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Appointment Statistics

  • 1.  Appointment Statistics

    Posted 14 days ago
    I'm curious, and I know there are many variables behind these questions like where a person lives, population size, everything included in an appointment, traffic, but;

    How many tunings/appointments do you do a day?

    How much driving do you do a day (total and average length between appointments)?

    How long is your average tuning (from the moment you start to adjust your 1st tuning pin to to moment you finish adjusting your last tuning pin on a piano)?

    What is your length of appointment in hours/minutes including your drive to your next location?

    ------------------------------
    Cobrun Sells
    cobrun94@yahoo.com
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: Appointment Statistics

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 14 days ago
    Ok, I'll bite. I'm semi retired, so I'm trying to cut down to two appointments a day, max 3. I schedule two hour slots, and drive an average of about 15 to 20 miles one way. I"m in San Diego, and my circle of influence is about a 15 mile radius, which is what I just said. Usually I can get everything done in under 2 hours, and have enough driving time to get to the next appt and not be more than 20 minutes late. If I run into something that needs more time, I'll weigh whether to call and postpone the next appointment, or make another appointment to finish what I was doing. Most of the time I have extra time to adjust lost motion, fix some sluggishness, or address some other pressing issue. It depends. If the piano action doesn't play right, I have to fix it first, which means I might have to return to do the tuning, or just do a pitch raise.
    I like having set appointment times, ie., 10-12 am, 1-3 pm, etc. I don't like the automatic scheduling systems which attempt to guesstimate how much time is needed for the drive, the repairs needed, etc., because inevitably there will be things that you can't envision when you're setting the day's schedule. Expect the unexpected, in other words. It also helps my body-clock to know where I have to be on a daily basis. Since I use an online calendar to allow clients to schedule their own appointments, I have a disclaimer that they have to agree to that explains that there may be extra charges on top of any estimate I may have given or what is on my website, since you can't know ahead of time how much time it's going to take you on any job. Nobody likes surprises, so I try to make sure they know if I"m going to have to charge for something I ran into unexpectedly.
    I'm sure others will have a different take on things.
    Good luck.
    Paul McCloud
    San Diego


    Cobrun Sells
    I'm curious, and I know there are many variables behind these questions like where a person lives, population size, everything included in an appointment, traffic, but;

    How many tunings/appointments do you do a day?

    How much driving do you do a day (total and average length between appointments)?

    How long is your average tuning (from the moment you start to adjust your 1st tuning pin to to moment you finish adjusting your last tuning pin on a piano)?

    What is your length of appointment in hours/minutes including your drive to your next location?

    ------------------------------
    Cobrun Sells
    cobrun94@yahoo.com





  • 3.  RE: Appointment Statistics

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 14 days ago

    How many tunings a day I do depends largely upon the time of year. November and December I feel like I don't even live in my house. Then January comes and I'm lucky to have two tunings a week. For me it's very seasonal, and I got used to that seasonality years ago. During the down seasons for tuning I usually try to schedule in other things like shop work or vacation.


    Average drive time for me is 35 minutes one way. Of course I try to group clients so I don't have to do much driving in between appointments. Gazelle is great for that. 


    Currently I provide full-service appointments. Each is set at 2 hours, and I've gotten fairly good at sticking to that, though occasionally it takes a little longer. Tuning ranges anywhere from 45 minutes to 90 minutes, depending on the piano, situation, etc. If I've seen the piano before it's likely that it won't take me longer than 65 minutes to tune it. 


    I like how you phrased the question so as to ask for the true time an appointment takes. It took me a year to realize that the appointment took longer than just my tuning time (duh). Accordingly I didn't charge enough to cover my true costs that first year. Basically I had to figure out what my actual time at the appointment was, plus two times drive time. Oh, and let's not forget all the unbillable hours you have to work to keep the business going - bookkeeping, phone calls, emails, etc. Tim Barnes did a really great class on this subject some years ago that is in the Online Academy here on my.ptg.



