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House call question... "Click" to Login or Register 
I have a Jewelers Regulator that popped the cable to the weight. How much should I expect to pay to have someone come out to the house and put a new cable on the clock and oil it? Thanks...

Posts: 84 | Location: Lincoln, Nebraska USA | Registered: November 20, 2002
It depends on the general condition of the movement. When was it last cleaned or overhauled? If you have a bad or broken cable, chances it's been quite a while, and there may be a reason, other than age for the broken cable. An experienced repairman will not just oil a dirty movement.
If the clock was in good condition and clean, in my neck of the woods, such a house call limited to oiling and new cable, would cost in the 150-225 range.
Keep in mind that price ranges can vary greatly depending on a great many factors: overhead, distance; competition or lack there of, etc.

Posts: 5 | Location: Southbridge, Massachusetts USA | Registered: November 22, 2002
Picture of Tom Seymour
Jim, I noticed that no one has stepped up to this question. The amount is going to vary considerable depending on where you live. In following a thread concerning prices, in another message group, location had a lot to do with service prices.

From what was said, a house call could be anywhere from $50 to $100. It may include just a basic oiling and adjustment to nearly everything that can be done at the house.

Movements vary, some require some dissassembly to replace the cable. If it is easliy done it would probably be included in the basic service call (I would think.)

I think the more people that chime in on this, the more opinions you are going to get. Unless you are shipping it out, the only opinion that matters are the repairmen in your area. Ask more than one. Find the most reliable, the extra price may be worth it.

Tom Seymour
NAWCC #41293
IHC #104
IHC Exec.V.P.

[This message was edited by Tom Seymour on June 05, 2003 at 23:43.]
Posts: 2537 | Location: Mount Angel, Oregon in the U.S.A. | Registered: November 19, 2002
<Tom Chaudoir>
Hi all,

I'll chime in on this one. Right at the top; These are my opinions and I know they are not universal.

If the repairman has been in business for a while, he knows what prices he can charge without losing too many customers. That's a balancing act that every business goes through. If the fellow is rather new, you can probably get a better price with a higher risk of failure.

If a customer wants me to just come and oil their clock, I refuse.

  • I can probably only get to the back plate without pulling the movement. That leaves out half the pivots.
  • If the front plate is accessible, some levers or motion works parts will have to come off to reveal all the pivots.
  • I want a bit of heavy oil where the hammers touch the pins of the barrel, the star wheel that lifts the strike hammer, and a bit of grease on the hammer tails where they contact the damping pin. Odds are I cant see those parts. The front pivots of the winding arbors may be be behind the click wheels. The mainsprings certainly can't be oiled in place.
  • Last but not least. If the clock needs oil, what happened to the old oil? It doesn't evaporate. It oxidizes, collects dirt, thickens, and finally turns hard. Linoleum was originally made from pure linseed oil. The first batch was created by accident in a forgotten pan.

To properly lubricate a clock, you have to take it to pieces and remove the old lubricants. I can't do that while standing in the front hall. Others may be more talented.

Ok, I'm rigged for collision. Blast away Cool

Tom Chaudoir

[This message was edited by Tom Chaudoir on June 08, 2003 at 0:18.]
Picture of Tom Seymour
You make some good points. If a customer has a hanging or shelf clock that they pulled out of grandma's attic and wants it "just oiled", I also refuse to do it. It will only lead to dissatisfaction down the road and guess who get the blame for it not working. Even if it works for a short while, your point about adding new oil to old dried up oil is not the right way to treat the clock.

In the case of floor clocks. I believe that, in an ideal world, a thorough cleaning with every oiling would be the best. I'm not even sure of that. In my experience a clock can go for several more years between cleanings than it can between oilings.

If I have cleaned and overhauled a clock, and two years down the road the customer wants it oiled, I don't have a problem with that. I don't think I am doing a disservice to the clock. On the practical side, if an overhaul was the only way to go, I don't think the needed oilings would be done when needed, just because of the expense.

I would like to hear more opinions on this subject.

Tom Seymour
NAWCC #41293
IHC #104
IHC Exec.V.P.
Posts: 2537 | Location: Mount Angel, Oregon in the U.S.A. | Registered: November 19, 2002
Picture of David Fahrenholz
As had been mentioned pricing varies upon several things. I recently made a house call concerning a hanging clock. The customer complaint was the crutch came off and would not stay on. While there I observed the age and wear on the movement etc. I returned to the shop with the clock and reattached it and did a general cleaning and reoil. I made note of the condition of the movement.The movement needs restored as it is over 100 years old. I cleaned up the case and secured a comittment from the customer to fully restore the clock in the fall and gained a referral also. Obviously the proper thing to do was only accept the agreement to restore now but the situation called for more tact and most likely more revenue. I simply charged them for the call, cleaning and a few small parts.

viele gruben,

David Fahrenholz
Fahrenholz Clock & Watch
Timeless Service
Posts: 52 | Location: Fishers, Indiana USA | Registered: June 24, 2003
<Doug Sinclair>

The subject of how easily a cable can be changed has arisen. If I was called out on a matter such as this, I would make certain that I was paid for a house call, even if it was found that the clock would have to go to my shop to be serviced, and the customer refused to let me take it. I would sort that out with the customer on the very first contact by phone. He (she) doesn't agree, I don't go!

Furthermore, if I do a quick repair in the owner's home (THAT would be the rare occasion), I offer no warranty it will run!

I recently had a call from an out of town customer on a warranty repair on a tall clock. I told him that I had no idea whether the manufacturer's warranty would cover his particular problem. If it did, driving time would be charged as part of the warranty repair. If the problem was NOT of a warranteeable nature, I would charge him driving time of
$ 50.00 (cdn) per hour, plus a fee per hour at his home. This owner lives in an estate on an acreage. He said to me, "I have no intention whatever of affording you the luxury of paying you $ 50.00 per hour driving time, under ANY circumstances"! As far as I know, he's using his $ 3,000.00 clock as a door stop. Tough! I find most people are quite reasonable and trusting. Sort out the ones who are not that way before you hang up!

Doug S.
Picture of Ged Pitchford
Hello from England again,All tradesmen have a call out charge ,house visits by a clock repairer shouldn't be any different in my opinion. You must allow for your time,vehicle running costs,and don't forget insurance.I'm a retired Plumber and Heating Engineer and I always used to charge £30 ($50)call out,It's very simple, get an agreement to pay before you go , don't agree, don't go. ONLY got caught once, cheque bounced. ALL the best, GED. Smile Smile
Posts: 909 | Location: Winterton-on-Sea Norfolk, England | Registered: February 17, 2003
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