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David Geller

These Tips Can Help You Run Your Shop Way More Efficiently

Not only that, but they’re easy and cheap to implement.




A CLIENT RECENTLY ASKED me, “Should I put my jeweler on commission? I need to push her to get out more work.”

In 1988, I put all five of my jewelers on 100 percent commission, which is how my price book is formulated. Three things must be in play:

  1. They must have more work in their box than they can do in a day.
  2. They must be uninterrupted about 80 percent of the day.
  3. They must be paid the full commission amount, even if you discount or don’t charge the customer.

All three must happen, but especially No. 1. If their work is all finished by 2:30 in the afternoon, you can’t expect them to not be paid for the remainder of the day. If you don’t have all three of these things in play, stick with paying them hourly.

“So how do I make them more productive? Our jobs are not coming out on time and my customers are upset.”


When I ran a shop, I bought day of the week stickers, which come in circles with a color for each day of the week. I placed a day of the week sticker on the top right of each envelope. The sticker indicated the day before our “promised by” date.

This gave us one day to inspect the job. If it needed to be appraised, the sticker day was 2-3 days in advance.

With this system, if you walk into the shop at 5 p.m. and look into a jeweler’s box and see green Thursday stickers and it’s Thursday, then you need to give the work to someone else or call the customer.

The second system we used was our computer POS program, in which we made a “location” for every place an envelope could reside, like:

  • Jeweler Sam
  • Jeweler Mary
  • Order Box
  • Hold Box
  • Waxer/CAD Box
  • Finished Box

Every time we moved an envelope to a new location, we scanned the envelope to indicate that. Rather than the staff interrupting our jewelers to ask, “Who’s got Mrs. Smith’s $20 chain solder?”, they could find it quickly in the POS system.

I also printed a list every morning of all jobs that “Jeweler Sam and Jeweler Mary” had that were due in the next three days. I gave them the list at 9:15 and they had 15 minutes to give it back to me and write on the list if each would be ready on time or not.


If not, we’d give it to another jeweler or call the customer and give it a new promise date (which required movement in the POS program, a new colored day of the week sticker and a plain red round sticker on the envelope, which communicated to the jeweler that “we’ve put this customer off once; it must be done on time”).

I printed the order box list once a week and gave it to the office staff. They had to call vendors and make sure parts, findings, and anything on order was going to arrive on time. If not, they’d order from a different vendor.

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].



Thinking of Liquidating? Wilkerson’s Got You Covered

Bil Holehan, the manager of Julianna’s Fine Jewelry in Corte Madera, Calif., decided to go on to the next chapter of his life when the store’s owner and namesake told him she was set to retire. Before they left, Holehan says they decided to liquidate some of the store’s aging inventory. They chose Wilkerson for the sale. Why? “Friends had done their sales with Wilkerson and they were very satisfied,” says Holehan. He’d enthusiastically recommend Wilkerson to anyone looking to stage a liquidation or going-out-of-business sale. “There were no surprises,” he says. “They were very professional in their assessment of our store, what we could expect from the sale and they were very detailed in their projections. They were pretty much on the money.”

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