    ------------------------------
    Benjamin Sanchez, RPT
    Piano Technician / Artisan
    (805) 315-8050
    www.professional-piano-services.com
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: Appointment Statistics

    Posted 13 days ago
    I typically have 3 appts per day (15-17 per week). If I do more it's usually because they are in the same building.

    This month I averaged 33 miles a day.

    Average tuning time, as you specified, is about 45-60 minutes. (That does not include big pitch raises.) I have basic appt times of 10 am, 1:30 & 3:30 pm. After my 10 am appt I have lunch & usually go home for that. I plan on my appts taking about 90 minutes with 30 minutes in-between. Quite often I have a little time to kill but I'll use that time to gas up the car, take care of a little shopping, check emails or even contact the next customer and see it I can come early. Quite often I can come early, so that's nice.

    At this point (Over 25 years) I don't really have a down time of year. This schedule is pretty consistent, for which I'm very grateful!

    I'm going to include this information since it relates to how hard or how much I NEED to work. I have no debt, including no house payment and no car payments. That has truly been a game changer for me and my wife. There's no need for me to tune 5 pianos a day and work myself into the ground (in my opinion). I live in Lincoln, NE where the economy is very strong, the city is growing and the cost of living is pretty reasonable.

    ------------------------------
    "That Tuning Guy"
    Scott Kerns
    www.thattuningguy.com
    PianoMeter, TuneLab & OnlyPure user
    ------------------------------



  • 5.  RE: Appointment Statistics

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 13 days ago

    Scott

    congratulations on your financial state. 

    I wonder if yours is the only income which achieved this result?

    For me, I consider myself retired. I make myself available for appointments two afternoons a week and every other Saturday. Because of my client base this usually (Pre Covid) meant 2-3 appointments a week. Most clients live 15-25 miles away/ 35-45 minute drive. I always allow two hours even though tuning takes about an hour. 


    This is a far cry from my schedule in Texas when 4-5 a day and 25 a week was the norm. But I will say I based my fees on an 40 week/800 appointment year. (I teach a class about that)



    ------------------------------
    "PTG - Expand your Horizon. Share the Vision"
    "Promoting Quality Service for the World's Pianos"
    "Good, Better, Best. Never let it rest. 'Til the good is better, and the better best."

    George W.R. "Bill Davis", RPT, SERVP
    2315 Rocky Mountain Rd NE
    Marietta GA 30066-2113
    CP: 770-778-6881
    bill@pianoplace.net
    www.pianoplace.net
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: Appointment Statistics

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 13 days ago
    I used to be afraid to respond to things like this because I have been so frequently criticized for my business practices. What I have come to realize is that I am in a different world than most techs so if they don't like what I do, too bad. I have met other techs in similar situations as mine (poor, rural), particularly in Mississippi, and our experiences and business practices are the same.

    I typically work on 2 pianos per day, sometimes 3 but only if all 3 are pianos I have previously serviced. 

    My drives vary from just a few miles to over 80. I suppose my average is between 30-40. Most of my jobs are less than 15 minutes from each other, some are as much as 30 but that's not my norm & is typically because of a reschedule.

    Here's where I am criticized: Most of my "tuning" jobs run 2 to 2.5 hours because I rarely have only a simple tuning. Because of this, I've just started giving everyone 2 hours of my time, & if I actually get done before then, I can tweak or clean things. I always need to do a pitch change because of our extreme humidity shifts. I almost always have to fix something. I almost always have to regulate something. I often struggle to fit everything in to 2 hours, but if the piano needs more than that, I can reschedule more work for another day. My tuning times run as short as 45 minutes (extremely rare for me) up to 90 minutes depending on the piano and how large the pitch change. I've come to the conclusion that I am happiest running my business this way and that I'm sticking to it. I love where I live, where I work, and the people I work for, so here I'll stay.

