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Ski tuning, What could be improved?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

I am currently taking a hands on business modeling class in school and I am developing some business ideas as part of the class. I am also currently a ski tech at my local shop. For this class I am thinking about starting up my own ski tuning shop (small gig) and I want some ideas for improving ski tuning.

Generally you take you skis to a shop, pay 35 or 40 dollars and get a mediocre base grind, edge and wax. I want to find something that would set a particular shop apart, that makes their basic tunes better. I know a can give customers a great tune, I want to know what you would like to see done better or different?

 

Any suggestions or ideas would be awesome!

post #2 of 16

Offer a la carte pricing in addition to package price. Maybe I only want edges, or grind and edges but I'll wax myself. I would tune more often if I didn't have to pay for the whole package every time.

post #3 of 16

Ask lots of questions so you understand each skier's needs and ability. 

Don't treat every one like a beginner.  Don't condescend.

Explain exactly what service is provided, what is done by hand vs machine etc...

Offer a la carte services

Don't over-detune edges unless that's requested

Offer home pickup and dropoff for an extra fee (if they live nearby)

Offer a big discount for multiple tunes, e.g. for season long ski maintnenance

Do a good job every time.  Make sure every tuner is really good and conscientious.  One bad tune and you'll lose them forever.

 

 

After years of lousy shop tunes I'm finally doing it myself.  After a month of watching youtube videos and getting tips from friends (thanks SMJ!) I'm doing a far better job than most shops I've been to.  Still not up to Northern Ski Works quality but maybe some day.

post #4 of 16

For the services with options, (like edge angles) explain what the differences pros/cons are  (although if you were to pull this info from forum debates, it would seem that 3degrees side is the one true edge angle and all other angles are for noobs).

 

A shop that offers self-tune stations and just provides the tools/instruction would actually be a novel idea.  (i've heard of a few that do this, but very very very few).  For a class project, it would be more interesting to try something new like this.

 

Otherwise, it would seem that you would be reinventing and just doing minor improvements of the basic traditional business model that "works" for shops, rather than trying to make a major disruptive novel business model.

post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by raytseng View Post

 

A shop that offers self-tune stations and just provides the tools/instruction would actually be a novel idea.  (i've heard of a few that do this, but very very very few).  For a class project, it would be more interesting to try something new like this.

 

 

That is a pretty interesting idea, the only issue I can see is time. I can just picture some noob spending half an hour to do a crappy tune.

 

I am kind of getting the feeling there isn't too much to improve on besides quality. I kind of felt this would be the answer but there is always ways to improve.

My focus would be on technical skiers and what they want. I know shop tunes generally aren't good enough for a picky skier that knows what they want. I always do a good tune for customers but I go to tune my own skis I end up taking 3 or 4 times longer. I want to offer a service that people will pay more for but get a much better tune.

 

Are people willing to pay more for a very high end "race tune"? I am willing to do if for the money but finding that balance could be hard.

post #6 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldgoat View Post

Offer a la carte pricing ...................

I have to echo what oldgoat and others have suggested.  As I've become more proficient at tuning my own skis I still need a periodic base grind/structure and/or to reset the edge angles or some other task not yet mastered.  Haven't yet found anyone in the Tahoe area that will do these tasks without it being part of a complete tune.  And of course we all know the hard part is luring the customer into the shop after which they'll almost always spend more $ then planned.  Also, on the a la carte price list should be "rent a tuner's time" for x $/hr. (or half hour or quarter hour).  I think most aspiring tuners would pay for the opportunity for a hands on lesson to resolve some specific issue or tool use technique that's been bugging them (though I must say that reading this forum has answered a lot of those questions).  But still, hands on would be good. Might lead to customers signing up for tuning classes (which of course you would offer) thus lots of subsequent tool/wax/supply sales. Hope it works out for you.

post #7 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBiggestHuck View Post

I am currently taking a hands on business modeling class in school and I am developing some business ideas as part of the class. I am also currently a ski tech at my local shop. For this class I am thinking about starting up my own ski tuning shop (small gig) and I want some ideas for improving ski tuning.

Generally you take you skis to a shop, pay 35 or 40 dollars and get a mediocre base grind, edge and wax. I want to find something that would set a particular shop apart, that makes their basic tunes better. I know a can give customers a great tune, I want to know what you would like to see done better or different?

 

Any suggestions or ideas would be awesome!


Here's an idea!  When someone brings in a pair of skis to get them sharpened, don't give them back to the customer until they are sharpmad.gif.

Here's another idea.  If the customer asks for a 0.5 degree bevel on the base edge,  Use a file guide and put a 0.5 degree bevel on the base edge.

 

On second thought, never mind.  I'm giving up on having other people tune my skis.

post #8 of 16

You want to know what I think would be great for a shop to do, offer a guarantee. If not 100% satisfied give me a free tune. This has two great advantages, first it helps immediately build trust by standing behind the service and second by offering a free tune instead of money back it gives you a second chance. You'r gunna do a bad job every once and a while it's inevitable your not perfect and if you hire people they certainly won't be perfect.

