I’m often asked by customers how much their repair will be and I fully understand why it’s important to have an idea. There are a number of problems with trying to ascertain a price and hopefully this will explain it a little more clearly.
Let me start by saying that the average bill I send out is in the region of £40 excluding parts and that this is the target for me as an amp repair engineer. If this figure is higher than the replacement value of the item then it might be time to reconsider the viability of the job.
Next, to the problems of plucking a figure out of the air! With certain pieces of audio equipment, such as a Fender Hotrod type amp, I can almost guarantee that my labour time will be under 1.5 hours as they are very easy to work on and have common problems. N.B. They are very good amps and easy to service – I’m in no way saying that this isn’t the case.
So getting back to the quoting issue, the main hindrance is that even with common symptoms, the problems may not be the same. Let’s take an example: I worked on a speaker recently which had some rattling inside and the LF driver had no output. My instant thought was “it’s probably a component from the crossover that’s come loose and fallen off” – a perfectly valid assumption. However, when I opened the thing up, the HF driver had broken loose and was magnetically attached to the LF driver which in turn had disconnected one of it’s spade connectors. The rattling was all the shards of plastic. The upshot is that the job was 30 mins longer just because I had to glue the cabinet back together.
The conclusion is that until I’ve opened up a unit and assessed the damage, it’s impossible to quote. The best bet is to base the repair on the average time taken and where necessary, tell me your maximum budget so that I can work through in a more intelligent way. This way you don’t waste your money and I don’t waste my time.
Thanks for listening!