    EDIT: I didn't originally want to confess this online, but I decided I will. I will sometimes spend 3-4 hours on a piano I've never seen before because they are in such horrible condition they aren't even tunable let alone playable. I try to avoid this, but... I'll get them functioning IF I can, then reschedule for more work. I sometimes do this for minimal or no further charge because these people really can't afford it. However, when they can afford it, they happily pay me. All are grateful for it. If I ONLY have 2 pianos that take only 2 hours each, I get home early and enjoy extra practice time with my hubby. That makes up for the evenings I get home late. ;-)

    ------------------------------
    Maggie Jusiel, RPT
    Athens, WV
    (304)952-8615
    mags@timandmaggie.net
    ------------------------------


  • 7.  RE: Appointment Statistics

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 13 days ago
    Maggie,

    You should not be criticized in any way for this approach. 👍

    Pwg

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    Peter Grey
    Stratham NH
    603-686-2395
    pianodoctor57@gmail.com
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: Appointment Statistics

    Posted 13 days ago
    Good for you Maggie! I think that's what is so great about being self employed. You can run your business the way you want to, and guess what, it's no body else's business! 😃 I've felt at times that I should be tuning 5 pianos a day, but I know there's no way I could keep up that pace. Right now my schedule works for me and someday I hope to have more of a schedule like George does.

    ------------------------------
    "That Tuning Guy"
    Scott Kerns
    www.thattuningguy.com
    PianoMeter, TuneLab & OnlyPure user
    ------------------------------



  • 9.  RE: Appointment Statistics

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 12 days ago
    This sounds like my schedule.  As a technician there is always something that needs to be done.
    I am tired of tuning myself into the ground, I am 65, but unfortunately I do need to work.  Two jobs a day with emergencies tucked in between and a majority of my work is major pitch raises that can take over 2 hours.
    Best of all... I like my job!

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    Blaine Hebert
    Duarte CA
    626-795-5170
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  • 10.  RE: Appointment Statistics

    Posted 13 days ago
    George - No, my income was not the only one (so I'm definitely not bragging!) but after getting to the point where we had no debt I realized how freeing it is. I just assumed I would have debt all of my life. So, I'm very very humbled and thankful!

    ------------------------------
    "That Tuning Guy"
    Scott Kerns
    www.thattuningguy.com
    PianoMeter, TuneLab & OnlyPure user
    ------------------------------



  • 11.  RE: Appointment Statistics

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 13 days ago
    Semi retired so only one service call a day, down from two or three, sometimes four. M-F only. There are times when in order to accommodate a special customer, or a special need I may schedule more than one call in the day, but these days that is a rare. I love it when a customer has two pianos in the same location. To me, that's still one service call.

    I no longer take tunings on the West Side so my service area has been reduced significantly. This is Los Angeles. I can't charge enough to make the stress of driving in that kind of 24 hour traffic worth my while. Because of the reduction in service area, drive times are down from over 90 minutes each way, (at an average speed of 12 MPH), to around 20 or 30 minutes, with traffic closer to home being a rarity.

    I usually allow for two hours per visit. Tuning takes me between 60 and 90 minutes, depending on how cooperative the piano is. Key cleaning, dusting, pedals, etc., plus schmoozing with the customer fill out that time. But with only one service call a day, when something comes up, and it frequently does, I don't have to worry about the next customer and can easily take care of it right then instead of having to make a second call. The customer and I both win.

    In spite of the fact that I have reduced my service area, and the fact that I have recently raised my rates I, nevertheless, have a full calendar clear into the middle of June. I guess I must be doing something right. :-)

    I don't have an online calendar, and my email address is not posted on my website. I want the customer to call me so we can actually discuss their needs and I can arrive prepared for the job. If someone calls, and I don't recognize the number, I don't answer the call. Phone scams and phishing are just too prevalent. If it's a customer that's really is interested in my services they will leave a message and I will call them back within minutes.

