or Do you have any deals?
You know, skate sharpeners hear that gripe or something similar to it every day, and frankly it's wearing pretty thin. It's been my observation that the usual whiners are the ones who are wearing designer clothing, who are driving high-end SUVs, and who are trying to pay for their minimal purchase with a Debit or Credit card. Well, it's not quite that stereotyped, but it's close enough. There appears to be some notion that skate sharpening should be free, and unfortunately this notion is perpetuated by the guys who offer free lifetime skate sharpening with your skate purchase. Selective memory also comes into play when "Dad" compares the price of today with what he paid as a boy (10 or more years ago).
Without making any apologies, I will attempt on behalf of skate sharpeners everywhere to put the price of skate sharpening into perspective. To this end I will draw on my skate sharpening experience which began in 1981, and this should give us an adequate historical reference. First, let me set some parameters.
This diatribe was written in 2004, and therefore the "here and now " per the following text is "as of 2004 ".
Since this website represents a local point of view, I will continue to cite local examples, but no doubt my local examples can be applied to other locales.
What Makes up the Price of Skate Sharpening ?
Presumably at one time, someone sat down and computed the price giving consideration to such noble factors as cost of doing business, return on investment, and reasonable expectation of profit. In my own case, I just checked out what the other skate sharpeners in town were charging, and set my own prices accordingly. During the ensuing years my prices crept upwards (just like everyone else's). The price of skate sharpening is market-driven however, and what happens in one market is not necessarily gonna occur in another market. In spite of the apparent lack of sophistication, there are pricing strategies in use:
How come Skate Sharpening has to be so Expensive?
Expensive is a relative term, and depends your point of view. Before we get on with the discussion, let me say this about that: In 1981 I got $2 a pair to sharpen hockey skates, in 2004 I get $4 a pair (which now includes 2 sales taxes). If we extend the comparison to other common things (you decide how far back in time you want to go), it will become clear that skate sharpening was not the only thing that increased in price, but it sure sustained the smallest % increase.
Your hourly rate is $120! That's outrageous!
Yes I work on a piece rate, and when the work is available I do all right. However in case you haven't noticed there are a few other operations involved in skate sharpening that are not of the sharpening process. I'm talking about removing skate guards, untying skate laces, cleaning snow and slop from the skates, and tucking in laces and tongues. Some skates I get are wet inside and out, and stink something awful. Imagine if you can tucking a skate tongue inside a sopping, slimy, and stinking skate boot. Yum, yum, and later I'll have a sandwich for lunch. For this I get only $4? There is downtime between clients, and the other side of this coin is minimum wage or less. Naturally you only see me when I'm busy because that's when you and everyone else decide that you need your skates sharpened. Some days are busy, others are dead. Can you say boredom? There, I knew you could, but nobody sees me when I'm dying of boredom because nobody's here. Because of the irregular workload, and of course the usual "hurry-up" mode imposed by my clients, I have to work very rapidly and efficiently just to keep everyone happy. This is a no-win situation because I'm perceived to be making pretty easy money. It all comes out in the wash. My business is seasonal, and in-season I get to work 7 days a week. That means for about 30 weeks a year, I get no holidays nor any kind of normal life since I'm working when everyone else is finished for the day. Additionally my benefits package sucks, and whatever I make in-season has to last thru my off-season too.
I've got 3 kids in hockey. Can you cut me a break?
It takes me the same amount of time to sharpen 3 pairs of your skates as it does for me to sharpen 1 pair each for 3 separate customers and I am entitled to fair compensation for my time. Having kids was your own idea, and that makes you responsible for their upkeep ... not me. If you're really interested in reducing your out-of-pocket expense, why not get your kids to pay out of their allowance? At the same time you'll reduce your own out-of-pocket expense and you'll teach your kids responsibility too.
Any fool can do what you're doing. I'm gonna get my own machine!
Oh Man, I love this one! In fact I love this one so much I dedicated a portion of this website to it. You go right ahead and size up skate sharpening equipment but at least take the time to check out Sooooo, you wanna be a Skate Sharpener huh?