I can't express enough how important it has been for me to develop a personal relationship with my piano technician. I don't mean a piano tuner although my piano technician does tune my piano, but an actual registered piano technician. What's the difference? The Pianos Technicians Guild grants the Registered Piano Technician (RPT) credential after a series of rigorous examinations that test skills in piano tuning, regulation and repair. It's like having an actual mechanic rather than just someone who only changes oil!
I met my piano technician several years ago and quickly discovered that both her AND her husband (also a registered piano technician) work together so I gained two for the price of one! They are wonderful, well trained and well-informed in their skill and I consider them to be the best in our area. In fact, when I was looking for a new piano, they were invaluable with their advice and even looked at various pianos for me to help me make a well-informed choice.
I worked to build a great relationship with them, inviting them to dinner and proposing we work together to help them build their business while they helped me to build mine. I came prepared with some ideas and they quickly saw the benefit. It has turned out to be one of the most effective ways that I have gotten new students and also a way that I provide value to my students.
Primarily, I put their business information in my studio policy as my "technicians of choice" and when I sit down with prospective students I make sure to mention that section and provide them with a business card. When I ran my Mystery Music Camps, one of the days included a study of the piano. My piano technician came (free of charge!) to the camp, took the piano apart and showed the kids how it worked. When I sent notes home with parents that day, I was sure to feature information about her and the contribution she made to the camp. Almost every one of my students now uses them and like me, are extremely happy! I get asked about a "good tuner" in the area quite frequently, sometimes at the strangest times! I carry my piano technicians business cards with me and pass them out whenever I can.
In return, they also recommend me exclusively. They are constantly asked about a "good" teacher they might know and yes, they carry my cards too! The key is that we have both worked hard to build professional, well-respected businesses so it's easy for us to feel comfortable with the referral.
I would encourage you first of all to make sure you are using a RPT rather than just a tuner so that you are properly caring for that the huge investment you use to make your living and secondly, I would encourage you to consider building a personal relationship that helps both of you build your business.
It's been well-worth the investment for me and....I've also gained some great friends!