That's right: technicians receive 100% of the repair fees generated.
This policy was part of our founding mission, dating from our earliest days
in business. Most repair shops and service centers offer repair technicians
50% -- and sometimes less -- of the fee charged to the customer. At Subway,
the technician receives the entire repair fee -- eliminating store profit
-- and resulting in great savings for our customers.
This long-term Subway policy has resulted in strong, committed relationships with our customers. The idea of profitting from someone's labor was distasteful in the 60s and the distastefulness of profiteering lingers to this day.
And there's more good news. Subway Guitars manufactures a few dozen types of instruments. That means we have HUGE supplies of new, vintage and new/old stock tuning gears, bridges, pickups, and electronic components. We offer our repair customers the same wholesale prices we pay for the replacement parts they need. This policy adds to your savings on repairing, modifying or customizing instruments.
We at Subway also benefit from very good relationships with manufacturers like Bartolini,Warmoth, Chandler, Allparts and WD. These long-term relationships make it easy for you to order and obtain a wide variety of special replacement parts we may not hold in stock . Through Subway, you can obtain these parts for a small percentage above our wholesale cost.
There's another feature that sets Subway Guitars Repair Shop apart from the pack. For the past 32 years, we've given our customers very candid advice on instrument modification, customization and repair at no charge, offering the details of different options and perspectives on restoring, repairing and customizing instruments.
Our goal has NEVER been to set you up for the most expensive job we can squeeze out of your wallet. Our technicians discuss your goals, your needs, your interests and your instrument in detail to determine the best course of action for you to take. We think this policy will ensure your satisfaction with the project in the short-term and the long-haul of the instrument life. This approach is important for a number of reasons.
Some instruments are perfectly suited for customizing. Even certain vintage instruments can be "imaginatively" modified in ways that allow a conversion to be returned to the original state without permanent, detrimental signs of experimentation. On the other hand, certain modifications to instruments have seriously brought tears to my eyes.
One tragic modification I recently saw was to a 1962 custom-colored Stratocaster®. Someone routed a HUGE hole on the top to accommodate a high-tech tremelo system. Now the technician was certainly happy to sell his labor and his parts, but this action instantly vaporized thousands of dollars of value from this vintage instrument.
At Subway, we would STRONGLY advise against this type of work. In fact, we would refuse to do it. Our solution to the customer's interest in the high-tech tremelo? We would have the customer invest in a replacement body, customize that, and put aside the old body. This critical difference in approach is a very important factor for you to consider.
Over the years, Subway has been blessed with a plethora of great guitars builders and technicians, including Ralph Novak, Jane Hunter (Mother to Charlie Hunter) and Steve White. In the late 60s I worked with Mike Stevens of *Fender® Custom Shop fame. Currently, we have a great new staff of adept technicians who will do right by you and your guitar.
A few years back Subway was awareded the coveted status of "Best Repair Shop in the Bay Area" in the San Francisco Bay Guardian's "Best of the Bay Area" series. Subway Guitars was also recently featured in a San Francisco Chronicle story on old school businesses which, among other things, discussed the technicians' cooperative Subway Repair Shop.