I once remember reading a blog by Trevor Talbert on pipe repair. Although, I'm paraphrasing
he went on to say that pipe repair was a trap and went on to say that the law of diminishing returns, started to come into play. Expectation vs labor etc, to a large degree was spot on with his assessment. There is in my experience value in pipe repair and restoration if the owner follows these steps before sending a pipe out for repair.
1) Assess your you pipe:
We have all had a pipe we would like repaired but have we looked at it as a whole? What needs to be done beyond a stem. How clogged with cake is it? How dirty is it?
2) How much did you pay for your pipe:
Many times repairmen have heard "That cost more than I paid for it". You may be correct Sir. As many years in the fishing industry and in the trades have taught me labor has a price. If someone thought enough to send you their pipe the repairman is going to fix it. He will not put a stem on a broken shank or not ream out a bowl that's so clogged that the pipe will not smoke.
3) Always call ahead:
It never costs anything to call me or any repairman for advice. There are always circumstances that arise and I'm all too happy to help one make a decision.
A well cared for pipe will give its owner a lifetime of enjoyment that is well worth the price of repair and possibly increase the value and collectability in some cases. That's just one man's opinion.