View Full Version : Cue repair ethics question

08-07-2002, 01:19 AM
> I have a customer that recently brought me one of those ultra cheap Ramin wood cues,with a 3 piece butt,complete with removable weights,and a stripped insert where the joint and middle sections meet,right where a break/jump joint would be. The insert is totally stripped,except for the deepest end,which the pin is too short to reach. He seems hell-bent on getting this thing repaired,and acts like he really believes that this is a good quality cue. I can heat the pin up and partially remove it,making it a little longer so it can reach the deep end of the insert,then glue it in place so it never strips again. I have pondered how long it will take to do this,and have set my cost mentally at about 20 bucks,plus he wants a new tip installed and the shaft cleaned,making the bill 30 bucks or so. This cue is not worth a repair bill like that,and have tryed in vain to explain this to the customer,but he keeps saying he wants it done anyway. I don't want to try and stick it to this guy,but he keeps insisting that I do the work,what would Q-Guy.BLACKHEART,or Ted do? Tommy D.

ted harris
08-07-2002, 01:42 AM
Ask him if the cue has some kind of sentimental value. There are several scenarios here.
1. Good luck getting the tip to stay on the ferrule.
2. The sandpaper alone to clean the varnish off the shaft alone will cost more than $30-. LOL.
3. Your working on the joint that is messed up, and you somehow get a bad roll and damage the cue even more, or God help you if you break it beyond repair. Then the guy says it was a $2000- cue his grandfather gave him.

In the words of Robby the Robot; Danger! Danger! Danger!

After you decide not to do it, try and give the guy some meaningful encouragement to put the cue away because it has to much sentimental value to him to be used. Make him think it was his idea to buy a new cue, and not an insult to his intelligence. In my area there are many people like your customer. I would not even think about touching that butt. Even before I put a tip on this type of cue, the guy would have to spring for replacement of the ferrule. Good luck, and let us know the outcome.

Remember Murphy's Law!

08-07-2002, 02:08 AM
I've done $80 worth of repairs to a $15 cue. That's what he wanted & that's what he got. Even after I explained , I can buy this same cue NEW for $15...JER

ted harris
08-07-2002, 02:25 AM
Me too. But this is a four dollar and ninety-five cent cue. Big difference!
IMHO, explaining to the guy that his cue is only worth $5- is an insult to his intelligence. I would rather emphasize to him that the cue has way to much sentimental value, and not enough monetary value for the cue to be used. You think you are doing him a favor and so do I. Two different frequencies of thought, that's all. It is my goal, to educate every customer as well as I can, and stand behind my beliefs.

08-07-2002, 06:31 AM
You could do it or not do it. If you think you can do a good job on it, I would not worry too much about the customers motives. People are funny sometimes. Just be sure they understand the cost. I am always honest with them though and will sometimes volunteer my advice. Such as a guy wanting to spend $110 on a new shaft for what I know is a junk cue. I will often tell them they may be better off taking the $110 they were going to give me, and put a little to it and get another cue. I don't want to insult them but I don't want them to waste their money either.

08-07-2002, 09:36 AM
Tommy, I'm not a cue repair man, but I'm going to pitch in my two cents' worth anyway. Unless you need this money to pay the rent, I can't think of anything good that could happen to you from getting involved with this guy and this stick.

Don't tell him any lies. Say that you don't believe in doing this much repair on that cue, and would prefer that he go to someone else for the job. Give him as much explanation as is reasonable and true and necessary. Wish him well and send him away.

Jay M
08-07-2002, 10:02 AM
Personally, I would find out WHY he is resisting the advice to spend the money on a different cue. It could be that he just doesn't know and is being stubborn so that he doesn't feel like a fool, OR it could be that there is sentimental value, OR it could be that the cue is PERFECT for him.

What do you think a cuemaker would have thought if Efren had asked him to repair that first cue of his? Probably the same thing. Find out the reason why he wants it repaired. Explain the risks to him and let the customer make the decision. It's his cue...

Jay M

08-07-2002, 10:33 AM
Jay, you make a good point, but it isn't quite the same as the analogy on Efren Reyes' cue. Tommy has made two things clear in his post. One is that he has already advised the customer that the cue is not worth what the repair would cost, but the customer still wants it done. The other is that he doesn't really want to do this job, and that's the bottom line. He's not a civil servant and should be able to turn down work he doesn't want. It seems likely that more problems will arise with this particular cue, and the last man to work on it may have to catch the blame and throw the party.

Uncomfortable situations do turn up in business, but I still think this is one Tommy can sidestep.

Jay M
08-07-2002, 10:51 AM
Yes, uncomfortable situations come up in business, and there are times when you turn down work. I was attempting to address the original post which questions the ethics of doing the work. If the customer understands the risk involved and the fact that the cue isn't worth the money it would take to fix it, then it's the customer's choice first if they want to proceed. If the customer wants to proceed, then it becomes Tommy's call on whether he wants to do the work or maybe refer the guy to someone else. Just saying "No" will hurt word of mouth business. Explaining to the customer what is going on and then when the customer says they still want the work done, Tommy can always fall back on the excuse, "I'd love to do the work, but John over in Union City does a better job on this type of cue. Let me call him for you and see if he has the time." Then explain to John what is going on and let HIM deal with it.

