A Madison-area guide for fixes and repairs

Where to take your busted bicycles, conked-out clocks, scratched surfaces and more.
Various tools hanging on a wall in a workshop.

When an item breaks, it’s easy to toss it and buy a replacement. Sometimes it’s even cheaper and easier to purchase something new than to get something fixed, and many products today are created to last only a few years. But before you kick it to the curb, look into repairing it before you replace it. Keep reading to see what you can get repaired, and where you can take it to get the job done. Editor’s Note: Many of the businesses mentioned below might be closed currently due to COVID-19.

Fridges, freezers, stoves and ovens play a big role in our every day lives, so it’s usually understandable when they require a tune-up. Check out the three businesses Madison Magazine readers voted the Best of Madison for appliance repair: Tri-County Appliance, Appliance Service Unlimited of Middleton Inc., and Handy Appliance Center. Verona Appliance Repair can also help get your appliances working again.

Bicycles, tricycles, those two-seater tandem rides – just about anything with wheels can be fixed at bike repair shops like Madison’s Revolution Cycles on Atwood Avenue. This east-side shop will give your ride a free diagnosis and repair things like flat tires, broken chains, uncomfortable seats and more, with the exception of helmets. Those are meant to be replaced every three to five years. Expect to pay between $45 and $60 an hour plus the cost of any parts needed for repairs. The BikeMobile takes his shop on the road and offers full service bike tuneups and repairs that came to you.

Point-and-shoot or professional, digital or film — all cameras can easily be damaged. Among the most common problems are crooked lenses, broken preview screens and cracked-off parts. Dropping the camera is often the culprit, but most issues can be remedied if taken in to The Camera Co., which has several locations in Madison. Repairs costs vary greatly, depending on the severity of the issue, age of the camera and needed parts. Serious repairs can cost upwards of 25-50% of the original purchase price.

Clocks and Watches
Timekeepers of all kinds simply stop ticking sometimes. Luckily, Dykman’s Time Shop on University Avenue is expertly staffed and trained to diagnose and repair your pieces. Often, a complete overhaul of the inside workings of a clock or watch is required, and parts can be made specifically for the timepiece if needed. Clock work runs between $280 and $500; for watches, $90 to $600.

Have a skirt – or a suit, coat or pair of pants – that just doesn’t fit right? Take it to a tailor who can shape clothes precisely to suit your body. Anna’s Tailoring Studio will custom tailor anything from casual to formalwear, including suits, prom dresses and bridal gowns. Jeans have become a popular item to tailor, especially for those who need the legs shortened but want to keep the original hem. Many rips and tears are easily mendable, even alterations on leather and zippers. Prices vary based on what needs to be done. Alterations for a wedding dress, for example, costs on average between $350 and $550, while a pants hem costs between $18 and $35.

Whether your computer has a virus – or worse, your hard drive crashed – call a pro for repairs. Some will come to your home, while others will have you bring your laptop to the shop. From virus detection and removal to data back-ups and software or hardware repairs, the specialists at Mad City Techs will be able to help. If the broken computer contains data you need, get it fixed. Fixes can range from $30 to several hundred dollars.

A home’s electric gadgets, including the TVs, stereos, speakers and radios, all are bound to have an issue or two at some point. Fortunately, electronics specialists from Modern TV & Electronics are prepared to deal with bad circuits and connections and any other complex problem that arises. Prices for repairs vary from $25 to more than $1,000.

Take tables, chairs, sofas and bedroom sets that have accumulated dents and scratches or need to be refinished completely to furniture restorers like Sun Prairie’s Phil the Furniture Doctor. The pros can help revive antiques, modern pieces and everything in between. Some repairs can cost as little as $50, while others can cost upwards of $400. Refinishing work for the average homeowner runs between $300 and $900 total, but these prices vary.

