Angie's List says you shouldn't be too quick to toss the toaster

With a ready supply of new appliances and other home items readily available at every discount store, it might seem like replacing worn out or broken things like toasters, vacuums and lamps is the easiest remedy. In today’s Angie’s List report we learn that repair shops still exist and can save you serious money.

It’s easy to toss the toaster that keeps burning your toast. It’s even a great excuse to upgrade. But enough of us are heading to the repair shop to make that industry still a viable one.

“You might be surprised to find out that the repair industry is doing just fine. Across the 30 categories related to repair over the last 10 years, they’re holding steady or even growing,” Angie's List Founder, Angie Hicks said.

U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics back this up, showing virtually no change in employment with the repair industry. And Angie’s List records indicate a steady stream of repair jobs for things like gas grills and musical instruments. Repairs for screens, large appliances and furniture have dropped only slightly.

“There are a couple of items people tend to replace rather than repair and they include VCRs and watches. Let’s face it, VCRs are becoming more outdated, even though I still have one myself. Watches still get repaired periodically, but not as much as they did 10 years ago,” Hicks said.

When it comes to electronics and appliances, Angie’s List recommends using its Cost Plus Age formula to determine whether to replace or repair. Replace any item if the repair will cost more than half the price of buying a new one AND if it’s nearing the end of its useful life. Apply similar logic to expensive clothing and jewelry.

“If the consumer made an initial investment in that that was pretty large – not saying a refrigerator – and they can get it fixed for a couple hundred dollars, they may opt to repair,” appliance store manager Ryan Wagner said.

Worried you can’t find a repair man – or woman? Don’t be. Employment experts and Angie’s List show there are plenty of them out there still going strong.

When it comes to vacuums, Angie cautions people about tossing out that old one too quickly. Company research shows a decline in these repairs, but she says a number of members report repairs costing as little as five dollars made their 10-to-20-year-old machines as good as new.

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