piano count? If B, then easily hundreds.
As for pay... let's just put it this way. Business is so slow as to not have my tuning fee income cover my annual PTG dues, and I'm not yet comfortable enough with my hands-on skill level to charge for other services like regulation, repair, etc. \:\( (And I have nowhere near the highest rates in my market. I think one of my main problems is I'm not sure how/where to cost-effectively advertise, and I'm not going to borrow money to do it - it comes out of my own pocket, which is pretty thin right now, and will be like 99% thinner once I've registered for the Cal State conference coming up next month.
On a brighter note... I do have a tuning scheduled for this coming Monday afternoon... on a smaller upright piano that hasn't been tuned in a few years according to the owner.
_________________________
Associate Member - Piano Technicians Guild
1950 (#144211) Baldwin Hamilton
1956 (#167714) Baldwin Hamilton
You can right-click my avatar for an option to view a larger version.

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#630120 - 01/17/09 12:32 AM Re: True Piano Values in this economy
rysowers Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2402
Loc: Olympia, WA
One of the busiest tuners in the Seattle/Tacoma area hired someone at min wage to go through the phone book and cold call people to inquire if they need piano servicing. I once had my kids do a door hanger flier with a cupon on it. My goal was to solicit every house within a one mile radius of mine. I did get a few jobs - enough to cover the expense of the fliers.

One of the things I started doing early on was have my own project piano to work on when I wasn't out tuning. Its a good way to practice those regulating and repair skills.

Also if you get good at rebushing keys you could probably get some work from other technicians.

Great idea going to the Cal State conference! I really think those things pay off and I attend them religiously.
_________________________
Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net

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#630121 - 01/17/09 12:54 AM Re: True Piano Values in this economy
Horwinkle Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/22/08
Posts: 1011
 Quote:
charleslang: My tuner says one of his older tuner friends always says the pianos he gets in are worth twice as much as he actually sells them for.[/b]
A piano (or anything else) is never worth twice what it sells for. It's worth exactly what it sells for. Not a cent more or less.

 Quote:
Rod Verhnjak: I can give countless stories of people who purchased a used piano from Craigslist that I would not even think of repairing.[/b]
If, as you say, a piano is not worth repairing, then I guess the buyer will soon find out that a cheap price often fetches a piece of crap.

In the days before Craig's List, you'd see pianos listed in the newspaper classified ads. The magic figure seemed to be $600. These were usually spinets that were crap when new, and became uber crap by the time they were sold for $600.

I don't know what stuff sells on Craig's List, but I suspect that it's much the same.

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#630122 - 01/17/09 01:21 AM Re: True Piano Values in this economy
RoyP Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/10/03
Posts: 786
Loc: Cincinnati, Ohio
 Quote:
Originally posted by Jerry Groot RPT:
So, are any of you planning on dropping your tuning or servicing fee's as well then? [/b]
I'm not planning on it. So far so good. But, never say never...

It is an interesting question. Some people are talking about deflation. It's interesting to read about the Great Depression. There are alot of similarities to what has happened this time around. A period of deregulation and big tax cuts in the 20's was followed by a speculative real estate bubble. Sound familiar? Then the bubble burst in 1929. If you had bought stocks in 1929, prior to the stock market crash, you wouldn't have gotten back to even until 1954. I wonder what the price of pianos was like in that time? Does anybody know?

After the 1929 crash, the stock market was pretty unstable, and made big jumps up and down, which it has also been doing recently also. A recession in 1930 didn't become a depression until 1933. So, there was a deflationary period for several years after 1929. What happened was that people started paying off debts. They weren't spending money and buying things, but tried to strenghten their financial position. As that happened, each dollar became worth more, because so many people were doing it. So the value of that debt became more, even as the actual dollar figure shrunk. That's the danger.

I don't see that happening this time. At least not to the same extent. Partly, the dollar is no longer tied to gold. The government is going to be printing lots of money, which should fuel inflation.

Still, we will see how much debt the government will be able to sell. Many governments around the world are trying to sell bonds to stimulate their economies. The Germans just held a bond auction that they had to shut down because they weren't selling. web page
The article seems to think the US Treasury will be more successful. Let's hope so.
_________________________
Roy Peters, RPT
Cincinnati, Ohio
www.cincypiano.com

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#630123 - 01/17/09 11:12 AM Re: True Piano Values in this economy
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
I haven't lowered my prices either. I did however, hold them steady for the past 2 years rather than to increase them this year as I normally might have.

