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Liesl Dexheimer
01-12-2012, 8:27 AM
I guess I just need to vent....

I have this potential customer (customer is head of a church) who contacted me last year wanting to see a catalog of perpetual plaque options. He borrowed it for a few weeks and then returned it. I quoted a price & he said he would have to run it by some people & he would get back to us. Well, it's December (a year later) he contacted us, wanting to meet & discuss options further. No problem. He brought in someone else though, which created a problem b/c the 2 of them were having trouble coming to an agreement about what they wanted. 25 min later they decided, I told them I would send them an invoice & they would have to send a check before we went ahead with the order (it was a $400 order). I emailed them a bill Dec 7th, they told me they would send a check within a week. Week later, no check (thank god I didn't order the stock). 2 more weeks pass, still no check. Finally, last week I emailed & asked if they were still interested, received a response saying yes they were still interested. So yesterday I sent them a revised invoice telling them the price had increased $45.00 total for the 2 perp plaques (vendor has gone up since we are in a new year). I received a response this morning saying that he would like to talk to us by phone tomorrow. Now either he is upset about the increase or he just wants to talk details about how to place the order or he's changed his mind entirely..not sure which.

Am I right to increase the price? I would like to think so, if the vendor has gone up I can't absorb that price. They had 3 weeks to send me a check before we entered the new year. I would like to think that was enough time for them to find the funds...

I don't get it, they were really happy when I told them that engraving was included in the price, everything seemed on the up and up. I honestly feel like telling them not to come back until they are really serious (like having a check in hand).

Rodne Gold
01-12-2012, 8:53 AM
I think you should go no further until some deposit to show good faith is put up , I think you are being dickered around with. I would be highly dubious of this type deal and the timelines in my business. I would be considering "Firing" this customer myself.

Robert McGowen
01-12-2012, 9:17 AM
I always include something on any quote to the effect that "price is valid until such and such date." I don't see how a customer is supposed to know your business and when costs are increasing, etc., and it does not look like you gave them any specific response time. As it appears to be an on-going negotiation, I personally would not change the price. YMMV

Derek Gilmer
01-12-2012, 9:23 AM
A 10% / $45 jump in a little over a month seems pretty steep to me. If I was the customer I'd want to see proof of why it went up (ie vendor prices for material) instead of just assuming you weren't raising the price. The main problem I can see is if another shop had stock on hand and didn't need to raise the price to get the business. But if everyone is having to bump prices they don't have much choice.

Mike Null
01-12-2012, 9:26 AM
While I think Robert's suggestion has merit you had a contract for immediate sale. You are within your rights to raise the price.

Ross Moshinsky
01-12-2012, 9:26 AM
Why react before you talk to the person?

I also think you need to grow thicker skin if you want to be in retail. We've had customers run us around the store for a $15 trophy. It's just the way it goes sometimes.

Lastly, any time you're producing a quoted price it should have a time period it is good for. If the person takes exception to the price increase, you can either stick to your guns or simply take the job and make a little less money. All depends on how you feel.


A 10% / $45 jump in a little over a month seems pretty steep to me. If I was the customer I'd want to see proof of why it went up (ie vendor prices for material) instead of just assuming you weren't raising the price. The main problem I can see is if another shop had stock on hand and didn't need to raise the price to get the business. But if everyone is having to bump prices they don't have much choice.

That's actually not the case. It costs money to warehouse goods. It's completely up to the retailer to decide whether or not to pass on any savings.

David Fairfield
01-12-2012, 9:27 AM
When doing business with clergy, expect difficulty. I think others have mentioned this trend.

Dave

Derek Gilmer
01-12-2012, 9:40 AM
That's actually not the case. It costs money to warehouse goods. It's completely up to the retailer to decide whether or not to pass on any savings.
That is why I said if they didn't need to increase the price to get the business. Might be worth it to them to eat a little of the cost to get what might be a long term customer.

Dan Hintz
01-12-2012, 10:02 AM
Religious organizations (of any kind) have never worked out well for me when it comes to profit versus time spent handling the project. All quotes I send out carry a standard set of terms, one of which is all quotes are good for 30 days from date of quote (or maybe it's less, I can't remember). Material prices go up, and therefore my price goes up to match... I'll eat it within 30 days, but if I know an increase is coming along within that time frame, I'll either change the terms for that one contract to a shorter time (and let them know why it's in their best interest) or bump up my asking price (if I feel they're going to drag their feet).

