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Advice needed

  • 1.  Advice needed

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 10-25-2023 18:39

    I am facing crossroads and curious what careers piano technicians have transitioned to upon leaving the piano industry.  Of particular interest to me are those technicians that had no education and experience outside of pianos.  If any of you have friends that have successfully done so, I would appreciate knowing what career they chose as well as why they chose it. 



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    Kamuela "Sam" Haasenritter, RPT
    President: Haasenritter Piano Service, Inc.
    Certified Bosendorfer Technician
    Certified WNG Action Installer
    sam@hpianoservice.com
    www hpianoservice.com
    (404) 932-8863
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: Advice needed

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 10-25-2023 19:29

    John Hartman quit the piano business. You might reach out to him. This site is mostly frequented by folks planning to stay with pianos. Just curious; You have credentials from Bosendorfer and WNG, why are you not happy with this profession?



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    Karl Roeder
    Pompano Beach FL
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  • 3.  RE: Advice needed

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 10-26-2023 09:16

    Hey Sam,

    I only aware of a handful of fully established techs that quit the business. For most of us, piano tuning is a second career, or even a retirement career. There are only a few who leave to do something else. The few that I've known have left for various aspects of the music industry, only to go back to tuning in a few months.

    With that said, reading between the lines of your question, I think your main concern is that you don't have any skills outside of piano work. Please hear me loud and clear, that is a false narrative! It's not true. To start with, you run a business if you're self employed. You have time management and organizational skills. You know how to do project management. I'm guessing you are mechanically minded and can figure out most technical things if you think about it. You have knowledge of materials and how they interact with each other. You're a highly detailed person. Not to mention, but you have x number of years that you've been in the same field for, maybe even the same job. You know how to stick with something.

    These are the things an employer is going to look for when you interview with them. These are character qualities. They can teach someone the day to day operational skills, but they can't teach these things. Take confidence in that. You're in a much better position than you feel, I promise. 



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    Benjamin Sanchez, RPT
    Piano Technician / Artisan
    (256) 947-9999
    www.professional-piano-services.com
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: Advice needed

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 10-26-2023 10:03
    Hi, 
    Ron ____ Became injured working for a University and went into accounting.  Repetitive injury case, I'm sure went through workers comp. 
    All the Best!
    Sent from Gmail Mobile





  • 5.  RE: Advice needed

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 10-26-2023 21:48

    My son in law was a manager at an Amazon warehouse in Phoenix. Did not like the duties of that position. Quit. He's now very much happier working at a convenience store/gas station. It's not always about the money. 



    ------------------------------
    Larry Messerly, RPT
    Bringing Harmony to Homes
    www.lacrossepianotuning.com
    ljmesserly@gmail.com
    928-899-7292
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: Advice needed

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 10-26-2023 21:58
    About 25 years ago the piano tuner at the University of Michigan, (can't remember his name), became a lawyer. 





  • 7.  RE: Advice needed

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 10-27-2023 10:09
    Hi again,  
    Clair Davies had a great business and reputation as a piano technician.  He started having physical problems and went to school for massage therapy at the same time as his daughter, Amber Davies went into the same field.  

    They wrote a self help book, " Trigger Point Therapy Workbook".  It's in its third edition. I believe that this book is a must have for piano technicians that spend much of their time doing the same thing over and over again.  

    Sent from Gmail Mobile





  • 8.  RE: Advice needed

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 10-30-2023 22:05
    Thanks to all who responded.  So . . .  I am happy with my career, definitely charge enough and have a stellar reputation (see my google reviews if desired) and customer base in the ATL.  I have been the self employed sole income provider since 2001 for my family of 6.    

    I have a genetic problem with mold in that my body doesn't recognize it as a foreign invader and so it accumulates in my system with bad repercussions.  And, with the south being high humidity  this does not bode well for me to be in this profession.  So, I am at a crossroads in my life.  If I do pivot to another career, I do not want to be tied down geographically as is the case after having built my business for nearly a quarter century.  I could go work for a dealership elsewhere but can't afford the pay cut.  I could start another piano business elsewhere but like I said, I don't want to be tied down and I would like a better chance at avoiding mold then this career affords even if in a drier climate.  So I am just considering options.  

