View Full Version : When did stringing become a cottege industry?

05-11-2004, 10:23 PM
And why? Everybody poor?

I used to string at a tennis club back in the late 70s. Three of us stringers would do 30-40 racquets a day. After my 1000th racquet I began to hate every minute if it. We made almost no money on it, just a service for the patrons, and it kept us pro-shop boys busy during a rainy day. We had a Prince stand-up equiped with a foot pedal (which applied the tension), and sliding clamps. What a piece of steel. VS or Victory gut was 16 dollars for 32 feet and Victory blue and white spiral nylon was 6 dollars. Back then we all served and volleyed, so the gut would last a lot longer than that of today's rugrat two-handed backhand baseliners.

Anyway, my present club just bought a Gamma Saturn, and I figured that I ought to learn how to use it. I'll post some thoughts as I go along.

My advise to patrons was always: if you can't pay for gut, don't buy it. If you're breaking your synthetic strings all the time buy better quality synthetics. And don't lie to yourself - you think that you're a 5.5, but you're really 3.5. Buy the synthetic. Really. Need balls? Towel?

05-12-2004, 08:18 AM
I started by stringing my racquets and my wife's racquets for a few reasons.

1. To save money.
2. It is more convenient. I can string a racquet when I want to do it, not according to someone else'e schedule.
3. I did not appreciate getting my racquets back with new chips and dings because the stringer was careless.
4. I get a chance to try a lot of different types of strings at an affordable cost.

I string for maybe thirty people now and I have never solicited any stringing business. I happened to be talking about strings with a hitting partner one day and he asked me where I got my racquets strung and when I told him I did my own he asked me to do his and from there it has been strictly word of mouth that I have increased the customer base. There is not a plethora of stringers in my area so that helps get customers as well.

05-12-2004, 09:59 AM
:P I've been using Kirschbuam TT - used to be Honey then prior it was Pro Blend. I play w/ power and win w/ power & lose w/ power. I have to re-string 3 sticks a month w/ Poly (I play 11-13 matches a mo + practice) I really couldn't afford to buy a synthetic or try another string - the ZO POWER lasted 4 sets- I liked the string but @ $30 a job for it I stick w/ cheaper poly. I bought my 1st stringer last month and have already saved over $100 plus I'm using softer strings and my playability has improved. I love stringing my own racquet. It takes 15 minutes to get to the stringer - drop off - then 15 minutes home ---- then 15 to pick up and 15 minutes home = 1 hr rd trip. String job takes 1.5 hr + I have no traffic and save gas. Just my 2 cents.

David Pavlich
05-12-2004, 11:35 AM
I gave in to the home stringing bug many moons ago when my son got to the point of going through 3 frames a week plus my once in a while popping.

As it turns out, it was a good thing for me to learn!


rich s
05-12-2004, 04:10 PM
For me it was 2 years ago when I got tired of paying $20+ for Prince Syn Gut Original -- tension/feel was/were consistantly inconsistant each time I had my rackets strung.

Now I string for myself and my friends and have a little extra spending money for tennis gear.

05-12-2004, 07:40 PM
Cruzer... exactly why I got it... maybe I can string for my wife one day... shes not my wife yet... but I just got the stringer so I can string the teams and other friends racquets... I get the stringer Monday... I go through a frame every 2 week... I have friends... 2 guys with 2 racquets recently broke and 2 guys with 1 each thats like 6 racquets... Too bad I dont know how yet...

drop shot
05-12-2004, 08:25 PM
I started string about 3 years ago. I first had a Klippermate, then a Prince p-200, Then an Eagnas dropweight with fixed clamps then I got a Gamma Fixed clamp dropweight. Then a local Hibbetts Sporting Goods store was going out of business and they had their Prince Neos that had barely been used for sale for $400.00. I used an in stoe coupon and got it for $320.00. The pro at my club had a Neos and wanted another so traded him straight up for a Gamma 5003 with 6 point mounting. I like being able to try new string when I want. After I string a few racquets for others I have enough to buy a reel. The rest is profit.

05-13-2004, 02:00 PM
Copy Cruzer's and Boris' comments plus this. About ten years ago, I was playing a league match at the University of Hawaii. It rains there at some point every day. Well, during the warmup, one of my team members broke a string. No problem, he reached for a backup and continued. Just as we were about to begin the match, it began to rain. We retreated to the shelter of the parking garage to wait out the rain and my partner opened the trunk of his car, pulled out a drop weight stringer, and proceeded to re-string his broken frame! At that moment, I was hooked.

Years later and back on the mainland, I was dialed into a racquet that felt great. The only problem was that strings were popping every four or five sets. I was was patronizing stringers more than the grocery store. Something had to give.

Without ever having strung a frame or knowing anything about it, I bought a machine. A little nerve racking not knowing if I had just wasted five hundred dollars and not be able to string without the frame breaking or strings popping.

Everything has turned out great. The convenience, the time savings, the cost savings, the fun. I have never advertised or solicited business but, lots of friends have bought the pizza and beer in exchange for strings!

In my opinion, ANY player who plans to play for more than the next two years, should have a machine of some kind, and string their own frames.

