New policy at Hoppe’s Brain: I’m going to start actually billing for my time. :)

Real talk y’all. Hoppe’s Brain has been in business since 2016, yet I am constantly BROKE. I barely have enough money to keep parts in stock, and my partner has been paying more than their fair share of household expenses. I feel guilty when I spend money on fun things. I haven’t had a real vacation in 8 years. 🙁 It cannot go on like this. I am stressed out, working my ass off, and yet constantly struggling financially.

So what’s the problem? Profit margins on my products are good, and I’m working about 50-60 hours per week! It’s not because I’m not working hard!

I’ve realized it’s because I’m not getting paid for my time, doing tech support for customers, and teaching people electronics in the course of doing so.

I spend hours every day, answering tech support emails and taking phone calls, helping people troubleshoot their amplifiers for free. I really love helping people fix their stuff. It’s why I’m in business. But I can’t do it for free anymore.

Electronics is hard, amplifiers are complex, and there is so much that can go wrong with them. It takes years of training and practice to get proficient at fixing amplifiers. Most of my customers are hobbyists with real jobs, so they cannot be expected to be expert electronics technicians, and that’s great! It’s a fun hobby! But when people get stuck on their repairs, or the magic smoke escapes from their amplifier, and they’ve already spent lots of money with me already, I feel obligated to help them get it up and running. I really want them to succeed! Sometimes I worry that the customer’s problem might actually be something that’s my fault, or that maybe the board is bad, or maybe I got a bad part from a supplier… etc etc etc…

But you know what? It doesn’t even matter if it’s my fault, I still need to bill for my time. My products are superb, and I work super hard to make sure they are as flawless as humanly possible. But I am human, and I do make mistakes, and that risk is part of the price of doing business with me.

New policy: My products come with 30 minutes free tech support, and that includes writing emails, phone calls, and researching your issue. Time beyond 30 minutes is billed at $75/hr. If you anticipate needing help getting your amp running, I am happy to do that, but please consider my time as part of the price.

Thanks for reading, and for all the support I get, it’s much appreciated.


7 thoughts on “New policy at Hoppe’s Brain: I’m going to start actually billing for my time. :)

  1. Chris, I am surprised you weren’t charging. I have used your boards to do 3 gfa555 amps and love them. Thanks for doing what you do. John

  2. I hope people realize it’s very rare these days to find someone like Chris that has a genuine passion for what he does, and actually cares about improving his products to the nth degree. In my business I run across people every day that provide a service for a fee that only care about about getting it out the door and collecting the fee. Quality is a distant priority for them.

    I’ve rebuilt several 565 and 555 amps using Chris’ products and they are top notch. He deserves to make a decent living.

  3. I pay $85 an hour and split drive time costs with the remote tech I use to help me maintain my recording studio. He’s worth every penny and he has a family to support. You should have started charging for your expertise sooner. Your customers that appreciate you won’t mind at all.

  4. You could probably go higher. Most support probably doesn’t require a full hour of your time, but I suspect most folks who need help probably would be happy spending $75-$100 to get professional qualified and sympathetic help, even if that only took 15 minutes of your time…
    Great to see how you have created a business from our shared hobby!!!

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