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Restored machines by nobody


spaceballs
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Ok, I'm pretty sure some will flame me here but wondering peoples thoughts on machines that are restored by....nobodies?!?

 

I mean this in the most respectful way but if Hot Rodded, or Nino, or Scott Seedsman or Geoff did resto's then I can understand paying a higher premium for these games. Some of these guys have done it for years, have skill and knowledge in restoring play fields or decalling machines and do it for a living so need to cover overheads if in factories or wages to pay themselves etc.

 

But if I restored a machine, no matter how......sending my pf'd to someone, the cabinet to someone else, changing a few mechs over to new, the playfeild swap and lets say spent x amount of hours on a machine, is it right for me to charge a premium over and above what it should be worth?

 

I guess I just don't get it. I've always put mods or other upgrades like chroming, led's, mirror blades etc on a game because I wanted to. Not in the hope it would add $$$'s of dollars to the value so I can make a profit.

 

Am I missing something? Not reading what collectors want regardless of who does the work?

 

 

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if you were to see in person games restored by KJS or MAV both backyarders in the sence they do it under their house the quality of just either of these 2 mentioned would leave you stunned id say better than those you mentioned and yes i have seen examples and owned some of tims work
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Each game commands a price based on its own merits. Buyers should be inspecting games or, if interstate, be having independent people look at them on their behalf. In any case, if the restoration is first class it will show to an observant buyer. If it is restored by a known person/team then I can see that a premium can be in order.

 

Overall I say pay a fair price based on what you see, your own eyes do not tell fibs.

 

We are lucky that there are quality restorers in our hobby, but there are shonks too. Buyers need to be educated as to which is which.

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the people you mentioned have earned a reputation, but there was a time when they were nobodies

Nino has a nice workshop now, but there was a time where he worked out of his garage,

 

they will also spend time/money on things that are important. lacing wiring looms is no the top of any collectors priorities

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I've just finished restoring my 3rd pin and will start my fourth soon. From my perspective, having a "name" restore a pin (or part of it) is tangible when it comes to the pins value. My last two cabinets were done by Geoff @pinball Perfection as he's highly fastidious and skilled. Spraying is beyond me and many, but there are plenty of aspects of a restoration that can be done by someone only mildly skilled. I have no problem in spending exorbitant amounts of time on fiddly stuff that the the pro's may not due to budget/time and in these cases my result 'may' even be better. I don't expect my pins would be as "valuable" as ones restored completely by a pro, but to see/play in person, you'd be hard pressed to question the time put into the restoration. Whether it's a backyarder or a pro shouldn't matter, the proof should be in the pudding.

 

Check out the High End Pins thread on Pinside, he goes to amazing lengths in his restorations. Resto Porn!

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I don’t see a problem if the works done well my problem is when people charge the premium without doing the work

 

That is exactly the problem. Some see there machine on EBay or at auctions and expect there one to be worth the same amount or more, never less. All this does is drive the prices up and a lot of people pissed off when they receive something that either doesn't work, is not as described or stops working very quickly.

 

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I don’t see a problem if the works done well my problem is when people charge the premium without doing the work

 

This!!

 

Very good point.

 

I am just amazed at "nobodies" "restoring" machines these days and trying to get top dollar because they think their time is worth money that I will pay for.........nope!

 

I am seeing it more and more in this hobby.

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This!!

 

Very good point.

 

I am just amazed at "nobodies" "restoring" machines these days and trying to get top dollar because they think their time is worth money that I will pay for.........nope!

 

I am seeing it more and more in this hobby.

 

Are you just talking about people who aim to solely make a profit from poor quality restoration? Is this extremely common?

 

Plenty of people restore their own machines because they enjoy it, and naturally the average buyer will pay more for a machine that looks good. I don't really see this as manifestly dishonest, unless there is some sort of claim that the 'garage restoration' is showroom quality and 'as new'. The high quality restorations will still command a higher premium which discerning buyers may be willing to pay. Doesn't mean the 'garage' resto is worth nothing.

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Are you just talking about people who aim to solely make a profit from poor quality restoration? Is this extremely common?

 

Plenty of people restore their own machines because they enjoy it, and naturally the average buyer will pay more for a machine that looks good. I don't really see this as manifestly dishonest, unless there is some sort of claim that the 'garage restoration' is showroom quality and 'as new'. The high quality restorations will still command a higher premium which discerning buyers may be willing to pay. Doesn't mean the 'garage' resto is worth nothing.

 

Totally agree. I find the restoration process super cathartic and am very chuffed with how mine turned out. If I was to sell them, I would title them as "restored" and expect them to be valued as such. There are plenty of backyarders restoring classic cars producing amazing results. I'm sure they don't expect the value of what a pro commands, but their time/results do have a tangible value.

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Totally agree. I find the restoration process super cathartic and am very chuffed with how mine turned out. If I was to sell them, I would title them as "restored" and expect them to be valued as such. There are plenty of backyarders restoring classic cars producing amazing results. I'm sure they don't expect the value of what a pro commands, but their time/results do have a tangible value.