I've noticed for many years now that the lower priced technicians in my area and probably in most areas, for the most part, are usually, much less knowledgeable about pianos as a whole. They can't tune well and they can't repair or regulate well.

Obviously, that doesn't account for every tuner but, as a whole, over all, that's what I've found.

Their knowledge of tuning and repairs is
lacking. Therefore, the demand for their services is also lacking.

A person with more knowledge in many service industries, gets more pay thus, the reason RPT's are often higher priced than non RPT's. No offense intended to anyone out there that is learning or is a non member. I'm just posting my discoveries on the subject.
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#630124 - 01/17/09 06:44 PM Re: True Piano Values in this economy
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4204
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada
Something else I thought of regarding pricing. Instead of lowering your rates, or having a sale like Ryan stated, why not offer a little more service for no charge, like a capstan raise, or something small, less than 15 minutes….. Maybe vacuum out the key bed or something.
A free 15 minute appraisal on what is wrong, or not wrong with the instrument, what may be coming up for repair. Maybe a free quotation for repair…. Small things like this…….

This way the customer sees a visible extra while it does not cost you too much…. Step up the pace a little bit on the tuning should give you the extra time at the end. Work smarter, not harder….. ;\)

www.silverwoodpianos.com
_________________________
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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#630125 - 01/17/09 07:55 PM Re: True Piano Values in this economy
Bob Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 3869
Suppose the number of pianos you tune is down by 25%. You panic and drop your rates by 10% A rate decrease may add some tunings, but not enough to cover the 25% decrease - in fact not even close. You will end up making 10% less money on 20% less tunings.

The best way to handle a slowdown is reduce your costs as much as possible, while providing the best service you can, and selling as much service as you can - in other words, make more gross income with each piano you tune, and more net income because you reduced your costs.
_________________________
www.PianoTunerOrlando.com






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#630126 - 01/17/09 09:24 PM Re: True Piano Values in this economy
Ron Alexander Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/17/03
Posts: 1292
Loc: North Carolina
Excellent discussion. I'm holding the line on any rate increase for the time being, but dont plan to reduce my fees. Perhaps in some parts of the country deflation may be an economic reality, but I dont see it yet here in the Southeast, at least in my corner of the Southeast.

I think it is important that people not over re-act. Yes the economic news is not good. But I have seen little change in my weekly schedule since Christmas. I had a very busy fall, right up to the week of Christmas. I geared back up the first week in January and still going strong for a January.

I believe the big factor in people's spending habits are driven by employment. Those who feel secure in their job will continue to spend, though much more carefully.
_________________________
-----------------
Ron Alexander
Piano Tuner-Technician

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#630127 - 01/17/09 11:34 PM Re: True Piano Values in this economy
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
Good point Ron that people should not over react. So often they do just that more out of fear, or immediate desperation/fear rather than thinking about the best ways to make it through.

Increase quality and knowledge instead.

Be customer oriented.

Be better than your competitor's.

In my mind and many of you here have the same mentality, NOBODY is going to better than ME! NOBODY!!! That's the attitude to take... Not just now but, always. However, we cannot simply take that attitude without something else to back it up with. If we don't also follow these thoughts through with qualified actions, good quality, ethics, morals, honesty etc., your better qualified competition will run you over like a steam truck. ;\) Steam truck? Those big rigs with rollers on them that flatten tar!!! \:D
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#630128 - 01/18/09 12:26 AM Re: True Piano Values in this economy
Dave Stahl Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/07
Posts: 1645
I haven't had to reduce my fees yet, but I haven't had the nerve to raise them, either.

I have always given extra service besides just a tuning at my regular 1 1/2 hour service calls. Some people really appreciate the effort. Lost motion, let off, pedal noise, backchecks, cleaning, touch up voicing, sanding the hammers--if you only do one of these at each regular service call, the pianos end up being stable and playing as they should.

When I get price shoppers, I point out that when they hire someone good, they get better value, and a much better playing and sounding piano than if they hire a violin teacher who moonlights as a piano tuner.

If you want to stay busy, make yourself needed. Make the pianos sound so good that your customers become addicted to that particular sound.
_________________________
Promote Harmony in the Universe...Tune your piano!

Dave Stahl, RPT
Piano Technician's Guild
San Jose, CA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAniw3m7L2I
http://dstahlpiano.net

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#630129 - 01/18/09 02:57 PM Re: True Piano Values in this economy
b3groover Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/05/08
Posts: 119
Loc: Lansing, MI
Jerry, obviously you have to charge what your particular market will bear. I did run a "special" over the holidays that was quite successful, where I offered my repeat customers 15% off my normal rate. I drummed up a lot of business with that and it was very timely for me, being the holidays and all.

