Best Practice for string charges?

#1
Hey guys,

String costs seem to be pretty straightforward across the board. You purchase from the manufacturer if you are a shop, or online if you're not, then charge a marked up price on those strings when you string for another person.

What are some of the best practices you have seen in regards to charging for the labor portion of the string job. Do you increase your labor cost for the string type, hybrids, etc? Do you have an increase or decrease based on racquet size, etc?

What are your thoughts?
 
#4
You have to know what your time is worth for doing a job.
Many here give away their job for almost nothing.
I charge a fair price, and if I decreased fees 50% for labor, and got double the number of racquets, I would be no further ahead, but have twice as much to do.
Granted I only string as a side line, as compared to someone who has a shop, but my time has a value to it.
You just have to know what your time is worth to you.
BTW, I do charge extra for labor for nat. gut as it does take more time to string it properly, and no one else strings gut in my area.
I keep a large inventory of gut and that is a great expense to have for inventory.
 
#5
Hey Jim e,

Thanks for the info, I guess my question boils down to how much more are you charging for nat gut than regular jobs? Do you charge the same for hybrids, etc. Are you 50%+ labor mark up for nat gut?

I figure that labor costs will boil down primarily to your local competition. If another shop or pro shop nearby is charging less on labor, you probably need to adjust before you lose regular racquets.
 
#6
I charge retail for string, and a flat rate for stringing. I do have a tennis specialty store, and several clubs around me. If I charge more or the same as any of them people just go to them. I have weaseled my way in to being the stringer for 2 of the clubs.
 
#8
I charge additional $10.00 labor for gut.
I place a lube in the main string grommets, as shank shots are rough on gut strings. That string should be used from a clean shot hitter. After stringing I then need to clean all clamps thoroughly.I found out that by using the lube nat gut survives shank shots a lot better. You also have to handle the string more careful to avoid kinks.
 
#10
Location Location Location
D.C METRO area I charge 17$ flat rate service Only & 20$ for same day service. Pick up I charge addition 10$ one way for my travel however 2 min. Racquets required plus cost of strings.

PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOL I CHARGE $12

PRIVATE AND COLLIAGTE $15 (BULK)

Being in A HIGH income city (which major cities isn't nowadays)where professionals do not mind the price when it is convenience they are looking for...
Uber, Uber Eat, etc... all have a pretty solid surcharge Mobile stringers shouldn't be any different.

Regular mens haircut is around 35-50$ here at a decent place... there are some barber shops I heard did 15-20$ cuts... I dont know how they stay open and I have seen the cuts...

How are we as stringer still charging what they charged back in the 90s? When the cost of gas, water, everything has gone up stringing for a sport that racquets are currently 220 average$ stringing services are still being charged 10-20$ it is a joke...
This is probably gonna hurt some people's feelings and the only response I have gotten is "I'm doing this for fun" or something like that... This to some people is a profession. PROFESSIONAL
EVEN if you are not , you should strive to better yourself. Who's paying you for YOUR time practicing, getting info either here or YouTube, research, etc... Your TIME matters so I believe we ALL should be paid fairly.
Those who are scared to charge their prices because clients will go else where... Let them go, odds are their mindset wasn't to to have the best... many by the current tennis culture just wants a cheap job... whatever to save a buck... I dont want those... I want the clients that appreciate my work and for a 20$ service they give me a $40 and say keep it you did an amazing job...

JIM E SAID it the best...
What is your time worth. We do this full time so work starts when we wake up...
We average 4-6 racquets a day during these past few winter months. So for us, knocking out 5 racquets within 2 hrs for 90$ off that alone is a good deal as we made around 45 per hour straight off only labor. Every 3 months we send our invoices to out CPA and they sort us out for taxes.

Dont sell yourself short people... There are many potential clients out there willing to pay you what you are worth. You just gotta show them why they should string with you.
 
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#11
$15 labor for me and i round up the string cost to an easy number (but don't really mark it up in a retail sense).

I do use and promote some "cheaper" yet good quality string. I don't at all promote high dollar string but am
happy to string it for those that are hung up on such. My clients appreciate a $20-$25 dollar job vs $40 dollar job
that they can't discern a difference (and most can't). For the picky one's, I suggest they buy their own reel.

I can't imagine hassling with it for $5 or even $10 (labor).

Do a good job and people will come back as long as you aren't gouging them.
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
#13
I’m getting out of stocking up on inexpensive strings. Most players really don’t want cheap strings and are willing to pay a little more for quality string. If given a choice between a $15 string job and a $25 string job 9 out of 10 will choose the $25 string. Those who don’t buy a cheap stringer and <$5 string. Charge what the market will bear. Don’t be the cheapest because your service and or string will be perceived as lower quality, but don’t be the highest either.
 
