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Commercial record cleaning?

Discussion in 'off topic' started by Jimin, Mar 22, 2021.

  1. Jimin

    Jimin pfm Member

    Wasn't sure where to post this really, but here we are. I picked up a mk 1 Moth cleaner a year or two ago, made from a kit, bargain price. It has made such a difference to my records, it's without doubt the finest upgrade I've ever made. When I think about the state of the records I used to play...!

    Anyhow I was having a lockdown daydream the other day, pretending to work from home, as you do. I got to thinking, the price of record cleaning machines is rather high. Too high for most folk. So, hypothetically, if one could find cheap premises, invest in a decent machine, cleaning fluid, Nagaoka inner sleeves, and associated bits and pieces, would this be a reasonable enterprise? To make some pocket money, I mean, alongside my usual job.

    Has anyone thought about, or done this themselves? I get that sound quality is subjective, and you'd probably have ensure that you don't raise expectations - who knows what badly set up turntable these records might go home to? - but cleaning records solely on the basis of extending stylus life is sensible.

    I'm rambling a bit but I would be interested to hear people's thoughts. What would you expect from a record cleaning business? Lint free gloves, velvet drying racks, insurance of course, decent coffee while you wait... after a cursory search, seems that nobody is offering a record cleaning service near me. Is there a glaringly obvious reason for this, that I've not noticed?
  2. Vinny

    Vinny pfm Member

    Postage - both ways - I'll say no more apart from that local trade will be approx. zero.
    Mike Reed likes this.
  3. colasblue

    colasblue pfm Member

    There used to be a few record shops that offered this service but they're long gone now.

    I had a few records cleaned by Keith Monks machine at Oliver Crombie's once but I felt it made no difference and never had any done again.

    I can't see you getting anywhere with "premises" as such. Sounds more like a garden shed or garage enterprise and records in and out by courier.
  4. Jimin

    Jimin pfm Member

    I was thinking drop off and collect
  5. Vinny

    Vinny pfm Member

    I woud think that that would represent no trade worth considering.
    Tarzan likes this.
  6. Jimin

    Jimin pfm Member

    I have a back room of a shop I can use for nowt.
  7. Jimin

    Jimin pfm Member

    D'you reckon? You're probably right. I dunno. Lots of online sellers, collectors. Idle thoughts
  8. Spiderous

    Spiderous pfm Member

    Once you’ve factored in all of your overheads, considered how long it takes to open, clean, dry, repack and post a record back out again I doubt you’ll make minimum wage.
    Bob McC and Vinny like this.
  9. Jimin

    Jimin pfm Member

    I won't be going on Dragon's Den at this rate will I?
    Vinny likes this.
  10. Vinny

    Vinny pfm Member

    My record collection has grown far faster in recent years - older and more disposable income, but I have always been careful and have been using Nagaoka sleeves for well over 30 years. I am a so-called audiophile. Approx. none of my records would benefit at all from cleaning. (I have a Moth and clean any secondhnd records when they arrive, no new records - no point at all.)

    So how many audiophiles that have not looked after their records do you reckon there are within, say, 30 miles? How do you get the word to them all?
  11. Spiderous

    Spiderous pfm Member

    That said, I have a few record fairs local to me in bars / coffee shops. I occasionally think about offering to pay for a few coffees if they let me take my pro-jest along and offer record cleaning alongside the sellers just to test the local market.
    Jimin likes this.
  12. Jimin

    Jimin pfm Member

    I don't know anyone else with a record cleaning machine. Free advertising can happen on Facebook, Gumtree.

    I get that this is probably an awful idea but it's a bit of fun thinking about it when I should be doing something constructive
    Vinny likes this.
  13. Vinny

    Vinny pfm Member

  14. Jimin

    Jimin pfm Member

    I could sell pickled eggs while you wait. Pound each
  15. Vinny

    Vinny pfm Member


    The world loves a trier
  16. Bob McC

    Bob McC Living the life of Riley

    Go for it.
    The kitchen knife thread led me to finding a local knife sharpener who will be getting my business later this week sharpening my kitchen knives at £2.50 a blob.
    Jimin likes this.
  17. paulfromcamden

    paulfromcamden Baffled

    It's certainly something I would use if it was local. I have an ancient Nitty Gritty that's OK but far from perfect.

    You'd be better off pitching it to record nerds though. Lots of collectors pick up rare but grubby records and (surprisingly) very few have record cleaners.
    Jimin likes this.
  18. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed pfm Member

    Let's see; two quid a clean, wee bit of profit on sleeve, post/packing on top maybe £4, so minimum of £5 or 6 quid a record unless you're local (after the lockdown).

    Used RCM is about £250 to £400. Taking a sample here, for the price of cleaning about 50 records, you could get yourself an RCM. This from the potential customer's p.o.v.. Besides, from your p.o.v., would you REALLY enjoy making peanuts for the laborious task of cleaning others' records which may or may not represent a satisfactory improvement to them?

    I rest my case ('cos I'm tired and it's heavy).:)
  19. JimmyB

    JimmyB pfm Member

    I think you're all forgetting the hipster market.
    If there are enough in a three mile radius and there's a decent roasting/coffee shop who'll let you set up in the corner then you could make it work......

    'Guaranteed to clean beard oil from your newly purchased vinyls'

    (Note 'vinyls' plural which annoys the eff out of me when the hipster nephew uses it)
    Jimin likes this.
  20. misterdog

    misterdog Not the canine kind

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