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onree

Looking for instrument repairer

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I own a small but long established and
profitable violin shop in a middle-size city and am looking to hire
a violin maker or repair person, and don’t really know where
to start looking. Advertise in The Strad or Strings Magazine? Music
industry trade journals? VSA Journal?



I had a long time (fifteen years plus)
repairman have to leave for medical reasons. Possibly also looking
for an “exit strategy” for myself in a few years.
Everything is somewhat unclear right now. I’ve posted a few
times, but mostly lurked on this forum, and it seems like a good
place to get some ideas.



I wonder if I would be better off looking for
a graduate of a tech school, (like Red Wing, MN) or someone with
real world shop experience? I get a sense from the forum that many
violin “makers” do repairing only grudgingly. But
setups, keeping inventory and rentals in good shape, and bow rehair
work is, realistically, what pays the bills outside of major urban
areas.



Shop owners, what do you look for in an
employee?



Repairers, what do you look for in an
employment situation?



Any insight and advice gratefully
appreciated.



Onree

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If you are thinking about sell in a few years you might consider a partnership with the paln of selling out totally in a few years. Just a thought.

I real builder will want more money than the shop can probably afford unless they bring a client list with them to help support their income.

The other end of the spectrum is a young graduated with no experience which will take a lot of hand holding and training to help get to the point that you feel comfortable.

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quote:


Originally posted by:
onree

I own a small but long established and

profitable violin shop in a middle-size city and am looking to hire

a violin maker or repair person, and don't really know where

to start looking. Advertise in The Strad or Strings Magazine? Music

industry trade journals? VSA Journal?

I had a long time (fifteen years plus)

repairman have to leave for medical reasons. Possibly also looking

for an "exit strategy" for myself in a few years.

Everything is somewhat unclear right now. I've posted a few

times, but mostly lurked on this forum, and it seems like a good

place to get some ideas.

I wonder if I would be better off looking for

a graduate of a tech school, (like Red Wing, MN) or someone with

real world shop experience? I get a sense from the forum that many

violin "makers" do repairing only grudgingly. But

setups, keeping inventory and rentals in good shape, and bow rehair

work is, realistically, what pays the bills outside of major urban

areas.


Those who have their hearts set on being a "maker" often do have an aversion to repair as a profession... but others prefer repair. Then there are those who like both.

Where you may wish to look/advertise really depends on the experience and skill level your business requires... and considering the situation you mentioned (your eventual departure), I think Barry's suggestion that you consider offering the newcomer an option of working into ownership, or partial ownership, it might be very appropriate and helpful (if you're able to find the "right" person). Schools are great places to look (Chicago, Boston, Salt Lake, MN), if you are able to "train". If not, you'll probably need to look for someone who has been out in the field (with some experience).

quote:


Shop owners, what do you look for in an employee?

When I ran a rather large shop in two cities (one city small, the other large), I looked for the right "profile" (someone who had the skills required for the particular job I needed to fill), their background (work history, training, etc.) and their willingness to improve or help with improvements (train, be trained, etc.) as well as their own career goals.

I wouldn't expect that you'll find a highly skilled restorer who is interested in the position (most of those individual are in good situations already, or own their own businesses, and prefer to work on better instruments), but you may be able to find someone who is competent and has some business sense (hopefully).

I woud suggest attendance at some of the conventions of competitions... good places to network.

Good luck.

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quote:


Originally posted by:
onree

Shop owners, what do you look for in an

employee?

Onree

I have had some hundreds of employees over the years, and I learned to look for character first, then aptitude, then skills.

Skills, even luthier skills, are the easiest thing to acquire, if a person has the character and aptitude for the job. You just can't teach a person character or aptitude, but you can teach skills.

The above comments about training vs hiring experience ring true to me. Personally, I never minded training good people who had the aptitude and at least the rudimentary skills for a job. You have a fresh slate, so to speak, but then people with wide experience can bring additional abilities into your shop. Your choice. Depends a bit upon who's available.

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Dosn't anybody else think that location is as big a deal in finding an employee willing to relocate to a small shop, unless it is someone willing to move for a short time to get some experience under their belt? I know that unless I was running from something, I'd have to have some strong incentive to pull up stakes and move to a small town unless it was in a location that I always wanted to explore. Jeffrey's right about going to the VSA convention and putting the word out. Networking is a lot better bet in this specialized world than adverising.

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quote:


Originally posted by:
MeyerFittings

Dosn't anybody else think that location is as big a deal in finding an employee willing to relocate to a small shop, unless it is someone willing to move for a short time to get some experience under their belt?


