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Extra work what's it worth?

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by gun fitter, Oct 27, 2011.

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  1. gun fitter

    gun fitter TS Member

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    Extra work what

    Time to get on my soap box. As most of you probably know I'm a Stockmaker, Gunfitter and sometimes a shooting instructor.

    Recently after completing several projects I have been surprised by the responses from some of my customers when I charged them for extra work required to complete a project.

    Now I'm not talking about a fortune just a bit extra probably not enough for the work here's three examples.

    #1 Superposed Rebuild & Refinish + Ejector hammer.
    On this gun I quoted the customer 700 for the work plus time and labor for the ejector hammer. I charged 100 for a new ejector hammer and timing the ejectors.
    The customer groused for about 15 minutes about how i told him $700 then I explained to him there was a plus to repair the broken ejector hammer I think the hammer cost me $45 for the gun.
    (once he received his gun he was so happy that he's giving me a 101 to refinish.)

    #2 Model 12 Stock refinish. Trap stock with bad old refinish forend wood about 12 shades darker than buttock. I never saw the stock he was mailing it to me.
    When I got the stock the checkering was nonexistent filled completely with finish and gunk and the forend was cracked. I repaired the crack stained the wood to match and completely re-cut every line of checkering. I charged him an extra $75.00

    #3 A Beretta 687 eell restock job. Some one else had started on a semi inlet set to restock this gun and had given up. I Gave the customer a quote with a range $700-$850 depending on what I ran in to. Gun came out great but there were many problems.
    the first guy that started working on the semi set must have been a beaver too much wood was removed from the stocks in-letting for any type of proper bedding or fit. I actually had to match and replace 4 pieces of wood to fill gaps in the stock then i had to stain the wood and use tinted finish to blend the repairs until they were completly. Now this customer only remembers me telling him $700.

    Now I Quote everyone a price range for any job and they agree to it.

    When they get convent amnesia what should i do.

    I consider anything under $100 extra for a job minor and since I'm usually in the middle of the job when the extras pop up what should I do; send the job back to the customer half finished?
    Should i only do the minimum work and not the repairs ant then tell the customer if you want extra work you will have to pay me now.

    Your thoughts appreciated.
    Joe
     
  2. Remstar311

    Remstar311 Member

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    Call the customer. Thats what most people would do. I realize that quoting work sight unseen is hard to do. Maybe you should ball park quote as a rule.

    I don't think you are out of line by any means, and 50-100 dollars isn't a fortune. But for me, that 100 bucks might mean the difference between a repair and a replace.

    Nick
     
  3. BDodd

    BDodd TS Member

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    It all sounds pretty typical with custom work and repairs however I'd appreciate a call explaining the likely added work and the need to let you know promptly or the gun would sit. Then, quoting a range as you suggest maybe should be in writing and signed by you and the customer so amnesia is covered....breakemall
     
  4. gun fitter

    gun fitter TS Member

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    If its a major difference in cost I do call the customer.
    All of the above jobs were within the range I quoted.

    Is it just the times? This is a new experience for me.
    It used to be common place to receive tips from customers when they were happy.
    Now it's a rarity.

    Maybe I'm living in the past but when you do good work at a fair price I'm not accustomed to people then complaining about the cost.

    Remember no one is complaining about the work. They just act surprised when the price quoted is in the higher range of the original quote.
    Joe goldberg
     
  5. warpspeed

    warpspeed Member

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    Everything in writing. If it isn't written, it did not happen.

    I would follow up every phone call with an email or snail mail detailing the changes / conversation so there is no misunderstanding. Ask for a reply confirming receipt and acknowledgment of the Terms & Conditions.
     
  6. gun fitter

    gun fitter TS Member

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    I'm considering adding an additional 100 to every quote and surprise many with a smaller final bill. Its not worth it to me to deal with the cheapskates and when your in the middle of a job I would have to charge the customer twice as much for the small repairs If i have to set them aside and wait for the customer to get back to me.
    joe
     
  7. Trap2

    Trap2 Well-Known Member

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    My gunsmith calls me ANYTIME there is something revealed that was not covered by his estimate. He always gives me the option to do whatever is needed and advises me of his reasons. Can't ask for anymore than that.... He's a great gunsmith as well........ Dan Thome (Trap2)
     
  8. Oregunner

    Oregunner Well-Known Member

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    I would appreciate a written estimate and a phone call or e-mail if the work was going to go over the estimate. Times have changed. Most old time trap shooters are used to doing business with a hand shake, and it would be nice if that was still the case, but the world is now a lot smaller and we interact with a world of people that don't always have our best interests at heart. I'm sure you aren't getting the grief from people that know you or have had work done by you in the past. I have found that communication is key. Mark
     
  9. WCR

    WCR TS Member

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    Make up a written quote and mail it to them and require them to sign and return to you before work is started. Staple the signed quote to the work order and put in file. Be sure to spell out that there may be insidental work required and charges for that work. Then if something comes up call the customer and let them know and let them make the decision on going ahead or not. Also spell out in the quote that they are responsible for charges on work incured up to the point they decide not to go ahead with the project.
    Where I work we have a tear down and inspection fee which is waved if the customer decides to have us go ahead with the repair. If he decides not to do the repair he is still responsible for the inspection fee. We still have to pay our people for the time of doing the inspection even if the repair is not completed and that money has to come from somewhere.
     
  10. gun fitter

    gun fitter TS Member

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    As I said I'm using this as my soap box....

    You all have indicated a written estimate and if your dropping off work that is usually done. Everyone of these were referrals some were even dropped off from from the prior customer.

