Advice on fair stringer compensation

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This topic contains 9 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Matt McDonald 5 months, 3 weeks ago.

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    New here, but USRSA Certified since 2010.

    I’m retired from my career and want to string at a local golf and tennis club. I currently string at a city owned facility that views stringing as a service and prices to break even– I know, a travesty, right?!?

    We charge $15 for installation of customer supplied strings and prices range from $28 to $35 for strings we stock (not many to choose from). I get $10 a frame but also work the front desk at $10/hour and can string while on the clock.

    Trouble is, they’ve hired a full time front desk clerk and admin and I won’t get hours any longer except as a fill in.

    The Country Club charges $30 for install of customer supplied strings and they have a variety of strings in stock at various prices. I spoke to the manager at the club and he seems interested in me. What’s the “going rate” for the stringer on a per frame basis?




    Hey Matt, there are definitely others in this group who have much more experience in the industry than I do, but I’d say that “going rate” is subject to where you are and the demand for racquet services.

    But generally speaking, if the Country Club is charging clients $30 if they provide string (which, btw, I think is really high), then a very fair starting point for you would be $15/frame, perhaps even $17/frame give MRT cert. I would also offer up other services such as re-gripping, grommet replacement/repair, customization, matching, etc to bring in some add’l revenue. Look at the first couple years as an investment in building a solid business relationship with club management and expert reputation with the players. Then after a while, renegotiate your rate with the club.

    Just one opinion among many. Best of luck… I’m not too far behind on the post retirement stringing career :-).



    I very much appreciate your advice.
    How do you price the other services you mention (regrip, grip size change, customization, grommets, etc.
    BTW, I was able to get the Tennis Center I’m at now to $12/ frame since I’m no longer getting font desk hourly pay.


    John Gugel

    Matt, I would establish what you want to make per hour and base your prices on that for stringing. If you want $60.00 hour and can do two (2) good stringings and records in that hour the $30.00 price is just right.

    For other services I would consider a “fixed” charge per service but still based on what you want, i.e. a grommet replacement should be $15.00 and as you improve your productivity that can make a lot more than $60.00 per hour.

    Stringing and preparation is a lot more valuable than most people think, so make it work for you!



    Hi Matt, I would also add that researching local price points is important too, e.g what your competition is charging. Whatever you charge, I would keep it simple and specific. For example I charge $20 for grommet replacement. That includes the grommet set and doesn’t matter what make/model frame. A club I string for charges $12/grip replacement regardless of type of grip (they carry three different types). I think sometimes people get in trouble when they charge “$15 to $20 depending on type of frame/etc” for a service. Pricing then becomes inconsistent and burdensome to track across your customer set and breadth of services.



    John Gugel

    Matt, do you offer anything that other local stringers do not. If you provide a better product make that part of your charging model.



    Tim Strawn

    Matt – if the country club is interested in you I believe you should ask exactly what it is they want and then concentrate on fees for your services. For instance, who currently gets the revenue from the pro shop stringing services? Is it the head teaching professional or does all the money go to the club? Are the racquet services separated from the rest of the pro shop or is it all lumped together? If there’s a head teaching pro there has he/she been offered the opportunity to run the shop? These are all things I would want to know before I started talking about compensation.

    This can get pretty tricky when you’re dealing with clubs because in most cases, items and services are run through one corporate account. Players will typically drop off their racquet for service and then ask that the charges be run through their club membership. If that’s the case you’re going to have to wait for your money and won’t get paid when the racquet gets picked up.

    I had a club approach me with this same type of opportunity only to find out that the head pro was never even offered the job. As it turned out, he actually wanted it and was pretty PO’d that the club didn’t even ask him. I dodged a bullet just by asking the director one simple question. Have you asked your head pro if he wants to run your shop? When he said he’d have to get back to me I knew he hadn’t even bothered to ask.

    My point is this. If you come into an unfamiliar situation not knowing all the facts you can find yourself quickly ostracized and in a bad situation. That’s something that can carry over and influence other people within the tennis community and I don’t think you want anything to happen that would tarnish your name in your local area. I would do a little more research to find out what the exact arrangement is that the club is offering and see if there’s anyone currently on the staff there that perhaps should have been asked first. Once you clear that up then you can go back and start some serious negotiations.


    Mains & X

    We get many messages from our followers asking the same question.

    With the rising price of everything from gas to haircuts I feel we deserve to charge at minimium 15$. We personally charge 17$ for standard drop off situation and $20 for same day (as you wait)

    I am really surprised to see PROFESSIONALS still charging 10$

    The answer I get is “if we charge more than our competitors, they will go elsewhere. We have to lower our price to be in competition”

    Off the back therenis no competition if you are willing to go below their price just for the edge… When you drop your price because of the fear of losing customers you already lost.
    Charge what you deserve and let the client decide if your service is worth their time and business. Trust me if you give them a wow factor they wont mind shelling out extra few bucks.

    However, if you are not up to par on training/practices and customer service is weak maybe having a lower price point is ok.

    Honestly, to some clients anyone can string a racket (right or wrong)
    But it is up to the Stringer to keep that client or lose them.


    Tim Strawn

    “However, if you are not up to par on training/practices and customer service is weak maybe having a lower price point is ok.”

    A point worth further comments that address the two situations you might find yourself in.

    When we all started we were rookies, learning our craft and sharpening our skills. Skill level and experience are factors to be considered when we decide what we charge for our services. The standard within the industry for shops was to double your cost on the string and then add your labor charge. That’s a fairly simple formula to follow and makes it easier to always know where you stand with your pricing.

    Tournament stringing is an entirely different thing when considering what to charge per racquet. Each tournament has a different person that you have to negotiate with on charges. Often times in the past, that person was looking for a sizeable kickback under the table which in turn, shortchanged the stringer on net profit. The real obstacle to overcome was whether or not you hold your ground and stay firm on your price OR, do you succumb to the demands for kickbacks as opposed to losing the job altogether. Because there were/are always others waiting in the wings for their shot to work a pro tournament this presented a catch-22 for those in the business. I was asked to put together a team for the tournament in Washington D.C. several years ago and I had a pretty good team assembled. Each time I talked to the point man at the tournament they demanded a kickback so each time, I would raise our price per racquet by the same amount to cover what they were wanting under the table. You can guess what the outcome of that negotiation was.

    The underlying problem is that there are always people out there that are willing to take less per racquet just to get their foot in the door with regards to stringing high-level tournaments. The only situation that I’m aware of that completely eliminates that scenario is when you work for a corporate team like Wilson. If you’re a team member all you’re required to do is show up with your tools, be a good team player, do the work and collect your paycheck.


    Thanks for all the great advice!


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