Scott Challoner
01-12-2012, 10:06 AM
When doing business with clergy, expect difficulty. I think others have mentioned this trend.

Dave
Amen. Many people at non-profits treat the phrase "We're a non-profit organization" like it's a Jedi mind trick and you're supposed to respond with, "Oh. OK. Then I'll do your job for no profit."

Ron Chapellaz
01-12-2012, 10:10 AM
Here's my 2 cents... Sometimes, that's just part of the business, and you have to take it in stride. I've had dealings with customers that have taken over a year to complete. Some customers that I deal with are volunteers who are a part of a committee. Some projects go on hold because the person looking after the project didn't follow it through. A year later, it is picked up again and I have to start the whole process over. I currently have 3 orders that have been ongoing for almost a year. Two of these orders involve grant money, and there are hoops that they have to jump through before finally placing the order. Some of these orders may seem simple to us, but may require a lot of paper work from the other side that we are unaware of.
Price increases are a fact of business, but you may loose a customer if you can't properly justify the increase. Make sure you explain to them why the price has gone up. You should always make sure you have your customers best interest at hand. Think about what it would feel like if you were that customer being told of a $45.00 increase...

You have spent time building a relationship with this customer, and it would be to your advantage to stick it through...Remember keeping a customer is easier than getting new ones!

Neil Pabia
01-12-2012, 11:06 AM
A 10% / $45 jump in a little over a month seems pretty steep to me. If I was the customer I'd want to see proof of why it went up (ie vendor prices for material) instead of just assuming you weren't raising the price. The main problem I can see is if another shop had stock on hand and didn't need to raise the price to get the business. But if everyone is having to bump prices they don't have much choice.

I don't see it the same way you do. I look at it more as what it is going to cost me to replace the stock that I already have. The price increase seems comepletely justified as the supply price has risen. This is just my opinion and may mean nothing.

Derek Gilmer
01-12-2012, 11:21 AM
I don't see it the same way you do. I look at it more as what it is going to cost me to replace the stock that I already have. The price increase seems comepletely justified as the supply price has risen. This is just my opinion and may mean nothing.
All perspective I guess. To me that is blatant mark up because you can.

Dan Hintz
01-12-2012, 11:57 AM
All perspective I guess. To me that is blatant mark up because you can.
Extend the length of time to a year. An order is discussed in January, but it isn't truly placed until December... in the meantime the cost of materials has risen 10%. Would you fault the manufacturer for passing that cost onto you?

If not, then I'm going to discuss an order right now and get a quote, but I'll wait about 10 years before placing it... I should still get it at the originally discussed price, right?

Derek Gilmer
01-12-2012, 12:05 PM
Extend the length of time to a year. An order is discussed in January, but it isn't truly placed until December... in the meantime the cost of materials has risen 10%. Would you fault the manufacturer for passing that cost onto you?

If not, then I'm going to discuss an order right now and get a quote, but I'll wait about 10 years before placing it... I should still get it at the originally discussed price, right?

If a manufacturer goes more than 1 year with out turning over inventory something is seriously wrong.

In your example if you make a contract to buy the goods from the company for a price and they don't put a time limit why wouldn't you get it for that price? That is no different than say Grizzly ordering 10000 table saws from Taiwan. They sit in a shipping port for 2 months (not impossible to have happen) during which cast iron goes up 10%. I doubt Grizzly or consumers are going to be happy to pay 10% more for an already made product because the next round of products will cost more.

That said, the free market is the free market. If you can charge someone 100% more because you are in the mood to that is your right. I'm saying as a customer I'd not have warm and fuzzies over it.

Martin Boekers
01-12-2012, 12:54 PM
In this day and age I don't feel 10% mark up for any thing is outrageous. Gas fluctuates more than that daily! :)

A way to compromise (if you like) is agree to not charge for the first few plates to be engraved. It doesn't take much
time to do this. The plates have been paid for with the plaque. So I think that would be a good way to handle it.

I also quote with a time frame limit as well as include the "buffer" (we have all seen this before) pricing may change
without notification. Untill there is committment (an order placed and signed) I don't feel an order has been placed,
do what you feel is reasonable for you and them.

