Have you strung for a big box store?

#1
What was your compensation agreement? Did you do all your stringing in store on their machine? Did you take the racquets home and bring them back? Combination of both? How was/is the experience overall?
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
#3
I once strung in a big box store as a favor for a friend who was the manager at the store. He was stringing poly and not have an easy go with it. All his stringers were out sick that day and he needed some rackets strung. He wanted to hire me then for an hourly wage but I said,”No, it was just going to be this one time.” He said I could have any set of string I wanted for each racket strung. I thought about taking VS gut, but I didn’t, I took 3 sets of X-One and 3 sets of Xcel for 6 rackets.

EDIT: I used their Wilson Baiardo
 
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#4
I strung/worked in the tennis section for Sports Authority for a bit while I was in college. This was over 20 years ago, but at the time they paid $8 per racquet. When they got a few racquets to be done, if I wasn't scheduled to work they'd call me to have me come in. If I was already at the store, I had to clock out from my hourly wage if I was going to string. Considering it wasn't a really busy tennis area, they had a really nice Tecnifibre electric machine! Overall it was a good stringing experience, the rest of the job pretty much sucked, but that was because of poor management and constant turnover in middle management.

As a side note, this was the only time in my stringing career that I have had to do multiple racquetball racquets.
 
#5
I strung at an academy one summer, not big box but big amounts of rackets. 12+ a day, I got whatever string I wanted in return. I was there for 45 or so days and picked up a good amount of string. Mainly gut
 
#9
I strung/worked in the tennis section for Sports Authority for a bit while I was in college. This was over 20 years ago, but at the time they paid $8 per racquet. When they got a few racquets to be done, if I wasn't scheduled to work they'd call me to have me come in. If I was already at the store, I had to clock out from my hourly wage if I was going to string. Considering it wasn't a really busy tennis area, they had a really nice Tecnifibre electric machine! Overall it was a good stringing experience, the rest of the job pretty much sucked, but that was because of poor management and constant turnover in middle management.

As a side note, this was the only time in my stringing career that I have had to do multiple racquetball racquets.
What market? I was doing three stores in Orlando until 2000 and never got more than $6.50/stick.

I did RB sticks all the time and absolutely hated doing the E-Force “through the hollow handle” patterns.
 
#10
What market? I was doing three stores in Orlando until 2000 and never got more than $6.50/stick.

I did RB sticks all the time and absolutely hated doing the E-Force “through the hollow handle” patterns.
I HATED those E-Force racquets... Luckily the hired some kid that was top ranked RB player, and I just left those for him. This was in Fayetteville, NC, and when they hired me they had no one to string, and I was able to negotiate the price per frame. It probably backfired though because I was always on the lower side of scheduled hours...
 
#11
I strung at an academy one summer, not big box but big amounts of rackets. 12+ a day, I got whatever string I wanted in return. I was there for 45 or so days and picked up a good amount of string. Mainly gut
I think Academy is considered a big box sporting goods store. That seems like a good deal if you can use/sell all those strings. Did you have a $ option at all or just strings? When did you string for them?
 
#12
My experience was that I got paid on a "per racquet" basis. Most of the stringing was new racquets which makes life easier. All work was done on site with store machines. In terms of overall experience, you will be surrounded by people who are not knowledgeable about tennis. Expect to be shaking your head a lot.
Lol. That's what I'm anticipating. What did you get per racquet if you don't mind sharing? And when did you do this?
 
#13
So it looks like I'll be doing some stringing for a nearby Dick's. Supposed to iron out details with the store manager today. He said they could give me a fair rate, but who knows what he thinks that is... What's a fair per racquet rate in 2019?
 
#14
Only you know what your time is worth.
Figure you average time/ racquet and determine what that time is worth to you.
undercharge and you will find it difficult to raise that rate.
Another way to look at it is....
would you rather string 20 racquets/ week at $10/ racquet, or
string 10 racquets/ week at $20/ racquet. and figure just what your time is worth.
 
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#15
At minimum $8.00 per racket. Especially since it will likely be them manually keying in rackets as hours so you'll lose taxes on it. Realistically if you could make a demand minimum of $10 possibly $15 if the market would hold it. I've been told by multiple people that I under charge at $10 stringing out of my home but the average market price of a local sports store is only $15. The market will only hold so much. It's not like I'm in a high cost of living area where people will pay top dollar. It all depends on market.
 
#16
The first time I got $10 per racquet I was over the moon! For years and years I was getting $5-8 a racquet, or just making minimum wage at work study. When I started charging $15 for labor only for my at home business I got zero comments about it being too much for the Washington DC Metro area.
 