 

Exactly. Some people, like myself restore machines out of passion, the satisfaction and the enjoyment I get from it. Never to just sell to make a dollar..............I have a full time job that pays much better than resto work anyway, so could never restore as a main job. It's just a hobby for the time being. Transforming a 25yr old dirty, dusty, tired, faded artwork machine into a piece of art, that in many ways is better than it was new, is so satisfying.

 

For some reason I prefer restoration as opposed to playing, perhaps because of my playing skill level? I don't have a business, call myself a professional or do it full time, so basically a 'nobody'. I admit my skills are limited (cannot do electronic board work, airbrush & clear coat playfields, etc) , but would like to think for what I am capable of and do, the level of restoration is right up there. (many AA members have seen and own my 'more recent work'). Does that make the work I do less valuable when a machine is one day sold, compared to professional restorers that run and operate a business? They have the years of experience with skills acquired over time, and higher costs associated with running a business. I have no issue with this at all. If a person employs anyone to restore a machine, it's an agreement between the two parties and that's it. No one is forcing anyone to use and pay for anyones services, as it's a personal choice who they use and what they pay.

 

I've seen many restored machines from many restorers around Australia. There are some absolute ripper, high end, above and beyond jobs to some pretty basic hack jobs obviously done to sell a machine at a higher price, and everything in between.

 

Like Dave stated, "Each game commands a price based on its own merits". We are all in the hobby and I'd expect most of us can tell the level and quality of a restore. Irrelevant of who restored it and where it was restored, it will be priced and sold accordingly. A pinball machine is worth as much as someone is prepared to pay for it. Some of the best machines I have seen have been done by 'nobodies' in their garages or backyards. Nothing wrong with that.

 

I liken it to our family my car. It's a BMW that comes with 5yrs of complimentary scheduled servicing. Unfortunately brake pads/rotors, tyres, wiper blades, etc, are not covered by this. Early this year BMW quoted me $1200 for front pads, rotors and brake sensors and another $170 for front wheel alignment. I took it to my local mechanic working out of his old factory who I've known for years. He charged me $550 cash for the exact same brake work and exact same make and model of parts were used. Then I took the car to Beaurepaires opposite my work and they did the wheel alignment for $50. I'm sure the work completed was done the same way as what the BMW mechanic would do, but I just paid less. BMW have higher overhead costs and pay for high end advertising. It was a personal choice to get the work done by whoever I chose. Many would pay BMW for the work as they can then provide receipts when selling the car in the hope they achieve a better price, and nothing wrong with that. Same with pinball restoration. It's all personal choice.

 

Last year I viewed and played a privately owned 1991 B/W machine originally restored by Tim at HRP. It was a pretty amazing and beautiful restoration, but unfortunately the machine was not maintained well over the years. The asking price was very high considering the title and current overall condition. Around the same time I viewed and played another fully restored 1992 B/W machine by two AA members (one member did the playfiled and the other member the rest). This thing was also amazing and a very similar level of restoration. Who's work is worth more? Who's work is better?

 

Dave is right - "Each game commands a price based on its own merits"

 

Apologies for the bloody long post...............

 

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Well said Glenn. The limited ones I have done were for me. A labour of love and in no way perfect but we all try to emulate what we see. I got most of my inspiration from HEP, Tim and others here and was way way down the ladder from some of their high standard but was pretty happy with the results. If I tried to sell for what hours I had in them they would still be for sale. It’s nice when someone likes what they see and makes you an offer. There are a LOT of guys here doing way above a backyard resto nowadays. Good luck to all who try. It’s all part of the enjoyment of this hobby.
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I have had work done by some of the high end guys or viewed their work. Now I don't know what you refer to as perfect or excellent work but I have seen artwork missing in areas that were restored, clear coating not up to scratch, insert cupping etc. I won't name anyone as these could be isolated cases. So you need to judge each machine on it's own merits. Some nobodies will take even greater care as the game were done initially for their own enjoyment. When I do a pf tear down I ensure the game plays as it should, all switches, mechs and lighting working optimally. But that's for my own selfish reasons 😂 and not for resale purposes
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Some of the greatest restorations I have seen were done by non professionals. A commercial restorer does not have the time for what some home restorers are willing to do.

At the same time what some professionals and amateurs call a restoration is often no more than a bling job. To simply wash and wax a car is not the same as restoring it.

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Some of the greatest restorations I have seen were done by non professionals. A commercial restorer does not have the time for what some home restorers are willing to do.

At the same time what some professionals and amateurs call a restoration is often no more than a bling job. To simply wash and wax a car is not the same as restoring it.

 

So true

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Anyone can assemble new parts. Bolting repro parts together just makes you a factory worker not a restorer.

 

Put enough new parts and its a new machine. Congratulations you're a factory worker with a new machine. That isnt restoration its "buying a copy"

 

The skill in restoration is in turning rubbish into treasure, not assembling a repro parts set.

 

Seeing top$$ games with split cabinet corners, cracked clearcoat, original tired connectors, rusty transformers and paintjobs that look like they were done with a broom is depressing but its what happens when people have a go at it, or when you're just in it for the money. Theres an infinite number of stupid little things you have to do to make a game that start out old and tired look like a true gem again. Very few people do them all. None of the ones who do make money. Chrome bits? mods? could be nice or could be lipstick on a pig. look deeper..