I have had a similar issue when a client put off an order and was shocked they had to pay "overnight shipping" because
of their delay.

I have not had an overall price increase in 3 years, somethings I have finally reached a cost I had to have a decent increase.
Take magnets for example I'm paying over 300% than 5 months ago for these. So yes you have to reflect increases at sometime
and they can be dramatic for certain pieces.

Dee Gallo
01-12-2012, 2:52 PM
I would approach this from a different perspective. While you might still want this customer, the facts remain that the cost of doing business went up. Therefore, to be fair to everyone, I would suggest an alternative to the item they chose, a cheaper one. This way they have the option of staying within their budget and you don't lose money on the deal. If they still want the more expensive one, they will pay for it.

cheers, dee

Ross Moshinsky
01-12-2012, 3:07 PM
I would approach this from a different perspective. While you might still want this customer, the facts remain that the cost of doing business went up. Therefore, to be fair to everyone, I would suggest an alternative to the item they chose, a cheaper one. This way they have the option of staying within their budget and you don't lose money on the deal. If they still want the more expensive one, they will pay for it.

cheers, dee

Good in theory. In reality it's normally a waste of time. You spend 20-30 minutes pricing out different options and scanning the catalogs for them to just go back to their original choice. By the time you add up all the time you might as well give them the $45 discount.

We can quote items fast because I have a program which has every item from JDS, PDU, Marco and Freeman in it and it gives me the cost and it allows me to search via keywords and description. Even then it takes a lot of time.

Stephen Beckwith
01-12-2012, 3:43 PM
Hello all, this is my first post and I really didn't want to start on what looks like a negative, but this thread just kind of leapt out at me.
I deal with many Churches and have found it a joy at times, and at others its a pain. The reason is that the person I am dealing with might or might not be business minded. That being the case, I have to guide them through the purchase (I am a rug cleaner), my terms (I have never given a written quote or conditions, and never yet had an issue) and any other information I think they need to make an informed choice/decision.

My initial thought on this situation is that in the same situation I would eat the extra $45.00 but make sure they new thats what I was doing. I would mark it on the invoice as a Price Increase Absorbed as a "gesture of goodwill"
The last thing I want is at their next committee, to highlight how I stiffed them for an extra $45.00 (whether I did or not).

There could be any number of reasons they want to chat with you on the phone and to concern yourself with what those reasons might be, is futile.
Get on the right side of a Church and you will develop many referrals, many of which will not require you to quote. You will have developed a relationship built on trust (and deservedly so) and your business will never look back.
Anyhow, thats my 2 cents worth, FWIW

Cheers for now

Steve

Liesl Dexheimer
01-12-2012, 3:49 PM
Wow, thank you for all the comments, tips, suggestions, etc. Really didn't think I would get much of a response.

Honestly, I generally try to be reasonable & a little soft on my customers. Now I'm realizing more & more that I'm tired of bending the rules & bending over backwards for some customers. I've invested quite a bit of time into the project already (at least 7 emails, a few phone calls and 3 meetings). At this point I've come to the conclusion that the price is the price. One perp plaque rose $30 in a year but it has 60 plates on it (I'm guessing that's why the vendor went up so much). I definitely see the need for putting "this price is good for x amount of time" on my invoices. I've never had the need to until now. When I discussed all the details with them they made it seem like they would get the check right out to me, in fact they said it in an email. I know this sounds harsh (& I would never say it to the customer) but "You snooze, you lose." That's my attitude at the moment. I gave them plenty of opportunity & if you wait that long, well you have to pay the price, literally.

Rodne Gold
01-12-2012, 3:51 PM
Religious orgs make up a fair amount of "bad" deals in my place , we treat 'em VERY warily , espcially new customers.
Essentially the original deal is a year in the making , the deal is struck and still no cash a momth on ... Feels like this might just be a $400 loss...call me a sceptic....

Brian Kent
01-12-2012, 5:06 PM
Over my career as a pastor I have worked in many different churches. I am in one now that is functional and efficient - good people and good systems. But in addition to a lot of us pastors being strange, non-business types, we sometimes work with churches that are so "interesting". The trustees can argue about the oddest little details into eternity (and maybe literally!)

