As a woodwind or any repair-person you should never give credit your repair service.
You have a good customer that has been coming to you for years. You overhaul their saxophone and they owe you $900.00 for the overhaul. Now they come in to pick it up and give you the hard luck story that they do not have all the money but can they give you half and then the rest next week because they have a gig and need the instrument. Well they have always been good about paying you so you say yes. They take the instrument and leave with every intention of paying you the balance.. But… and there is always a but they use the money for something else that came up and now they need the follow up adjustment but do not have the balance they owe you $450.00. They still want to pay you but life just got in the way so they go to another repairman that just need to adjust it a little and he charges them $50.00 they have that…. Well you are out the $450.00 still.. a couple months go by ant they go to the new repairman because they are having a hard time getting the balance they owe you and of course as time goes by they are loosing interest in paying the old debt. So now another saxophone player needs an overhaul and aske them where to go… well he is not going to sent them to you because he is no going to the new guy so he recommends the new guy. You are now out another $900.00 for that overhaul. Well this cycle will continue and if he recommends 3 people a year to the new guy it will cost you $2,700.00 that year for helping this guy out. Over 20 years it will cost you $54,000.00 for being a nice guy..
Also he will not tell the other saxophone players he does not go to you any longer because he owes you money, he will tell them you screwed up his instrument so that is why he goes to the new guy.
So don’t be a nice guy… if someone tells you he does not have the money to pay for the overhaul when he wants to pick it up and he knows what the price was up front then there is a good chance he will not be able to get the money. If you hold the instrument he will find the money and at least you will get paid and likely not loose them as a client.
First and the most important thing is that they are clients and second some-what friends.
So you want to be a repairman:
For those of you who want to become an instrument repairman. If you work hard and become good you can make a very good living, but it is hard work and 99% of the time not so glamorous. Also after you get good remember they need you more than you need them.. there are very few good repairmen and thousands of great players. Everyone that comes in will act like your friend.. but you can bet the majority will not likely invite you over to their house very often. Now if you are lucky and I have been you will make some very good friends and many have lasted the test of time. I have had many guys say I don’t know what I would do if you didn’t work on my horn… well if they decide to move to Colorado then they will.. and of course find someone else to work on their instrument. They cannot be expected to stay in town just for you…. So it is important to make sure you keep it business with everyone even if they are your friends… you can buy them a drink at a club… but charge them something when you work on their instrument.