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Is there any hope for the repair industry?

Discussion in 'Electronic Repair' started by Chris F., Sep 20, 2005.

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  1. Chris F.

    Chris F. Guest

    As most of you have probably noticed, the electronics repair industry is
    sinking faster than the Titanic. The speed is alarming - even within the
    last several months, I've seen a sharp drop in what few repairs and sales I
    had remaining. People just aren't getting anything fixed, or buying anything
    used. I think it's not only the low price of new appliances, but a desire
    for constant change that is driving this trend. Also, I think people buy new
    units with full knowledge that they won't last long. Why? Because they hate
    commitment. Think about it. If people don't want to commit to a marriage,
    religion, or even an automobile, then why would they want the same TV in
    their living room for 10 or 15 years? Our society is seriously messed up!
    My question is, do any of you guys see things turning around? The reason I
    ask is because I really want to leave the industry and go find something
    else. I will probably dump most of my inventory in the spring. Among my
    inventory is a stock of many OEM remotes - I'm considering trying to sell
    these now before they're completely worthless.
    I don't think that imposing disposal fees is the solution - that would
    just increase the problem of illegal dumping. The only thing that will work
    is introducing legal requirements on the quality - or at least the price -
    of new electronics. Which will never happen of course.
    Our society is going to pay dearly for its foolishness someday, and I for
    one won't have the least bit of sympathy for it. I just regret that my love
    for and talent with electronics has led me down this dead-end road.
  2. Arfa Daily

    Arfa Daily Guest

    I seem to hear and see a lot of comments along these lines these days. I
    have been in this business man and boy for over 30 years, and have seen this
    sort of doom gloom and despondency on many occasions. For the last 15 years,
    I have run my own little repair business, and have, on the whole done very
    well out of it, and continue to do so. I currently have as much work as I
    either want, or can cope with.

    The key is to have a positive attitude, and diversify when times are hard.
    If you are a properly qualified electronics engineer, you should be able to
    turn your hand to virtually any piece of electronics that comes across your
    bench for repair. There are endless opportunities for engineers who know
    what they're doing. Stop thinking TV / VCR / HiFi. Start thinking outside
    the box. Car audio, boiler control boards, washing machine control boards,
    engine management systems, vending machine controllers, group equipment,
    disco equipment, disco lighting equipment - the list is endless. Get some
    cards printed, get off your arse, and go find the work !!

    It will be picking up again soon, anyway, as the western world slides into
    the next recession. People will start to have their tellies and videos
    repaired again, rather than buying new.

    Go to bed tonight, have a good sleep, and get up again in the morning ready
    to go. If you still feel that there is no future to the world, and even if
    there is, that there's no place in it for you, then by all means, sell your
    remotes on e-Bay, slope off up the corner, and pack it all in for good. I'm
    sure you'll be happier working for someone else ...

  3. Guest

    Have a sharp microwave that just bit the dust - magnetron apparently -
    cost of a sharp replacement on line was $112 - price of a new microwave
    was 150. Found a no name replacement for $55. Still dont' think I
    will go that route.

    Now think about this - with the price of the parts so darn high and the
    new unit prices so low - how are you going to squeeze a living out of

    Many people including myself don't trust repair places - been ripped
    off too many times. When I lived in Mpls, a local tv station did an
    expose of appliance rip off's - they set up a woman's kitchen with
    hidden cameras - had an tech make a microwave not work - easy fix -
    fuse I think - guy comes to look at the microwave - house frau
    disappears - he takes his screwdriver and breaks the interlock and then
    urinates in the sink. Could not believe it - the local station ran it
    - ## out his johnson - just was he was zipping up - in walks one of the
    local news anchors with a camera crew - "Why did you urinate in Mrs X's
    sink"? His response - guess you caught me.

    The name of the place was Big John's - happened to be riding bikes past
    the place a few weeks later and asked if they charged extra for P******
    in sinks.

    Find something else to do - got any big hospitals around - their Bio
    Med guys always have a bizillion things to repair outside their shop
    doors - don't know if it is even possible but that is a growth market.
  4. Chris F.

    Chris F. Guest

    It will be picking up again soon, anyway, as the western world slides into
    You may be right, but it just seems pointless to keep tons of inventory
    sitting around for years, with the hope that someday it will be useful
    again. If things haven't turned around by spring, I'll be forced to scrap
    most of my stuff (CRT's, fixable sets, etc) whether I want to or not.
    Hardened rubber parts, dried-up electrolytics, and moisture-induced
    corrosion are just some of the results of long-term storage.
    Someone else pointed out the high price of replacement parts. It almost
    seems as if parts distributors are jacking up the prices, as a way to
    compensate for falling sales. Where's the logic in that? Does anyone
    actually pay $100+ for the parts to fix a $75 TV?
  5. Sounds like you need to be in another business.