We had about a thousand dollars worth of water damage at one church because the trustee chair had lived through the great depression and didn't buy a new washer for a plumbing repair. He had one in his tin can that fit, so why waste money?

So just walk an honest path and let the church figure out how they can respond.

Martin Boekers
01-12-2012, 5:12 PM
Actually Dee, That is something I do also. I try the best that I can to quickly get budgets and time frames out in the
conversation. This saves both of us time. If the budget doesn't cover a solid walnut plaque then I really don't spend too much time
on that. On the extreme end...HeHeHe... I have a list of Dollor stores, scrapbook shops etc. When I find out they think my pricing
for metal plates is way out of line I suggest a "High End" metallic card stock that they get and print with their laser printer.
Some actually liked the idea most end up with the plates as that is what they want. \*L*/

Neil Pabia
01-13-2012, 1:31 PM
All perspective I guess. To me that is blatant mark up because you can.

I guess so, if you ever have any old Harleys or antique cars you want to sell, i'll take them at the original cost from the manufacturer at the time they were made.

Derek Gilmer
01-13-2012, 1:46 PM
I guess so, if you ever have any old Harleys or antique cars you want to sell, i'll take them at the original cost from the manufacturer at the time they were made.
Wow, with exaggeration like that you'd make a great political speech writer. Sitting on stock for a month does not equal waiting for a car to be come a classic vehicle.

But if your offer for anything like that stands I have some computers in the back that were $2000 new. I'll GLADLY sell them to you for that price.

Neil Pabia
01-13-2012, 2:10 PM
Wow, with exaggeration like that you'd make a great political speech writer. Sitting on stock for a month does not equal waiting for a car to be come a classic vehicle.

But if your offer for anything like that stands I have some computers in the back that were $2000 new. I'll GLADLY sell them to you for that price.

LOL....thanks, but I have enough trouble with the computer I already have. And yes, that was a big stretch but I had to go for it, it shows that prices do change and we are not ready to sell something at the original price but rather at replacement value. Again, this is just my opinion and worth every penny that was paid for it.

Liesl Dexheimer
01-23-2012, 12:55 PM
So I never received a call from the customer but I did just receive an email (luckily no complaint about price increase). Customer said he has check in hand for $295.00, wants me to complete both orders (which totals $440) then he will pay 2nd amount when he comes to pickup the plaques (he says he wants to check them out 1st before paying 2nd amount). Normally it wouldn't really concern me too much but with this customer I feel like I'm kinda being jerked around. He seems nice, has been polite but I have my concerns seeing as how it has taken them so long to figure out what they wanted & then this payment issue I've been having. What I think I might say is that I will complete the $295 plaque. He can come in & look @ it & he can bring me a check for the next plaque. I would like to be able to order everything together from the vendor to save on shipping but I'd rather be safe than sorry if he doesn't come through with the extra $150. What do you think?

Ian Franks
01-23-2012, 1:16 PM
So I never received a call from the customer but I did just receive an email (luckily no complaint about price increase). Customer said he has check in hand for $295.00, wants me to complete both orders (which totals $440) then he will pay 2nd amount when he comes to pickup the plaques (he says he wants to check them out 1st before paying 2nd amount). Normally it wouldn't really concern me too much but with this customer I feel like I'm kinda being jerked around. He seems nice, has been polite but I have my concerns seeing as how it has taken them so long to figure out what they wanted & then this payment issue I've been having. What I think I might say is that I will complete the $295 plaque. He can come in & look @ it & he can bring me a check for the next plaque. I would like to be able to order everything together from the vendor to save on shipping but I'd rather be safe than sorry if he doesn't come through with the extra $150. What do you think?
Liesl,
I would stick to my guns and get all the money upfront.
If you need the work then adjust the price to cater for the extra shipping if he insists on 2 payments. I always make sure that deposits/upfront payments cover the material costs so if there are payment problems at least you have covered that.
Anyway good luck with this.

Dan Hintz
01-23-2012, 1:58 PM
I'm with Ian... he has played with you too much at this point to make you comfortable about the transaction. Until I see payment in hand, I wouldn't lift another finger. If you do otherwise, he'll have ammo when he tries to get you to lower the price (and he will, you can bet your bottom on that one).

