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Meet Bill McIlvaine of Grandfather Clock Repair LLC in Down Town Los Angeles

Today we’d like to introduce you to Bill (William) McIlvaine.

Bill, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I have been fixing clocks professionally for over 25 years. It seems to be a vocation that followed me through life. When I was in 7th grade, my neighbor decided I should help him fix his anniversary clock. He was a jolly retired mechanical engineer and we had three good weeks of laughs and head scratching before we gave up. After college and a career in advertising, I got some training and bought a yellow pages ad. The rest is pretty much what you might expect – I really enjoy the work and get a sense of accomplishment from it, my customers like having their clocks work correctly and are glad they can find someone who will come to the house and do a good job.

Has it been a smooth road?
There are always unique challenges with every different clock. For one thing, it seems there are endless variations of clock cabinets and ways to put them together – so getting them apart can be interesting. Most clock owners don’t know that they should have their clock cleaned and oiled every 5 years and if they do, they are unsure of how to find a reliable craftsperson to work on their clock. I am fortunate that I have so many good reviews on sites like Angie’s List.

Since I do not have a retail store, I provide on-site service and repairs in the customer’s home. House calls can be a challenge because I have to effectively “bring my workshop with me”. I have developed strategies over time so I can fix 90 to 95% of the clocks at the customer’s home. Occasionally I will have to bring a clock movement back to my home if more extensive repairs are needed.

I really enjoy having the ability to do the job right – not just for my customers, also for my own satisfaction. If it takes a little longer to do a thorough job, I am happy to spend the time and get things ticking!

So, let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Grandfather Clock Repair LLC story. Tell us more about the business.
I fix just about all types of mechanically driven clocks, but I specialize in Grandfather clock repair. While I am working people often share the story of their clock with me. I enjoy talking to my customers and I love it when people want to watch me doing the work. Going to a customer’s home or office to fix a clock is normal for me. I will drive all over to get to a clock and fix it.

I am proud of delivering world class service to my customers, for instance when Harrod’s of London had a clock delivered and requested service, they contacted me. On the other end of the spectrum, I love fixing “kit clocks” – lots of people have a grandfather clock that was made by their father or grandfather. As you can imagine some of these clocks are assembled using non-standard techniques (I swear I have fixed some with rubber bands and paper clips holding them together). My customers and I appreciate them all – especially when they are running well.

In addition to making “Real House Calls” I recently began offering “Virtual House Calls” – when a customer has a relatively simple problem like “the pendulum fell off” I coach them through the fix on a video call. It saves me having to travel and saves my customers money!

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
The clock business is a funny thing. What we sell is an antique technology that provides a more elegant and sustainable way of measuring the passage of time. Since clocks were first invented almost a thousand years ago they have indeed stood the test of time and increased in popularity. I think the overall trend will continue.

Contact Info:

  • Website: www.grandfatherclockrepairllc.com
  • Phone: (310)962-7911
  • Email: grandfatherclockrepairllc@gmail.com
  • Facebook: Grandfather Clock Repair LLC
  • Other: Angie’s List – Grandfather Clock Repair LLC


Image Credit:

All photos used with permission

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