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Thread: Second hand machine problems.

  1. #1
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Second hand machine problems.

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Seems to me there has been a marked trend of late for people to buy (bargain) second hand machines, find there is a problem, join Coffee Snobs and look for help, nothing wrong with seeking this, however most of the seekers have a number of common attributes.

    Even though they would have us believe otherwise, they know little about the workings of espresso machines and even less about coffee, however would have us believe the exact opposite.

    Most seem to be able to dismantle their pride and joy to the point of confusion, exposing electrics, breaking off the odd screw or bolt and attempts at descaling with citric acid, baking soda, vinegar or something else they think may work, at this point the plumbing is clogged with scale and rubbish and nothing seems to work soooo, we join CS, plead our case telling everyone who is prepared to listen they know what they are doing, but (this is an unusual problem that has me completely stumped) then the same problem solving we have seen so many times begins all over again.

    It even seems the people attempting to help are those with little experience, most of the older more knowledgeable members seem to be pretty jaded with the process now.

    Perhaps there is room for another specific forum in Equipment (Second hand machine help) or something similar.

    A cynical viewpoint? perhaps, but nonetheless, in my opinion, valid.

  2. #2
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    I see it differently. I see a public, on-line forum where people who are interested in coffee have a place to share opinions, ask questions, learn, etc. I see a history of "newbies" having a go, getting stuck, trying to search (hopefully) the rather large amount of info available on line, and asking questions. People can choose to answer or ignore. The best clubs and societies I have been involved with are always happy to help new-comers, even though their questions have often been asked many, many times before. But I think part of being a member of such groups is being willing to share knowledge when possible, and realize that no-body knows it all and there is always more to learn and discover. I think to make good coffee (especially espresso) requires good coffee, good knowledge applied correctly and good gear. It would make no sense to me to separate two of the four Ms.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member sprezzatura's Avatar
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    I sub-contract for a company that does domestic machines (Jura; Saeco; Delonghi; Sunbeam). Some of the repairs are ridiculously easy and, if out of warranty, impressively expensive. I like to assist home DIY 'ers. I've seen some exceedingly poor work performed. I have an electrical license and chiefly work on prosumer and single-boiler commercial machines. A forum for second hand machine help sounds great.
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  4. #4
    TOK
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    Warning - warning - warning....long post.

    Another philosophical discussion, and thinking laterally....

    As I understand it from your response, you derive your income from equipment repair, but are happy to help people to do DIY.

    I guess it depends on how far you are willing to go with giving your hard earned, hard learned technical info to the public (the training and expertise that your employer has paid for and put into your training), but in general terms, I think it's tough to learn that people in the repair industry are in a general sense happy to give their training, knowledge and expertise away for nothing.

    If repairs are expensive, its because it costs money to keep a repair business running. not to mention that anyone's definition of what constitutes "expensive" will vary, especially when those individuals are not necessarily totally privvy to all the info regarding the cost of running a business.

    An easy example comes to mind. An Under Cup Washer / group seal costs X dollars for a repairer to buy, but he may choose to sell it for say, 3 times X because the time taken to fit the thing is so short that it does not effectively cover the ON cost of the person being employed to fit the thing Or where some clients constantly demand that repairs be done for discounted rates or for nothing (many cafes)...then something has to give somewhere...

    Etc etc etc.

    People that are not running a repair business, generally don't have an understanding of what "cost" is all about.

    Its a bigger topic than can be discussed here, and I think this will probably do.

    I sincerely hope therefore, that in the context of your short reply above, that you are not "biting the hand that feeds you".....

    As an aside, you may find the following interesting. I went to the dentist yesterday for my 6 monthly clean.

    I was in the chair for 30 minutes.

    I was charged $100.00 for a “Periodic Oram Examination”;
    $ 170.00 cleaning fee (“Removal of Calculus First Visit” despite that I am a long term regular client) AND

    $285.00 for an “Adhesive Restoration” (a partial repair to an existing filling found to be cracked in the "oral examination").

    TOTAL $555.00, and in the chair 30 minutes TOTAL.