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    Geoff Sykes, RPT
    Los Angeles CA
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  • 12.  RE: Appointment Statistics

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 12 days ago
    One thing I will mention is my business line phone menu system, which has helped me screen my telemarketer calls, . My business line forwards to my cell phone, or at least it did before I got an Ooma phone.

    The Ooma phone is voip, an internet phone with its own number. They have several types of phones, all of which connect through the internet. They supplied me with an old-style desk type phone, which has many features on it. There is a monthly charge for it, which doesn't change with usage.

    The reason I got it is because their system supports a voicemail menu system. "For such and such, press one", etc. So if someone wants to make an appointment, I have several ways they can do that immediately, rather than simply leave a message. The effect has been that I almost never have to answer the phone.

    During the day, I don't answer while I'm working, driving or eating. Which turns out is pretty much all day. So, in the evening I"ll get any messages on my email, transcribed. Telemarketers aren't going to press 1 and leave a message, so I don't have to deal with them. And I get a large amount of people making online appointments, no phone tag required. Of course, there are some that will leave a message that they want a tuning, so I just call back. No problem.

    It took a bit of tweaking to get the menu system working the way I wanted, but it has been worth it. I think the charge is $35 a month. Formerly I had AT&T do the forwarding, then another company, which was around the same price, and they charged a per-call fee.

    In case you want some fun, here's my number 858 581-6744. Comments are welcome.

    Paul McCloud
    San Diego




    Geoff Sykes
    Semi retired so only one service call a day, down from two or three, sometimes four. M-F only. There are times when in order to accommodate a special customer, or a special need I may schedule more than one call in the day, but these days that is a rare. I love it when a customer has two pianos in the same location. To me, that's still one service call.

    I no longer take tunings on the West Side so my service area has been reduced significantly. This is Los Angeles. I can't charge enough to make the stress of driving in that kind of 24 hour traffic worth my while. Because of the reduction in service area, drive times are down from over 90 minutes each way, (at an average speed of 12 MPH), to around 20 or 30 minutes, with traffic closer to home being a rarity.

    I usually allow for two hours per visit. Tuning takes me between 60 and 90 minutes, depending on how cooperative the piano is. Key cleaning, dusting, pedals, etc., plus schmoozing with the customer fill out that time. But with only one service call a day, when something comes up, and it frequently does, I don't have to worry about the next customer and can easily take care of it right then instead of having to make a second call. The customer and I both win.

    In spite of the fact that I have reduced my service area, and the fact that I have recently raised my rates I, nevertheless, have a full calendar clear into the middle of June. I guess I must be doing something right. :-)

    I don't have an online calendar, and my email address is not posted on my website. I want the customer to call me so we can actually discuss their needs and I can arrive prepared for the job. If someone calls, and I don't recognize the number, I don't answer the call. Phone scams and phishing are just too prevalent. If it's a customer that's really is interested in my services they will leave a message and I will call them back within minutes.

    ------------------------------
    Geoff Sykes, RPT
    Los Angeles CA





  • 13.  RE: Appointment Statistics

    Posted 12 days ago
    i do an average of 20 tunings each week (m-f), sometimes 1 or 2 a day and then other days 7.

    It takes me a little over one hour to tune a piano that i have serviced before and up to 2 hours for pianos i haven't serviced before. When i work at the university, i can tune a piano in 45 minutes but i rather take a little longer.

    on a yearly basis, i drive 10k miles.  Sometimes less than 10 miles a day but other days it may be 130 (which is rare).  Since i use Gazelle, it does try to minimize the driving from customer to customer:  sometimes less than 10 minutes, the bulk around 15 to 20 minutes and then sometimes it may be 45 minutes (typically if i'm servicing an area farther away from my home and my last customer may be close to my home.

    Peter


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    Petrus Janssen
    Peachtree City GA
    678-416-8055
    ------------------------------



  • 14.  RE: Appointment Statistics

    Member
    Posted 12 days ago

    My "business" has always been an alternative "business" model.

