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-   -   Running audio service "way back then" ... (http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/lounge/163627-running-audio-service-way-back-then.html)

anatech 21st March 2010 07:19 PM

Running audio service "way back then" ...
 
These posts were split out from an existing Adcom 555 service thread ..... before this point.

Hi davada,
Yes, I figured from what you had said that you ran a service shop at some time. Most of my comments are for the benefit of other members who have never seen life from that position. I sold my shop about 10 years ago now. I miss running a company, and I miss my sets of manuals. I do not miss the business from the warranty end of things. Some guys are still working at warranty rates that are well over 10 years old now. How's that for no raise? Some distributors also wanted us to begin paying for the service manuals - exit stage left for me. That is an insult. I hear the TV side of things is worse.

You know, I really enjoyed working on those BGW 750C amps. Owners that kept maintenance up, once a year for cleaning, generally had extremely reliable amps. I do agree with you on some bar owners, those cases would be completely full. Then almost everything had been overheated and the fans normally toasted. We would try to save them by stripping and re-lubricating them.

I can see we have similar experiences with regard to connectors, etc. Are you still in the trade full time? All M.I. these days? On another note, one of the better service technicians I had working went out your way. Dave Miles, have you heard of him? I'm just hoping he's okay. He left due to a serious illness.

-Chris

davada 21st March 2010 08:41 PM

Hi Chris,

Ive been out of it for as long as you have for same reasons. The whole warranty end sucks. The marketing companies here in Canada really suck. If they're going to do that to us at lease they could take out do dinner and a movie first. The economy went bad in BC back in the late 90s. Ward Music, after 30 years business, went bankrupt leaving us with a
huge unpaid bill. Other shops pulled back the repairs from us and hired techs of their to avoid the shipping cost including Long & Mcquade which was a big ticket for us. I got tired of all the ** so I threw in the towel. Sold my shares back to the company in exchange for inventory because there was no cash. Besides my back was killing from sitting on a stool with my head stuck in side a chassis all day long.

All this started out as a hobby for me and then turned into a profession. I got so sick of technology I couldn't go home and do it as a hobby. I've been out of it long enough now that I can enjoy it all again and I think I'd like to keep it that way.

There is a lot of really brilliant people with endless years of experience posting here and I hoping I can learn a thing or two. After that's what hobbies are all about.

When I think about all the thought, energy and time that so many have put into trying to force non linear devices to behave in a more linear fashion, I wonder if even ten percent of that were put into developing a perfectly linear device....oh never mind that would take all the fun out it wouldn't it?

My wife and I moved to her home town Fort st John from Vancouver 5 years ago so I'm not sure if I ever met Dave Miles. The name does sound familiar. Do you know where he is working, if he is working?

Now I am working for the local cable company, Shaw Cable, here in FSJ maintaining RF transmission lines, building new plant and doing service calls. It's simple work and I don't have to think as much. It's better for my back because I'm out and about working in the field rather than sitting at a bench all day.

"All M.I. these days?".

I'm not what M.I. is. I think it means modular replacement like board swapping. Is that correct? Things were going that way when I broke out, especially with more surface mount boards being used. I hate surface mount. I can't see that well anymore!

Lastly, I do need to keep in mind that a lot of people posting here maybe just starting out and I do need to be careful about suggesting things that are far beyond there skill level like swapping boards etc.

There sure is some flaring arguments that start up on the subject of audio. If we could all just put our egos in the closet maybe we could get somewhere.

I hate audio marketing. It puts some really strange ideas into peoples heads.

David.

anatech 21st March 2010 11:26 PM

Hi David,
Yes, the same market conditions here. Retail stores found extreme hackers they used, then sent the casualties to proper repair shops. I decided that the only way to survive was to refuse a dealers business if they did those things. We were forced to deal with some due to warranty contracts, but I did refuse out of warranty jobs from some of them.

Long & Mcquade and Steve's Music were okay. They had their own techs, but we got along with them fine. They sent the tough ones to us, but they were honest about it. I have no complaints with that. This also justified higher charges, but whenever I checked our rates with factory pricing, we were always on target with time and cost per hour. Knowing this allowed me to stick to my guns when they cried about service costs.

Quote:

All this started out as a hobby for me and then turned into a profession.
Me too. Completely unintentional.

Now it's a "hobby" again.

Quote:

The name does sound familiar. Do you know where he is working, if he is working?
I wish I knew. I don't even know if he is still alive. I wish him the best if he's out there.

Quote:

... here in FSJ maintaining RF transmission lines, building new plant and doing service calls. It's simple work and I don't have to think as much.
LOL!
Same here, except I got into telephone systems, commercial installation and service. I was the VoIP guy at the shop, and Avaya store, and Eon (really good stuff). With all I had to learn and know cold, it was a much easier job than doing audio service properly. Even working in a calibration lab for test instruments was less stressful and somewhat simpler. Could be all the stress due to incomplete information and parts orders. To be honest, distributors do not want the stuff repaired.