Golf Clubs
Whether they’re made of steel or graphite, the shafts of golf clubs can break. Reshafting is a relatively easy fix at Nevada Bob’s, which offers other services like loft and lie adjustments, shaft cuts and extensions and more. If you are thinking about an upgrade to a new set of the latest and hottest sticks, that’s completely fine. But remember, Nevada Bob’s has a wide variety of used clubs to choose from if you want to save some money. Reshafting can cost anywhere from $35 to $600, depending on the shafts, and regripping clubs costs between $3 and $10 per club.

Heating & Cooling
Madison Magazine added Heating & Cooling as a category to the 2020 Best of Madison listing because we knew it was a need — people want to know where to go in town for heating and air conditioning needs. All Comfort Services won gold in the category, and also offers plumbing and electrical services. You can also call the folks at General Heating & Air Conditioning Inc., as well as Harker Heating & Cooling Inc. for heating and cooling repair services.

Rings, bracelets, earrings, pendants and chains all can be repaired. At Lee Dorn Jewelers, work can be done to resize rings, fix chain links, prevent stones from popping out of settings and restore the shine to vintage pieces. And custom design – particularly reworking old jewelry into new pieces – is popular. Prices vary depending on the work done, with chain repairs usually the least expensive to custom work at the top price range.

Knives, Blades and Tools
Sharp objects eventually dull, but it’s easy to give them back their edge. Take saw blades, hedge shears, grass trimmers and other hand tools to a professional at Tailored Sharpening Service to improve the condition of your tools. Expect to pay $5 to $20 for sharpening work.

Lamps and Lights
Floor lamps, table lamps and even antiques can be easily repaired at places like Kiefer Appliance. Almost always, the problem involves one of four parts: switch, socket, bulb or cord. Fluorescent and neon light fixtures are tougher to work with, but sometimes can be repaired and are worth the try if it’s something you want to keep. You can generally expect to pay around $30 for the repair of a standard lamp, with antique repairs being a little pricier.

Lawnmowers, Snow Blowers and Power Tools
Problems with lawnmowers and snow blowers – from machines not starting to broken belts to transmission and filter issues – can be problematic with our Midwest weather, but these problems are usually fixable. With seasonally used machinery, be proactive in spotting problems; it’s better to get your snow blower fixed at the start of winter rather than in the midst of a Wisconsin blizzard. TCO Power Center in Madison will tune up or repair chainsaws and different kinds of lawn mowers and snow blowers. Most companies charge somewhere between $60 and $200 for repairs, plus additional costs for any parts you might need.

Musical Instruments
All instruments benefit from annual maintenance and cleaning services. Places like Ward-Brodt Music Co. make sure broken parts and pieces can be replaces on guitars, violins, tubas, pianos — you name it. Most work falls between $45 and $115.

Shoes and Purses
Your shoes and purse don’t have to match, but both can be in good shape. Laura Janssen, owner of Janssen Shoe and Leather Repair, works on all sorts of footwear. Pros can replace heels and soles, shorten straps and patch holes. With leather handbags and luggage, they’ll mend seams and tears, fix zippers, replace linings and adjust straps. Small fixes can cost less than $10, with prices growing as the repairs become larger or more complex.

Many vacuum problems can be avoided. Owners simply need to change belts and filters often, and treat their vacuum like a car. Buy a sturdy, dependable model and don’t forget to bring it in for regular tune-ups at places like Olson Vacuum and Cleaner Sales & Service. Repairs can cost as little as $10 or as much as $400 for motor problems.

Washers and Dryers
Washers that don’t spin or drain water and dryers that make noise or stop producing heat are typical reasons for calling a repairperson from Standish Appliance Service. Motor failures are the most expensive issues, sometimes more so than getting a new machine. Companies charge between $40 and $80 for on-site service calls; parts are extra.

Windows, Screens and Mirrors
Cracked windows, torn screens and scratched mirrors all ruin views of one kind or another. Glass repair shops like Brunke Glass & Window Co. Inc. are used to these kinds of problems and will work to mend or replace the broken material. Generally, companies charge somewhere between $35 and $125 for first-story window screen repairs, and replacing mirror glass usually costs anywhere from $10 to $20 per square foot.