05-14-2004, 04:33 AM
There are guys at the park who break strings only on a yearly basis - good players, I might add. I was never one of them. The first time I walked into a pro shop and was faced with $20 - $30 to restring a frame that I paid $120 for (with strings) and that it would not be ready for pick up for 2 days - I did a mental calculation and decided to learn to string. It is simple math. The machine is a modest investment that holds its value unlike almost any other tool I know of and is easily recoupable through solo use. The convenience and revenue (or favor) generating potential is all bonus. I also find stringing very theraputical.

Rod K
05-16-2004, 08:10 PM
In my real jobs I make about $45 an hour. Stringing I make about $17 per hour. And I'm definately not poor.

Stringing 3 or 4 racquets per week is good meditation time for me. I enjoy the time I spend stringing because I'm doing something useful with my hands.

Usually I listen to the radio while stringing. It's pretty relaxing. I would not want to do it for a living.

05-16-2004, 08:46 PM
I listen to Winamp's Internet Radio when I'm stringing... It takes about 1hr per racquet... Im using a lockout machine... I hope speed increases because I charge $8 a stick + string ... I dont know If I should charge more... the locals charge $10... but a prince syn gut is like 17.99 ... I charge only about 12... overnight stringing the others are 3 days... sounds fair right? Should I charge more? Prince Syn is rounded to $4... thanks for your opinions...

05-20-2004, 09:27 PM
I had two recent experiences with two different so called "pro shops": Took my racquets there and they were not ready when promised. They wasted my time and money. I'd rather learn the craft and be self reliant when it comes to stringing.

05-20-2004, 10:05 PM
I hate "Pro Shops" Them all... mostly never on time! NEVER... I dont even know why they have that saying... they should give it free... I string about 2 a day was my max... Ive strung days back to back about 2 racquets a day... more coming in tomorrow... Good business... and yourself.... its good to be self reliant.. whenever I need a racquet the next day its there... simple as that.

David Pavlich
05-21-2004, 02:59 PM
I hate "Pro Shops" Them all... mostly never on time! NEVER... I dont even know why they have that saying... they should give it free... I string about 2 a day was my max... Ive strung days back to back about 2 racquets a day... more coming in tomorrow... Good business... and yourself.... its good to be self reliant.. whenever I need a racquet the next day its there... simple as that.

You sure do like to paint with a very broad brush. I guarantee 24 hour turnaround and if possible, I have it the same day. I had 5 frames come in today and they're done...stencilled, tagged and bagged. Perhaps you've had bad experiences where you live. Stop by here and I assure you, you'll be satisfied.


05-24-2004, 08:04 PM
You may have read a message I recently posted regarding purchasing a stringing machine so I can string at home. Here is why:

I took a racquet to the local mega sporting goods store Dicks Sporting Goods (think Sports Authority etc). I took it there because they only charged $10 for stringing with Wilson SynGut 16 (string included) and the nearest Tennis Shop (not Pro Shop) is 20 miles away and charged double. I leave it there on Friday and he says to pick it up on Monday (I thought it only took about an hour to string). I come back in today and this guy hands me my racquet and says: "It was my first one, but it looks like it turned out alright." I think to myself..."He really shouldn't have said that to me". As I look at my racquet I realize the guy just plain didn't string the last cross...What, did he think the last set of grommets were for decoration?!? I talked to another clerk and he was appologetic and said he would restring it and have it for me tomorrow. The results aren't in but I am ceratinly never trusting them again. I will definetly be purchasing a stringer.

There needs to be a level of trust between a customer and a stringer handling a $150 racquet that isn't his and who has never strung before. That trust can only be achieved with time and moving as often as I do, it generally doesn't happen.

If you are in these areas here is who you can trust:

The proshop at the Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne, FL (where I used to work).
EZ-Tennis, tennis shop in Gainesville, FL where I went to school (go gators)
Don's Tennis, tennis shop in Charlotte, NC, great service, though a bit overpriced.


05-25-2004, 07:35 PM
It is just the way I am. I do things myself. My coach taught me how to string. And I mean HOW. Not just the way you string, but the way you care for the racquet and the string. I am sure most people who post messages here care and do good jobs, but everytime I am at my proshop I want to strangle the 15 year old kids who are stringing all wrong. I take care of my racquets and $6.75 a set of ashaways that last forever and play oh so nice. Can't go wrong with that. I also got a new stringer and love stringing when I get a chance.

06-08-2004, 10:31 AM
I've lost count how many bad experiences I've head with the so called "pro shops"... It bothers me a great deal when people promise you a certain date and time and don't deliver it.
Plus, as I am becoming a better tennis player, it simply makes sense to get control over my equipment - to be able to experiment different tensions, and string my own racquets.

06-08-2004, 01:01 PM
To me it was all that everyone has mentioned and more. I used to just drop my racquets at the club and pick them up next time I played, usually $20 per job. So then I started providing my own string to them so I could try something other than Prince or Wilson which is all they carried - and usually were out of. The clincher was when I needed a new grommet strip and they had my racquet for over a month because "it was on backorder". I brought in a grommit strip 2 days later I got here at TW and then started looking at machines.

I've since really learned about string, what plays how, how long it lasts and it's enhanced my tennis experience. I'm not saying it's made me a better player necessarily but I've certianly learned more about the game and equipment as a result.

Between that and the Schedule C tax benefits I'm very glad I did it! :wink:

06-08-2004, 04:31 PM
David where do u get ur stencils at?