    Benjamin - thank you very much for your email!  You very insightfully read correctly between the lines and I do so appreciate your assessment of my strengths.  They were spot on and a real boost in the arm as I do not have training outside this industry.  I want to consider options that do not include a 6-8 year paycut to get a degree that could make what I am doing right now.  But I can better see now that I have significant strengths even if I don't have additional skill sets -  and like you said these are character qualities that can't be taught.  So thanks again for the paradigm shift.  Now to see if that's possible without a 6-8 year timeout!

    By the way . . . I am finishing up a full action/belly restoration of a 1926 Steinway M and will be putting the entire shop up for sale very soon.  Aside from a few hand tools and jigs, it has nearly everything to do full action/belly work including the entire WNG system as well as a state of the art pneumatic soundboard press (more appropriately soundboard-to-rib pneumatic clamps that if desired allow one to use custom cut cauls to match the exact rib radius used for each individual rib if so desired).  It may take a few weeks to categorize/take pics of everything; however, I video'd myself pressing the last rib along with walking 360 degrees around the soundboard with every other rib pressed.  If anyone is interested in viewing it, you are welcome to contact me before I post everything online.

    Many thanks,


    Kamuela "Sam" Haasenritter, RPT
    President: Haasenritter Piano Service, Inc.
    Certified Bosendorfer Technician
    Certified WNG Action Installer
    Registered Piano Technician
    (404) 932-8863 (TUNE)







  • 9.  RE: Advice needed

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 10-31-2023 11:53
    Sam  

    Please don't take this the wrong way, but it sounds like you're looking for an "easy" way out of your situation. You need to move because of your health situation, but you don't want to be tied down and you don't want to take a pay cut. I understand all of those things, but you need to assess your situation and decide what is most important to you. 

    As good as you are, and as valuable you think your business is, you will never be able to sell it for what you think it's worth. For one, there are not enough of us in this business who have the experience as you have. Those who do have that experience are not looking to move. So you're left with technicians with less ability who might want to try to continue your business, but they are not going to be able to pay what you want. 

    On the other side of that coin, where are you going to go? Will there be a need for a full service piano technician like yourself?  Will you have enough money set aside to see you through the first 3 -5 years it takes to build up a new business? 

    Perhaps, as Benjamin said, you can land a job outside of the piano business in a drier climate. But have you even looked at what's out there that will pay you as much as you need to be paid, or are worth?  

    I don't know anything about your health situation, but have you explored all the options to "deal" with it? Modern medicine has come a long way, and perhaps there are things that can be done to help you cope with your conditions. Not all of our work has us exposed to a lot of mold. Perhaps it's time you gave up the rebuilding business (and the expense of having a big shop, etc), and concentrate more on in home tuning and repairs, and concert level work. 

    Wim





  • 10.  RE: Advice needed

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 11-14-2023 16:06
    Wim

    I have been meaning to respond to your email for a while and just can't find that 25th hour of the day in which to fit it in. So I have pulled off the road between tunings to respond before any more time goes on. 

    I appreciate the good intentions of your response to insert a healthy dose of reality here. I would like to reassure you I am aware that there is probably a greater chance of getting struck by lightning than receiving what I "feel" is a top dollar offer for my business. If I do sell, however, maybe I can get some advice from you and your recent experience of doing that yourself. I have actually spent the last 23 years building a service business (not rebuild business) - private clientele, institutional and concert level work. You would be surprised at how much mold we are exposed to in the field if one is looking for it. This rebuild was my endeavor to explore this option of staying in the industry while navigating my issue with mold. While there will always be "more that can be done" I am satisfied that I am doing above and beyond in both the shop, field and home. I had wanted to outline it in this response to be of help for anyone else in the industry but will have to do that when I have more time. And to your other point, I am aware of the fact that it is prudent to do market research before relocating.

