What It Takes to Excel as a Racquet Stringer
One of the questions that I am most frequently asked is: What does it take to excel as a racquet stringer? There are probably many answers and different opinions. I would like to address this question using four traits I believe are needed to achieve excellence.
The first trait a stringer must possess is Passion. Passion for the sport. Passion for your craft. Passion for pleasing your clients. Passion for never being satisfied. I say you must have passion for your sport because I truly believe you must play the sport to string for the sport. A good racquet stringer must experience first-hand how the racquet feels, how the strings feel and how the tension feels. You need to be on the court collecting data so you can be knowledgeable when advising your clients on strings, tensions and racquet selection. Stringing is an art form and you have to love making art! Standing behind the stringing machine for hours on end can be grueling and tedious. If your passion is great for your work, then the countless hours on your feet will seem easier and more gratifying. Being a great racquet stringer should also evoke great intrinsic pleasure. The power surge you receive from pleasing your clients should make you happy. When they tell you that they are pleased with your work, you should feel a sense of accomplishment and your passion for your craft should grow. Passion for becoming a better craftsman should always be a driving force. Once you believe that you are the master, the expert, you no longer are because the learning process has ceased. You always want to be the racquet stringer who is current with what is happening now without forgetting the basic foundation of your craft.
The second trait necessary to excel as a racquet stringer is Professionalism. Your clients need to know that you take your craft seriously and that you consider yourself to be a professional racquet stringer. Your work is your reputation and you must hold yourself to a high standard. Knowledge and education are key ingredients to being a professional. The more information you can obtain about your craft, the more credible you will be, and you will begin to be viewed as an expert. Striving for excellence involves a desire to be a better craftsman than you were before.
Furthermore, being professional also involves acquiring the necessary equipment to practice your craft effectively and proficiently. Do the necessary research and purchase a stringing machine and the complimentary tools that will enable you to produce the best possible results. Becoming a dedicated professional takes time and hard work but the payoff of being one is priceless.
The third, and perhaps most challenging trait, is Willingness. Your desire to please your customers should be the main focus of your business. Although racquet stringing is your art, it is also part of the service industry. When you offer a high premium service, such as 24 hour turn around, your reputation and your business will grow. It will take more work and longer hours, but a happy customer is worth all of the extra effort.
Letting your client know that you are willing to string by appointment, or that you are willing to stay late to get the job done, shows dedication to them and to your craft. Carrying a vast array of strings and grips will also show that you are dedicated to helping your client find the correct product to improve their game. Once your customers understand your willingness to go the extra mile, your business and reputation will begin to reap the benefits.
The fourth and final trait is Commitment. ‘The quality goes in before the name goes on’. This is the slogan of the Zenith Radio Company from 1929. I am very passionate about this quote because my business is based on this mantra and I want my clients to know that I am committed to quality. Striving for the highest standard of quality should be the professional racquet stringer’s primary goal.
In addition to quality, you must be committed to offering a consistent product. Each and every racquet that you string must be strung with the same high quality craftsmanship, whether it be the first of the day or the last. When stringing multiple racquets for the same client, string them consecutively because the result of each must be the same. Good players can feel the difference. If you have multiple stringing machines, make sure you service the same client’s racquets on the same machine. Being a committed and consistent racquet stringer will, in turn, make your clients more committed to you and to your business.
Lastly, your reputation in the industry is everything. You want your clients to know that you operate your business with a high degree of integrity. This involves offering a high quality product at a fair price, as well as, disclosing to your client exactly what work you did to their racquet. To this point, I recommend placing a string data sticker inside the throat of every racquet that leaves your pro shop. The sticker should include your company logo and phone number, the type of string and gauge, the tension, the stringing date, and your client’s name. Every player that strings their racquet with you should be aware of what string and tension they are using. Beyond that, having high integrity demonstrates honesty and the notion that you truly care for client’s satisfaction. Maintaining this high standard of commitment and integrity will come back to you tenfold with increased customer loyalty and business growth.
Excellence is a standard that all racquet stringers should strive for. It takes great passion and professionalism along with the willingness to serve and the ability to show a deep commitment to your clients and to the art of stringing.
USPTA Elite Professional
USRSA Master Racquet Technician
Owner of The Racquet Man