    Reimbursed from medical benefits fund......$145.60 (meaning the dentist is miles ahead of whatever the scheduled fees are...and I'm not saying the scheduled fees are necessarily fair for the dentist).

    The fees were charged for works done concurrently in the one half hour period, and the "removal of calculus" was rushed and not completed per usual standard in order to rush the filling repair into the same consultation.

    Yet.....when the dentist comes to your business to buy a new machine, he will ask you:
    “what's my price”, advise he can get the thing for $50.00 less from some internet vendor in another city, and
    will screw you for everything he can take.

    And when he eventually brings it in for repair, he will hit the roof over your charges.

    So you can probably see why I might occasionally get touchy about people in the industry trying to make it easy for clients to NOT have to bring their equipment in for repair ! I dont see too many other professionals rushing to give their expertise AND INCOME away for nix.

    Oh and by the way I am looking for another dentist, I think this one's had more than a fair run from me over the years.
    Last edited by TOK; 16th October 2014 at 02:50 PM.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Erimus's Avatar
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    A cynical viewpoint? perhaps, but nonetheless, in my opinion, valid.

    You love being didactic

  6. #6
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brevillista View Post
    You love being didactic
    Well at least I ain't afraid to offer an opinion.
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  7. #7
    TOK
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    ...look it up...?

  8. #8
    TC
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    A potential hornets nest- no doubt.

    My opinion for what it's worth. In general I'm happy to help where I can. What I do dislike are people who openly take advantage.

    Example- design company local to us requires assistance in the design for an aspect of a cafe. "Come to us and consult".

    "Sure thing. There will be a charge though".

    "No problem".

    Haven't paid their account....

    I get caught in what become free consults over the phone many, many times per week. People seem to have an expectation that 30 min or an hour of your time comes for nothing. Take what you need and then disappear...

    Perhaps if you require a professional service to assist to save some folding, you should be prepared to pay a little. It's all about fairness
    Last edited by TC; 16th October 2014 at 03:35 PM. Reason: ytpo
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  9. #9
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    descaling a espresso boiler or fixing a leak is something i may attempt .
    ...DIY dental descaling or filling teeth is something best left to others !
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  10. #10
    TOK
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    .......In general I'm happy to help where I can. What I do dislike are people who openly take advantage.

    ..............I get caught in what become free consults over the phone many, many times per week. People seem to have an expectation that 30 min or an hour of your time comes for nothing. Take what you need and then disappear...
    geez mate my mistake I thought you were running a free consultation company .....I know we* are (* = the biz I still own but dont manage or work in...).

    Its not just about half an hour on the phone....it goes well beyond that with people making appointments with you to go out to their premises to consult, with the expectation of being given the work...and then you know what happens when they give your ideas to someone else.

    That's how coffee and equipment roasters/vendors are treated.

  11. #11
    TOK
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    Quote Originally Posted by blend52 View Post
    descaling a espresso boiler or fixing a leak is something i may attempt .
    ...DIY dental descaling or filling teeth is something best left to others !
    Look at this way blend.....$555.00 is all the cost of labour / expertise. If you count say, $20.00 for some filling material, that means the consultationn was done at an hourly rate of $1090.00 per hour.

    They are allowed to do that by "the system". Pro equipment repairers are by comparo worth very little...

  12. #12
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    A LOT more costs in running a dental business than just labour / expertise. And keeping expertise is expensive in itself.

    They are "allowed" to do that because that is what the market is prepared to pay. You can charge what you want for your services too.

  13. #13
    TOK
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    Quote: "......A LOT more costs in running a dental business than just labour / expertise. And keeping expertise is expensive in itself...."

    Thankyou that is the right observation...not all that different to running a repair biz with service techs, premises, all workshop tools infrastructure etc and vehicles....
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  14. #14
    Senior Member Erimus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete39 View Post
    A LOT more costs in running a dental business than just labour / expertise. And keeping expertise is expensive in itself.

