Tennis Industry magazine

 

2014 Guide to Stringing Machines: Business Assessment

Our annual Guide to Stringing Machines makes it easy to compare features and choose the perfect machine for your business.

By Bob Patterson

We have a come along way from the days when racquets were strung by tensioning the string by hand, plucking the string for the right pitch and then “clamping” it off by sliding an awl into the hole alongside the fragile string. Even with the advancement of mechanical machines, and now, fully computerized machines, two things remain the same: Skill and good tools are essential for a quality job.

In any trade or craft, to turn out the best possible work, you must have skills and the proper equipment to get the job done right. You must have confidence in your equipment, and for a racquet technician, no tool is more important than the stringing machine. No matter the skill level of the technician, an unreliable or inadequate machine will result in a less than perfect job.

As you will see on the following pages in our exclusive 2014 Guide to Stringing Machines, the machines are more varied and complex than ever. Ranging in price from under $200 for hobby stringers to several thousands of dollars for top-end professional models, machines today have a lot of variety; there seems to be no end to the innovations and features.

So, how do you choose the right machine for your business? Our Guide is an excellent place to begin your search, but first you need to evaluate your business and decide what your needs are so you can find the perfect machine.

An Investment in Your Business

The stringing machine is the heart and soul of a racquet service business. Purchasing a new machine should always be considered an investment. So, to make a wise investment, you must first assess your business.

What is your current stringing volume? What is the potential for growth? Even in a high-volume shop, a quality, professional machine can last for 10 years or more if properly maintained, so consider the return on investment over a period of time.

Buy the best machine you can afford and one that makes sense for your operation and volume.

Choose a Machine to Fit Your Needs

Is price an indicator of quality? Not always. The “you get what you pay for” adage holds some truth with stringing machines, but you need to look closely at the various features of the machines and compare them to how you will use it. For example, a shop with several technicians of varying height may put a quick and easy height adjustment feature as very important, while a one-man shop may view this feature as a low priority. You will see that our charts break down every feature to make comparisons easy.

Make a list of features that are important to you and then prioritize them, then look at machines that best meet your needs. With your choices narrowed, now is the time to look at price, after-sales service and other features.

After-sales service is very important — and often overlooked. Look at the warranty. How long is it? What’s covered? How are repairs handled? After the warranty period, can you still get the machine serviced? What is the normal turn-around time? Most businesses can’t afford for their machine to be out of commission for very long.

Careful analysis before you buy will lead to a maximum return on your investment and will pay dividends for years to come.

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About the Author

Bob Patterson , the founder of the RacquetMAXX customization service, is a Master Racquet Technician with more than 20 years of experience. He was RSI's Stringer of the Year in 2005.

 

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