One of the things that ticks me off is upselling purely as a money making strategy. You order a meal package from a fast food outlet and the assistant is trained to sell you more. “Do you want to upsize?” or “Do you want fries with that?” I don’t understand the theory because if I ordered a medium meal, I wouldn’t want a large one. Nor would I order fries if my meal already has them included.
The same happens when I get my car serviced. Somehow the fixed price servicing always ends up attracting an added-on amount. I ask for an approximate price for the service yet somehow when I pick-up the car, there is always some other charge added on. When I buy a set of tyres, I just want to know the final price, not “The tyres are $450, plus fitting $85 and balancing $50 and that is.. let me get a calculator”.
What about piano tuning? Is piano tuning just tuning the strings? What happens if the piano requires further work? What happens if the piano pedal needs adjusting or the case needs cleaning?
There are many ideas around tuning, especially the time it takes to tune a piano. Some piano technicians are taught that if you are not in and out of the venue or house in an hour, you don’t know your stuff. However when a technician sits a tuning test with a piano manufacturer like Steinway, a time of two hours is allotted. In other words, the manufacturers believe that a quality piano tune should take approximately two hours, and anything less requires cutting corners.
The industry does have piano tuners who try and fit things into an hour appointment. Generally this means that they only have time to tune the strings and ignore often needed adjustments to keep the instrument playing and sounding at its best. Some technicians will quote a tuning fee however when you get the invoice there are additional fees.
Because I don’t believe in upselling, I don’t try it with my clients. I always work from the principle to treat others the way you want to be treated. When I tune a piano, I don’t add on another $5 for a pedal adjustment, $10 to perform some minor adjustment or add an extra $25 to vacuum inside the case. What I quote is what I charge.
I once informed a client that I just had to adjust the soft pedal to complete the service. The owner replied that the last tuner didn’t have time to adjust the pedal and wanted to make a separate appointment (and fee) to look at it. I included the adjustment as part of my standard service and it took about a minute. The client was surprised that it was only a minor adjustment and another appointment was not needed.
That’s why my piano tuning services always cover not just tuning of the strings, but also action adjustments, tonal adjustments, and performing the work that is necessary to make the instrument sound and play better.
You see, the piano owner may not know that the felts in their piano expand and contract from humidity changes and compress from use, and the action adjustments and hammers require small changes generally every time the piano is tuned instead of waiting 5 or 10 years of doing nothing and waiting to the pianist to complain.
This means I allocate a 2 hour window to work on your piano in compliance with manufacturers’ recommendations.
I have long tried to describe my piano tuning service in a short catchy phrase. It was originally tune and service, but others use that term. I then moved to tune and adjustment, but that doesn’t describe the full range of the work. I have started using the term “Tune and Overview” however it is not my term as I have liberated it from a technical book from a manufacturer.
My “Tuning and Overview” service includes:
- Raise pitch of piano to A-440Hz
- Tune piano to pitch A-440Hz
- Adjust pedals and pedal stop rails
- Clean interior if necessary
- Smooth over action regulation
- Smooth over voicing of hammers to obtain an even legato tone
- Check tightness of bench screws
If your piano has not been regularly serviced, some of these procedures may not fit into the two hour time slot, however improving the musicality and performance of your instrument is a priority. If your instrument requires further work, a written quotation is provided.
If you would like to book a Tuning and Overview Service with me, drop me a line using our contact form, or call us on 0438 196 372.