    They are "allowed" to do that because that is what the market is prepared to pay. You can charge what you want for your services too.
    Well not quite.
    It's what the health plan and insurance companies are prepared to pay, which is overpriced too imho. Meanwhile average Joe that is not afforded health benefits at work or cannot afford private coverage is held to ransom in an overpriced industry and consequently walks around with toothless smiles.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TOK View Post
    Oh and by the way I am looking for another dentist, I think this one's had more than a fair run from me over the years.
    This 'dentist' wasn't located in Fyshwick were they? They might have charged you for services you didn't know were on offer?
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete39 View Post
    I see it differently. I see a public, on-line forum where people who are interested in coffee have a place to share opinions, ask questions, learn, etc. I see a history of "newbies" having a go, getting stuck, trying to search (hopefully) the rather large amount of info available on line, and asking questions. People can choose to answer or ignore. The best clubs and societies I have been involved with are always happy to help new-comers, even though their questions have often been asked many, many times before. But I think part of being a member of such groups is being willing to share knowledge when possible, and realize that no-body knows it all and there is always more to learn and discover. I think to make good coffee (especially espresso) requires good coffee, good knowledge applied correctly and good gear. It would make no sense to me to separate two of the four Ms.
    Great post in my opinion.

    I work in that dreaded IT industry and have worked my way up from the bottom over the past 15 years. I have gotten here through hard work but also asking questions, reading, studying, learning from others but mainly from practice. I definitely couldn't have gotten here without other people's help.

    I see this forum allows people to ask questions and seek advice around coffee. You can learn some info here but your not going to learn about everything. Great knowledge comes with time, practice and experience.

    I am sure we were newbies learning about coffee at some stage, maybe your past the newbie stage and somewhere between a newbie and an expert. I am sure at some stage you may have asked a question which an expert thought was pathetic....so just think back and put yourselves in their shoes.

    If you dont like the newbie question, dont respond and move on. Some people what to provide feedback to help others. Thats partly why i am a manager now....to give something back.

    Well sorry for the little rant but i though its important to say we were all newbies asking simple questions at one stage and by asking these it helped you get better at making, brewing and drinking coffee.

    Isnt that the more important thing....helping others enjoy something that you love as well.....coffee!!!

  17. #17
    Senior Member sprezzatura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TOK View Post
    Warning - warning - warning....long post.

    Another philosophical discussion, and thinking laterally....

    As I understand it from your response, you derive your income from equipment repair, but are happy to help people to do DIY.

    I guess it depends on how far you are willing to go with giving your hard earned, hard learned technical info to the public (the training and expertise that your employer has paid for and put into your training), but in general terms, I think it's tough to learn that people in the repair industry are in a general sense happy to give their training, knowledge and expertise away for nothing.

    If repairs are expensive, its because it costs money to keep a repair business running. not to mention that anyone's definition of what constitutes "expensive" will vary, especially when those individuals are not necessarily totally privvy to all the info regarding the cost of running a business.

    An easy example comes to mind. An Under Cup Washer / group seal costs X dollars for a repairer to buy, but he may choose to sell it for say, 3 times X because the time taken to fit the thing is so short that it does not effectively cover the ON cost of the person being employed to fit the thing Or where some clients constantly demand that repairs be done for discounted rates or for nothing (many cafes)...then something has to give somewhere...

    Etc etc etc.

    People that are not running a repair business, generally don't have an understanding of what "cost" is all about.

    Its a bigger topic than can be discussed here, and I think this will probably do.

    I sincerely hope therefore, that in the context of your short reply above, that you are not "biting the hand that feeds you".....

    As an aside, you may find the following interesting. I went to the dentist yesterday for my 6 monthly clean.

    I was in the chair for 30 minutes.

    I was charged $100.00 for a “Periodic Oram Examination”;
    $ 170.00 cleaning fee (“Removal of Calculus First Visit” despite that I am a long term regular client) AND

    $285.00 for an “Adhesive Restoration” (a partial repair to an existing filling found to be cracked in the "oral examination").

    TOTAL $555.00, and in the chair 30 minutes TOTAL.

    Reimbursed from medical benefits fund......$145.60 (meaning the dentist is miles ahead of whatever the scheduled fees are...and I'm not saying the scheduled fees are necessarily fair for the dentist).

    The fees were charged for works done concurrently in the one half hour period, and the "removal of calculus" was rushed and not completed per usual standard in order to rush the filling repair into the same consultation.

