Angie's List: To repair or replace? - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Angie's List: To repair or replace?

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(WKOW) -- When something breaks, are you more likely to repair it or replace it?  Angie's List recently reviewed records over the past decade to see if the repair industry itself is in need of a repair. 

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

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics back this up.  They show virtually no change in employment with the repair industry.  Angie's List records also indicate a steady of 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 Let's face it, VCRs are becoming more outdated, even though I still have one myself.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," says Hicks. 

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.  You can 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," says Ryan Wagner, an appliance store manager.  

When it comes to vacuums, Angie cautions people about tossing out the 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 machines as good as new.

Angie's List research shows that there are still plenty of repair people in the industry for when you need them. 

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