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Satellite Workshop

This is the eighth in a series of articles which will help you to save money.

I am constantly being told that the satellite market is dying. That's odd because my turnover has doubled each year since I began! Whilst it is certainly true that prices are being undercut by "high street" stores, that is no reason to "throw in the towel." There are things which an independent can do that a large store would not even consider. For a start, demand has suddenly grown in the UK for 2 metre dishes pointing at 0.8 degrees West. Do you know why? Could YOU install them? If not, it's time you learned. None of the "high street" chains will do this sort of work so why not you? You can virtually name your price. Be sure to check out local council planning requirements and find out from your wholesale supplier exactly what equipment is needed. Cost out a typical job then spread the word that you can do it! A motorised installation will make even more profit. Don't complain that you can't do it! Install it in your own back yard for the practice and then do it over till you get it right every time.
Doom and gloom abounds. One dish installer told me that he had done nothing but aerial work for three weeks. Lucky for him that Channel 5 chose to start up in March but the Channel 5 "boom" will not last for long. Make your money while you can and don't try to undercut the competition. Answer this simple question: would you rather do 12 jobs per day at £25 each or 6 jobs at £45 each? The answer is obvious but which generates more profit? Think about the amount of travelling involved for each. Consider that you halve your expenditure on parts if you do just 6 jobs instead of 12. Your turnover increases but your profit is actually *lower* for more work because it costs you more in travelling. In addition, you are working more than twice as many hours. Also, if your turnover increases, will that put you over the VAT limit? Instead of trying to do a fast, low cost (and inevitably low quality) job, concentrate on giving good value for money. You will get more referrals,work less hours for a better class of customer and earn more money. Remember the formula: do 5 jobs at twice the price of 12 jobs and make the *same* profit. Don't be frightened to try it! Pretty soon you'll be back up to 12 jobs a day and wondering what to do with all that extra money!
While you are working only half as many hours, use that "spare" time usefully. Find out about training courses. Learn more about UHF distribution systems, co-channel interference, signal level balancing, attenuation, diplexers, amplifiers, digital systems and everything else to do with *your* trade. The more you know, the easier it is to get a job installed quickly with good results. How many times have you finished a job thinking "hope they don't notice the grainy/sparkly pictures on some channels."? Well, if the customer doesn't you can be sure that the neighbour, friend or relative will notice and that will be another referral you don't get.
Another frequent complaint I hear is that "I can't make any profit selling just a receiver." This is true of new receivers. The trade warehouses are lucky to make ten percent profit and their prices are sometimes higher than the "high street." If your customer wants just a receiver, why not supply a refurbished second hand model. There are thousands of units being scrapped by people having cable installed. Lots of these end up at car boot sales or being advertised for a tenner. You can get a Pace PRD receiver for a song and the Amstrad SRD510 and later models have at least 99 channels. If you can buy them cheaply enough, isn't it worth paying someone like me twenty five quid to refurbish them and uprade to work with an "Enhanced" LNB? This way you get a 99 channel Enhanced receiver for little more than £35 which you can sell to your customer at a good profit.