Results 1 to 11 of 11

Thread: Those Special Customers

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    917

    Those Special Customers

    Finding a customer who can overpay is a golden moment. They exist in many places, you just need to connect with a boutique product or service;

    Big Pharma, if you find one that needs hand carved chess sets you can do ok.

    Nursing homes and similar, cash flow is substantial

    Investment banking, they are in the business of printing money, but it flows in and out like an unpredictable tide

    Defense industry, huge budget with limited oversite

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Posts
    50,201
    To me, a special customer is one who truly appreciates what I do for them, doesn't question when I say that extra time was required (always a true statement and not made up just to get more hours) and not only continues to be my client, but also brings more work, both of their own and through referrals. Yes, there are entities out there which can be a "field day" for businesses to sell to, but for the majority of us, the "golden" customer is what I just described...a great relationship that gives in both directions.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Lewisville, NC
    Posts
    1,125
    Jim Becker +1

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Lake Gaston, Henrico, NC
    Posts
    4,175
    I might see my customers every 3 or 6 months. They leave it completely up to me what to do after a general discussion of things that need to be done, are thrilled to see pictures, and updates in emails, and deposit money directly into my account every week. No complaints from them, or me. I'm not taking on any more work for the rest of my life, because I have more that they want to get done than I can possibly ever do. They don't even want to talk to anyone else about doing it though, and it's not because I come cheap.

    Hard to find better customers than these.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Issaquah, Washington
    Posts
    1,148
    My version of an "Ideal Customer" is reflected in this post from a while back. https://sawmillcreek.org/showthread....+designer+drew

    BTW - I ended up not just designed the new home for the husband but building it as well. I am currently installing interior trim and will post the project upon its completion.
    Last edited by Bill McNiel; 11-13-2019 at 1:02 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lewiston, Idaho
    Posts
    27,083
    I would argue that the "golden customers" are often earned on both sides of the equation.

    That decade or so ago when I built my shop, I rejected the most expensive bid and the least expensive bid choosing instead the middle bid. It turned out this contractor had just reentered the market following being the construction/carpentry instructor at a local community college whose budget reductions including cutting his programs. The guy presented the middle bid, was recommended by a local lumberyard commercial salesman where I buy my lumber and needed the business. Mike did a great job, communicated well and even though I had to leave the area for a while on previously scheduled vacation, he carried through in good order.

    Then 4 years ago when we remodeled our kitchen which included an bump out, I contacted 3 contractors and he was one of them. Business must have been good as one contractor said he'd get back to us with a bid and never did. One contractor came in, threw out our ideas and desires, insisting instead, we'd do it his way, on time and materials, and my wife would like it. I was so proud of my wife for letting him off the property alive! When he called back a week later, we explained we'd hired someone else. Then there was Mike. He called back, scheduled a visit, during which, he explained if he got the contract, we'd have to do it in between the high value home he was finishing, and the start of another on which he was working with the owner and his architect on the plans. He then suggested we get the cabinet maker involved right then. He recommended a well respected local cabinet maker and the 2nd meeting was scheduled. In short in 2 meetings in our home, my wife, the contractor, the cabinet maker and I arrived at a mutual agreement on the project during which we signed a contract and made a down payment with an agreement on future payments. Our previous experience with this guy we knew he's do quality work, was honest and in whom we had faith. Was it the cheapest? No but it accomplished what we originally envisioned and combining suggestions by Mike and the cabinet maker, my wife couldn't be happier with the results. Yesterday as I watched her with the Christmas music in full volume, making her annual holiday candies that she gives to family and friends for gifts, our decision to go with Mike was reinforced.

    In short, reasonable expectations on both sides of the customer/provider equation can result in "the golden customer" or more correctly IMO, the golden customer/provider relationship. It's a 2 way street IMO.
    Ken

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Alberta
    Posts
    1,151
    I am with Jim and Ken on this one.I have a couple of these customers as clients,love working for and with them. When I first started out a veteran contractor told me I would live or die on my reputation in this area,I paid attention to him and went to work.Work finds me most of the time. Tom it sounds to me like you are really good at what you do and have hit a "niche market", well done.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    19,729
    I learned to focus my client base from my brother. He started out "fixing cars". Realizing you can get a Mercedes or a Porsche fixed in a zillion places he focused on Jaguar, Ferrari, and so forth. Forty-odd years later this focus still pays dividends. I could never support myself making furniture. When I make something for someone I charge accordingly and give them my best work, every time. Word of mouth among those folks brings you like-clients which helps me ignore folks who want one "just like at Crate and Barrel".
    I am familiar with modern idioms but they are outside the vocabulary of what I want to say.

    - George Dyson (composer)

  9. #9
    so far this year I have logged 121 'unique' invoiced customers, and lets say about 29 different cash customers, for a total of 150...

    Of all these customers, customer's #1 and #2's sales have accounted for over 35% of my total income...add in the next 3 and these 5 customers account for 49.8% of this years income. Go to 15 customers- 11% of the total- they provide 68% of the total... and finally, my top 30 customers, 20% of the total, provided 84% of this YTD sales...

    I can only imagine how much free time I'd gain if I 'fired' 120 customers and focused on the 30, as every customer's job needs looking at, quoting, setting up, doing, cleaning up after (yeah, right), and invoicing...

    But the conundrum: I consider ALL my customers as Special... Sadly, I do need to do this so I can semi-retire next summer... not sure how to handle it...
    ========================================
    ELEVEN - rotary cutter tool machines
    FOUR - CO2 lasers
    THREE - fiber lasers
    ONE - vinyl cutter
    CASmate, Corel, Gravostyle


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Lake Gaston, Henrico, NC
    Posts
    4,175
    I've had a total of three customers since 2007, and those are the same ones that have filled all the available time for as long as I want to work, for the rest of my life. Before that, I had one person to satisfy for 33 years-me. None of that time has been spent giving estimates, and no deadlines.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Western Nebraska
    Posts
    3,665
    The post title had me thinking of the other way to use the "special customer" label... Probably more of them than the good ones.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •