The Pipe Making Business

An on-line forum to discuss uilleann pipes

Moderators: the plod, snoogie, dropkick

Post Reply
Posts: 630
Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2009 2:02 pm

The Pipe Making Business

Post by outofthebox » Fri Sep 16, 2011 5:32 am

It seems to me that there are particular problems that arise again and again in relation to the business of pipemaking. The model goes something like this - a gifted instrument maker, having perfected his skills, receives a start-up business grant and starts taking orders. At first the orders come in at a slow pace, so the pipemaker has plenty of time to put his heart and soul into each set of pipes. Soon his reputation as a pipemaker begins to grow and the number of orders begins to increase and with a steady receipt of cash deposits, things seem to be going great. But...Now the pipemaker, working away alone in his workshop is under increasing pressure to meet customer deadlines, so he needs to work faster. Delivery deadlines begin to slip and the quality of the instruments may also begin decline at this point. Then perhaps the pipemaker has an injury or some other problem with his health and while he is unable to work, the backlog of orders continues to grow.

This is of course a worst case scenario and applies equally to other one man businesses. I suppose that those pipemakers who have managed to make it work over the years have done so by rigorously restricting the number of commissions that they will accept - or by working in association with another pipemaker or apprentices, so that the business can cope when increased demand requires a rapid rise in output.

Posts: 71
Joined: Tue Apr 05, 2005 3:37 pm
Real Name: Ted Anderson
Location: No. California

Re: The Pipe Making Business

Post by Ted » Sun Sep 18, 2011 1:53 pm

I don't know of anyone who had a start-up grant. Not to say that some have or not had a grant. The increase in orders will come to a good maker. I don't know why that will yield poorer quality, if the maker adheres to his own quality standards. The waiting list just gets longer, if a list exists. I don't think quality will spiral downward just because of success. This may have happened in some cases, but there are a number of in-demand makers whose instruments just keep getting better over time. Most don't speed up to try to meet deadlines. Deadline commonly slip some for most makers, due to many factors. Rushing product and resulting lower quality standards are not the norm for any good pipe maker. Those who begin to slip up in quality will lose business.

Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Aug 09, 2010 12:32 pm
Real Name: John Ingman

Re: The Pipe Making Business

Post by Jarlath.I » Tue Sep 20, 2011 5:55 pm

I would agree that it wouldn't take very many "bad" sets for the piping community to notice. I would rather wait for a quality set than get a substandard set quickly, and I'm sure most will agree.

Posts: 149
Joined: Sun Mar 08, 2009 12:53 pm

Re: The Pipe Making Business

Post by LiamO'Flynn » Wed Sep 21, 2011 6:27 am

The top makers seem to be able to keep everything under control.
One thing seems to be apparent, and that is, that pipemaking has more than its fair share of casualties.
Liam O'Flynn the plumber not the piper .

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests