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Topic Options
#638963 - 02/04/07 02:16 PM Too Many Tuners?
compozer Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/19/06
Posts: 10
Loc: Pennsylvania
I'm still going through the Potter course and I am running into some doubt about my business. There are about 18 piano tuners in Lancaster, PA area. I have no idea if I am diving into a saturated market. Do I have reason for alarm?
_________________________
Rob Derner
composer living in PA with wife and seven month son

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#638964 - 02/04/07 03:27 PM Re: Too Many Tuners?
Brick Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/31/06
Posts: 373
It's hard to know without knowing how many interested piano owners there are in those environs- but generally speaking your success or failure in the business will not depend largely on issues like how many competitors there are. Some people will be a success no matter what kind of market they are in, while others will fail no matter what market they are in.

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#638965 - 02/04/07 04:20 PM Re: Too Many Tuners?
Jim Puckett Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/19/06
Posts: 251
Loc: Mount Vernon, Ohio
It is hard to address the supply and demand issue for someone else's community. 18 sounds like a lot only IF they are all full time and if they are all FULL SERVICE and if none of them are close to retirement.

Turn the tables - it sounds like a good place to find some good mentoring relationships and some shop work with another technician. Good service and good repeat customers will make the market work for you.
_________________________
Jim

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#638966 - 02/04/07 04:35 PM Re: Too Many Tuners?
Larry Buck Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/04
Posts: 2400
Loc: Lowell MA
Establishing a customer base is much more than a ratio of service people to pianos.

Not that it doesn't matter, but also consider;

Your personality. Do you present well and do people like you?

Does your "service" feel responsive to people, returning calls, listening, arriving to appointments on time, etc.

Pricing.

Do you bring other complimentary skills to the job? Regulation, rebuilding, stage or studio work?

Are you able to look at the needs of the community and prepare services to meet those needs?

Word of mouth is far and away the best form of advertising. If you understand that and manage it properly, you will do well.

Lastly, join the PTG. Make a continuing effort to upgrade your skills, professional presentation and perspective.
_________________________
"If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants."
Isaac Newton

E. J. Buck & Sons
Lowell MA 01852
978 458 8688
www.ejbuckpiano.com
http://www.facebook.com/EJBuckPerformances

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#638967 - 02/04/07 05:39 PM Re: Too Many Tuners?
Dave Lotek Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/31/06
Posts: 78
Loc: midwest
 Quote:
Originally posted by compozer:
I'm still going through the Potter course and I am running into some doubt about my business. There are about 18 piano tuners in Lancaster, PA area. I have no idea if I am diving into a saturated market. Do I have reason for alarm? [/b]
I would continue, if you enjoy pianos you'll do well. There are many off shoots to piano tuning. Some that I can think of besides the usual repair and restoration are; high polish finish buffing and polyester repair, piano moving (also heavy furniture, safes, etc), non portable Digital piano service (digitals out sell verticals nowadays and you can trouble shoot them using a phone and a block diagram), Floor tunings for music merchants at special discounts for customer referrals. School District and large church contracts at special prices. Appraisals for piano buyers and sellers. Occasional commissioned sales for referring dealers. It would be nice to only tune pianos, but in small or highly saturated markets, this other stuff helps.
_________________________
Piano Sales, Piano Technician, "Tuning pianos for a song"

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#638968 - 02/04/07 07:23 PM Re: Too Many Tuners?
Keith Roberts Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/04/04
Posts: 1988
Loc: Murphys, Ca
Dave is right, there are many off shoots. If you read the posts here, the main complaint of John Q. Public is the tuner is not capable of fixing anything. Cut the competition down to 4 out of 18 that are good technicians. Also there are another 10 hidden in the woodworks that call themselves tuners and none of them can fix anything either. Thank Randy that he just doesn't teach you how to tune.
_________________________
Keith Roberts
Keith's Piano Service
Hathaway Pines,Ca

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#638969 - 02/04/07 07:40 PM Re: Too Many Tuners?
Larry Buck Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/04
Posts: 2400
Loc: Lowell MA
I don't know about the rest of the country, but here in Boston, believing that most of the tuners can't fix anything would be a mistake in judgment.

The tuner techs in this area are all, for the most part, very competent and customer savvy.

Joining the PTG, going to the meetings and participating in the group, will provide valuable perspective.

Believing that your competition may be mostly incompetent can be a bit short sighted.
_________________________
"If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants."
Isaac Newton

E. J. Buck & Sons
Lowell MA 01852
978 458 8688
www.ejbuckpiano.com
http://www.facebook.com/EJBuckPerformances

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#638970 - 02/05/07 11:48 PM Re: Too Many Tuners?
Duane McGuire Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/27/06
Posts: 49
Loc: Utah
There are too many lawyers, too many engineers, too many carpenters, too many mechanics too! But cream always rises to the top.

Decide what you want to do and then be the best in your field. There is always work at the top.
_________________________
- Duane McGuire
www.mcguirepiano.com

PTG Associate

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#638971 - 02/06/07 06:56 AM Re: Too Many Tuners?
Dave Lotek Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/31/06
Posts: 78
Loc: midwest
 Quote:
Originally posted by stieff1911:
There are too many lawyers, too many engineers, too many carpenters, too many mechanics too! But cream always rises to the top.

Decide what you want to do and then be the best in your field. There is always work at the top. [/b]
That would be ideal, but a lot of the clientele I’ve seen in small town America doesn’t know the difference between a good and bad tuning job. I knew of a seedy piano merchant competitor that armed welfare placement workers with Strobe Tuners and sent them out to the elderly, thinking they were probably hard of hearing. His higher echelon clientele didn’t receive much better either. Never heard one complaint. It’s true if you do a very good job for a long enough period of time, you’ll be in demand by the best, it’s what you have to do to get there, sometimes you never get there. Tune as an end in itself, if you can make a living at it, all the better.
_________________________
Piano Sales, Piano Technician, "Tuning pianos for a song"

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#638972 - 02/06/07 07:14 AM Re: Too Many Tuners?
Rich Galassini Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 9583
Loc: Philadelphia/South Jersey
Good responses so far, especially Larry's.

I know the Lancaster market and there are people buying new pianos every month that have no technician. Also, through word of mouth (which takes time) people will call on you. There are 3 ways to build a tuning business

1) Educate clients who previously rarely service their pianos on the benefits of regular service. Follow up and be persistent. Deliver a better piano when you are through. This creates business and is done through a little salesmanship, good people skills, and a little luck.

2) Become the tech. of choice for someone who now uses someone else. This is done through professionalism and delivering a better product - or simply being liked better than the last guy.

3) Being the first tech. for a given client. Many stores subcontract their tuning and are happy if you then follow up the client for them. These are usually not technically oriented stores. (Not Piano Gallery, for instance)

I wouldnt consider the market saturated, but I would consider it well served. That doesn't mean you won't be successful though.

Good luck,
_________________________
Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
Dir. Line (215) 991-0834
rich@cunninghampiano.com
www.cunninghampiano.com

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#638973 - 02/06/07 09:50 AM Re: Too Many Tuners?
Brick Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/31/06
Posts: 373
I would hope that in Boston, with the North Bennet Street School being there, that there would be a lot of decent techs. I mean what excuse would they have for NOT being decent with probably the best hands-on program in the U.S. being right there?

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#638974 - 02/06/07 01:56 PM Re: Too Many Tuners?
Rich Galassini Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 9583
Loc: Philadelphia/South Jersey
 Quote:
I would hope that in Boston, with the North Bennet Street School being there, that there would be a lot of decent techs. I mean what excuse would they have for NOT being decent with probably the best hands-on program in the U.S. being right there?
[/b]

Brick,

Good point - so Larry is good by default?? ;\)
_________________________
Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
Dir. Line (215) 991-0834
rich@cunninghampiano.com
www.cunninghampiano.com

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#638975 - 02/08/07 04:18 PM Re: Too Many Tuners?
Atlasrising Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/07/07
Posts: 49
Loc: Earth
i moved to a big city because my hometown area had one guy tune all the pianos. go where the market is.

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#638976 - 02/11/07 12:49 PM Re: Too Many Tuners?
mdsdurango Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/04
Posts: 1755
Loc: Durango Colorado
And remember that the cream rises to the top!

If you are the "cream of the crop" you will do well.

Mike
_________________________
WHAT???????
Yamaha S6, U5C, P120
http://michaelstith.com

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