PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — What do you do when the coffee pot stops brewing, the leaf blower stops blowing or the laptop goes haywire? Do you fix it or go buy new?
Angie’s List recently reviewed records over the past decade to see if the repair industry itself is in need of the repair. The answer might surprise you.
It’s easy to toss the toaster that keeps burning your toast. It’s a convenient excuse to upgrade. Buying disposable products actually dates back to the 1950s, but did we really become a throw-away society with no room for repair?
You might be surprised to find out that the repair industry is doing just fine. Across the 30 categories related to repair over the last 10 years, they’re holding steady or even growing.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics back this up, showing virtually no change in employment with the repair industry. And Angie’s List records indicate a steady stream of repair jobs for things like gas grills and musical instruments. Repairs for screens, large appliances and furniture have dropped only slightly.
There are a couple of items people tend to replace rather than repair, and they include VCRs and watches. Let’s face it, VCRs are becoming more outdated. Watches still get repaired periodically, but not as much as they did 10 years ago.
When it comes to electronics and appliances, Angie’s List recommends using its cost-plus-age formula to determine whether to replace or repair. Replace any item if the repair will cost more than half the price of buying a new one and if it’s nearing the end of its useful life. Apply similar logic to expensive clothing and jewelry.
“If the consumer made an initial investment in that that was pretty large — not saying a refrigerator — and they can get it fixed for a couple hundred dollars, they may opt to repair,” said Ryan Wagner, an appliance store manager.
Worried you can’t find a repair-man or -woman? Don’t be. Employment experts and Angie’s List show there are plenty of them out there still going strong.
When it comes to vacuums, Angie cautions people about tossing out that old one too quickly.
Company research shows a decline in these repairs, but she says a number of members report repairs costing as little as $5 made their 10-to-20-year-old machines as good as new.