Big_Dangerous

Talk Tennis Guru
#18
The first time I got $10 per racquet I was over the moon! For years and years I was getting $5-8 a racquet, or just making minimum wage at work study. When I started charging $15 for labor only for my at home business I got zero comments about it being too much for the Washington DC Metro area.
If you can build up a nice client list of people, then stringing at home is definitely the way to go.
 
#19
Smitty does runs for the local ***** in our area closer to him

So does another guy i hit with that strings out of his home.

I dont know what smitty mames but my oal usually tells me its not worth it and asked if i wanted to take over 3 ***** stores for him
 

Big_Dangerous

Talk Tennis Guru
#20
Smitty does runs for the local ***** in our area closer to him

So does another guy i hit with that strings out of his home.

I dont know what smitty mames but my oal usually tells me its not worth it and asked if i wanted to take over 3 ***** stores for him
Well I guess a full time or MO kind of job, then yeah that's not going to be raking in the big bucks by any means. I just meant more of a side hustle kind of thing to make a bit of extra money. ****, I'd take some clients to make some extra money. I only really string for myself and my friend.
 
#21
Well I guess a full time or MO kind of job, then yeah that's not going to be raking in the big bucks by any means. I just meant more of a side hustle kind of thing to make a bit of extra money. ****, I'd take some clients to make some extra money. I only really string for myself and my friend.

It's a side job for friend B. He works from home so he does racquet stringing on the side and he either brings the racquets home and picks up, or uses the machines at D's. He's in charge of stringing for 3 D's stores, 2 of them are about 15 minutes away and the other is 25-30 minutes away. THe periods fluctuate where he barely has any to where hes packed.
 
#22
I think Academy is considered a big box sporting goods store. That seems like a good deal if you can use/sell all those strings. Did you have a $ option at all or just strings? When did you string for them?
I had the option for cash but the string is a better option for me. I was using gut back in those days so getting it for free saved me a ton of money.

This is going back 6 years now but it was a great gig and I got heavy discount at the pro shop too
 
#23
Only you know what your time is worth.
Figure you average time/ racquet and determine what that time is worth to you.
undercharge and you will find it difficult to raise that rate.
Another way to look at it is....
would you rather string 20 racquets/ week at $10/ racquet, or
string 10 racquets/ week at $20/ racquet. and figure just what your time is worth.
Yes, good points. I'm mostly worried about volume. I don't how much stringing business they get. My fear is committing to be their stringer and then only getting calls to come string 1 or 2 racquets every so often. I might decide that isn't worth it.
 
#24
At minimum $8.00 per racket. Especially since it will likely be them manually keying in rackets as hours so you'll lose taxes on it. Realistically if you could make a demand minimum of $10 possibly $15 if the market would hold it. I've been told by multiple people that I under charge at $10 stringing out of my home but the average market price of a local sports store is only $15. The market will only hold so much. It's not like I'm in a high cost of living area where people will pay top dollar. It all depends on market.
$8 seems very low. StringGuruMRT was getting that in the late 90s! I'll probably throw out the $15 figure and negotiate from there.
 
#25
The first time I got $10 per racquet I was over the moon! For years and years I was getting $5-8 a racquet, or just making minimum wage at work study. When I started charging $15 for labor only for my at home business I got zero comments about it being too much for the Washington DC Metro area.
Maybe I'm naive but even $10 seems a tad low for this gig, though I know they want to make their cut on the labor too. I charge $15 for my home business and get no complaints. The local tennis shop charges $18 for labor along with a healthy string markup. Most of the racquets I'm stringing have their throat sticker in them. I'm probably 10 bucks less than them for a comparable string.
 
#26
$8 seems very low. StringGuruMRT was getting that in the late 90s! I'll probably throw out the $15 figure and negotiate from there.
Make sure they know that YOU know how to string a racquet.......THEY DONT. You have the leverage. If you're willing to take less to get more experience and exposure to more people, then it may be worth it. If you already busy enough, don't budge on your rate.
 
#27
Funny thing about this industry. When I started 30+ yrs ago a set of syn gut cost about $4. And today a set of syn gut still costs about $4. Same thing with balls. Probably same thing with rates.
 
