Professional Jeweler Archive: Install Profits into Repair Departments

November 2000


Install Profits into Repair Departments

Time is money. Don’t waste it searching for parts or performing jobs best out-sourced

When you agree to repair a customer’s watch, do you really know how much time the repair will likely take?

If not, you may be among the majority of jewelers who routinely underestimate repair time and subsequently charge too little to make a profit.

This is just one message Jack Kurdzionak would like watch repairers to consider. His seven-employee shop, The Watchmaker, Stoneham, MA, began as a hobby in 1987. Today, he operates the repair facility, makes custom timepieces and sells watches and clocks.

Addressing watchmakers and students at the 40th anniversary celebration of the American Watchmakers-Clockmakers Institute held recently near Cincinnati, OH, Kurdzionak pointed to numerous areas that can help boost the repair center bottom line.

Organization Saves Money

Don’t waste valuable time searching for parts, he said. Such searches increase the cost of any repair. For example, say you need a part that costs $3. If you search for 10 minutes, you’ve added labor time, raising your cost to about $11. Be sure you can locate parts in seconds rather than minutes. Use the time saved to work on another repair. Other organizational tips include:

• Reorder parts in quantity. Suppliers often offer discounts for multiples, plus you’ll be a preferred customer to the supply house.

• Maintain a partnership with your supplier. Don’t complain about costs. You aren’t buying the parts for your own use, rather for your customer, to whom you will pass along the cost. You need your supplier to remain in business to serve you and others.

• Charge for parts based on how much you’d pay to replace them, not how much you paid for them years ago.

• Buy the best tools and equipment you can afford. Good tools pay large dividends by allowing you to work more efficiently.

• Know which repairs you can perform and which you’ll need to outsource. By making this decision quickly, you’ll save time and will be able to move onto the most profitable jobs.

Kurdzionak has spoken at several AWI functions and at many Massachusetts-based watch and clock organization meetings. He also writes for AWI’s Horological Times. His booklet, Profitable Watch and Clock Repair, which includes detailed pricing and shop-management information, is available for $5.

• Jack Kurdzionak, Stoneham, MA; (781) 438-6977,

– by Michael Thompson

Copyright © 2001 by Bond Communications