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Thread: These RFQ's are getting frustrating...

  1. #1

    These RFQ's are getting frustrating...

    Direct from an email--
    Hi Kevin,

    I need a quote for the following: quantity 150 1" x 3" brushed silver aluminum door tags with two lines lettering. The top lettering will be 3/16" tall and the bottom lettering 1/4" tall.
    Anodized? Raw? Thickness? Lettering painted or not? Text the same or all variable? Screw holes or tape? I asked all these questions, haven't heard back...

    Another one:
    Hi there! Could you please provide a quote for engraving this logo on 18 panels of 1/8" Frosted Acrylic?
    That's it, just an EPS of the logo, no other pics, prints, or info...

    Now, this isn't the logo, I just drew this up, but the 'segment' style and relative size and overall engraved area are pretty close...
    How can anyone quote this? Panel size? Is 'frosted acrylic' what I'm starting with, or ending with? Is the engraving to be outline engraved as drawn, or fully cut away? (BIG difference in machine time!) Tool engraving? Laser engraving? Hammer & chisel engraving? Who's material?

    It can get frustrating! It's tough enough to quote engraving when you have GOOD info- It's really hard when I'm expected to be a mind reader!

    It's like asking someone "Why is a duck?" and expecting an answer!

    Any favorite RFQ's?
    ELEVEN - rotary cutter tool machines
    FOUR - CO2 lasers
    THREE - fiber lasers
    ONE - vinyl cutter
    CASmate, Corel, Gravostyle

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    South Elgin, IL
    Over the years after seeing many of the same questions asked by my potential customers, I gradually refined my web pages to answer those questions. Now that so many more people look at web sites on their phones, they don't take the time to actually read anything and instead just try and find an email or phone and ask everything I've already answered.

    I find that these kinds of customers frequently take 4 to 10 emails back and forth before they make a decision.
    It becomes very time consuming and frustrating. 99% of the time I refuse to discuss orders over the phone because it leads to mistakes in spelling or when more than one idea or option is discussed, the customer frequently changes their mind and or forgets what they told me they decided they wanted. So I insist on email orders or orders made through forms on my web pages. Then I have written orders exactly what they want.

    Consider having a product which is offered in three sizes. Let's say I call this product a belt. (It's not)
    Belts are available in three different thicknesses - 1/2 inch, 3/4 inch or 1 1/2 inch.
    Now offer it decorated or undecorated.
    If decorated I offer two different general options for how it can be decorated - 9 different paint color options and 6 different glitter color options .
    It's a two piece product - are the colors the same on both pieces or different one from the other?
    How many pieces are they wanting? Are they all the same size, thicknesses and the same colors?
    When are they needed by?
    Knowing all this now you can see how I share your frustration when I get emails with the only contents being "How much is a belt?"

    No introduction or greeting in the email, no additional information and no signature or closing.

    Can I stereotype and say the generations born in the 1980s and later are largely clueless about most aspects of real life business and life in general? Can I get a number 6 and super size the fries?
    Dumb down the process as much as possible and people still can't order custom made items correctly.
    But I wonder - did our grandparents feel the same about us?
    Materials Conversion Specialist
    I take perfectly good large pieces of stuff & turn them into smaller pieces having dubious value

    LASER: Trotec Speedy 300 30 Watt, CNC: Shopbot PRT, Vinyl Cutter: Summa Sign Pro T750
    Old School: a tool box full of brand new sign painting brushes from the 60's

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    NW Arkansas
    Blog Entries
    I had a general inquiry about making an acrylic sign with the woman's logo. Can you make a sign with my logo on it?
    How more general can you get than that?
    Yeah, I can, but you might not like it depending on what you send me....
    So I email her back and ask ąt least some relevant questions. How large, what shape? Color, send me your logo....
    Two plus weeks go by......
    Phone call out of the blue, do you remember email from me?
    I need sign, by the weekend.
    Uh, maybe possible, send logo, etc.
    Got to be "rose gold" lettering. Not gold, rose gold. Well, there goes rowmark. I could paint but i dont have your shade of rose gold, and no time to go back and forth. But you can paint it, ill leave the mask on. Ok!
    And cut out areas need to be clear. Ok, two piece sign. 24"x24". So two full sheets of acrylic.

    How much? i'm cheap, laser time will be fairly short, 20 minutes maybe less. $100 for two sheets, 2 day shipping.

    I'll call you back......

    Sure you will. :-)
    Woodworking, Old Tools and Shooting
    Ray Fine RF-1390 Laser
    Ray Fine 20watt Fiber Laser
    PM2000, Delta BS, Delta sander, Powermatic 50 jointer,
    Powermatic100-12 planer, Rockwell 15-126 radial drill press
    Rockwell 46-450 lathe, and 2 Walker Turner RA1100 radial saws

    RIA 22TCM 1911s

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Georgia, USA
    Mayo, I felt my temperature rising just reading your email because it pointed out so many truths regarding doing business today.
    700mm x 500mm Ke Hui KH-7050 Laser
    80W EFR F2
    S&A CW5000 chiller
    Chuck style of rotary attachment

  5. #5
    There's not a day that goes by without me in some shape or form being frustrated with an RFQ. You can reduce frustrating emails by leveraging knowledge.