It's called passing the buck and is a valid business tactic. If John does the work then Tommy is a good guy to both people. If John turns the work down, Tommy is still a good guy to the customer because he tried and John becomes the focus of any animosity and negative response without any fallout from John.

(BTW, I just made up the name John)

Jay M

08-07-2002, 11:01 AM
I once made a new shaft($100), put on a new bumper($1),refinished($100) & put on a new wrap for a guy who had a $100 Mali Q. I told him what was involved & showed him a brand new Q that I had just finished for the same money. He insisted on the repairs.
About a year latter I met the guy at a tournament & he shook my hand & told me how much he appreciated my restoring his grandfathers Q. It seems that Q was the only thing that he had to remember him by.
So you don't always know the story behind the Q or the repair...JER

Rich R.
08-07-2002, 12:18 PM
I think you have the point Jer. I own a cue, made about 1970, by a little know cue maker. It cost me less than $100 new, but a few years ago, I had a new shaft made for it and some repairs done by a very prominent cue maker. I'm sure the cue was not worth more than the cost of the repairs. The cue maker made me aware of that, but I had the repairs done. That cue is priceless to me and I will never sell it.
I later had a cue made by the cue maker that took care me and my old cue.
As long as the customer knows the situation, the work should be done, with care.
Rich R.~~~Thank you Tim Scruggs.

08-07-2002, 12:26 PM
I've been through this many times! I've seen guys that wanted to spend serious money on repairing cheap house cues, low end Dufferins, even Budweiser cues!

For what it's worth here is my advice. Take the actual value of the cue out of the picture and put a reasonable value on YOUR work. What is your time worth to you. Set that as your standard repair prices. Then post them somewhere where everyone can see them.

Give the guy the price for the repair in advance, and then let him make the decision. You are not "taking him" or "ripping him off". If he wants to spend more than the cue is worth to have it repaired than that's his perogative. It really is none of your business. If you do a good job within the time that you quoted, then he might come back later with a "real" cue for you to work on.

Pool players are crazy. Don't expect logic, or reason. Just stick to your prices and let the chips fall where they may.

And don't argue with a customer or try to talk him out of work that he wants done. This will only annoy him and give you a reputation as being difficult to work with. Do what they want (no matter how insane!) and charge them accordingly.

That's my .02 cents worth.


08-07-2002, 12:30 PM
"Find out the reason why he wants it repaired. Explain the risks to him and let the customer make the decision."

Basically I agree, but I often don't even care what the reason is. Pool players are nuts. They don't need a reason to be stubborn. I say do the work to the best of your abilities, charge the going rate, and wish him well.

If you do good work, he'll be back, and maybe with a real cue.


08-07-2002, 03:07 PM
Take a look at this Budweiser cue
Just havin' some fun out here in PA...

08-08-2002, 05:44 AM
I agree with Tony. If the customer wants the work done after hearing the 'value' explanation, the repair man should accept the business if the work is within his capabilities. However, I'd add one caveat: If you don't know the customer, it might be wise to get paid, at least partially, upfront. My cue repairman has a bin full of cheapies from customers who never returned to pick them up. Now the repairman is stuck for his time and materials with no way to recover, since the cue cannot be sold for the work's value.

Andy G.

08-08-2002, 07:28 AM
8 years ago a kid about 16 years old brought me a Mcdermott HD2(Harley Davidson). He said he & some of his buddys were playing pool in his basement & started sward fighting with his Dad's stick. It was full of dents & he wanted it refinished, before his Dad saw what he did. I told him I'd have it done by the weekend. For some reason I didn't write his name down or get his name. HE NEVER CAME BACK. I still have the Q & often wonder what happened...JER

08-08-2002, 08:06 AM
When I have a customer that wants me to do a job that I think is not worth it, I give them my opinion, and then if they want to continue, I do the job. I make sure I get enough money up front that I am comfortable that I won't get hurt if they come to their senses before I'm done. I don't try to figure out what a persons motives are. It could have something to do with their budget, sentimentalities, or who knows what; it is their business, and none of mine. I had a customer that I believe was certifiably insane. She had us do some whacky jobs, and was pleased when we performed them. If I didn't do what she wanted, she would have been very unhappy. I usually charge extra for this type of work.

Chris Cass
08-08-2002, 10:15 AM
When I bring a cue to a cue maker for repairs or what not. I just want to know, how much and how long. I'd be more than satisfied with just those answers. I would pay up front too. I do this once. If the guy after getting the money fails to make the promised deadline? I'll listen to what he's saying and then think twice about paying all the money up front.

Sometimes people will also take advantage of getting the money first. Fortunatly, I've had great luck with the repair people I use. Knock on wood. Pardon the phrase. I know what it means to get stuck. I repair TV's and every other type of electronic device. Although, my cue guys haven't asked for money up front. I'd be more than happy to work with them.


C.C.~~has a great deal of respect for the cue maker and repairer too. I don't mind paying extra for quality work.