    Yet.....when the dentist comes to your business to buy a new machine, he will ask you:
    “what's my price”, advise he can get the thing for $50.00 less from some internet vendor in another city, and
    will screw you for everything he can take.

    And when he eventually brings it in for repair, he will hit the roof over your charges.

    So you can probably see why I might occasionally get touchy about people in the industry trying to make it easy for clients to NOT have to bring their equipment in for repair ! I dont see too many other professionals rushing to give their expertise AND INCOME away for nix.

    Oh and by the way I am looking for another dentist, I think this one's had more than a fair run from me over the years.
    Hi Tok - I agree with everything you have written. I run my own small business and maybe break even. Here's my two cents: the most difficult, angry, demanding and cheap make-the-receptionist-cry customer is not normally a DIYer. They want the machine fixed, they want it now and they want it cheap (so they can get back to scraping a little calculus off until it's time for 18 holes).

    Most of the people I've spoken with here are very gracious (one gentleman even paid me 4 times as much as I requested for a diffuser and a group seal). I do keep my trade secrets - I don't want give away the very hard earned and researched diagnostic knowledge - and I realise other technical folks are making a living (like myself) performing work on prosumer machines.

    I'll be careful to consider what I do divulge though. Thank you for the reminder. I have a habit of being overly obsequious but I do have a family to support and my work vehicle is desperately needing an upgrade.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by sprezzatura View Post
    I do keep my trade secrets - I don't want give away the very hard earned and researched diagnostic knowledge
    si i guess there is no chance of gettingan Enthalpy circuit for the silvia?
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  19. #19
    Senior Member sprezzatura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by koshari View Post
    si i guess there is no chance of gettingan Enthalpy circuit for the silvia?
    No but I'd consider advising Silvia owners to drill a hole big enough to stick a (non conducting) dealio to reset the thingamajig that protects the caldera from going Chernobyl - I'm just sayin'

  20. #20
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    I don't see the problem with voluntarily spending my free time posting something on a forum which may or may not be read by someone who can use the information.

    I also don't see the problem with giving advice to people who you will never see at your shop anyway seeing as they're often from different states or towns far away. Although, if the advice is good enough and you can offer quality service, more business might head your way anyway.
    I have people that bring me machines from 200-300km away because they would rather I did the work than another service centre which they have had bad experiences with.

    There is also a fine balance between reputation and income. With a common factor of money; Too much income, not a great reputation (i.e. repair costs unreasonably high). Great reputation, possibly not enough income (undercharging). Balancing these can see repeat business from customers (which ends up being a overall greater profit) and having the good word spread about you to your customers friends. Works for me anyway.
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  21. #21
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    G'day all

    Two thoughts from TOK's epic well written post plus a few others (honourable mention to sprezzatura: I feel your pain...) :-



    1) You are not paying for just for the materials & labour. All medical gear is insanely priced ($1200 for an orthopedic hammer circa 1990!). I come from an IT background and my 1990 $85K investment in a new workshop (not counting the $100K+ of tools to kit it out) was a drop in the ocean compared to a single room medical setup ($600K+, & talking "more Kia than Rolls Royce"). I was involved in the surgery IT system at the same time. Somehow all the gear has to be paid for by a client / customer somewhere along the line: In my case, even the $3K ROM burner (the BIOS chips one, not the misnamed CD recorder) even though I only needed it for two known jobs.

    2) The brain pickers that try to screw you for an "online type of price" after finding out from you what they need to fix / buy: I hope there is a special place in hell for them. They nearly bankrupted me when I was starting out: consumed heaps of my time, expertise and fuel and then got a cheaper price from a "box mover" (for non IT readers: "computer cash and carry with no service at all). After a while, a majority would come back with their "cheap disaster" and I had no compunction in charging them for all my earlier wasted time and costs - and telling them why I was doing it. For every rapidly dissapearing tyre kicker, there was another one which I gained as really good client. They now understood (school of hard knocks) how expensive cheap can be...

    TampIt

  22. #22
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    Seems to me there has been a marked trend of late for people to buy (bargain) second hand machines, find there is a problem, join Coffee Snobs and look for help, nothing wrong with seeking this, however most of the seekers have a number of common attributes.

