Pinball Rehab

pinball repair and restoration

Shop Job Shop Job Hot

In the old days, a shop job to a route guy meant a quick cleaning and waxing (using a cleaner/waxer) and a basic verification that the machine was working enough to make money.  The tech was typically expected to complete about three to four of these in a day.

Nowadays, there is a lot of confusion in regards to the definition of a shop job.  So be wary when you buy a pinball that has supposedly been shopped.  A good shop job will cost $200-600* and takes, on average, 16 hours.  On the other hand a quick shop job is worth about $100.

*EM games are at the lower end and modern multi-layer games are at the higher end.

If you're paying someone to shop your game the price will typically not include major repairs; anything more than a switch adjustment or loose wire.  On the other hand if you are buying a game that was shopped I would expect everything to be working.  Since it's kind of stupid to have the cosmetic stuff taken care of and ignore things that are broken.

Following is what I personally would define as a decent shop job.

  1. Inside of cabinet is vacuumed and cleaned.
  2. Outside of cabinet is cleaned and waxed.
  3. Major playfield components removed and playfield cleaned and waxed.
  4. Translite or backglass is cleaned.
  5. Playfield glass is cleaned.
  6. All plastics and ramps are cleaned.
  7. All bad bulbs are replaced.
  8. All rubbers are replaced.
  9. The batteries are replaced.
  10. Diagnostics are ran any faults identified.
  11. Easy repairs completed.

In addition, a Pinball Rehab shop job includes the following.

  1. Blackened bulbs replaced.
  2. Critical ROM upgrades are performed.
  3. Critical Service Bulletins are installed.
  4. Heavy wear spots on playfield buffed out.
  5. Mechanical assemblies are lubricated per manual.
  6. Beer seal is replaced.
  7. Flippers, bumpers and kickers are inspected and parts replaced as required.
  8. Any burnt connectors are replaced.
  9. The cabinet is deodorized.
  10. Minimum 5 hours testing and fine tuning of game play.

Based on my experience, after years of buying pinball games, here's the basic parts of a shop job that are not done.

  1. Inside of cabinet is not cleaned.
  2. Outside of cabinet is not waxed.
  3. Major components are not removed before cleaning and waxing.
  4. Underside of playfield is not vacuumed or cleaned.
  5. Plastics and ramps that are easily reached are cleaned.
  6. Hard to get to bulbs are not replaced.
  7. Hard to get to rubbers are not replaced.
  8. Diagnostics typically are not ran.

While asking the person what they consider a shop job might get a truthful answer, it's really better to educate yourself so you can examine a machine and tell what type of job was done (see our Buying a Pinball Guide).

Please note that in any case, a shop job does not cover any cosmetic issues: broken plastics, damaged cabinet paint, playfield damage, etc.  If you're looking for that condition of game you need to consider a full restoration done by a reputable dealer.