#28
Make sure they know that YOU know how to string a racquet.......THEY DONT. You have the leverage. If you're willing to take less to get more experience and exposure to more people, then it may be worth it. If you already busy enough, don't budge on your rate.
When I first approached the store manager and offered my services he said they have a video that shows how to do it. Lol...I made it clear I'm a competent stringer and he was happy to hear that. I'm not anticipating making a ton doing this. I still have a small client base and frankly don't have enough business yet to string as often as I'd like. I want to get my speed up. So I think this might be a good thing for me to do, but I won't do it if it's not fair for me financially.
 
#30
I want to get my speed up. So I think this might be a good thing for me to do, but I won't do it if it's not fair for me financially.
I just wanted to see what it was like to string on an Ektelon H after something like 3 years as a home stringer working on a True Tension machine. At first the Ektelon just seemed like a toy by comparison but it didn't take long for me to decide to switch away from the True Tension at home.
 
#34
When I first approached the store manager and offered my services he said they have a video that shows how to do it. Lol...I made it clear I'm a competent stringer and he was happy to hear that. I'm not anticipating making a ton doing this. I still have a small client base and frankly don't have enough business yet to string as often as I'd like. I want to get my speed up. So I think this might be a good thing for me to do, but I won't do it if it's not fair for me financially.
Do a good job and get to know your clients. When you leave Dick's, they probably go with you.....take the clients with you
 
#35
Yikes. You're kinda right. It sucks that the value for this skilled labor hasn't increased much with inflation.
How many people where you play tennis know how to string a racquet, and do a consistent good job? Now ask how many people in your city know how......... probably not very many so don't slash your price
 
#37
Maybe I'm naive but even $10 seems a tad low for this gig, though I know they want to make their cut on the labor too. I charge $15 for my home business and get no complaints. The local tennis shop charges $18 for labor along with a healthy string markup. Most of the racquets I'm stringing have their throat sticker in them. I'm probably 10 bucks less than them for a comparable string.
I'm getting $10 per racquet now at the club I'm at. I also string a few racquets a week for my old boss and he pays me the same. Unfortunately, my home business dried up completely when I moved to the Orlando area.
 
#39
I'm getting $10 per racquet now at the club I'm at. I also string a few racquets a week for my old boss and he pays me the same. Unfortunately, my home business dried up completely when I moved to the Orlando area.
Orlando has an abundance of options for 'professional' service and I would bet even more cottage industry. It's all about convenience not loyalty.
 

SOY78

Professional
#41
Off OP but when I moved to FL from IL I definitely thought I would get more home stringing customers. But boy I was wrong. I used to have a constant at least 2 to 4 string customers per week in the Chicagoland area, here in Tampa I will get lucky if I get 1 per week.
 
#42
Do a good job and get to know your clients. When you leave Dick's, they probably go with you.....take the clients with you
This is something I was thinking about. Would it be unethical (for lack of a better term) to hand out my business card while stringing in the store? Obviously I'd prefer they deal directly with me for their stringing needs.
 

am1899

Hall of Fame
#44
I make $8 per in a club. I live in a low cost of living area, so I don’t take $8 as low ball. If I lived in NYC, for example, you bet I’d be demanding more. So, $8 or even $10 per racquet in my view anyway is not necessarily insulting, depending on where you live.

Another reason I don’t quibble over the $8 per number is I can usually string 2 racquets in an hour, sometimes 3. I’m not expected or required to answer phones or run the register while stringing. Generally I am expected to field customer questions about string or racquets if they come into the shop - so that’s usually my only source of interruption. In addition, every grip I put on is an additional $5 to me (yes, even an overgrip). For me there’s potential to make pretty decent coin, in a short period of time - if the volume is there (and it isn’t always).

Beyond all that, it also comes down to as others mentioned, what your time is worth to you. If you believe you’re worth more than $10 per racquet, there’s nothing wrong with that. Just don’t expect every potential employer to agree with you, right outta the gate. :)
 
#46
Stringing for both my small clubs i get $10/racquet.

Outside of work i string on the side and charge $20 flat rate if you bring your own string or use mine depending(play testing).
 
#47
I have always looked at it as more of an hourly wage. If I do everything myself I can comfortably do 20 minutes per racquet. If my wife removes strings, prints labels and invoices, and bags racquets I can average around 15 minutes per. So for the university I make $15 to $20 an hour. Local rate is $30 to $40 plus string profit, and tournaments and visiting teams $60 to $80. I have no problem making $15 an hour for a part time job. That said I would try and negotiate a 60/40 split or better. You 60.
 
#48
This is something I was thinking about. Would it be unethical (for lack of a better term) to hand out my business card while stringing in the store? Obviously I'd prefer they deal directly with me for their stringing needs.
I would honor your contract, or "work", with Dick's, but if you do a good job and people like you, there's nothing wrong with your customers going with you.
 