I agree, Rico... I would think it would be an important factor, but where it falls in the priority list depends upon the person, I would think.

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String instrument repair persons are needed everywhere. Ideally consumers and repairers can do business directly.

In this real world it is hard to find such situation. A case in point, I bought a bow for re-hair. The cheapest charge

I could find was $30 that the bow has to shipped out, God knows where. If it is done locally it would be $50.

Which service do you want ?

Small towns are not bad locations. The over heads are low. (few politicians,less taxes) Who says it is a bad place to live?

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It's interesting how "middle-size city" mutated into "small town" during the course of this thread - or are the two the same in the States?

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Not meant to be precise. Jacob.

The re-hair was $30, then $40, now $50 in a matter of 6 years in the same local shop.

"Small town" is getting bigger and farther away. Luckily, they do good work. I support local

shop.

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"...are the two the same in the States? "

Nah..."small (shop)" just got grafted to "...city", with the resulting muddle. :-) That is probably the same here as there, is it not?

How are things on your end of the planet, Jacob?

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Actually the size of the shop or the city has little to do with my point. Older more experienced repairmen aren't likely to pull up stakes unless the location or reputation of the shop is attractive to them. The best suggestion was attending the VSA convention and networking to find a fit IMHO. Finding someone who you can get along with and/or who won't cut off their finger on the band saw isn't an easy task, not to mention relocation. If I knew someone who was qualified and looking for a repair position, the first question they would ask is where is it? The gentleman seemed to be asking for some ideas.

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Thanks for all the helpful comments. I
didn’t mean to be obscure about the location. I’m in
Lincoln, Nebraska, home of" mso-spacerun: yes;">  two universities, two colleges
a great public school system, and about 275,000 people." mso-spacerun: yes;">  And most of them are happy to
live here, even with no skyscrapers, mountains or oceans in sight.
The -6 degrees last night, I’m not so sure about.



On the other hand, from a violin maker’s
perspective, you won’t get to work on many Guarneris here.
But a person with some skills could step into a situation where
they could support themselves while building their reputation as a
maker. And it seems to me that without a reputation, even an
excellent maker can have trouble actually selling his instruments.
They might even decide they like it here (as I did.) But I
wouldn’t want to be dishonest or unrealistic about what to
expect.



Special thanks to Jeffrey and Nonado for what
you said about character, aptitude, attitude, and skills. I needed
to hear that.



Onree

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"How are things on your end of the planet, Jacob? "

From here a small town in the US looks good. A middle-sized city - what can I say?

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Onree,

I had a student that is graduating form the Newark violin making school apply at my shop yesterday. I am a one man operation but I thought of you.

If you would be interestedin talking to this person email me and I will send you their contact information.

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Since I do believe in networking, I would like to mention here that I am currently looking for someone interested in developing a partnership her in Oslo. This person (if existent) should be about my age, ( ca 25-35) energetic and ready for something new. He or she should be a talented bow maker, rehairer and restorer with just the right mixture of experience and enthusiasm. Able to introduce him/herself onto the market and take part in the business development in general. Any additional capabilities in the field are appreciated, but the bow part should be the main thing. (I don't touch bows).

The market for the right person should be interesting. oh gee I hope I am not in trouble with the forum rules now? Spread the word and people can contact me for more info about the idea.

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Hey now this is an interesting thread. I'm sort of in the same situation. I'm up to my elbows in bass work at the moment and have begun asking around for some help. Because of the tax situation here in Sweden I don't know if I could hire some outright or if it would work better for them to do piece work, etc...but then I'm having the same problem why on earth would any one want to re-located here?

I'm having a hard time staying positive so a glum attitude and a white glued Bernadal double bass might be a real detterent for an employee

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I don't know if it's the right place for this type of announcement,

but I am actually slowly starting to search for a new position in a

workshop.  I take this opportunity to propose my services

only because I think that this topic is appropriate enough for

this type of action.

My main interests are the following  :

-Construction of violins, violas and cellos

-Set-up and Restoration

-Expertise

I am flexible but for personal reasons I am searching for specific

localizations  :

- Canada  :  Ontario and Québec or near the

borders of those provinces

- USA  :  New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine,

Massachusetts or near the borders of those states

- Germany  :  Baden-Württemberg or near the borders

of this state

Training and Experiences  :

-Violin making school diploma

-6 years of professional experience in violin making, set-up,

repair and restoration in different countries

Languages  :

-French

-English

-German

I prefer to stay short in my personal description because I

don't want to expose everything on this site.  If there is

someone interested about my profile, please send me an e-mail to

the following address and I will be able to send more information

about me and pictures of my work.

rb_quebec@hotmail.com

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