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PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2019 5:32 pm 
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Location: Shefford, Québec
First name: Tim
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Fortunately, I don’t find myself in this situation often, but I am a dealer for several manufacturers and find myself wondering what is the industry standard for labour required to settle warranty claims on third-party products?

For example, recently a pickup I sold and installed went south in a customer’s guitar. After a quick discussion with the manufacturer, they agreed to replace the unit and I installed another from stock.

Of course, there was time involved to diagnose, organize the replacement and install the second pup. So, is there a standard way of compensating dealers for this sort of thing! Or do we just “suck it up” (as I said, it doesn’t happen very often).


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 6:24 am 
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The manufacturers warranty always states "labor not included" or "parts only". If the folks who made it won't cover the labor neither will I! So the manufacturer will not pay the labor but yet it's not my product, not my fault....... So why should I eat it? Customer relations? For a real regular customer ( those who spend more than $2K/year in my shop) I may do it pro-bono as a customer courtesy. Everyone else pays!

I read them the warranty and explain that I get no compensation from said company for any of this. I tell them I am sorry for this but again it is not my fault and is a standard business practice these days. Be calm, candid and honest and if they have a real problem dial the companies 800 number and hand them the phone and let the party on the other end deal with it as it is their defective product....

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These users thanked the author B. Howard for the post: Tim Mullin (Sat Aug 17, 2019 3:17 pm)
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 8:12 am 
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Old Growth Brazilian Rosewood
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It's really more a question of what kind of relationship do you strive to have with your clients.

If it were us and we sold the defective product we would consider it our duty to cover the labor to make someone whole again and as you said suck it up.

Our view is that if we recommend something we should have vetted the hell out of it making it on us if our advice ends up harming anyone. As you know vetting is no guarantee either, **** happens.

BTW we have been very reluctant to carry pups for this very reason. We don't have any control over if a manufacturer has a bad day, batch, labor issues, supplier issues, tariffs.... etc. We also want our advice to mean something and not have anyone ever be able to make a valid claim that we are beholden to some manufacturer because money is involved.

So if it were us and we sold and recommended the pup in the first place we would eat the labor to get the client back to where they want to be. We'd also do it all right away, no waiting lists, first class treatment, this client has already waited in line for defective parts etc.

Lastly although this still bothers Dave a bit we won't even source and get parts for a client if they need it. We tell people to source the parts that they want to use wherever they wish and bring it all to us when everything is there so we can launch and we take it from there. We are not in the business of dealing with manufacturers, suppliers, thumbing through catalogues or Internet sites none of this BS makes us money. Instead we strive to stay very close to our core competency favoring as our motto indicates to "do one thing exceptionally well instead of a bunch of things ******." :)

We do stock all the common repairs parts I'm really speaking of pups and upgrades in terms of not stocking stuff.

If it were my client I'd make it all better right away and then....... next. I also might be asking that manufacturer who made my recommendation make me look bad why I should stock and recommend their stuff again.....



These users thanked the author Hesh for the post: Tim Mullin (Sat Aug 17, 2019 3:17 pm)
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 9:56 am 
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We are not in the business of dealing with manufacturers, suppliers, thumbing through catalogues or Internet sites none of this BS makes us money.


If you marked it up, it would be worth it. But I DO take your point. Time is money, invest wisely.

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These users thanked the author Chris Pile for the post: Hesh (Sun Aug 18, 2019 3:23 am)
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 2:19 pm 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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Hesh wrote:
Lastly although this still bothers Dave a bit we won't even source and get parts for a client if they need it. We tell people to source the parts that they want to use wherever they wish and bring it all to us when everything is there so we can launch and we take it from there.


So you would rather deal with Chinese fake parts or stuff that was clearly just ordered wrong? That has been my experience way to often on customer supplied parts which inevitably causes me more lost time and aggravation than sourcing the parts myself and making a few extra bucks for doing it (mark up ;) ).

Since we are talking mainly pickups here another thing I regularly do is free install on a pickup purchased from my stock. So while I will charge you to swap it if it goes south I didn't charge you to install it in the first place....... Better service to my way of thinking for ALL my customers.