    Frankly, after reading, again and again, in the journal, and on these lists, the mantra of "business" as defined by folks like Tim Barnes... or even perhaps Dale Probst, a fine soul, whom fate determined would not see his own carefully financed  retirement... as I read their descriptions, I feel myself hyper-ventilating...saying to myself, "I'd rather have dental surgery".

    Never in my life, and I mean never, did I buy the meaning of the word "business",  or even the meaning of the word "work", as defined by...someone/thing or other than myself.  My shop schedule is defined by my biorhythms.  Work starts after I piss around in the morning, take my walk, do my exercises and futz around some more.  Work continues until I start to feel like stopping...which is usually 6 hrs total-ish.  And, in the middle of the day, if an interesting idea occurs to me, I will often stop and mess with the idea for a while without fretting about "time on task". My "work" is defined by time, and "time is defined by the present experience of time...not the present experience of some future promised time.

    When you speak to folks, especially now after the sheltering in,  when this time aspect of life and work has become so undeniably apparent,  they say: " I love what I do. It's not the work. It's the time factor that makes me want to retire, or to worse, quit".  It's the time factor...it's always the time factor. Time in the present, always losing out to promised time in the future...a massive con.

    From the start, I knew that grafting a corporate definition onto an artist or artisan, which is what I knew I was, would kill the joy,  creativity, brain space , and most importantly, the time required to do the "work" I was interested in doing.  For me, "work" is what I do, yes to live in my house and buy food, but it is, and has always been my hobby and an opportunity to mess  around with things I find challenging and interesting.  Since my work is my hobby, and since time at work is experienced in the present,  and since the shop is on my residential property (no rent-very low overhead), and since I can stop in the middle of the day to mess with my garden, and since being content, do not spend money on stuff that is not necessary,  I do not need  or want to retire.  We are not rich, I assure you.   If for some reason, the money lags, I don't care, because there is no debt.  The main thing is that as a tone junkie, I am engaged every day in creating that tone,  and can't wait to get out to the shop every day, to have another go at it.

    The key, is to avoid unnecessary debt like the plague, strategize ways to keep your overhead as absolutely low as possible. Also avoid being conned into "needing" expensive things that do not foster contentment, and avoid the notion that we can control the future by sitting on large amounts of retirement wealth, acquired at the cost of the present. In some ways, as society is slowly coming to realize, both economically and emotionally, retirement as a dead stop, is not actually that good of an idea. It certainly has no historic precedence, since it is a very recent invention.

    On my rebuilds,  I present  a very detailed proposal.  However, once the proposal is signed, I stop thinking about money. I will always work for the nicest sounding piano I am capable of producing, often going well over my proposal.  I don't care. As long as I was happy with the original price detailed in the proposal, and am happy working for the customer, I will work until I get that nicest sound that piano will give me.

    Tuning, which is not my favorite thing to do, now, is only for my rebuild customers, and real nice other pianos I have serviced in the past. The folks I tune for are as much of my enjoyment as the sound of the instrument itself.  The key for me in doing any tuning, which as I said is not my favorite thing to do, is that, since I am tuning my own instruments, as a tone junkie, I get to hear the sound of these instruments I have created. The sounds are so important to me, they are a "payment" which exceeds the value of the check I receive, by a long shot...really.  I take 2-1/2 hrs on these tunings (usually 2 passes), because that's how long I take.

     



    ------------------------------
    Jim Ialeggio
    grandpianosolutions.com
    Shirley, MA
    978 425-9026
    ------------------------------



  • 15.  RE: Appointment Statistics

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 12 days ago
    Right on, Jim. What we charge for our work must take care of the bills. The deep personal satisfaction we can get from doing our best and then some, and innovating along the way, provides an experience that I believe we will.look back at fondly when our time to move on finally arrives.

