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A small study on how much it costs to string a racket

A small study on how much it costs to string a racket

Though we all love racket sports here, we don’t like spending to much on restringing our rackets. Of course we know every once in a while we need a freshly strung racket, but what is a normal amount to spend on this job? We’ve called a couple of local suppliers to find out what they charge for their services.

On average and across different suppliers, we found that you’ll pay 15 euro’s for strings and 12,50 euro’s for labour costs. Thus, in total it will cost you 27,50 euro to restring your racket. Of course, this depends on a couple of factors that we’ll discuss in this post.

In this example, we chose Babolat RPM Blast 1.25 as our string of choice but also asked for the possibility to bring our own string. We’ve put our findings in a small comparative table so you can understand different parts of the cost structure better.

Supplier String String cost Labour cost (Average) return time Pick-up and return
Decathlon Babolat RPM Blast 1.25 17.99 None* 3 work days
Decathlon own string 8.00 3 work days
Intersport Pacific Poly Power** 23.75 1 work day
Intersport own string 15.00 1 work day
Daka Babolat RPM Blast 1.25 22.99 10.00 1 work day
Daka own string 10.00 1 work day
Racketshop de Bataaf Babolat RPM Blast 1.25 17.50 12.50 1 work day
Racketshop de Bataaf own string 12.50 1 work day
*Decathlon does not charge labour costs if you have a customer card. If not, you’ll be charged the standard amount of 8 euro’s.
**In this case, the contacted supplier had no RPM Blast available on stock, but recommended a similar string.

Comparing prices in this case seems simple, but in fact it’s not. There are a couple of different factors to be aware of. There are of course two main factors that influence the total costs. One, of course, the string of your choice. Two, the service level of your choice. Often you’ll find on your invoice that local sport shops will split the total amount between string costs and labour costs. Pretty clear, but where do you find some more options to choose from then?

Different rackets, different prices

There is a difference between tennis, badminton and squash rackets en thus, there is a difference in the time and effort it takes to restring them. Obviously your stringer needs to string a badminton racket at a different tension, as compared to your tennis racket and lucky for you, he knows that too. But did you also know that it actually takes more time for a stringer to string a badminton racket? You can probably imagine that it is really quite a struggle to weave those small nylon strings through tiny grommets. Logically, your stringers charges a bit more for badminton rackets. Tennis rackets are not all exactly the same of course, but in general they are all charged for the same amount of labour costs. Squash rackets generally are restrung the quickest because of their relatively small head size and smooth strings.

Different strings, different prices

It certainly deserves a moment to consider what type of strings are actually being offered by your favourite stringer. Probably one that suits you, otherwise you wouldn’t get your restrings there, right? But how do you know for sure if you have never tried other strings? In sport shops the strings that are being invoiced normally are so called ‘sets’, which are cut of at the specific length to string one racket with. Because these are in demand the most by the majority of customers, prices are a bit higher than compared to the relative cost per racket of so called ‘reels’. If you want to know more about this, we suggest to read our article on different types of strings.

Different stringers, different offers

That being said, the most price differences are in the service levels offered by various stringers. And yes, rule of thumb is that prices of sport shops are generally higher. That’s not strange when you consider all the fixed costs these businesses have to account for, like rent. Small independent professionals and hobbyists of course don’t have these costs. In addition, sport shops have to spend valuable time on other activities than only stringing rackets, like selling shoes or shirts.

Trainers are making a bit on the side

Trainers at local clubs normally offer to string rackets for their students and other members. Pretty understandable, as this makes for a nice bonus in a business where booked hours vary from one season to another. Often they have build strong relationships with their students and these students trust in the ability of their teacher to string their rackets properly. Plus, it saves them some time of dropping the racket of at a shop and then picking it up. Also, because club trainers aren’t dependent of the racket income they can normally keep labour costs low, even if we see that trainers don’t always actually do that. In any case, they don’t have the need to invest in the latest and newest stringing machines because they can be strung in the comfort of their homes.

What started as a hobby…

Private individuals and hobby stringers often start stringing rackets because of interest or in order to save some money on the costs of stringing their own rackets. They normally then offer their services to family, friends and other members at their clubs. Because in this fase they consider it a hobby, prices are generally the lowest. They are satisfied with making a bit money on the side, with which they can maintain their stringing machines and own purchases of new strings. Because of their passion and low prices, interest for their services can grow quickly. These hobbyists then are faced with the question: keep stringing as a hobby or grow into a (semi)professional service? In fact, this is exactly the question we faced in 2010 and of course, we decided to start our business.

Service time

What poses you as a customer for an interesting question: when do I really need my racket back? Of course, we all would like to have our rackets back as fast as possible and there are definitely some stringers that offer these services. But it differs from stringer to stringer how much they charger for these services. Also worth mentioning is that swings in demand in some cases will mean that when you could have your racket back in a couple of hours in the past, does not mean you’ll get it back that fast in the future. It can help to contact your stringer in advance about this. Club trainers are a good example of this as they normally give you your racket the next week, which may bother you as you would like to go play earlier.

Quality level

Last but not least, quality level may seem like something you could save some money on but it actually should be a consistent factor when comparing prices across the board. Finding a certified stringer gives you the confidence that he or she knows how to consistently get your favourite strings in, without any damage or breakages to the string. This is difficult to guarantee of course, so the experience of the stringer self will be an important aspect to consider. Also, you’ll find that having a stringer who can really do a proper job of advising you on choosing the right string for your playing style and technique can have a great benefit to your game. A good tip is, to ask if the stringer keeps record of your past orders and tension preferences, so that you can build a history of testing and tweaking with the goal of finding that one perfect setup.

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