Mike Lassiter
01-23-2012, 6:17 PM
I'm with Ian... he has played with you too much at this point to make you comfortable about the transaction. Until I see payment in hand, I wouldn't lift another finger. If you do otherwise, he'll have ammo when he tries to get you to lower the price (and he will, you can bet your bottom on that one).

Yea AFTER you have finished it for him, and he hasn't paid for it he might decide he wants to renegociate. What are you going to do then :eek:. Custom work should require payment up front; unless it is someone you have previous dealing with and know they are good for payment. It is a practice you should hold too especially with new customers until they have established themselfs with you. Keep one eye open even then. It takes a lot more work to replace lost money from non payment on something YOU have money invested in and customized and can no longer sell to someone else. Think about how much business you will have to do to make up what you can lose on someone leaving you stuck with the time and materials you spent your money on.

Mike Null
01-24-2012, 6:29 AM
If you have a bad feeling about a job walk away from it.

Neil Pabia
01-24-2012, 11:27 AM
I would walk at this point, they can't pay you enough for the headaches they are causing. You are the owner of the business, you set the payment terms, not them. It sounds like they will try to talk you down in price once the job is completed.

Chuck Stone
01-24-2012, 12:16 PM
you could always introduce Neil as your price estimator and collections agent.
He can be very persuasive..

Scott Shepherd
01-24-2012, 12:51 PM
I had a recent issue with a customer. They wanted a sign made, they picked out a non-stock acrylic color. We told them 10 business days (it was a rush for them as they were opening a new office). Orders it by leaving a voice mail after hours on Thursday night. I order the material on Friday, we get a nasty email Saturday morning, saying if we don't call him back by the end of the weekend (who assumes people work all weekend?), then he was going to cancel the order. He also said he wanted it made it 5 days, not 10.

I email him back and say "Your expectations are unrealistic and I think it's best you just find another sign company to make your sign. Thank you.".

I get an email back from him minutes later, about 2 printed pages, telling me that we didn't call him back immediately and that was a failure in our customer service, and he travels all over the country teaching people customer service skills and he'd help us for free, even if we didn't make his sign. I email him back, tell him that his perception of us "not doing anything" was in his imagination, that he ordered via voice mail after business hours on a Thursday, we ordered the material Friday, and were waiting for it to come in early in the week and we had already made the templates and were trying to meet his deadline, which no one else was going to do. I thank him again, tell him when he finds a sign shop to make what he wants and install it in 5 days, let me know who they are so we can use them.

He emails me back saying that I was right, his expectations were unrealistic and he really wants us to complete the job and pay us for any additional cost we might have incurred due to his unrealistic expectations. We give him the next install date, we go and install it, he's our best friend, wanting to finish paying for it all on the spot, wanting us to look at 3 other projects in his office that he wanted done.

It was the first customer I ever told to go find someone else. It did feel good to say that instead of sit there and take it. And, in the end, we made good money on the job, we got some more work out of it, and we didn't let them walk all over us.

Liesl Dexheimer
01-25-2012, 8:56 AM
First of thank you to all who have offered their advice, I really appreciate it! It's quite frustrating when you are in business for yourself & trying to make the correct decisions regarding customer related issues.

Scott, thank you for sharing that story with me as well as other people reading this thread. I've always been afraid to tell customers to go somewhere else just because I know my reputation is on the line. However, you are correct that you can't let people walk all over you either. I did tell one customer to find someone else a few years ago. This customer couldn't be pleased & all for maybe 20 or so name badges. I came up with prob half a dozen layouts & when all was said & done he still wasn't happy. I told him to keep the badges & never come back here again, haven't heard from him since. More recently I had a customer want 2 champagne flutes & a cake knife engraved (2 lines on glasses, 1 on knife - they were some expensive brand carried @ Macy's) I quoted a price of $45.00 & I could tell she was unhappy, she even made some comment like "wow, that much!?" I told her the money is in the setup but she really didn't care. Half the time she was messing around with her phone while I was explaining the process to her. Finally I told her she could try somewhere else but I told her she would prob run into the same situation b/c of labor costs. Good riddance, lol!

Regarding this current job, I told the customer that I could engrave the 1st plaque as long as I have the $295 in hand. The 2nd plaque I could order & do separately but for an additional $15 to cover s/h costs. I'm very close to walking away from this proj b/c for $440.00 I've already lost $ since I've had prob 12 or so emails, a phone call, 2 meetings, etc. I have yet to hear back from him. I don't think he is the problem though, it's someone he works with that I have a feeling is the real issue.