    Alan

    ------------------------------
    Alan Eder, RPT
    Herb Alpert School of Music
    California Institute of the Arts
    Valencia, CA
    661.904.6483
    ------------------------------



  • 16.  RE: Appointment Statistics

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 12 days ago
    Jim, you are not only right on, but you "get it'! Congratulations...yours is a successful blueprint for living, not just merely surviving. While my "business" does not include much rebuilding, the principle is the same. In late summer-early fall, I will go into greater detail in an article being published in the journal.
    Enjoy the day!

    ------------------------------
    Greg Junker
    Owner
    Belleville IL
    618-971-9595
    ------------------------------



  • 17.  RE: Appointment Statistics

    Posted 9 days ago
    Thank you Jim! You were able to "flesh out" what I was trying to say.

    ------------------------------
    "That Tuning Guy"
    Scott Kerns
    www.thattuningguy.com
    PianoMeter, TuneLab & OnlyPure user
    ------------------------------



  • 18.  RE: Appointment Statistics

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 12 days ago
    There are definite seasons for my business. From November through Easter, I am the busiest with an average of 5 tunings per day. This slacks off from May-October, when I take 2-3 vacations, including a backpacking trip with friends in the still Wild West. Since the late 1970's, I serviced over 1,000 pianos per year. Last year, due to schools and churches closing, 833 was the annual number. I think could continue to cut back to this number and probably will, however in my area, most of my customers I consider friends and look forward to the service call. Southern Illinois is not at all like Chicago, more like Kentucky and the friendly rural Mid-West with a more relaxed and slower lifestyle.  Regular customers are scheduled every 1 1/2 hours, with new ones around 2. Travel averages around 70 miles per working day. If my health holds up, I don't see full retirement, as I am still having too much fun.

    ------------------------------
    Greg Junker
    Greg Junker's Piano Shoppe, LLC
    Belleville IL
    618-971-9595
    ------------------------------



  • 19.  RE: Appointment Statistics

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 12 days ago
    Hitting reply on the last post because I'm responding to all. I gotta say: THANK YOU!!! I got SO tired of being told I take too long, I don't tune enough pianos in a day, etc.  I also want to add that piano tuning is not the only thing I do. I teach and I perform. In June, then August through November, I work 7 days per week (70+ hours, by my choice), but that only includes 4-8 pianos per week. If I were a full time tuner, that would be different. I am always impressed with those who can tune more per day, but I don't want to, particularly in my area. The only exception to this is when I knock out a bunch of practice rooms at a local college. I can do 6-8 pianos in a day in that setting, if I'm ONLY tuning and they don't have to be "concert" level work. To each his own, and I'm grateful we can all share our work ideas here and respect each other while sharing our differences. :-)

    ------------------------------
    Maggie Jusiel, RPT
    Athens, WV
    (304)952-8615
    mags@timandmaggie.net
    ------------------------------



  • 20.  RE: Appointment Statistics

    Member
    Posted 9 days ago
    Speaking of "alternative" business models, and corporate cynicism, I just got an email from the Boston CEO club, having mined my info from Linked In. They want me, as CEO of Grand Piano Solutions, to join their CEO club. Wow, what an honor (or should I say horror). As CEO, I should wear a tie with my ripped work pants, after all, appearance is everything.

    I wonder how many other of my potential CEO colleagues  are also chief cook and bottle washer, custodian, electrician, product designer, marketing, tool maker, human resources...and also come to late work every day?

    ------------------------------
    Jim Ialeggio
    grandpianosolutions.com
    Shirley, MA
    978 425-9026
    ------------------------------



  • 21.  RE: Appointment Statistics

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 9 days ago
    Someone once told me that CEO stands for Chief Everything Officer. Seems more appropriate for our lives than a corporate employee, LOL!

    ------------------------------
    Benjamin Sanchez, RPT
    Piano Technician / Artisan
    (805) 315-8050
    www.professional-piano-services.com
    ------------------------------