    To your main point of wanting the "easy way out" I really don't understand what you're trying to communicate. Your suggestion of ditching 2 of my 3 goals actually makes your suggestion 66% easier. To that end, I have posted my original question on 2 regional and 2 national ptg forums and have yet to have 1 person say "XYZ industry is one you can get up to speed in quickly without significant experience or education, isn't tied down geographically and has a high probability of quickly duplicating a successful piano tech income." If there was an easy way out, I would have had multiple suggestions. If you are saying that opportunity to satisfy those 3 requirements doesn't exist here in the USA or with the online infrastructure that is now available, then I think it is prudent I come to that conclusion after significant market research rather than starting off from that preconceived conclusion. I actually can think of several options that have potential: realtor, rental real estate, buying an existing business, something online. While none of those are guaranteed they do have possibility. But I don't see any of them as being "easy." Quite to the contrary all of them seem considerably more difficult than either 1) staying in the industry albeit in a drier climate or 2) going the traditional route of getting a degree from any one of a plethora of institutions in a field that has a guaranteed market for future employment and income growth. So, I guess my point is that there isn't an "easy way out" but the traditional options are in many ways less difficult (but might take more time and have more cost). And, potentially choosing a "non-traditional" option that satisfies my 3 goals is actually significantly more difficult as opposed to the easy way out

    Sam


    --
    Many thanks,


    Kamuela "Sam" Haasenritter, RPT
    President: Haasenritter Piano Service, Inc.
    Certified Bosendorfer Technician
    Certified WNG Action Installer
    Registered Piano Technician
    www.hpianoservice.com
    (404) 932-8863 (TUNE)






  • 11.  RE: Advice needed

    Posted 10-27-2023 02:22

    One of my own assumptions is that, if you are unhappy with your job you aren't charging enough.

    One can be happy shovelling manure, its all about attitude.

    One reason I like piano tuning: I have 2500 fifteen minute friends (and a few half hour friends too).

    I gave up teaching, in spite of the fact that I loved it, but there was too much politics involved and I preferred not to try to fit in.

    One of my tuning teachers (Don Morton) said that a piano tuner needs to like themselves, because they will be alone with themselves a lot.

    For some a more structured life as an employee or a member of an organization might be a better fit.  A piano tuner is often fully responsible for themselves (and their family) and can't rely on others to structure or provide work.

    I hope that these comments are related to the actual question asked.



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    Blaine Hebert RPT
    Duarte CA
    (626) 390-0512
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  • 12.  RE: Advice needed

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 10-27-2023 07:27

    A technician I know is becoming a massage therapist. The program they're doing is part time for one year. 
    Good luck!



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    Michael Turano
    miketurano@yahoo.com
    Bloomington IN
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  • 13.  RE: Advice needed

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 11-15-2023 08:16

    Sam, 

    If geography is the primary concern, you might want to investigate a CAUT position in the southwest.

    New Mexico, Arizona and parts of west Texas are very dry. I transitioned to a university position at the age of 60.

    I have been here just over 3 years now. It looked like a pay cut, but the truth is that I keep more of what I earn

    so the net income is actually higher. I had to move for the job, so the clientele I built up over 30 years was

    divested. I got a little pittance for my assets and a fee for the client base. Not anything I would have liked.

    But I also am developing a small clientele from the faculty, local churches and a few referrals under a new

    sole prop DBA: Rocky Top Piano. Left my old life behind, but still ply the same skills in another region. Both my family

    and I are much happier. Since my kids are still middle school age, finding good schools and a property to

    erect a new workshop were high on the list of priorities. Everything worked out better than I could have wished for. 

    The only thing downside is living far away from my wife's family, but we travel back for the holidays. I hope this

    gives you some additional perspective. 



    ------------------------------
    Dave Conte, RPT

    Piano Technician in Residence
    The University of Tennessee
    College of Music
    Knoxville TN
    (817) 307-5656
    Owner: Rocky Top Piano
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