Write estimates on the envelope - ALWAYS! Don’t rely on oral estimates. You want to avoid unprofessional situations when the customer comes in to pick up jewelry and says, “But when I left it, you said it would only cost...”
Always give the customer an estimate of routine repair work when the jewelry is left, allowing the customer to decide whether or not to have the repair done before you begin doing it. If the price is too high, you can work with the customer to modify the amount of work to be done until it meets her budget.
Often you encounter problems over price, because the customer did not know how much the repair would cost. When they pick-up the finished repair, they complain about the cost. At this point, the work is finished and you can do little about it. Giving estimates at Take-In eliminates this.
Gold and Platinum prices have doubled in the last 2 year and are 3 times higher than they were just 4 years ago. Are your repair prices 3 times higher than they were 4 years ago?
Are they double what you were charging just 2 years ago?
If they’re not then you are probably loosing money in your shop on repairs and now is a good time to look at raising your prices.
If you have raised your prices, then you are probably experiencing some resistance to those prices.
I have found that whenever we raised jewelry repair prices in any of the stores I worked for, repairs would drop off for about 6 months. I always thought we might have raised our prices too high and customers were objecting to the prices. Then one day we implemented a substantial price increase and shop work really dropped off. I asked the salespeople about this as it was really affecting the shop’s income. I asked them how many customers were turning down repair work because the price was too high. They told me NONE!
What I found out was that the SALESPEOPLE thought the price was too high, not the customers. When a customer brought a ring in to be sized in the past, they would recommend other add-on repairs like retipping. Now, because they thought the price was too high they were afraid to ask for the additional work. I even found salespeople recommend putting on a gold-filled ring guard instead of sizing the ring down because they were afraid to ask for the higher price. After about 6 months the salespeople became accustomed to the new prices and the repair work would be back to normal.
To me the biggest hurdle to overcome in raising prices is the salesperson not the customers! “How can we charge so much for jewelry repair, when the customer has so many needs?”, the salespeople would ask. It is easier to charge more for a perceived ‘need’ than a ‘want’, they would reason, and jewelry repair and custom design is just a ‘want’ not a ‘need’.
I agree that charging for needs is easier than charging for wants. However, you have to realize that jewelry and jewelry repairs are not a want, a desire, or a luxury – THEY ARE A NEED!
Remember back in school we learned about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Abraham Maslow developed a list of humans’ five needs. The first is Physical Needs. These are the basic needs like air, food, water, and sleep. Next is Safety / Security Needs followed by Social Needs. The fourth on the list is Esteem Needs. Esteem needs involve achievement, status, and self-respect. Once the lower needs are met, people have a NEED to have their self-esteem built up. Just because it is not a basic need does not make it any less of a need. Most people meet this need with status symbols such as cars, homes, vacations, or electronic gadgets, and many meet the need with JEWELRY. Not everyone meets this need with jewelry but most of the people who darken our door do so to have that need fulfilled with jewelry.
The customer that comes to us with a ring to be sized NEEDS that ring to fit so that they can wear it. It is not a want -- it is a need!
We must realize that just because jewelry and our custom/repair services meet a higher level need, it is still a NEED. It is just as much of a need as the food we eat and the air we breathe. Jewelry is not a want, a desire, or a luxury; it is a need. It is a need just as real as hunger, thirst, or a physical injury. When we can understand this need in our customers and see how we can fulfill it, we will then be able to overcome our objection to quoting higher prices.
Do you own you own business or would you like to? Do you Manage a Repair or Custom Design Shop? Come discuss issues faced in running a Custom Design Studio, Trade Shop, or Traditional Jewelry Store. Come prepared to discuss your successes and your challenges with the group.
In this un-moderated discussion attendees will have the opportunity to speak their minds in an energetic discussion of pressing topics affecting bench jewelers today. Bring your opinions, your notepads, and your throat lozenges!
This seminar is part of the program at the Bench Jewelers Conference & Expo, April 24 – 27, 2008 in Los Angeles. For details on all the seminars offered, more conference & expo information, and to register go to: www.BenchConference.com.