#14
Personally, I push synthetic gut. I truly believe it to be the absolute best all around string there is for the vast majority of club players. For the majority of club players, synthetic gut offers advantages that other strings cannot. First and foremost, it breaks when it is supposed to. Synthetic gut takes the impact for the player and delivers good control/spin/comfort. From a stringer's standpoint, the margin on synthetic gut is excellent. I string natural gut for a few folks and poly for a bunch. But if someone comes to me and asks what they should start with, I always steer them to synthetic gut. I even have a couple of folks I've taken off natural gut and put into synthetic gut. :)

OH...and I charge a flat $10 labor regardless of string/pattern/racket size.
 
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#15
I charge $10 per and make a good bit of margin depending on the string. For example, Solinco and Ytex that I get a whole sale, I have good margin on. Sets off a reel are way cheap but its a standard $22-25 depending on the string so really the labor charge is higher. Also I get majority of the string that comes with my teams collegiate racket packages so I get a decent amount of Lux and RPM for free each year so everything is gravy on it. Having said that, Syn gut is $20. Plenty of margin there, same price as most shops, and it's easier to take a $20 than have to have change for $15. Bring your own string, $10. Cost of shop stringing in my area is any where from $15-20ish depending on how you look at their margins. For instance at the local place that does T-fibre NRG is $36. I charge $28 and get lots of converts because it's essentially 20% off. Also the shop with T-fibre charges additional to string gut. I've seen gut string jobs from them that are $65-70 each. It's worth it to me to have the extra spending money. I don't truly track how much I make on stringing for club players but I would estimate its 2-3k extra a year and doesn't really take any time when you consider it's only 2-3 rackets (1 hour) a week for the most part.
 
#17
Regular mens haircut is around 35-50$ here at a decent place...
How are we as stringer still charging what they charged back in the 90s? When the cost of gas, water, everything has gone up stringing for a sport that racquets are currently 220 average$ stringing services are still being charged 10-20$ it is a joke...
It all boils down to simple questions:

1. How many hours of instruction does it take to become able to string a racquet, and how many hours of instruction and practice would it take to become a hairdresser?
2. What fraction of stringers that you met at tennis shops look like educated, trained individuals who by their appearance project expertise and, just by the way how they look and speak, warrant a higher rate?
3. What fraction of the total population of tennis players are beginner/intermediate level players, who have no idea that their racquet ever requires restringing, or know when and why they need a string job and what they need? What fraction of the retail price of the strung racquet most of them think a string job should cost? 40%, 20%, or 5%?
4. What is the initial investment required to get into the stringing business and start offering services? Are any licenses or permits required? What about hairdressers, in comparison?
5. Do tennis players typically think about stringers as people at the same level as they are or above, or as sort of servants / supporting personnel? How do they see coaches and how do the see stringers? One can often hear "I use that stringer", would you say "I use" with respect to a surgeon, a coach, or a lawyer?
6. Is it easy to distinguish a good stringing job from a bad stringing job? Is it easier to tell if a haircut is good or bad? Does it feel that stringing a racquet is kind of a low end commodity market, where all offerings are more or less equal and difference is only in price?

Stringing is a commodity. Commodity market is the market where price is driven by the ratio of supply and demand and convenience. It is the market in which customers do not really care from whom they buy goods or services as they are assumed to be created equal. Commodity market drives the prices down as much as possible until vendors start leaving it. With modern stringing machines which do most of the work for you, and customers who can barely tell a good job from a lousy job, it is hard to differentiate yourself from the market.
 
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#18
THESE ARE ALL MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE AND OPINION HAHA

It all boils down to simple questions:

1. How many hours of instruction does it take to become able to string a racquet, and how many hours of instruction and practice would it take to become a hairdresser?

Haha 1500 -1600 for hairstylist. Govern by the States.

Certified Stringers/MRT is a series of test to take and some renewed yearly.


2. What fraction of stringers that you met at tennis shops look like educated, trained individuals who by their appearance project expertise and, just by the way how they look and speak, warrant a higher rate?

Not going to lie 80% of the stringers I seen and met shouldn't be talking to anyone haha... stringing for some is very personal and many do it at the comfort of privacy and free time or room at a pro shop/home.

If there was tipping involve I believe many wouldn't get any... (my opinion)

3. What fraction of the total population of tennis players are beginner/intermediate level players, who have no idea that their racquet ever requires restringing, or know when and why they need a string job and what they need? What fraction of the retail price of the strung racquet most of them think a string job should cost? 40%, 20%, or 5%?

