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David Geller

David Geller: Self-sufficient Shops




David Geller: Self-sufficient Shops

Isn’t it time your repair department started supporting itself?


Published in the June 2013 issue.

Don’t treat your shop like Little Orphan Annie. It doesn’t need charity. It’s capable of supporting itself. Treat your shop like any other department in your store — like a profit center.

Here are some things you should start demanding from your shop right now.


Higher prices. You charge too little.

Charge more. Customers will pay because repairs are not price-sensitive, they are trustsensitive.

Self-sufficiency. Immediately begin training sessions for your staff to take in, sell and price shop work.

Efficiency. Your shop should always deliver custom jobs and repairs when promised. This means that you have a system in place to tell you which jobs are coming due and which are waiting on parts.

Quality workmanship. You expect a high rate of satisfied customers. That means a high level of craftsmanship from your bench, as well as the ability to avoid disasters with chipped and broken gemstones. When mistakes happen, too many store owners are afraid to discipline or fire their bench jewelers, thinking they won’t find anyone else. But you can’t let anyone tarnish your store’s reputation. If your bench jeweler’s work isn’t up to the quality standards you expect, send them to one of a one-week jewelry program to build their skills. If it still isn’t up to your standards after a course, let them go.

Profitable performance. While the key to profits here is the prices you’ve set, you can ensure your shop is more efficient with its time. A bench jeweler should produce about $100 to $150 per hour over eight hours each day — meaning $800 to $1,200 per day in shop sales. How can you ensure such output? By remembering that the only time a jeweler produces dollars is when he/she does work for which you charge the customer.


Remember: Your jeweler is a money-making machine. Manage him accordingly.

When you size a ring or retip a prong do you charge extra to polish the ring? The answer, most likely, is no. In my store, for 10 years, we hired a high school or college student to come in after classes to polish shop jobs. Plus, we taught them how to engrave, invest, and cast, not to mention how to change showroom light bulbs and take out the trash.

If your jeweler is doing all of these things (or any of them), they’re not making as much for you as they should be. Remember: your jeweler is a money machine. Act accordingly.

Similarly, do you charge customers to call and order a lobster claw? No. That means jewelers should not be calling for parts and supplies. Give your jeweler an order pad to write down what they need. Then have the office staff make the order and deliver it to the jeweler. Your goal: Get shop sales to be double shop costs. That’s keystone (just like the rest of your store).



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