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Joined: April.16.08
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Posted: April.16.08 at 9:16pm | IP Logged Quote kaitlinshaw

Hi! I'm a sophomore music education student at the University of South Carolina, but I'm thinking about going into band instrument repair after I graduate. I'm in a music business class this semester, and my final project is a feasibility study for opening my own instrument repair/supply store. So, since I'm a newbie, what kind of equipment would be absolutely essential to open my own shop, and about how much would it cost? Thanks!
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Bruce Hunter

Joined: October.11.07
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Posted: April.17.08 at 1:57am | IP Logged Quote Bruce Hunter

I suggest contacting Ferree's Tools, Inc. ( and talk to Gary, and/or see if they'll send you a catalog and price list which has a suggested list of "less-than-overhaul" tools for, for instance, a brasswind bench and a woodwind shop, as well as a specialty bench. Be prepared for a middle-to-high 5-figure number, depending on how you decide to set up shop.
Alternatively, apprentice in a repair shop, or enroll in a Band Instrument Repair School (Google is your friend).
Hope this helps,
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Joined: February.07.05
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Posted: April.22.08 at 4:07am | IP Logged Quote bobbaier

One thing to keep in mind is that an inventory of pads will be one of the biggest expenses. I have five types of clarinet pads, four types of flute pads, three types of bassoon pads, etc. just to have the correct type needed for specific instruments. You can easily end up with upwards of $15,000 in pad inventory.

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Posted: April.27.08 at 10:32am | IP Logged Quote motomom

Bob, $15,000 may be a really low estimate. When Brook Mays went belly-up we went over and bought (for $3000!!!) all their stock of parts, with shelves and cabinets. When we arrived back here with the goods, I wanted to see how much $$ worth of loot we got.

So, I started counting, with our current Allied prices, with the largest sax pad drawers.

I only counted 6 little sax pad drawers before I got to $3000. I got weary of the project at that point, so I never finished counting all of it. I know I would never be able to do it. We estimate it was around $50,000 worth of parts.

The best part of the deal was the parts cabinets. When Brook Mays had bought the little family owned store we had worked for for 40 years, these were the same cabinets that I had spent days organizing and labeling. So I was able to buy all that work back from them for basically nothing, already organized the way I liked it.
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Technician & Clinician
Technician & Clinician

Joined: January.20.05
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Posted: April.27.08 at 6:05pm | IP Logged Quote LarryMueller

Do you have any specialties, or do you plan to be a rather general repair shop? It might be best to apprentice or check out one of the schools first, to see which tools and supplies you'd like to start with, so you don't have to buy it all at once. You're easily looking in the 10's of thousands for a general shop, but there may be ways of easing into it. I started by teaching private lessons, and fixing students' instruments, in small ways at first. It gradually built up from there.

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