When marketed properly, watch repairs can become the highest profit area in your store

The concept of profits from watch repairs is quite foreign to many jewelers. Yet, it’s the easiest profit center to build and one of the best for giving you an edge over your competition. 

First, let’s look at who your competition is in watch battery replacement. There are battery stores, drug stores and “-mart” stores. None of these can offer the professionalism and expertise that you can. These stores generally just slap in a battery, and often the job results in a broken crystal, a bent case-back or a scratched coil. Then there are your fellow retail jewelers who view anything having to do with a watch as something after which they need a bath in betadine. You can turn your competition into your customers — including other retail jewelers. All it takes is a box or two of business cards (if directions to your store are on the back, all the better) and a little gumption.

First, learn how to do a watch battery replacement correctly and professionally. This means placing your finger over the coil so you don’t scratch it, cleaning the case and band, and learning how to properly use a case press. (if you haven’t seen our video on replacing watch batteries, please email us for a free copy.)

"It’s the easiest profit center to build and the best for giving you an edge over your competition.”

Then, go to each of your competitors — everyone who replaces watch batteries in your area — with a stack of business cards and introduce yourself as a watch battery professional. Let them know that you are there for them if they run into problems or have a watch they aren’t comfortable changing a battery in. You will be surprised at how appreciatively they will greet you, and then you’ll be surprised at how often they actually just refer the customer to you, card in hand.

Most of your competitors just don’t want to handle watches at all, unaware of the massive profits they can bring. As a matter of fact, wal-mart (and many other such stores) have a policy that they do not replace batteries on watches that they do not sell. That doesn’t stop customers from asking for battery replacement on other watches, and now the clerk will have someone to whom they can refer those customers — you! 

Of the hundreds of jewelers we have taught to do this and who have actually followed through, all have said the same thing: it was easy, and people they otherwise would never have seen in their store are now coming in and spending money on other offerings.

I recently had a jeweler tell me that they replace 17,000 (yes, seventeen thousand) watch batteries per year. At $10 per battery replacement, that’s $170,000 each year. With an average battery cost of 30 cents, that’s a 97 percent profit margin. About what else in your store can you say that? Actually, i would suggest you charge more than $10 for a battery replacement, because you add the value of doing a professional job. And you’re worth it, aren’t you? Your customers want it done right, don’t they? And you’re the one to do it, aren’t you?


Dan and Jess Gendron are 6th and 7th generation watch- and clock-makers. Jess owns Colorado Timeworks (Colorado Springs). Contact them at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

This article originally appeared in the January 2017 edition of INSTORE.



 
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