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http://www.brianhowardguitars.com
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Howard-G ... 3702413493
http://howardguitars.blogspot.com/


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 4:05 pm 
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Koa
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Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2009 3:14 am
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Location: Shefford, Québec
First name: Tim
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State: QC
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Country: Canada
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Some interesting thoughts here — thanks all for being so generous with your ideas and experience.

Brian: of course you’re right that product warranties virtually never include labour or other costs incurred, including shipping. I really shouldn’t expect different treatment just because I’m a dealer. You pretty much nailed my question right there.

But from the POV of customer relations, my philosophy aligns more closely with Hesh. I’ve had a very simple guarantee since I started this gig 12 years ago: “If you’re not happy, you don’t pay”. This applies to everything I provide, from setups to commissioned guitars. Some might think that is a foolish statement to put out there, but it immediately earns respect from customers.

Only once have I had to make good on the “you don’t pay”. Usually, a customer who has issues will respect the sincerity of my guarantee and will discuss the issue. Generally speaking, we always work it out, although sometimes it costs me. I try to give the customer the benefit of any doubt. The one time it went bad is when a third party got involved — unpleasant experience, for sure, but not because of the lost income.

If I put myself in the customer’s shoes, I wouldn’t care who was technically responsible, I would just like my guitar to work as I originally paid for. So, if I want to sell product off my shelf, I guess servicing the warranty is simply one of those costs that go with it. In this case, the customer got his guitar back the same day — no RMA or waiting for the manufacturer to assess the warranty and mail out a new part. And from my end, my stock gets replaced within a week or so and the offending part ends up in the bin.

As for selling retail stuff, I also build and find that reseller agreements help with sourcing some of what I need for that side of my business. I keep very little stock for retail sales: pretty much limited to a variety of electric, acoustic and classical strings, and 4 models of acoustic/classical PUPs. I sell a set of strings with at least 75% of my setup jobs, and PUPs sell easily because I have them right there and demoed in my own guitars. My markup is set to compete directly with Amazon, and well below most online sites and the city music store. Sometimes I will insist the customer source his own stuff, even if I can get it: bass guitar strings being an example, as the specs are a real headache,

Like Hesh and David, I keep the usual stock of electrical bits, nuts, saddles, screws and bolts. As for other pieces, custom tuners, bridges, and the like, I will order for a client, but they will often have to pay an additional shipping charge or wait until I have a stock order going in. I can order pretty much the whole spectrum of strings from three suppliers. Trouble is, the string makers have a habit of changing Canadian distributors rather frequently, and I really only want to deal with one. Generally, I find my distributor reps very helpful, even if my volume is well below that of a traditional musical store.

This has been an interesting thread, finding out a bit about how others view the mixture of Lutherie and retail, and its various issues.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 9:42 pm 
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Tim, I have the same guarantee, if you're not happy then you don't pay. No one has taken me up on it although I have redone a few repairs.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 18, 2019 3:29 am 
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Old Growth Brazilian Rosewood
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B. Howard wrote:
Hesh wrote:
Lastly although this still bothers Dave a bit we won't even source and get parts for a client if they need it. We tell people to source the parts that they want to use wherever they wish and bring it all to us when everything is there so we can launch and we take it from there.


So you would rather deal with Chinese fake parts or stuff that was clearly just ordered wrong? That has been my experience way to often on customer supplied parts which inevitably causes me more lost time and aggravation than sourcing the parts myself and making a few extra bucks for doing it (mark up ;) ).

Since we are talking mainly pickups here another thing I regularly do is free install on a pickup purchased from my stock. So while I will charge you to swap it if it goes south I didn't charge you to install it in the first place....... Better service to my way of thinking for ALL my customers.


Nope not at all and these are your words not mine.

That's not how it goes. We suggest that the client get this or that and we do either make a recommendation or they ask us to. We may briefly suggest a vendor or two as well. They show up a week later with an Anthem and we install it, next.

None of our money is tied up in inventory other than standard repair parts and we are not subject to the whims of what sells and what gathers dust. It's also helped us remain agnostic to products and other manufacturers.

Our business model with our clients includes being that "trusted advisor" who isn't pushing anyone's wares. What we sell is top shelf workmanship and advice. There are lots of other places who are either music stores or flirt with being one. Not our bag.



These users thanked the author Hesh for the post: Clinchriver (Mon Aug 26, 2019 4:54 pm)
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