Believe the culture should be changed. Every coach should set time aside 5-10 mins on top of their routine to talk about how important strings/racquets tech is... many just go off of what they are use to and might not be best for their students...

4. What is the initial investment required to get into the stringing business and start offering services? Are any licenses or permits required? What about hairdressers, in comparison?

I know for us getting our business license and state/city permits is very easy and definitely less than many profession as there are health regulations when it comes to hair and beauty.

5. Do tennis players typically think about stringers as people at the same level as they are or above, or as sort of servants / supporting personnel? How do they see coaches and how do the see stringers? One can often hear "I use that stringer", would you say "I use" with respect to a surgeon, a coach, or a lawyer?

I see as of now stringers are valet drivers at a huge event... you need parking and driving services but under paid and under apperiated...

If compared to doctors office... players and sponsors are the MD and specialist. STRINGERS automated call service to remind you of your appointment.

6. Is it easy to distinguish a good stringing job from a bad stringing job? Is it easier to tell if a haircut is good or bad? Does it feel that stringing a racquet is kind of a low end commodity market, where all offerings are more or less equal and difference is only in price?

Stringing is a commodity. Commodity market is the market where price is driven by the ratio of supply and demand and convenience. It is the market in which customers do not really care from whom they buy goods or services as they are assumed to be created equal. Commodity market drives the prices down as much as possible until vendors start leaving it. With modern stringing machines which do most of the work for you, and customers who can barely tell a good job from a lousy job, it is hard to differentiate yourself from the market.


Wow a solid platform of good questions...

Your are completely right about how hard it is to tell for many clients to see what is a good or bad string job, however having a emotional economy definately plays a roll. At the end of the day, customer service will be a great deciding factor. There are plenty of salons out there... I personally go back to the hairstylist who gives me that extra head massage and checks my eye brow/ear hair without having to ask. Giving a hair wash instead of just dusting me off for the day...

Asking if they want stenciling, bagging their racquets, cleaning it from head to butt cap, adding tubing if needed, print a intake sheet for them to have & etc...

The problem seems that many dont care and that is a problem
 
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#19
£10 for your own string, £13 for ATP Players.

I have different charges for string, don't charge extra for Natty Gut, but Prices start at £17 and top up to about £25 for a top line poly.
 
#20
I charge $10 labor for juniors on the high school team, $15 for club players or out of towners. My turn around time is usually same day or next day. You have to know your market. I don't know how some guys string for $5. I'm probably due to bump my labor up $5 across the board. I provide string for 90% of my string jobs, so I make a buck or two there too.
 
#21
I think there's excellent information on this thread. I just have a couple points to add:

1. Keep your pricing model simple. I charge a flat to install customer provided string, $17*. For string that I keep in inventory, I charge the TW retail price + my labor rate. So for NXT, my charge installed is $37... and I do that across the board for all my strings.
2. For grips I charge a flat rate of $12, which includes the grip. For a while I charged $5 to install a customer provided grip, but I found that customers were rarely bringing in grips for install. They either wanted to purchase one from me or do it themselves.
3. For grommet strip replacement, I charge a flat rate of $25 which includes the materials.
4. I charge these rates across the boards for my private clientele - junior players, club, rec, and seniors. For a local club I string for, I negotiated a labor rate just below the above price so that they could keep their pricing for club members at a competitive rate.

* I think it's important as noted in above posts that you research what your competitors are charging within your local area. Don't use national big box stores to baseline your labor cost - their prices are ridiculously low and as a general statement I think the quality shows. I have a tennis specialty shop and several clubs in my area that provide stinging service. I set my pricing right in line with them... then differentiate myself by providing excellent customer service that I know these shops and clubs don't do, such as following up with clients on how their tournament went, or checking in with a player to see how a new string is working out for him or her.

Finally, don't just worry about labor pricing. Get setup with wholesale accounts so that you can make a reasonable margin on your materials (string, grips, etc). Track sales on strings so that you can stock up when wholesale prices are low.
 
#22
Here's my breakdown:
$15 for labor ($20 for gut)
A plethora of string options ranging from (labor cost included)
$20 for cheap poly/syngut
$25 for mid-tier poly
$25 for mid-tier multi
$30-$35 for top tier multi
$30-$35 for top tier poly (RPM, Lux)
$15 grip installation
$15 grommet installation + grommet cost

Rarely I have had complaints about the cost. It usually comes from the player that restrings 1 time a year and they try to negotiate 2 for 1 pricing...I never give in. I usually ask them if they would put in an extra hour of work for free, to which the answer is always "no". I tell them neither do I.
 
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