Author: Taylor Walston
When starting or reevaluating a business, it’s important to decide how much to charge for your services. Profit margins determine equipment prices, but bow-tech services vary by region, the type of service, and time spent making the repair.
We spoke with three retailers from different U.S. regions to ask about their service prices. How much do they charge, what went into that decision, and how do their prices compare to other area shops? Lynda LeCompte, owner of X10 Archery in Houston; Matt Blaschka, owner of Dewclaw Archery in Medford, Oregon; and Nathan Tamayo, manager of Pacifica Archery in Daly City, California, shared their insights.
All three retailers had comparable pricing. Photo Credit: X10 Archery
What do you charge for your services?
“Not enough. I was happy to see the bow-tech price comparison chart at the ATA Show this year, and have intended to analyze what we charge and restructure it.”
X10 Archery’s prices range from $10 to $20 for installations, and $20 to $30 for adjustments and restringing. They cut arrows for 50 cents each, repair bowstring servings for $5, and adjust nocks for $2.50 each.
“The services listed on our website are the ones we get asked about the most. I put that up in the shop and online to provide consistency and an easy answer for customers.”
Dewclaw Archery’s prices range from $10 to $20 for installations, and $10 to $20 for adjustments. Bowstring installations range from $20 to $30, and tuning from $20 to $25. They also charge $60 for an hour of service if you need multiple services, and $99 for a complete bow package setup. The bow setup package is free with any bow purchase.
Pacifica Archery’s prices range from $100 to $125 for a bow setup and/or full tune for compound bows. For recurves, prices range from $100 to $150 for a bow setup and/or full tune. Installations and adjustments range from $5 to $25.
Arrow repairs cost $1 per arrow, and arrow building costs $25 to $35 per dozen. The shop fletches arrows for $15 to $25 per dozen, with no extra cost for installing components, cutting arrows, or consulting on arrow choices. Services are free with any bow or accessory purchase.
How did you determine your prices?
“It’s based roughly on the time it takes to do the work, plus the materials. I use $1 per minute as a gauge.”
“A lot of those prices were determined by average time to complete, with expertise necessary as a secondary metric,” Blaschka said.
“Our head technician evaluates our pricing regularly,” Tamayo said. “He calculates the average time it takes our techs to do a service, which accounts for our slowest and fastest technicians. He then accounts for our average technician salary to calculate the cost of the work. Then he calculates that cost against our desired profit margin.” The prices at the top of each category are merely aggregate totals, similar to selling a ‘kit.’
Each retailer's base pricing remains consistent, but a couple have adjustments if the service takes longer than expected. Photo Credit: Pacifica Archery
Do prices vary by the season, or are they constant year-round?
“We stick to them year-round. We adjust them as necessary, but that isn’t often.”
“Our prices remain consistent throughout the year, but we monitor our techs’ work speed and account for any raises we give them.”
Do prices vary by the time it takes to complete a task?
“Sometimes. We advise a customer if something is likely to take longer than usual. It may incur an extra labor charge of $15 for 15 minutes.”
“We almost never charge for a few things, but they serve a purpose as perceived value for our customers.”
“Based on the previous calculations, we’re already charging per minute on each service. If a job takes a little longer or (takes) less time (than expected), they should theoretically average out within acceptable parameters.”
Do you have repeat customers for bow-tech services?
“Yes. We’re known for precision tuning and setup, as we’re primarily a target archery facility. My head tech is a bowhunter and target shooter who takes pride in the precision of his work. He applies the same level of finesse to a rig whether it’s for bowhunting, 3D or target.”
“We see a huge number of repeat customers. I would estimate 70% (of our clients are repeat customers) on an average day.”
“We have a large pool of loyal clients, but clients become loyal to specific technicians. Our clients have a favorite bow technician, just like most people have a favorite plumber or car mechanic. Rapport and client comfort go a long way toward retaining clients.”
The retailers are confident in their work and have priced their services accordingly. Photo Credit: Dewclaw Archery
How do your prices compare to those of nearby shops?
“Our prices are lower. However, bow tech is a small part of our income. This year we added to our offerings by expanding more into bowhunting and crossbows. With that in mind, we’ll also expand our bow-tech services.”
“The comment I usually hear is that we’re less expensive than they anticipated. “Customers rarely complain about service charges. We’re pretty close to the same price as other shops in the area.”
“Our prices are fairly competitive, if not a little on the high side. “But we pride ourselves on not cutting corners. Our competitors tend to undercut us during ‘backroom negotiations.’ We stand firm in our pricing due to our confidence in our quality.”
Which services do you most perform?
“Our bow-tech services don’t constitute 1% of our income, but most of the service revenue comes from replacing strings and all the add-ons that go with that. I see more of that in our future as we move deeper into bowhunting and crossbows.”
“Most of our service revenue comes from string installs. That’s often coupled with selling customers the string set, and occasionally it’s a stand-alone. Selling string loops and tying in peep sights are our [second most profitable] revenue generators.”
“Our staff is really good at conveying the importance of the bow’s complete health, so most of their work is ‘full tune’ services. Outside of that, we do a lot of ‘press fees’ to straighten peeps after string stretch and settling.”
Your Time is Valuable
When you set your price for technical services, never forget your time is valuable. Don’t sell yourself short. If you provide quality service on time, price the work accordingly. The job might only take a few minutes, but you’ve spent years learning to do it quickly and efficiently. Customers will pay for that experience, and thank you for the care you put into their bow.
Questions? Contact Nicole Nash, ATA’s manager of range and retail programs, at firstname.lastname@example.org.