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David Geller

How a Laser Welder Can Increase Your Shop Income By 50 Percent

Forget the $25,000 to $30,000 price tag; they can be leased for $300-$450 a month.

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HAVING A LASER WELDER is a necessity in a shop today. Repairs can be done faster in many cases, the chance of harming fragile stones is lower, and you can make more money if you charge correctly.

In the new Geller Book to Repair Pricing, we have added prices for laser-welding tips and prongs along with our older guidelines for laser work on ring sizing and shanks.

THREE THINGS ABOUT A LASER WELDER THAT YOU SHOULD CONSIDER:
  1. Forget the $25,000 to $30,000 price tag; it’s leased for $300-$450 a month
  2. 75 percent of all repairs will go faster when using a laser
  3. 25 percent of repairs, although better done, will go slower than when a torch is used

If a repair can be done faster with a laser welder, I suggest still charging the regular price.

Ring sizing and shanking, however, are two areas that go slower. Sizing can take 50 percent longer with a laser, and therefore in our book, we suggest charging 50 percent more for the labor.

When you use a torch to join two ends together, and the solder is not exactly the same karat as the metal — the solder may discolor later, and you’d be able to see where the repair or sizing was done. Because a laser welder uses a real piece of whatever metal you’re using, the color will be the same, no line or seam will show, stones won’t be damaged from heat, and the weld can be so strong you could guarantee the repair for life.

Because many laser repairs go slower and we are charging based upon “time + materials” we’ll charge more for the time.

Other times, when the job might go faster with a laser, we’ll charge more because it’s beneficial to the customer or might ultimately save the customer money by not having to remove stones.

For example, a customer brings in an emerald and diamond ring, and the four prongs holding the side diamonds have broken off. To re-prong these with a torch you’d have to remove and reset the emerald first. So, you might charge $65 to remove and reset the larger center stone plus $36 for the first prong and $24 for each additional prong. Total: $173

But if we use a laser, we don’t have to take out the center emerald, thus saving the customer the cost of removing and resetting the stone and eliminating the possibility of damaging the it. The cost then would be:

  • 1st laser prong: $54
  • Each additional laser prong @ $30 each: $90
  • Total: $144

So here we saved the customer $29 overall, didn’t have to remove the emerald, saved the shop time doing the repair and received more money in less time doing the work.

The laser also allows a lesser trained jeweler to do more difficult jobs, speeding up productivity, doing work other stores can’t do and gaining about a 50 percent increase in shop income. Now it doesn’t seem like such an expensive machine, does it?

This story is from the October 2011 edition of INSTORE

David Geller is a 14th-generation bench jeweler who produces The Geller Blue Book To Jewelry Repair Pricing. David is the “go-to guy” for setting up QuickBooks for a jewelry store. Reach him at [email protected].

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