The Ten Questions You Should Ask a Shop Owner?

What guitar repair shop questions should I ask a shop owner? 

  1. How long have you played guitar?

    1. If the answer, is I do not play, thank the person for the call and hang up 

    2. You do not want a tech that does not have the commitment to be as good of a guitarist as possible 

    3. An exception is if it is a large repair business with many technicians and he is the business partner

      1. Ask for the lead technician in that case after a short discussion with the owner​
         

  2. How long have you had your shop?

    1. Time in service is an important criterion, but not a showstopper

    2. Newly opened shops can offer better turnaround time and more personalized service when properly vetted
       

  3. ​What is your average turnaround time?

    1. Give the owner your current repair issue and note the backlog time

    2. A good shop will have at least a week's backlog but ways to get pushed to the front of the repair queue
       

  4. Do you have a “Priority or Expedited Repair Fee”?

    1. Ask for the fee amount: Generally $50 - $75

    2. Ask how much time it buys with your current repair issue
       

  5. What is your repair warranty period?

    1. What is generally covered? Use the advanced guitar repair items as examples

    2. When returning for warranty work, asked if it would be addressed while you wait, if possible
       

  6. How do you price repairs?

    1. Get an idea of what services listed in this blog are completed at a flat rate and which ones are on an hourly rate

    2. Get the hourly rate

    3. Ask for the hourly rate for the owner when requested as the preferred repair tech

    4. An employee tech’s hourly rate

    5. If your current repair issue requires an hourly rate

      1. Get an estimate of the work on the assessment call

      2. Once a delivery has been made, ask if you would get a call to discuss the repair cost to get your approval to complete the repair
         

  7. What guitars do you own?

    1. Ask them to talk about the guitars that they own

    2. This is important to understand their expertise with guitars in various genres

    3. If they mainly own acoustics, you can feel comfortable in their acoustic work

    4. If their guitars are made for hard rock and metal, you can be assured that string lock-down technologies, “Wammy Bars”, and low action are skills they posses
       

  8. Do you have repair specialists on staff?

    1. This is important for some advanced repairs:

      1. Fret replacement

      2. Warped necks

      3. Head stock breaks

      4. Some fretwork like crowning, edge rolling, and buzz removal

    2. Ask if the specialists get a premium rate

      1. Is the rate an Add-On, a fixed rate, or a percentage of the standard rate

  9. Are you a factory-authorized repair shop for any guitar manufacturer?

    1. Guitar manufacturers require certification training for a shop to work on their instruments as a representative of their company

    2. This is a nice to have but not a showstopper

      1. Factory authorized shops get product insights that could be of value to you if you own their guitars

      2. Factory repairs are fixed-priced and generally lower than an equivalent in-shop repair

    3. The reasons a shop would want to become a warrant shop:

      1. Relationship with a major player in the industry

      2. Recognition as an expert in their field

      3. Access to issues that they can pass on to their customers

      4. Get first-time customers that will bring in full revenue in the future

      5. Reduce cost on parts for out-of-warranty instruments
         

  10. Do you play in a band, do any studio recording work, or maintain your own home studio?

    1. It is important to get a sense of their life commitment to the guitar

    2. A shop owner that treats his ownership as a “Job” is not a place you want “Guitar Babies” to spend any time