    For instance, when an email is completely devoid of use full information, I reply, ask a few primary questions and offer a link on our website that delves into the criteria required.

    I am convinced that generally customers do not know and it is my job as the craftsman to educate folks on what is possible in general and what I can do for them. In addition it is important to have them appreciate what I cannot do, offer helpfull suggestion as to who may, and move on.

    For instance, today I received an email about laser marking glass. Not a big deal, done it, but... It turns out the glass is in the shape of a light bulb. Well my first thought was curved. Well I get an image and this is literally the same or like shape as a light bulb, plus the stopper is the screw socket.

    I have roller and chuck style rotaries, but how in the heck do I mount a bulb. Long story short, I recommended they scrap the 50 light bulbs at 3.00 each and go something else or look for someone to sandcarve.

    RFQ's take other forms.., theirs always competition shopping around. Usually if that is the case, they won't waste time with a lot of back and forth questions and instead fade away.

    Then there's the 2nd/3rd bidder scenario. The buyer or at the direction of the boss is required to get 2 or 3 bids to ensure competitiveness.

    Just like in basketball, there is a 100% chance of failure if you do not take the shot.

    Grin and bear it. Bid any and every request, just as if it was the only RFQ ever.

    My .02

    Red Bolt Laser Engraving
    Houston, Texas

  6. #6
    One of my problems is I don't have a website, took it down long ago as I already have too much business. But my business DOES come up in search engines. The funny thing is, most cold calls are basic and understandable, like can I engrave flasks, or bracelets, etc. The 2 examples I gave above, one was from a sign shop, the other was from a 2-year regular customer- although to be fair to my regular, the RFQ came from a totally different part of the operation. But the sign shop should know better than to be so vague.

    Another RFQ 'anomoly' of mine is from a 30+ year customer, big company around here, they have outlets I ship to in at least 8 different cities around here. I engrave several different but 'common' items for them, parts I actually buy from them in the first place... One item in particular is ordered at least 10 to 1 over everything else. It's been that way for all these years, my price hasn't changed in 3 years, and I know nearly every buyer in every outlet. Yet at least 3 times a week one of them calls and asks me for a quote on this part. I chuckle every time they ask
    ELEVEN - rotary cutter tool machines
    FOUR - CO2 lasers
    THREE - fiber lasers
    ONE - vinyl cutter
    CASmate, Corel, Gravostyle

  7. #7
    I'm not sure it's related to RFQ's. We are reminded daily of people's lack of ability to comprehend the written word.

    Two quick examples:

    1) Had a customer place and order for items that had to be purchased and then have work done to them. They brought a sample in, we showed them the catalog with the sample to make sure it was the same item. 10 days to get the items. Day 1 after placing the order "Can we see a sample?". Ummm...sure, in 10 days when the items come in. "Oh, okay, sounds good". The next day "What time can I come look at the sample today?". That would be at no point today, because we have 8-9 days left before the items come on. When they get here, we'll gladly make you a sample. "Great, just let me know". Next day "Did the samples come in yet, I really need to get a sample". No, they haven't come in, but in case anyone needs to see a sample, show them the one you brought us to match and it'll look just like that. "Okay". Next day "I'm coming by this morning to look at the sample".


    2) Someone else placed an order for some material, material we had bought twice in the last month. I get an email from the supplier telling me that the material now has a $75 shipping charge added to it. My email to them said "Can you please explain the additional $75 charge that was not on any of the previous orders we placed for the same material. If something has changed, I just need to understand what's changed so I can add that in quotes in the future". The response I got was "I completely understand". What? You completely understand what? I asked a question. ANSWER the question I asked. That meant taking the time to write another email to ask the exact same question I just asked. They tell me that there is a new charge being added from now on to this material and I tell them we aren't going to pay that, we'll just order it from their competition because no one else charges that. The next day, we get a call, telling us our material is ready to pick up.


    People just do not listen or pay attention these days.
    Lasers : Trotec Speedy 300 75W, Trotec Speedy 300 80W, Galvo Fiber Laser 20W
    Printers : Mimaki UJF-6042 UV Flatbed Printer , HP Designjet L26500 61" Wide Format Latex Printer, Summa S140-T 48" Vinyl Plotter
    Router : ShopBot 48" x 96" CNC Router Rotary Engravers : (2) Xenetech XOT 16 x 25 Rotary Engravers

    Real name Steve but that name was taken on the forum. Used Middle name. Call me Steve or Scott, doesn't matter.

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