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Estimate the number of piano tuners in San Francisco?

estimation Guesstimate market estimation
New answer on Apr 30, 2020
3 Answers
3.1 k Views
PK asked on Apr 10, 2020
Director of Product at PayPal. Based in SF. Worked at Twitter, Yelp, Salesforce, Houzz in the past.

Clarifying questions and assumptions:

Piano Tuners - These are people who tune pianos so that the piano produces the right notes. They are called on-demand by individuals with pianos or by places like music schools etc.

Assuming SF population → 1M


# of piano tuners in SF = # of users with pianos x avg.piano tuner request frequency

# of users with piano in SF = # of households in SF with piano + # of individuals with pianos

SF is primarily occupied by singles or younger couples who don’t necessarily have a traditional household, Thus assuming 60% of SF is individuals and 40% are households.

400 individuals are part of household → 400K/3 → 133K households

600k individuals

Also, pianos are expensive to buy and maintain, so I am assuming only 50% of households and 25% individuals can actually potentially afford it. Assuming the household has a higher chance of buying it since there are usually 2 or more sources of income.

Potential SF TAM for Pianos

133K x 0.50 → 65K

600K/4 -> 150K

Assuming, 20% of this TAM actually has pianos in San Franciso → 0.2 x (150K+65K)

43K pianos are there in San Francisco.

In general, pianos would require tuning atleast once a quarter and a tuner can tune about 3 pianos per day.

Thus the number of piano tuners needed to meet this demand

43K/(3x90) = 160 piano tuners are in San Franciso


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Content Creator
replied on Apr 11, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut


Overall agree, but you are focusing on the household markets and forgetting the "public" pianos (e.g., restaurants, music schools, concert halls, etc.)



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Content Creator
replied on Apr 11, 2020
Bain Consultant | Interviewer for 3 years at Bain |Passionate about coaching |I will make you a case interview Rockstar

Hi PK,

My feedback would be the following:

1. 20% penetration seems very high to me. I would say that 5% or so maybe is more reasonable.

2. I am lacking the Pianos used my music schools, high schools, universities, etc. in your market sizing. I would assume that this also would be at least a reasonably large part of the market and these pianos are likely tuned for frequently.

If you add #2 you could consider segmenting the tuning frequency between privately-owned pianos and public ones.

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Content Creator
replied on Apr 30, 2020
McKinsey | NASA | top 10 FT MBA professor for consulting interviews | 6+ years of coaching

Hi, I think it is a good approach. Always try to stay in 20 minutes and - if needed - accelerate some estimations by asking to the interviewer


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Clara gave the best answer


Content Creator
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut
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