I don't plan on raises my rates this year and may have to take them down a bit, due to the incredibly poor economy in Michigan (and Lansing in particular).
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=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
Jim Alfredson
Musician / Tuner
www.organissimo.org

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#630130 - 01/18/09 09:00 PM Re: True Piano Values in this economy
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
I always figure this way. If we give to many discounts, people will expect them like they do with piano sales and then will not want to pay full price. Our costs of traveling certainly and other expenses are not going to go down. Only up.

Therefore, I only give discounts for tuning 2 or more in one location or a discount for a piano teacher that refers me a lot.

I also will give one to someone that sets up a full day for me (I have to do nothing but show up) when tuning out of town. Otherwise, that's about the extent of my discounting.

I'm holding firm on my pricing.
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#630131 - 01/18/09 11:41 PM Re: True Piano Values in this economy
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
Here's a very interesting article that I read.

"Knowledge of failure helps lead to success."

I think it pertains very well to the topic at hand. Fear etc. When you read it, think of how this pertains to yourself and to your own business and to your own feelings.


http://www.usatoday.com/money/companies/...ke_N.htm?csp=34
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#630132 - 01/19/09 11:10 AM Re: True Piano Values in this economy
Bob Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 3869
A past customer called last week and said he wanted to pay the same amount he paid last time ($20.00 less current market). I said no, that prices had gone up - he would have to find another tuner. When I looked him up on my customer list, it turns out the last tuning was 3 1/2 years ago.

Every time I've let a customer talk me down in price the piano turns out to be a PSO, one note flat, sticky keys, etc.
_________________________
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#630133 - 01/19/09 11:13 AM Re: True Piano Values in this economy
Bob Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 3869
P. S. We sell piano work for a living.....We do NOT tune pianos for a living. Figure out how to sell tunings, and you will always be busy.
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#630134 - 01/19/09 12:53 PM Re: True Piano Values in this economy
rysowers Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2402
Loc: Olympia, WA
Good point, Bob!

I'd take it one step further still: We sell musical enjoyment and customer satisfaction.
_________________________
Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net

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#630135 - 01/19/09 01:24 PM Re: True Piano Values in this economy
CC2 and Chopin lover Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/06
Posts: 1981
I would add one thing to Roy's comparison of the period leading up to the great Depression and now.....the one aspect that is definitely not the same is the role the media plays now in fostering an impression among the populace that the sky is falling. Their ability, and willingness, to manipulate the public with half truths and incomplete facts feeds their own selfish need to sensationalize in order to sell their product, or further their own political agendas. The end effect is that even those who are not in financial hot water believe they will be shortly, and will not make the purchases and other financial commitments that they normally would. This, then, becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. The power of the modern media is often overlooked and may be the single most devastating component of this whole mess.
_________________________
Piano Technician/Tuner

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#630136 - 01/19/09 02:35 PM Re: True Piano Values in this economy
portmanteau Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/24/08
Posts: 76
 Quote:
Originally posted by Jerry Groot RPT:
That is another thing mentioned at the meeting that I had forgotten about, craigslist, and others. Along with so much other disinformation circulating about the internet pertaining to pianos, piano prices and the simplicity of the inner workings of them. We see these examples on the Piano Forum all the time. "I wouldn't pay more than XXX for a piano." If a dealer pipes in, they get blasted as if they know nothing about the market or true piano prices.

Another question to think about would be, are we going backward with the general public's knowledge and/or awareness of pianos and piano prices due to misinformation being presented? Or, is this all inner related to the economy in general? [/b]
If inaccurate information is hurting sales much of the blame lies on the piano industry. There would be
much less if it if piano dealers were open about the price.

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#630137 - 01/19/09 03:03 PM Re: True Piano Values in this economy
portmanteau Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/24/08
Posts: 76
 Quote:
Originally posted by CC2 and Chopin lover:
I would add one thing to Roy's comparison of the period leading up to the great Depression and now.....the one aspect that is definitely not the same is the role the media plays now in fostering an impression among the populace that the sky is falling. Their ability, and willingness, to manipulate the public with half truths and incomplete facts feeds their own selfish need to sensationalize in order to sell their product, or further their own political agendas. The end effect is that even those who are not in financial hot water believe they will be shortly, and will not make the purchases and other financial commitments that they normally would. This, then, becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. The power of the modern media is often overlooked and may be the single most devastating component of this whole mess. [/b]
I disagree with the notion that it is self fulfilling, at least in this respect. We are witnessing
the end of a long term credit cycle. This will run its course whether the media has anything to say
or not. It is almost comical how they are just picking up on something that has been going on for a
year now, just as some of the deflationary pressure has abated I might add. There are some pretty
interesting clips of newspapers and such from the 1930s and 1870s. The sky was falling then too.