#49
I used to work for 2 clubs/centers simultaneously part time. I got $9 per @at a country club and $10 @a tennis center. Most I ever strung was like 22-28 per month at the country club. I was working in the pro shop stringing at the club one day and I remember the manager jabbing his elbow with one of the tennis pros saying, " you ever seen a grounds guy stringing racquets?!?!" They were laughing at me, but in my mind I was thinking, " how is this guy the head pro or manager?"......... He knew literally nothing about the equipment in his shop. Was always just good at talking and BS ing with the members. As if he was saying about me, " I can't believe a part time grounds guy knows how, and is good at stringing". **** him, and I would kick his ass on a tennis court in a heartbeat also.

But I digress.....just do a great job and be nice and respectful to your clients and take your work seriously, even if no one else does. That's what sets you apart from the rest of the tools in this world.
 
#50
Late to the party...


I got subcontracted by *****
How it worked for the 2 stores was that they supplied you the machines (gamma/prince). I offered to pick up and drop off, however they felt it was too much of a liability for them. I rather use mine, but when in Rome.

They didn't have much to work with in quality of tools as most were banged up or missing.
I would always bring tools just in case.

They reached out to us because they couldn't take the load and turn around time would be 3-4 weeks as the stringer was the golf pro or whoever...

We agreed that I would only do it if there was over 12 racquets, on my time and at 13$ per racket.
I would come in on unloading days for one place around 4am and just get it knocked out or the other place around 9-10 and ve done by 2ish.

They paid me as a contractor off of their petty cash which at one location always has an issue when it came to the invoice. They had to call the regional boss to get the ok. The other place knew exactly what to do.

***** only charge 12$ to their clients, however my fee was 13$ irregardless of their fees. I told them I normally charge 17-20$ for my services, but being their machine I was going to work with 13$ which honestly in 2019 I wouldn't even bother for my time.

We havent been working with them since 2017 ( 2 years now ). They probably found another stringer or do it themselves, either way we get some of their clients when they dont get it done correctly or on time.

As a business we claim our taxes so basically our pay out is actually looking like 10 at the most per racket. Couple times they paid in cash and a couple time their company card. Either way I give our invoice an receipts to our accountant every quarter. I wouldn't even waste a time of day personally for anything lower than 15$ because after that year and filling those ***** invoices basically broke even. They kinda in a sense my payday loan haha.

My biggest thing was not to let them take advantage of your services. I had a couple times they called us to come in for like 2-3 rackets because they forgot to do them or misplaced it when we were there.
They will try to give you the lowest price for your services. I was definately concern for these ***** employee getting their hustle on making $ 8-10 a hour...
I average 18 min per racquets and mostly big box rackets were oversized (so happy) and syn gut or multi. I was making more in a hour compared to them. These set of skills is very valuable and the fact you can go anywhere in the world and be an asset.

For ***** it makes sense to hire a contractor like myself... Their hourly employee isn't a stringing pro. Even if they were, there are so many other task of jobs for their employees. I say an average lucky if they can string correctly employee can do it maybe in 45-55 mins per racket (yes it takes them that long and mess it up from time to time)
I dont know if anyone ever work retail but on any given day you are always short of man power (sick, under hired, etc...) For them to just pay a contractor to finish a 16 racquets within a 4-5 hrs period is smart. They would had taken maybe 13-16 hrs of man power to finish the task. They can utilize their employees to stock, register, clean, etc. Not putting them on a machine for 8 hours and getting only 7-9 rackets done. One time the stringer before I came in to take over started half of the mains and had to go help another client out with golf shoes, let's say he was gone for at least 20 mins and when he came back, they call him to ring another customer out on the register... so that new frame they just bought from ***** was half done on the mains for at least 30-40 mins hmmmm... As a stringer, I should had just finished it for them, however as a professional I am expect to be paid for my time and as respect of the other stringer I didn't want to touch his work.
I never criticized or say a word about another stringer... I'll definitely tell you stories but never names or call someone out... that's just rude.



Anyway that was my experiences with the 2 places. Hope this helps

THE MAJOR SHOCK WAS
THERE WERE SOOOOO MANY RACQUETS EACH WEEK, LIKE 15+ PLUS...
That's how I started gorilla marketing and finding where these people were playing and once you see the trend which are mostly beginners or seniors the perfect age group that pays... towards the end I was just dropping my cards in the bag or the invoices and got a hand full of clients till this day, so I dont regret working with them.
 
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