    Those who are successful learn to adapt, work on things that pay, find a
    niche that is profitable, and/or learn how to manage a business. The repair
    business is tough these days and changing, like the rest of the world. If
    you cannot figure it out it makes more room for those who can. You can bet
    they are not counting on making a living repairing small ticket items that
    are more economical to replace. You can also bet that they run lean on
    inventory and don't end up with a lot of parts that they have to dump.

    There is an alternative. The government could subsidize us like they do
    farmers who have excess production capacity for the market. That is pretty
    much what you are suggesting, isn't it?

  6. N Cook

    N Cook Guest

    I've just repaired someone's 40 yearold heirloom.
    A music centre owned by his deceased father.
    Personally I will look at and repair the majority of most things
    except TVs and PCs, TVs because I respect my back too much
    and I prefer component level repair which is almost unheard of with PCs.
    I find one area of increase is musucians' electronic kit repair.
    The older the better for me as less custom ICs, firmware etc.
  7. carneyke

    carneyke Guest

    Repairing guitar amps is fun but the customers are sometimes like
    audiophiles (PITA).
  8. Well...there is a difference in distortion characteristics between
    solid state and tubes, and distortion is desirable for many guitar
    players, and tube distortion in general is more agreeable to the ear.

  9. Ken G.

    Ken G. Guest

    Only in some areas . I found out some makers are not stockng parts for
    over 2 years . A couple examples are plasma tv sets with badly burned
    main power boards , bad enough to not be able to fix it .
    I am sure more products will go this way too .
    Take new small camcorders . These are very hard to work on unless you
    are set up for it .. then digital cameras ..forget it .
    These type things take up to much time to simpy get apart .

    A fairly large to medium town with only 1 repair shop can do ok .
    I see only newer electronics where i work and almost everythng is
    getting hard to fix these days .
  10. Wildcard

    Wildcard Guest

    He's dead Jim!

    No mircle is bringing it back to life.

    With no guarentee a product will even work
    in 2 to 5 years why would anyone fix it.

    It used to be a tech would last 10 to 20
    years. Now your lucky if you get 1 to 3
    years out of a consumer electronic technology.

    Records, Beta, VHS, 8-track, even compact
    cassettes. All lasted for long enough without
    playability changes to make it worthwhile to

    I now own 4 DVD players. Not because I need or
    want 4. All of them work fine. The only reason
    I have that many is because DVD's I record will
    not play on two of them. The only reason I keep
    the other two is because they at least still
    play pre-recorded DVD's. But, all of them will
    become junk once HDTV takes over. So why fix
    any of them. Since all my DVD's will soon take
    their place in storage with the records,
    8-tracks, beta tapes, and VHS tapes in the
    basement. I should add compact cassettes to
    that list as well but one of older cars still
    has a cassette player. The other two have CD
    players and Sirius.

    My boat on the other hand does two things that
    no amount of new tech will change. It's a
    1973 model and it still floats and pulls
    waterskiers. So repair is worth it since it
    will still provide the basic function I
    orginally bought it for.

    The same cannot be said for my turntable. No
    matter what I do it will never play CD's.

  11. Eric Vey

    Eric Vey Guest

    I think the key is to find "high value" meaning "high replacement cost"

    That used to be radios. Then it was TV's. PC's for a short time.
    Hospitals always spend way more for their new equipment than it is worth.

    Look around you. What costs the most?
  12. Ville Aakko

    Ville Aakko Guest

    I agree totally - found this in another NG:

  13. Arfa Daily

    Arfa Daily Guest

    That must be it then ...

    I thought that my little repair business was doing all right, but from what
    everyone here has said, it can't have been. So today, I phoned all of the
    companies that supply me with repairs, and told them that I won't need their
    stinking work any more, because it doesn't pay me enough money, and even if
    they do send me something that's in manufacturer's warranty, I don't want to
    fix it, on principle, because it will be obsolete junk for the poor owner in
    12 months anyway, and I can't have it on my conscience. I'm getting the hang
    now of what a waste of time my repair life is. Took me 2 hours to phone all
    those people.

    Tomorrow, I shall tell my wife and kids, and then probably commit suicide.
    Thank you, THANK YOU everyone in the group, for showing me, and probably all
    the others I know who thought they were doing ok in the electronics repair
    business, how stupidly wrong we were ...

  14. Asimov

    Asimov Guest

    "Tom MacIntyre" bravely wrote to "All" (22 Sep 05 21:19:14)
    --- on the heady topic of "Re: Is there any hope for the repair industry?"

    TM> From: Tom MacIntyre <>
    TM> Xref: core-easynews

    TM> Well...there is a difference in distortion characteristics between
    TM> solid state and tubes, and distortion is desirable for many guitar
    TM> players, and tube distortion in general is more agreeable to the ear.


    It's not only agreeable but "desirable!" However, it must be the
    right type of distortion and tubes have always had that. Until
    transistors came along there was no such thing as shredder metal
    because tubes can't be made to sound like a Little Big Muff.


    .... Just a little force field zap.
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