It is quite rare for me to work out on site, in fact I normally refuse. Too much of what I do requires large machines like pillar drills and lathes. The variety of materials I need, the number of tools and jigs I use, or simply the quantity of spare parts makes working out on site a physical impracticality. However the main reason for my reluctance is the compromise in quality; the purpose of my development of specialist tools and jigs is to continually raise the standard of my work – if these aren’t accessible then I am forced to roll back the clock, sometimes well over a decade, to how I used to work. Put simply, I don’t see why I should be forced to do work that I know is wrong.
However, when one of my trade customers, has a big hire job but cannot provide on site technical support because I do all the repairs and maintenance on their orchestral percussion, I become the obvious choice.
The key is preparation – all of their gear went out on site in good condition, and I had no major problems with any of it. So my massive supply of spare parts and tools that I drove down in the van were only used to sort out the extra instruments that my customer had to hire in! I remember this situation from my days at Impact Percussion. Impact sometimes needed to hire instruments from another hire company to fulfill an orchestra’s requirements. I would have to repair those instruments before Impact could send them out!
Anyway, I learnt a lot about what goes on behind the scenes at big music festivals, walked a long way back and forth to various venues, and drank a lot of iced tea! Oh, and I repaired a few percussion instruments and a lot of music stands.