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#630138 - 01/19/09 06:00 PM Re: True Piano Values in this economy
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
"If inaccurate information is hurting sales much of the blame lies on the piano industry. There would be much less if it if piano dealers were open about the price."
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Why the heck would blame lie on the piano industry? They are not the ones proclaiming false information pertaining to pianos. Maybe a few are. There are bad apples in every field. But, I would say, most are probably reputable.

Much of the disinformation that I read about it, comes directly from people with no REAL knowledge about running a business, no real knowledge about pianos or their inner working parts, or they spout off with some expectation of what they THINK they should pay rather than having a reality check of what profit margins are for dealers.

No businesses relay their "costs" of a product. Piano dealers are no different.
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#630139 - 01/19/09 07:57 PM Re: True Piano Values in this economy
portmanteau Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/24/08
Posts: 76
 Quote:
Originally posted by Jerry Groot RPT:
"If inaccurate information is hurting sales much of the blame lies on the piano industry. There would be much less if it if piano dealers were open about the price."
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Why the heck would blame lie on the piano industry? They are not the ones proclaiming false information pertaining to pianos. Maybe a few are. There are bad apples in every field. But, I would say, most are probably reputable.

Much of the disinformation that I read about it, comes directly from people with no REAL knowledge about running a business, no real knowledge about pianos or their inner working parts, or they spout off with some expectation of what they THINK they should pay rather than having a reality check of what profit margins are for dealers.

No businesses relay their "costs" of a product. Piano dealers are no different. [/b]
I didn't mean to imply they should publish their cost structure. If misinformation is hurting them
so bad why can't they simply put out some accurate pricing information. The fact that a book like
Fine's piano book exists and seems necessary is somewhat telling in this case. They may not be the
ones spreading fiction, but the way pianos are currently priced makes it inevitable. I'm not sure if people in the
industry realize how frustrating it is to outsiders shopping for instruments. Some might just give up
and others probably buy a used piano because comparison shopping is easier.

I would love to be able to go onto a stores website and get a realistic price for a new piano. What
is it about pianos that makes this impossible?

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#630140 - 01/19/09 11:43 PM Re: True Piano Values in this economy
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
"I would love to be able to go onto a stores website and get a realistic price for a new piano. What is it about pianos that makes this impossible?"

I know what you mean. I think this is a factor in all sales. Cars, computers, clothing even. Nobody wants us to know the actual cost and it seems the more demand there is for one product or brand name, the higher the price.
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#630141 - 01/20/09 06:07 AM Re: True Piano Values in this economy
88Key_PianoPlayer Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/02/02
Posts: 1906
Loc: El Cajon, CA
" 'I would love to be able to go onto a stores website and get a realistic price for a new piano. What is it about pianos that makes this impossible?'

I know what you mean. I think this is a factor in all sales. Cars, computers, clothing even. Nobody wants us to know the actual cost and it seems the more demand there is for one product or brand name, the higher the price."

I'm in the same club. I like to know the "real" prices of things. (For example what would the cost (not including shipping, labor, tools, tax, etc) to a tier 1 factory for the raw materials used to make the parts that are in turn used in making one of their concert grands?)
I kinda wish the retail prices were set more reasonably close to the cost-of-raw-materials prices... like maybe 25-50%, tops 100% more than the cost of the raw materials, plus at-cost overhead (shipping the piano to the store, etc... i'm not involved in the industry and don't know what all goes into getting a piano to market so I can't comment further.)

So using the cost-of-raw-materials-to-factory-making-components mode, what would be a typical markup by the time the piano gets to the store floor?
_________________________
Associate Member - Piano Technicians Guild
1950 (#144211) Baldwin Hamilton
1956 (#167714) Baldwin Hamilton
You can right-click my avatar for an option to view a larger version.

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#630142 - 01/20/09 01:31 PM Re: True Piano Values in this economy
Marty Flinn Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/06
Posts: 2604
Jennifer and I spent a lot of time on the section in our book related to prices and piano values. We have charted representitive samples going back several decades. We work in a large store for a company that has five large stores. We do a respectible volume in used instruments in all price points.