Dan Hintz
01-25-2012, 9:39 AM
I don't think he is the problem though, it's someone he works with that I have a feeling is the real issue.
Doesn't matter who is causing the problem, all that matters is you're wasting time/money on a project that may never go anywhere. You also have to ask yourself... is this someone you really want repeat business from? You're likely to encounter the same issues with each and every project.

Bill Cunningham
01-26-2012, 8:52 PM
Custom jobs are always prepaid. Even when the person who want's it lives just around the corner. If they can't pay upfront for a custom job, their just wasting your time because they probably can't afford it. If they won't pay up front because they don't know your work, then tell them they would probably be more comfortable using someone else. The ones that delay-delay-delay and waste your time can usually be cured by saying something like.. Oh gee..I'm sorry, I was hoping you would get back to me sooner.. I've just started a job that will probably take at least a week to complete. Would you like me to email you when a time slot opens up? 'Then lose the email'... Problem solved, and it reinforces the point that it's 'their' fault you can't get it done..

Dan Hintz
01-27-2012, 7:27 AM
If they won't pay up front because they don't know your work, then tell them they would probably be more comfortable using someone else.
Better yet, have high-quality pictures of the work you've done in the past and give them a 30-second review of it. If seeing your prior work doesn't convince them, nothing will, so time to cut bait. Al you've wasted at that point is an extra minute of your time.

Liesl Dexheimer
01-27-2012, 9:05 AM
This customer actually took one of our plaques I have on display b/c he wanted to show parishioners & clergy. I let him borrow it even though I normally never let my samples leave our showroom. He did bring it back though & he left me a copy of his license in good faith. Also, I have pictures of all my work in a photo album & on our website so he should be able to trust our work. I haven't heard anything back from him since I told him he really needs to pay everything in full upfront first. If he gives me one more bs line or hassle, that'll be the last straw for me.


Better yet, have high-quality pictures of the work you've done in the past and give them a 30-second review of it. If seeing your prior work doesn't convince them, nothing will, so time to cut bait. Al you've wasted at that point is an extra minute of your time.

Cindy Rhoades
01-28-2012, 7:20 PM
I have never had any problems dealing with the churches around here they like my product and my prices. They have always known what they wanted before hand and paid when given an invoice or partial payment at time of order with final payment upon completion. It has worked out well for me by generating a lot of business from members of the church and other churches who want something unique. The ones I have problems with is the non profits like Kiwanis (local club) or Chamber because they play the non profit card and want it done yesterday. They tell me well we have always paid this much and I just reply the economy has changed and nothing costs what it used to and materials keep increasing in price. I also belong to one of those organizations so it is that much more frustrating because I have told them in meetings that I need so much time to order the materials, design the artwork for aproval and run the items. They just don't get it. One thing I try to do is give them a small break in price and show them the normal price on the estimate or invoice then deducting the discount, that always seems to make them feel better even though the discount isn't much..

Rodne Gold
01-28-2012, 9:05 PM
Amazing that non profit orgs always expect us to be non profit too.... I really can't stand dealing with some of the dolts who approach me for freebies - if they give something in return , like EFFECTIVE exposure , sure I might consider doing something , more often than not it's a case of "gimme - cos we the only REAL good cause out there " and then they try guilt you when you refuse.
If I get a "form" type mail or letter asking for a donation , I dont respond and when asked why by the senders , I just reply that if you couldn't take the the time to personalise the letter when asking me for money , I couldn't be bothered to take the time to read it. Over 25 years in this business has made me somewhat cynical and hard.. or not... :)

Dan Hintz
01-29-2012, 9:10 AM
Over 25 years in this business has made me somewhat cynical and hard.. or not... :)
You're a softy, Rodney... it only took me about 2 years ;)

Liesl Dexheimer
02-01-2012, 12:46 PM
Just a quick update on this thread. I did receive payment in full from customer. Now I just have to send the layout over for approval & engrave. Nothing will make me happier than to have this project behind me.