 

Yeah you'll probably have a few people take advantage of you but most people won't bother ever cashing in on it even if they hate. However, I get an unsatisfactory tune and you make it right with no hassle you just earned a customer for life.

post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lonewolf210 View Post

You want to know what I think would be great for a shop to do, offer a guarantee. If not 100% satisfied give me a free tune. This has two great advantages, first it helps immediately build trust by standing behind the service and second by offering a free tune instead of money back it gives you a second chance. You'r gunna do a bad job every once and a while it's inevitable your not perfect and if you hire people they certainly won't be perfect.

 

Yeah you'll probably have a few people take advantage of you but most people won't bother ever cashing in on it even if they hate. However, I get an unsatisfactory tune and you make it right with no hassle you just earned a customer for life.

 

Too bad you don't live in Utah and can't come to shop where I work at the moment. While I dont necessarily do amazing tunes for customers through the shop (I get paid 8.50 an hour and haven't had any complaints yet this season) I always show the customer the skis/snowboard and have them look over them for things they want improved. I wasn't the shop guy at the beginning of the season. I got thrown into the position because the guy we hired really sucked and customer complained a lot. I feel like I have gotten a really positive response when I show the customer the tune and ask if there is anything they want improved. While nobody has said anything yet this season, If I were to get my own gig up and running I would want to do really good, high end tunes. Ya my teacher wants me to focus on marketing the idea and hiring the work out to other people but that would completely ruin my goal for this company.

 

I like the idea of doing tuning lessons, that would be something that could be very popular and fun. I know my local REI does lessons occasionally but I believe its only for members and a bit on the pricey side. It would bring in a lot of customers and create a lot of buzz around a tune company. If I can sell myself during the lessons I imagine I could get more customers than people actually tuning their own skis. Thanks for the idea!

post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBiggestHuck View Post

 

If I can sell myself during the lessons I imagine I could get more customers than people actually tuning their own skis. Thanks for the idea!

Exactly!  Since now people know you know what you're doing (after all you're teaching this stuff - so you better know what you're doing), your customers get on a first name basis with you, and also important is the fact that now, when you review your tune with the customer they are knowledge enough to feel comfortable praising and/or criticizing your work (versus "ya, looks good" cause they don't have a clue).  In the end, I agree - more (knowledge) customers than new "tuners".  But either way it's good.  Now the hard part: DO IT!

post #11 of 16

Maybe right at resort ski shops, could make good money on cold days with stale hard pack snow by offering a walk up, less than one minute crude $10 base/edge grind.   Not only is the full ski/bindings tune up more than most are interested in but one will need to leave skis and pick them up hours or days later.   If advertised with a sign at the base of nearby advanced lifts, one could be sure a fair amount of skiers on cold icy days might bother to dally by the ski shop at the same time they took a lunch or restroom break.  And might give a discount coupon to get the full ski tune up after the $10 grind with the input that a full tune up is going to make skis track and edge even better. 

post #12 of 16

Won't a base grind without waxing make the base dry out really fast? 

post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metaphor_ View Post

Won't a base grind without waxing make the base dry out really fast? 

And what would be the point of a base grind, no edges and no wax just before skiing? If I were to have a grind only, or a grind and edges it would be with the idea of finishing it myself.

post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by dave_SSS View Post

Maybe right at resort ski shops, could make good money on cold days with stale hard pack snow by offering a walk up, less than one minute crude $10 base/edge grind.   Not only is the full ski/bindings tune up more than most are interested in but one will need to leave skis and pick them up hours or days later.   If advertised with a sign at the base of nearby advanced lifts, one could be sure a fair amount of skiers on cold icy days might bother to dally by the ski shop at the same time they took a lunch or restroom break.  And might give a discount coupon to get the full ski tune up after the $10 grind with the input that a full tune up is going to make skis track and edge even better. 

 

A-Basin does this, except it's an edge/wax.  And their ad is in the rest room.

post #15 of 16

A quick edge tune would be awesome. My skis are actually in need of one of those right now! Would a quick-lane wax be very effective if the wax is applied then not allowed to cool into the bases? It's an intriguing idea for sure. I wax at home but usually take 5 day or longer trips to Mammoth and would love a quick mid-trip edge tune and waxing.

post #16 of 16
Thread Starter 

The idea of doing waxes at the resort is pretty interesting and I like it. I feel like I probably wouldnt be able to do them on resort property though. All the resorts I know of have repair and wax shops (that are a lot more expensive) I can't imagine they would like direct competition with their own shops. I remember mt baker did quick cold waxes for like 10 bucks. I think that would be the best idea. It could be hard to do edges with out a machine, but that would be a good money maker. I can imagine a lot of people would like that.
 

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