Going rate for cap jobs

Discussion in 'Amps/Cabs Tech Corner: Amplifier, Cab & Speakers' started by aeolian, Aug 29, 2005.

  1. aeolian

    aeolian Member

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    After hearing an amp that I worked on, I've had a few folks ask about working on theirs. I thought there was a thread on this but couldn't find it. What would the going rate for a clean up and caps on a basic Fender be? I'm in the SF Bay Area. Thanks.
     
  2. RussB

    RussB low rent hobbyist Silver Supporting Member

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  3. TheAmpNerd

    TheAmpNerd Member

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    Anywhere from $150.00 to $250.00.

    Includes all electrolytics in the amp.
    All CC resistors in power supply replaced with metal oxide.
    All caps desoldered, eyelets cleaned and new high end
    low ESR caps resoldered to MIL Specs.
    All Sockets cleaned and retennsioned.
    All tubes checked and pins cleaned and
    swabbed with GxL before reinstallation.
    All jacks and connections cleaned and tensioned.
    All pots cleaned.
    Bias resistors changed.
    Burned in for 24 to 48 hours.
    All voltages checked
    Finally amp is performanced tested before put back together.

    Anything out of spec or funny sounding, low/high, worry
    some etc is noted and customer is consulted on possible
    action or non-action with possible outcomes or damage,
    with cost estimate.

    I also see how they play, what they
    like, don't like and work with them accordingly.

    Most artists are picky and I try to dial in whatever they want
    or don't want.

    All is documented on the amp and dated on cap cover.
    That way someone on the road, or at a later date should
    something happen (like a tube going, etc) who ever looks
    at it knows what has been done and when, any possible
    issues and how the amp was actually performing at that
    date along with my bias setting.

    Most stuff that comes in, I never see again, unless it it
    tube change time or component failure they didn't want
    to change at the time.

    Enjoy and have fun.
     
  4. KCblues

    KCblues Member

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    What brand of caps?
     
  5. TheAmpNerd

    TheAmpNerd Member

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    Depends on customer....

    Black Gate, Jensen, Nichicon, Panasonic, RelCap, Xicon.
     
  6. theelectic

    theelectic Guest

    Parts + $60/hour bench charge.
     
  7. aeolian

    aeolian Member

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    Interesting, at work in the last year and a half, I've gotten three querries from customers asking if any Nichicon electrolytics were shipped on product to them. Can't quite get what they're afraid of, but there's something up.
     
  8. TheAmpNerd

    TheAmpNerd Member

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    I wonder what is up with Nichicon, as they are great electrolytics. At Bell Labs/Lucent that was one of our main staples; they
    never gave us any problems.

    I think it is neck and neck between Nichicon and Panasonic.

    Please feel free to pm me with details, I'd be interested.
     
  9. TheAmpNerd

    TheAmpNerd Member

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    That is okay but is not the best solution. It works best to set standards where you can. Then the incentive is to exceed them.

    For troubleshooting and unknown stuff then
    time and materials billing method is fine.
    $60/hr is fine. Scope fee when you use it, etc.

    Think any of the maintenance fields, auto, aircraft, HE maint
    or any thing really. Pay someone $6/hr to mow your lawn
    and they fool around for three hours. Pay them $10/job
    and the'll finish in 30 mins and move on to the next one.
     
  10. theelectic

    theelectic Guest

    Yeah, I see where you're coming from, but really look at it the other way. If the job really requires 1 hour and it's rushed (and not done well) in 30 minutes just to move onto the next one, I'm going to be pissed. In my real life line of work (not amps) I can charge $40/hour, which isn't the cheapest (nor the most expensive), but I'm quick and always get the job done in the least amount of time required. I don't need the "dis-incentive" of losing money on a flat rate to motivate me. I usually give accurate estimates beforehand, and if it works out to be less (say a 3 hour quoted job takes 2 hours) I will only bill 2 hours. If it turns out to take longer (by more than 1 hour) I will get the client to authorize the overtime. Most of the time if it's less than an hour I'll eat the overtime. Which can be a lot when you're talking 15 minutes here and 15 minutes there, but what the hell. Maybe I'm naive but I get enough to eat and my clients don't complain.
     
  11. TheAmpNerd

    TheAmpNerd Member

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    We both care about the same thing. Getting the job done right.
    I cannot think of any time there has been a disincentive.
    And you never make money on anything that is returned,
    period.

    That is what is so wonderful about Western Electric stuff.
    It anything broke down...Ma Bell lost money! So you build
    for it to never break, period, end of story.

    However I don't care to be tied to the clock for every little
    thing. $.05/resistor .08 hour/removal-clean-installation.

    It is far simpler to just have things fixed except during an
    unusual circumstance...which never happens with amps
    anyway. : )

    AND

    It is no different doing time and materials and giving
    an hour free. What is the point? Especially if you give an
    estimate a head of time? Then what do you do if you buy
    a $1500 rework station to make your work more efficienct?

    You save an extra 30 minutes/cap job. So you pass that savings
    along to your customer and lose 8 hours billing a week ($480).
    Heck at this rate I think I'll move to Canada where I can
    get free health care--for me, the wife and four cryin' babies.

    It is the same reason you have a fixed bench fee.

    You spend all day long changing customers tubes they
    buy online. You can do six amps/hour. Why have a bench
    fee at all? You are making money the whole time.

    I know, it is absurd, but we all get the point.

    Like you, just give an estimate and yes if anything unexpected
    arises, you call, communicate, and go from there.

    That is actually a fixed price. Just ask any customer who has
    received an estimate for time and materials.... anyone who
    has worked on a customers amp know this.

    As I said at the begining we both want the same thing,
    a properly working amp that sounds good for our customer
    and be fairly compensated for our time and materials.
     
  12. RussB

    RussB low rent hobbyist Silver Supporting Member

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    You guys are finding the devil's in the details, but in reality (my own, demented reality!) all that REALLY matters to the dude with the busted amp is the bottom line...what's it gonna cost.

    How the tech gets there is actually irrellevant to the musician.

    Well, except for turn-around time, that's REAL important too!

    IMHO, of course! :cool:
     
  13. justicetones

    justicetones Member

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    Sorry I am late to the party. Check out Torres engineering . Dan and his folks have done a bit of work for me. He is in San Mateo and is excellent with amps as well as other guitar stuff. If it was good enough for SRV and others then hey cool. His prices are very reasonable IMHO also. Especially for the quality if work done.

    Chris
     

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