The Repair Shop Isn’t An Orphan


So many pawnbrokers treat the repair shop as something other than what it really is, another profit center. It’s often looked upon as:
• A customer service necessity
• A must-have department to compete with other stores in town
• Customers don’t like to have their jewelry sent out so we have to have an in-house shop
• The store owner is a bench jeweler so we’ll continue to have a shop

The repair shop should be just like any other department or profit center in your store. It must be a profit center and you should demand as much.

I’ve had so many talks with jewelers who either brag or complain about different departments in the store:


“Our bead department makes almost keystone and brings in customers.”
“We’re doing great in selling diamonds.”
“Our Rolex department is 25 percent of sales.”
“Silver is bringing them in the door.”
“Buying gold has kept us alive.”


“It takes too long to sell a bead and the company demands too much so I changed brands.”
“This supplier wants me to carry too much inventory and won’t take back old stock, so I deep-sixed them.”
“There’s no money in watch repairs so we don’t even take them in any more.”
So what’s your complaint or brag about your repair shop?
Do you consider your shop as an orphan who’s always a pain in your side?
Would you change your mind if your Little Orphan Annie came with a $500,000 trust fund? That would change your tune, wouldn’t it?

Demand Performance

Start demanding that the shop be like your bead, diamond or any other department in the store — demand performance!

Charge more than you’re charging now. You charge too little. Customers will pay as repairs are not price sensitive, they are trust sensitive.

You also must demand that it runs on its own.

You must immediately start ongoing in-house training sessions to teach the staff how to take in, sell and price the shop work.

A large majority of jewelers in America use my Geller’s Blue Book to jewelry repairs. But you just can’t hand an employee a 300-page book and say, “Start using this today.”

They must be trained in using it and convinced that we need to charge these prices. My Web site has training videos on the whole book. Your employees should start there.

You should incorporate bi-monthly sales meetings for your store, and out of an hour’s training devote 15 minutes to shop training for the staff.

Demand Efficiency

The shop should keep its word on promise dates. This means besides having a jeweler that you “hope” will perform, you must have systems in place that will give reports of jobs due in the next three days as well as waiting on parts.

A jeweler is not just an employee who sizes rings any more than a sales person is just someone who waits on customers.

Besides being nice, you demand the sales staff perform by selling a certain amount of dollars each month. The repair shop should meet the same expectations.

The bench jeweler has several areas of performance.

Good Workmanship

You expect fine work, that customers always happy, that the jeweler doesn’t chip or break stones and impeccable craftsmanship.

Too many store owners are afraid to discipline or fire an employee, thinking they can’t find anyone else. You can’t let one person ruin the store and tarnish customer service or your reputation.

If they have a hard time with good workmanship, and you aren’t able to train them yourself, invest the money and send them to one of the many one-week jewelry schools to fix repair and setting problems they might have.

Profitable Performance

Here the jeweler has less impact on profits than you think. The sales staff and what they charge has the greater impact.

But you can demand that the repair shop be more efficient with its time. A bench jeweler should produce about $100 to $150 per hour every 8 hours a day, meaning more than $800 a day in shop sales per jeweler.

Again, the pricing has a lot to do with that but the jeweler can affect this number as well.

So how do you get the jeweler to produce $100 to $150 during any hour?

The only time a jeweler produces dollars is when he/she does work where we charge the customer.

When you size a ring or retip a prong, do you charge extra to polish the ring? The answer is no. Hire a separate polisher to polish the jeweler’s work.

For the first 10 years we hired a high school or college student to come in after school to polish the jeweler’s work, and taught the student how to engrave, invest, cast, change showroom light bulbs and take out the trash.

Since most jewelers are male, stores usually have them do grunt work. They are supposed to produce $100 between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. They can’t do that if they polish, go to the bank or take out the trash. They are a money machine and they only do real work for 5.5 hours out of an 8-hour day anyway!

Do you charge the customer to call and order a lobster claw for them?

No. Jewelers should not be calling or ordering their parts and supplies. Give them an order pad, let them write down what they need, and have the office staff order the parts.

When the box arrives the office distributes the parts and hands it to the jeweler.

If you add up total shop costs, along with the jewelers wages as shop costs, and compare that number to total shop sales, you should be expecting shop sales to be double shop costs (keystone). Now that’s a trust fund!

You expect that of other departments, don’t you?

David Geller is the author of Geller’s Blue Book to Jewelry Repair & Design (a pricing book for making money in repairs and custom design for jewelers and pawnbrokers) and a consultant to jewelers on store management. You may reach him at, (888) 255.9848 or (404) 255.9565, or through his Web site Our repair pricing book is made for the counter at take-in. It’s put together to make it easy for the staff to use but we also have some free video training on our Web site that you should use. There is training for each chapter of our book and I also train your staff how to sell repairs. Just go to our Web site The password is geller.

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