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22nd November 2011

Stringing together a business

‘Restringing rackets, Dan is able to undercut many of the big sports clubs’

A more alternative and yet lucrative business venture, BSc Economics student Dan Shiner runs Fallowfield’s only tennis racket restringing business. A keen tennis player himself, playing for the university and treasurer on the tennis committee, Dan set up his tennis racket re-stringing business aged 14, when a coach recommended that it would be more economical to re-string his own rackets. With racket re-stringing costing around £25 a pop, the £500 racket restringing machine and prospects of fellow tennis players also seeking to avoid the high costs of tennis clubs, seemed like a good investment.

Racket restringing is understandably a  technical process; not only in the re-string itself, but also to ensure the tension of the strings and string type is correct for that player. After a significant amount of practice on his own rackets and through learning more about the technicalities of it with a Wimbledon stringer, Dan was eventually able to get his new enterprise going, and began to spread the word to school friends and fellow tennis players.

Dan easily paid off his start-up costs within the first two years of purchasing the restringing machine. Now based in Manchester, he charges £9-£12 for restringing a racket (depending on whether the customer provides their own stringing reel). That means at least £9 profit for every racket, and hundreds of rackets being restrung per year. Already this term, Dan has restrung 26 rackets, a number which will continue to increase more rapidly as the academic year progresses. Since it is a seasonal business, his peak trading period is the beginning of the summer. Furthermore, with a strong presence in University tennis and his year’s worth of racket re-stringing practice, Dan’s customer base is particularly strong.

He commented:‘It’s all word of mouth, I get a lot of people who I’ve strung for previously coming back, we don’t play too much at uni, so I will probably break mine four or five times a year. For others, it depends on how much spin they put on and how often they play’.

It is clear that Dan is onto a sound business model, with various networks available to tap into customers. A monopoly over the Fallowfield racket restringing business and straight profits of £9 per racket (each of which which take 20 minutes to restring – making earnings of £27 per hour), enable Dan to undercut many of the big sports clubs (who usually charge £18 – £30), saving students money and earning relatively substantial profits whilst at university.

Dan explained ‘if you have had the same string in your racket for a long time then the tension usually goes, negatively impacting your game. Also, when you buy a racket, the strings already in there are strung loosely’. So, if you would like to save money on your racket restringing, e-mail Dan at [email protected]


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