Yes, business is slow for everyone in retail. We are fortunate to be holding our own in our area. Used pianos continue to sell. Many/most continue to sell for more than they did originally if they are over ten years old.

We have just gotten wind of a material price increase on new Yamaha effective 2-1.

Folks we talk to are desparate to transfer the falling housing prices to our industry. This is just not happening on wholesale pricing and must not on the retail side if businesses are to survive. Most of this talk is just hearsay and has no basis on fact.

New piano prices are doubling at between 12-15 years. This pulls the values/prices of used right along with it.

I just re-read this thread from the top. At the beginning there were a few posts pushing the thought that there is a conspiracy among retailers to dis and devalue used in favor of new piano sales. This has never been my experience. I have 35 years in retail, for several companies, in over a dozen locations. We always stocked and sold used pianos. Many came from trade-ins, some from outright buys. Profit margins and consequently commissions were always higher on used than on new.

I sit here this morning with 125 pianos on the store with 22 of them being used. Nearly all of them are priced (and will sell for) more than they sold for when new.

I have heard and read the statistic several times that for every new piano sold, four used pianos change hands. This was before Ebay and Craig's list. Internet advertising of used pianos may have only supplanted previous ads in the Penny Saver or classified sections in the newspapers.

One thing is certain. The market for truly rebuilt low to medium line grands ie. Vose, Chickering, Knabe etc. was gobbled up and eclipsed back in the 1970's by inexpensive new black shiny grands from Korea; today from China.

How can one doubt the continuing value in used pianos when container after container load of gray market Yamahas and Kawais are brought in and sold for much more than they originally did?

The cost to manufacture a product is much more than the sum of the costs of the raw materials. I don't understand how that information could possibly be relevant to a potential end-user customer for that product. That's like trying to deduce what the selling price should be for a Mercedes S class sedan from the cost of the steel in the frame.

Gotta wonder about musings like, "I kinda wish the retail prices were set more reasonably close to the cost-of-raw-materials prices." What the ....?
_________________________
Co-Author of The Complete Idiot's Guide To Buying A Piano. A "must read" before you shop.
Work for west coast dealer for Yamaha, Schimmel, Bosendorfer, Wm. Knabe.

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#630143 - 01/20/09 03:29 PM Re: True Piano Values in this economy
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
Great response Marty. Thanks for chiming in on it!
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#630144 - 01/20/09 03:34 PM Re: True Piano Values in this economy
portmanteau Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/24/08
Posts: 76
 Quote:
Originally posted by Marty Flinn:

Gotta wonder about musings like, "I kinda wish the retail prices were set more reasonably close to the cost-of-raw-materials prices." What the ....? [/b]
Are you referring to my post? I'm not sure why people keep mentioning material cost in reference to
it. I thought it was pretty clear that I was discussing retail price. Why would I, as a piano buyer,
care about a builder's costs?

My original comment was in reply to a concern about people being misinformed by reading blogs and
crag's list and such. Yet many published prices on new pianos are so far from reality as to be
meaningless. This is the first item I've ever considered buying that I had to buy a book just to
find its price. With differences like that a customer should be skeptical, and if dealers lack credibly
it is because of the perpetuation of those practices.

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#630145 - 01/20/09 03:45 PM Re: True Piano Values in this economy
cardguy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/17/08
Posts: 977
Hey Guys,

I'm a non-professional potential customer eaves dropping on your very informative discussion. Bear in mind we're in an deflationary world now. Prices are dropping on almost everything. This in some sense is great for the consumer of course, but it's a huge detriment to the seller, chiefly because the potential buyer says to himself, well this widget is selling at a good price, but if I wait til next month it might be even cheaper...

I'm a case in point. I see no reason to be in a hurry while prices continue to fall..I did notice that Steinway has gone through with their price increase, but I'm betting it won't hold...

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#630146 - 01/20/09 04:13 PM Re: True Piano Values in this economy
Marty Flinn Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/06
Posts: 2604
My reference was to 88Key just before my post. A direct quote.
_________________________
Co-Author of The Complete Idiot's Guide To Buying A Piano. A "must read" before you shop.
Work for west coast dealer for Yamaha, Schimmel, Bosendorfer, Wm. Knabe.

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#630147 - 01/20/09 05:02 PM Re: True Piano Values in this economy
portmanteau Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/24/08
Posts: 76
 Quote:
Originally posted by Marty Flinn:
My reference was to 88Key just before my post. A direct quote. [/b]
I see now. Sorry, I misunderstood you.

On a different note, currency exchange rates have been volatile recently. Has anyone seen an impact on piano prices?

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