 

People who do things *properly*, might be "a nobody" at home?, or might be staff in a factory?, who can say?. A factory just means you have rent to pay even if you have to cut corners to do it. It doesnt give you any skill.

 

The people with a factory might have rent to pay, or lack or passion for the work. The people at home might just be tipping money in the hole, or might not know what they're doing, or might be painter with no electrical skill, or techs with no art skill. They might also have the patience and time to turn out absolute stunners. who can say?

 

judge the game *carefully* on its own merits .. the person who did it is meaningless. the only way to make good money in pinball is sell junk. You probably wont get what you pay for so be super careful.

 

answer? no, it doesnt matter. but no, that doesnt mean you can charge top shelf retail prices for slutty chrome bits on an unrestored game

 

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I’ve done a few restorations on all sorts of machines from rough players to basket case machines and I can guarantee that I wouldn’t be doing it for the money. You have to do it for the love of the result. The hrs that go into a restoration can be astronomical when you do it all yourself.

 

I’ve never worked out how many hrs go into some exactly but at a guess I’d be saying over 100-120 hrs on most. Some a lot more.

 

As far as paying for work a nobody has done, which I am one, I say The machine will speak for itself. A half decent eye can see the corners that get cut or the time put into a job.

judge each machine on its own merits.

Edited by Boof Head
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You can have the prettiest car but not much good if it breaks down all the time. Pinball is the same. Remember, these machines are supposed to be money makers and something that keeps failing is something not making money which is defeating the machine's number 1 purpose in life.

I've seen some great refurbs but a true restoration must include reliabilty as part of the package.

 

No good having a machine full of bland new parts without a scratch on it if you are having to take the glass off every playing section to alter something simply to keep it doing what it is supposed to do.

I guess I would call myself a person that does retro refurbs. Being in the industry on the commercal side I was taught very early in the piece it matters naught how well presented it is if it is the machine that always requires man to keep it going even if it is just to unjam a stuck ball.

 

Sometimes reliability comes from changing factory parts that machine was originally made with and putting in other parts better suited for the job. These can be from earlier or later products by the same manufacturer or parts from another manufacturer or in some cases a part needs to be altered or even made in the quest for reliability.

Events like PinFest are a half decent test where the machine is set up and played for a couple of days.

 

If you don't need to remove the glass over the two days of heavy use, you are getting there. If you have the glass off over the two days picture that machine on site and failing after only two days.

Now picture that is one of 100 pinballs you alone are operating and maintaining meaning you only get to see each machine once a month or in some cases many months between visits.

 

What I do now in the industry is prepare machines for party hires. Not really that different to what I have always done as I've always manitained machines sent to New Zealand and all regional sites but now machine leaves here and hired out for 3 days, a week, monthly or 6 monthly blocks. Most are flogged hard over a weekend hire with massive game numbers where as monthly or 6 monthly hires are more like the normal 200 games a week.

 

How do you think your machine would handle such a life without you standing by to constantly intervene? It is the life the machine was designed for originally after all.

 

By all means make them look pretty but there is more to a pinball than just looking pretty.

 

 

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So those that have done restorations initially for the love of the machine and for your self satisfaction, when it comes time to sell, say after a year or so, do you factor in your time into the price?

 

Would you charge $30/hr at 80 hours on top of what the going rate would be?

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I don’t factor time at all. I go off market value at the time of selling. Some you win some you lose. Doesn’t bother me as I restore it for me then sell it down the track once I’ve had my time with it.

My creech is a perfect example. I spent more doing the thing than I was asking for it when it came time to sell. Zero hrs included.

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So those that have done restorations initially for the love of the machine and for your self satisfaction, when it comes time to sell, say after a year or so, do you factor in your time into the price?

 

Would you charge $30/hr at 80 hours on top of what the going rate would be?

 

Is changing the tires on a car a cost you add when you sell the car?. I would regard it as maintenence and therefore a cost you cover in owning a pinball. If you throw in something like a new improved sound system for example, sure, you have improved the machine but that part is now 2nd hand and it become 2nd hand the moment it was pulled it out of it's box so to expect the full amount back is quite honestly unfair.

Labour, who's to say the new owner wants it the very same way you installed it or if they want it at all?.

Labour, you have to learn to let that one go. Simply because it took you 4 hours to do a job for the first time learning as you go, the job could probably have been done by others in an hour with there previous knowledge.

Just for the record, a new flipper install kit installed in a pinball is no longer new when the machine has had a couple of hundred games played on it.

If you want to charge for the flipper install kit in total leave it in the machine still wrapped up. Now you have the right to charge what it cost you but unless the new owner asked for it installed, don't expect your cash and labour charges repaid in full. It is after all part of maintaining a pinball and should be done whether the machine is for sale or not.

If the machine has weak flippers when you go to buy it, demand a discount but if the flippers are good don't pay extra for that after all, that is how the machine is supposed to play and your not getting any extra are you?.

New flipper kit who cares, it must of needed it and now they are fitted and used, they are now 2nd hand.

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