Dan Hintz
02-01-2012, 1:13 PM
Now I just have to send the layout over for approval...
Let us know how it went when it's approved... in a few months... ;)

Bill Cunningham
02-02-2012, 7:47 PM
Let us know how it went when it's approved... in a few months... ;)

ahh ya, but if it's paid in full, who gives a R.A. when they approve it..But, I find when the money has been paid, the customer always moves faster..ha..

Dee Gallo
02-02-2012, 9:23 PM
ahh ya, but if it's paid in full, who gives a R.A. when they approve it..But, I find when the money has been paid, the customer always moves faster..ha..

You mean the customer expects YOU to move faster!

Dan Hintz
02-03-2012, 7:40 AM
ahh ya, but if it's paid in full, who gives a R.A. when they approve it..
Leaving unfinished projects on the books is a dangerous way to play the game. What if they take a month to decide what to do, then when they finally give you the go-ahead, you're in the middle of another big project already. "What do you mean I have to wait two weeks... I paid you in full over a month ago. You have my money, where's my project?!" It goes down hill from there...

Bill Cunningham
02-04-2012, 7:26 PM
Leaving unfinished projects on the books is a dangerous way to play the game. What if they take a month to decide what to do, then when they finally give you the go-ahead, you're in the middle of another big project already. "What do you mean I have to wait two weeks... I paid you in full over a month ago. You have my money, where's my project?!" It goes down hill from there...

If someone drags it out over a long period of time, then they can't expect you to drop everything else and do theirs at the drop of a hat when they finally decide what they want. There is a saying paraphrased as 'an emergency on your part, does not necessarily create an emergency on my part'. I would offer them two choices, wait, or a refund. I have a average 10 day turn around/waiting period, and jobs are done on a first come first served basis, with the odd exception for a good customer. Any extended delay on the part of the customer, just puts them at the back of the line.. All of my customers have pre-paid their jobs or have their credit card on file. It's the only way they even get into the lineup.

Dan Hintz
02-04-2012, 8:40 PM
If someone drags it out over a long period of time, then they can't expect you to drop everything else and do theirs at the drop of a hat when they finally decide what they want. There is a saying paraphrased as 'an emergency on your part, does not necessarily create an emergency on my part'. I would offer them two choices, wait, or a refund. I have a average 10 day turn around/waiting period, and jobs are done on a first come first served basis, with the odd exception for a good customer. Any extended delay on the part of the customer, just puts them at the back of the line.. All of my customers have pre-paid their jobs or have their credit card on file. It's the only way they even get into the lineup.
The saying is "Poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part", and plenty of people have poor planning skills. They can and will expect you to do their bidding on their time frame... they paid you already, after all, so in their mind they own you and you owe them. You can't offer a refund if you've already ordered the materials, so the only option left is to hope they accept a delay. Some may, but some may throw a conniption wondering why they're not the priority... they paid you, right, and you said it would only take 5 days to complete, right? Any reality other than their own is irrelevant in their mind.

Michael Hunter
02-08-2012, 6:22 PM
Slightly off-topic, but I had a good one today....

Email enquiry - to engrave a board game onto and almost completely covering one side of 18x12" solid oak slabs, Wants 10 doing.
He says someone else quoted 2 per board (about $3.30?), but ***their laser was too small to do the job***!!!!

I recon I would be lucky to get 3 boards an hour through my Epilog, even at lower-than-usual resolution - makes it less than the statutory minimum wage.

I did suggest that he let me know who gave the quote - I could then subcontract most of my work out and just relax. Funnily enough, he has not replied so far.

George M. Perzel
02-08-2012, 6:33 PM
Hi Michael;
You are much too patient and understanding-I would quote him 1.5 pounds (can't find the damn pound sign) but tell him your laser is too big to do the job!
George
Laserarts

Michael Hunter
02-08-2012, 6:43 PM
Nice one George - wish I had thought of that.

Bill Cunningham
02-09-2012, 11:51 PM
The saying is "Poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part", and plenty of people have poor planning skills. They can and will expect you to do their bidding on their time frame... they paid you already, after all, so in their mind they own you and you owe them. You can't offer a refund if you've already ordered the materials, so the only option left is to hope they accept a delay. Some may, but some may throw a conniption wondering why they're not the priority... they paid you, right, and you said it would only take 5 days to complete, right? Any reality other than their own is irrelevant in their mind.