    Even though they would have us believe otherwise, they know little about the workings of espresso machines and even less about coffee, however would have us believe the exact opposite.

    Most seem to be able to dismantle their pride and joy to the point of confusion, exposing electrics, breaking off the odd screw or bolt and attempts at descaling with citric acid, baking soda, vinegar or something else they think may work, at this point the plumbing is clogged with scale and rubbish and nothing seems to work soooo, we join CS, plead our case telling everyone who is prepared to listen they know what they are doing, but (this is an unusual problem that has me completely stumped) then the same problem solving we have seen so many times begins all over again.

    It even seems the people attempting to help are those with little experience, most of the older more knowledgeable members seem to be pretty jaded with the process now.

    Perhaps there is room for another specific forum in Equipment (Second hand machine help) or something similar.

    A cynical viewpoint? perhaps, but nonetheless, in my opinion, valid.
    Well! this thread has certainly gone off the rails in a big way, from the question in my OP (how best to help people with SH machine problems) to (I ain't giving my time and knowledge away for free) a justified viewpoint and attitude BTW, simply not what the thread is about.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Dragunov21's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    Well! this thread has certainly gone off the rails in a big way, from the question in my OP (how best to help people with SH machine problems) to (I ain't giving my time and knowledge away for free) a justified viewpoint and attitude BTW, simply not what the thread is about.
    If that were the case, I feel the tone of the OP would have been substantially different, and a hell of a lot shorter. FWIW, I agree - a troubleshooting board sounds like a good idea, if only so that the various "help me" threads aren't spread across four tiers of equipment price. (and capitalisation of "Grinders" and "Roasters" wouldn't go astray... just sayin')

  24. #24
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    A potential hornets nest- no doubt.

    My opinion for what it's worth. In general I'm happy to help where I can. What I do dislike are people who openly take advantage.

    Example- design company local to us requires assistance in the design for an aspect of a cafe. "Come to us and consult".

    "Sure thing. There will be a charge though".

    "No problem".

    Haven't paid their account....

    I get caught in what become free consults over the phone many, many times per week. People seem to have an expectation that 30 min or an hour of your time comes for nothing. Take what you need and then disappear...

    Perhaps if you require a professional service to assist to save some folding, you should be prepared to pay a little. It's all about fairness
    Perhaps a T shirt along these lines for all espresso machine tech's would get the message across Chris.

    electrician.jpg
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  25. #25
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    Well! this thread has certainly gone off the rails in a big way, from the question in my OP (how best to help people with SH machine problems) to (I ain't giving my time and knowledge away for free) a justified viewpoint and attitude BTW, simply not what the thread is about.
    Not sure you can be too surprised, my friend. The first three paragraphs of the OP were about 99.9% likely to generate some defensive responses, regardless of the question at the end.

  26. #26
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry O'Speedwagon View Post
    Not sure you can be too surprised, my friend. The first three paragraphs of the OP were about 99.9% likely to generate some defensive responses, regardless of the question at the end.
    Your right of course a little pot stirring now and again provides stimulus for a livelier than average discussion, not such a bad thing, is it? as long as things remain civil.

    For a forum as large as Coffee Snobs I reckon our members on the whole remain remarkably even tempered.
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  27. #27
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    Your right of course a little pot stirring now and again provides stimulus for a livelier than average discussion, not such a bad thing, is it? as long as things remain civil.

    For a forum as large as Coffee Snobs I reckon our members on the whole remain remarkably even tempered.
    Oh I didn't mind the OP. Was just surprised that you seemed surprised at the outcome

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    In the interests of brainstorming - if there are a lot of people who join and ask the same questions, then maybe this would be suitable for a set of wiki pages that can go through these common issues. For example, Whirlpool supplements their forum with a wiki (Whirlpool Knowledge Base) where there are a number of pages that (new) users can be directed to, thus saving users from answering the same questions over and over and over again

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    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Quote Originally Posted by Barry O'Speedwagon View Post
    Oh I didn't mind the OP. Was just surprised that you seemed surprised at the outcome
    +1 (especially after 3,556 posts)



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