M.I. stands for Musical Instruments. I picked the term up from Yamaha. In fact, Yamaha was pretty good to work with, but just about everyone is open for Yamaha consumer sound warranty. I used to joke that soon the corner gas stations would be open for service. Probably unfair of me, they were overly sensitive about dealer complaints (and when are dealers not complaining?).

-Chris

davada 21st March 2010 11:48 PM

Hi Chris,
 
LOL!
Same here, except I got into telephone systems, commercial installation and service. I was the VoIP guy at the shop, and Avaya store, and Eon (really good stuff). With all I had to learn and know cold, it was a much easier job than doing audio service properly. Even working in a calibration lab for test instruments was less stressful and somewhat simpler. Could be all the stress due to incomplete information and parts orders. To be honest, distributors do not want the stuff repaired.

LOL. That is funny.

M.I. stands for Musical Instruments. I picked the term up from Yamaha. In fact, Yamaha was pretty good to work with, but just about everyone is open for Yamaha consumer sound warranty. I used to joke that soon the corner gas stations would be open for service. Probably unfair of me, they were overly sensitive about dealer complaints (and when are dealers not complaining?).

Yes Yamaha was good. Except the guy that looked after us warranty centers was not so on the ball with getting the bills paid. I had there accountant calling me up because I hadn't paid the 5000.00 bill for boards that I had ordered. he was quite confused when I told him not only did we owe Yamaha nothing but in fact Yamaha was five month behind on our billing to them. I said those boards were for warranty repairs and I submitted the claims five months ago. Boy was that accountant embarrassed. That happened a couple of times.

Did you deal with FS Marketing?

David.

anatech 22nd March 2010 05:43 AM

Hi Dave,
Was Matt Hubbard still the service manager at that point? Decent guy, he came up through the ranks. Yamaha always did feel very corporate and inflexible. As far as ****-ups were concerned, Yamaha was never the same, tight ship that they were when they dealt with stock cards. I got the feeling that Matt often had too much work to do. Then there was that stupid decision that stated that warranty service had to be turned around in 2 weeks, and they wanted us to stock everything (including resistors for $1 each). Yeah, right! They freaked when I started charging out $1.00 minimum for parts like they did. Service from Yamaha dropped off after that. Just as well as they couldn't find out which warehouse parts were in and made us wait for weeks and sometimes months. All the while they were telling customers that they had the part and all we had to do was order it (even though that part was on backorder with them!).

Yes, accounting with Yamaha could be fun. They got to be a disaster.

No, FS Marketing was not willing to pay market rates for warranty service back then. I'd rather not have any business than to lose money on every job. Are they still around? There were more and more companies refusing to cover average warranty rates, Musical companies seemed to be really bad. Never dealt with TV people, but I hear they could be terrible - then there are those customers that can't go without TV at all.

-Chris

davada 23rd March 2010 04:18 AM

This was a good idea. I thought we might have been hijacking the other thread. After this is way off topic. We inherited most of the warrant contracts when we bought the business, good and bad. Kaysound was an absolute disaster. They were the distributor for Ensoniq keyboards. We would have to wait 6 to 8 weeks for boards and floppy drives. Ensoniq's repair policy was to do only board swaps in or out of warranty, and send the boards back to them for factory repair. Kaysound didn't seem to understand that musicians make there bread and butter with this stuff and often that all they get.

I ordered a board by phone one day as one of my partners stood beside me. Four weeks later I phoned kaysound to see were the board was and Diane who took the orders outright denied I ever gave her the order. Meanwhile I've got guys coming back to the shop and taking there keyboards back not repaired. What a nightmare.

RE Yamaha, one of my partners was very rude on the phone with one of the Yamaha parts guys over being told that parts weren't available for a certain speaker. My partner said to him "well I just dropped a new cone in that speaker so what do you mean parts aren't available.

We didn't see much more Yamaha after that.

I disagreed with what my partner did because Yamaha was one of the products we actually made money from. But I think we were all kind of reaching the end of our ropes.

That partner wanted to be captain so I figured let him go down with the ship.

David.

anatech 23rd March 2010 04:59 AM

Hi David,
Partners in business can be rough. Best avoided.

I saw the same thing with most newer distributors. Board swaps only works for some things, but only to provide fast turnaround. This policy is a bad one once the equipment is out of warranty, as you know. The smaller companies tend to be horribly disorganized too. Ordering parts is something they don't seem to have a handle on. Being rude to these people is also extremely counterproductive. Yamaha is a good example of this, but they are large enough to be run more professionally. Instead, it's almost like a family business in the parts department.

All that is behind you now.

-Chris

mickeymoose 27th March 2010 03:05 PM

anatech and davada: I just came about your exchange.
I came to Vanc. in 65 and spent a lot of my time in consumer service. I got out when it became clear to me that the service industry had it because of mass production.
Vancouver had a vibrant electronics industry then and with big personalities.
Fortunatly that my hobby (audio) became my trade and my hobby again.
I agree with you both on the service industry (Y comes to mind) that is why I branched into sales and also custom design.
Had good fun and I have no regrets, inspite of the many mistakes and failures.
Cheers, Elk
Ps: Is anatch related to the co that was once her in V?


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