/yup! that's the phrase.:D.

I've never had a problem with customers demanding their job sooner. Everyone has prepaid, and if the delay is their fault, tough.. I have no intention of 'p'ing off other customers 'in line' that also expect not to be bumped..I don't worry about materials, if they don't use it, someone else will. If you don't project a fair, firm, business attitude equally to all customers, some may think they can walk on you..Well they can, right out the door. I don't respond well to pushy customers, life is too short and I'm not that hungry. I probably turn down more than a dozen jobs every week, because I can't meet their deadlines because of current customer commitments. I do jobs on a Max. 10 Business day turnaround from final layout or artwork approval. When the final job approval arrives, that's when the 10 days start. I will work nights and weekends to meet that deadline if needed. But I will not bump one customer to move another to the front of the line unless the delay has been my fault, or the fault of one of my suppliers. Taking on too much work, can kill a business as quick as having no work.

Rodne Gold
02-10-2012, 12:52 AM
It's almost unheard of here to have customers that actually plan anything , I wish I had 10 day's grace on many of my jobs. However with multiple machines and not being a one man show , I can shuffle production and slot in rush jobs (and I don't charge extra)
Problem is , just about every job is a rush job. 2 things I hate , that is the customer who collects 5 days after they "must have the job on that day" and the perpetual "emergency" customer - the regular ones that always leave their jobs to the last minute.
I got a very religious tombstone maker who does all the Jewish tombstones
Consecration of these stones is always on a Sunday , Fri night and Saturday being jewish sabbath , the guy cant work. His customers plan 6 months ahead of the consecration , he will come to us on a Fri morning with a hand written layout , we have to put it in corel (and char map hebrew text) , cut and then weed his rubber mask. He gets these Fri afternoon or so , he still has to blast em , gold leaf fill em and erect em at the cemetry for Sunday!!! I couldn't work like that...

Uros Sovilj
02-10-2012, 3:09 AM
In god we trust every else pay CASH.

Albert Nix
02-10-2012, 9:13 AM
Just my two cents. I would ask for a deposit that would at least cover the material which will be about 1/2 to 1/3 the total cost of the job. I your case that would take care of one plaque (profit and all). If he tries to talk you down you have the option to send him down the road for plaque #2. As far as going up on the price.....I would have given like a 30 day lock on the price. Most all decent suppliers will give you that much notice of an increase. After that I would pass on only my cost increase as long as it was an open quote. Most of the time if you see and increase coming down the pipes you can call your customer and warn them and them may move to avoid the added cost. Lot of good points in all of the post. I am a little like Rodne and Dan time changes you attitude. I have been dealing with the public for almost 40 yrs. and it can be tough. But remember, one thing never changes, you make one custmer mad and ten will hear about it and they may never hear your side. Hey every ones market is different.

Bill Cunningham
02-11-2012, 9:04 AM
Some customers seem to like the motto:
"If I wanted it tomorrow, I would have ordered it tomorrow!"

I think the business motto of :Fast-Cheap-Quality. Pick Two...
is more appropriate.

Liesl Dexheimer
02-14-2012, 9:58 AM
Mission accomplished. Customer approved order about 1.5 weeks ago & has just picked it up the plaques. So glad to get this job complete, sad thing is they didn't fill up one of the plaques so I will be doing more perp plates down the line. Ugh, this has been such a long project just trying to make a sale was enough work!

Tom Sieczkarek
02-14-2012, 12:22 PM
I would not invest any more time in it. I would just tell them payment up front and its their decision wether they stay or walk.
You have spent a ton of time on this and have nothing to show for it. Good customers have no problem paying to your terms. If they are previous customers they may get some perks ( I'll get you a check in a couple of days), but don't start bad habits. Times are tough and there are plenty out there, looking to put one over on you.We all hate to lose customer. What is the sense of saying you got the job if they don't pay ??

Dan Hintz
02-14-2012, 12:36 PM
I would not invest any more time in it. I would just tell them payment up front and its their decision wether they stay or walk.

You have spent a ton of time on this and have nothing to show for it.
Uhm, did you read Liesl's last post? The customer came through...

Tom Sieczkarek
02-14-2012, 2:38 PM
Uhm, did you read Liesl's last post? The customer came through...

Opps missed it!! LOL