    Now I appreciate the input. Calling and invoicing takes time cost me money and is sometimes inconvenient. I'm guessing that I should raise my prices and then I could cover these inconveniences without loosing money.
    Joe
     
  11. high 2

    high 2 Member

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    When you find the answer, PLEASE let me know. I have some customers that send work and never ask price and have never complained about a bill. These are customers I have a good long relationship with. I pretty much learned the jobs that will cause trouble, and will estimate them that way. I`ve never liked to spend the customers money without their approval. Larry
     
  12. bigben

    bigben Active Member

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    Joe, welcome to the small business world, the very complainers that you do business with are oft times not understanding, the very people complaining would NEVER work overtime without being paid for but will expect you to do so. incinerate em!
     
  13. gun fitter

    gun fitter TS Member

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    Pay me now or pay me later! Funny but this does happen quite a bit after performing work for the cheapskate they return for another job and I double the incidentals portion of my quotes and add it to the initial estimate. I make way more on them than if they had dealt with me fairly in the first place.
    Caveat Vendor is my problem. Stick me and its Caveat Emptor
    Joe
     
  14. sptnclays

    sptnclays Member

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    You are a little harsh calling your customers cheapskates. Nobody likes getting nipped for a extra $100. Quote in writing, email ect. If it is going over call.
    I have done business with a well know gunsmith for years. I have a understanding with him that he is to make any job he does for me right, no questions but this relationship has developed over years and I know he is a perfectionists.
    I also don't want to throw good money after bad.
     
  15. Pull & Mark

    Pull & Mark Well-Known Member

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    Joe, How about a simple E-mail to customer after seeing work to narrow your price if need be??? It would also act as a reminder to customer about price and that you have seen their job and it will be finished and shipped as agreed,and their package arrived undamaged. Simple and quick. After a response and a OK from them you could start. If you need a few extra dollars to do this to all/ or some of your jobs OK, but a extra 100 on all jobs??? Maybe not OK. Times are tough and will stay this way for the next few years so we need to get used to it I'm sorry to say. break em all Jeff
     
  16. Stl Flyn

    Stl Flyn Well-Known Member

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    You say you give them a range. I say raise the upper and lower number. Explain to them there may be some extra work involved once you get into the project. Your in business to make money. Or just give them one high number. If the job goes good and requires less time, deduct it from the bill. Customer will be very happy paying less than he thought he would have to. People will pay the high number without complaining if you do not give them a lower number, or range. You may loose some customers because they say they can get it done cheaper somewhere else, but if you do good work in reasonable time, the customers that go with you will be back, with referrals. You can't please everyone. "Some men you just can't reach". Jon
     
  17. Ross

    Ross Well-Known Member

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    After being in the service game (carpenter--contractor) for 40 plus years I learned early to give as close an estimate as I could but keeping it a little high, as per above it's much easier to come down on your final bill. Yes I did lose some bids and made some mistakes that I had to change my price (or just eat it) but those that I got usually wound up being repeat customers and were nice enough to send their friends. just my experience--Ross Puls
     
  18. MKillian

    MKillian TS Member

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    __ "<I>Now I appreciate the input. Calling and invoicing takes time cost me money and is sometimes inconvenient.</I>"

    What's more costly and inconvenient: conducting a business in a business-like manner (invoicing and customer communication) before the fact or arguing and trying to justify yourself to your customer afterward?

    Mike K
     
  19. gun fitter

    gun fitter TS Member

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    I guess most of you are not self employed. Few of you seem to grasp what I'm having a problem with.

    When I'm working on a job I'm usually only working on one job at a time except for the finish work.

    Here's an example and I would like those that are suggesting an e-mail to consider this scenario.

    Refinishing a brand x gunstock. When I finish sanding the stock I find that the awful factory stain that all of you know about (it looks like coffee with cream) has hidden a factory repair. Now this repair does not even closely match the wood. I need to do about an extra $50 of work to remedy this situation since i don't use stain to hide the woods grain and figure.

    If I stop and e-mail this customer and wait for him to get home and call or e-mail me back I loose at least 1/2 days labor and work. Should I charge him $150 because I stopped and waited or spend the extra 2-3 hrs fixing some one elses mistake and charge the customer a nominal $50 for the extra work on his $10,000 shotgun.

    Now which is better telling the customer that has not paid for the work yet that he owes me 1/3 for the work already performed plus an additional $150 above the quote when he gets back to me if he wants me to complete the job or fix it and charge him $50.

    Remember I tell every one a range for repairs but I don't want to pad the estimates and loose work or get a reputation as gouging a customer.

    Here's another example. It's hypothetical let's say I'm at a gun club and some one drops off a gun to be shortened 1/4 inch and have a new pad installed. I tell the customer it will be $75 which is reasonable and I tell him to pick it up at 4pm. When I take the pad off I see that it has some form of stock nut installed I can't cut through the nuts I have to remove them prior to cutting the wood. Well it's not a standard nut but a hardware store back of the barn special that's glued in to the stock. What do I do? I',m not working for free.
    this customer never told me but I now assume that he knew and it's why i got the job instead of him doing it himself. Now the only way to fix it would be for me to install new stock nuts which I charge an extra $10 for. or give the gun back and tell him sorry I can't fix it.
     
  20. kfbagt

    kfbagt Member

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    I am self employed and I would bet that the three customers you have been calling cheap skates won't be doing business with you again. If you are in business then you are obligated to give a price up front and stick to it, even if it inconveniences you. If you have to call or email them then that's what you have to do. I understand giving a price range for a repair, but when you receive the part you should contact the customer with a firm quote.

    But.... what do I know. Maybe I should start a thread that bashes my customers and see if business picks up for me. Great plan. you want to know why people don't give tips any more? Customers expect customer service. They expect that the person they are giving their money to actually appreciates their business. Not that they are going to bash them after they pay because they looked surprised when their bill was higher than they expected.

    Paul Daniels
     
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