Odd Client Question (longish?)

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Larry Jaques wrote:

He probably will. But that's still a pretty damn cheap price for a custom headboard & footboard with custom carvings.
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On 8 Feb 2005 10:15:46 -0800, the inscrutable "A.M. Wood"

Yes, it's a REAL price, not a price for a United Furniture piece made of termite barf.
-------------------------------------------- Proud (occasional) maker of Hungarian Paper Towels. http://www.diversify.com Comprehensive Website Design =====================================================
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spake: Snip

LOL.
#2 . sometimes they will run away. A friend taught me to way over bid a project if you do not particularily want it. We do that and get it about half the time. Then it instantly becomes an unexpected "Gravy " job.
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spake:

I had a friend who worked for a painting contractor one summer. He did strictly high end work. They took their time and did a good job. He only used experienced, competent painters.
The bidding process was unique. All the other painters were trying to beat each others bid. He would often go in and bid anywhere from 50% more to as much as double or triple what others bid. The folks who hired him figured if they paid more, they would get a better job. And if quality was a consideration, the higher price was justified.
He worked full time making bids while his crews did the painting. He took extra time to make the bids. He presented the bid in a fancy cover with photographs and a detailed description of what he would do and offered a gaurantee. He spent some time with the prospective customer to make them feel special.
All for top dollar. He closed at least a quarter of all bids. And in some neighborhoods, he closed up to half of the bids. And all of them were far higher than the competition.
So bidding a high number may be very appropriate in some cases. This guy made a carrer of it.
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On Tue, 8 Feb 2005 14:13:41 -0500, the inscrutable "Lee Michaels"

Goodonya, Mate.

--snipage--
That's a smart man! I'll bet he's very, very well off, too. And I'd imagine that all of his painters loved him for it, too, because it meant they'd get to use real brushes and guns, truly decent masking materials, good paint, and they had time to do it right.
-------------------------------------------- Proud (occasional) maker of Hungarian Paper Towels. http://www.diversify.com Comprehensive Website Design =====================================================
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Ther is nothing quite as satisifying as being paid for and doing a quality job.

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On Tue, 8 Feb 2005 14:13:41 -0500, "Lee Michaels"

good point, Lee... Years ago, I worked on folks cars on weekends... my older brother did this also, and had been making pretty good money at it..
I was telling him one night that I knew that I did good work and that the customers were happy, but I had very little repeat business..
His advice was to double my labor rates... that People believe that they "get what they pay for" and if you charge discount prices they don't think that they're getting quality work..
I took his advice and spent several years not only getting repeat business but several referrals..
mac
Please remove splinters before emailing
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Amazing how that works.
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On 7 Feb 2005 23:11:31 -0800, "Tattooed and Dusty"

[snip]
I agree with all of the advice you have been given by others about walking away ... with one caveat. What else are you going to do with your time if you are not working on this commission?
If you have something better to do -- irrespective as to whether it involves you being compensated with $$ -- then tell the guy "no". For example, for what he is offering, you might value more highly simply sitting on your butt and watching the cars drive by. If, on the other hand, you can find more value -- by whatever your measure of that may be -- in doing the commission than in not doing it, apart from the $$, then perhaps say yes. IOW, even if you would only net $100 for 50 hours of work, maybe $100 is something you need more than anything else you might do/earn during that same 50 hours.
That all being said, even if you do this suggested calculation and it comes out in favor of the commission, you might still want to say know because the guy is too confused, may change his mind even after you start the work (and not be willing to accept the notion of a "change order"), and/or may cause some sort of problem at the end (such as refuse to pay the balance) even after you have faithfully produced what he ordered. FWIW. -- Igor
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I made this mistake once several years back, and took a job for about 40% less than my usual rate- the problem was that I was dramatically undercutting the other tradesmen in the area, and word of mouth travelled like wildfire. For the sake of keeping busy, I kept taking jobs at that reduced rate because people were telling their friends that that was what I charged, and it began to cost me other (higher-paying) jobs because I wanted to fulfill the commitments I had made. After about six months of this, I had to drop everyone in that circle of aquaintances and start re-establishing my prices and reputation with an entirely new group of clients. Sometimes it's better to sit on your hands then it is to take a bad job just to keep busy! It was a costly mistake to make, to say the least.

Aut inveniam viam aut faciam
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Tue, Feb 8, 2005, 7:51pm (EST+5) no snipped-for-privacy@sprynet.com (igor) claims to say: <snip> apart from the $$, then perhaps say yes. IOW, even if you would only net $100 for 50 hours of work, maybe $100 is something you need more than anything else you might do/earn during that same 50 hours. <snip>
I can't agree less. What I make to sell priced at hundreds of dollars, more like $20 or $30. But, even if I NEEDED the money, I wouldn't price my labor at $2 an hour. If the guy does that once, he'll be expected to do it again. If he needs money that bad, he should get a job flipping burgers, until he gets a paying customer.
JOAT Intellectual brilliance is no guarantee against being dead wrong. - David Fasold
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On Wed, 9 Feb 2005 12:26:21 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (J T) wrote:

Well, w/ respect, you may have missed my point. My point: Life is not just a matter of yes/no decisions; it often is a matter of this/that decisions. Also, as for the $$ involved, I did say, "For example, for what he is offering, you might value more highly simply sitting on your butt and watching the cars drive by." IOW, it is a question of what the OP values, taking one road or the other. How much he is paid in relation to how much work he does is only one part of the equation. And as far as being "expected to do it again", that is a separate matter. At least for me, I've taken jobs that underpaid me for what I could get elsewhere -- because of who I would be working for, what kind of work it was, or simply an opportunity to work on something about which I wanted to learn.
All this being said, in some ways you helped to actually endorse my point -- i.e., you think that for the OP the decision should be between $2/hour woodworking or somewhat more flipping burgers. IOW, again, it is not a yes/no decision on the woodworking job, it is a this/that decision on the ww job or burgers. Thanks. -- Igor
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Wed, Feb 9, 2005, 9:39pm (EST+5) no snipped-for-privacy@sprynet.com (igor) claims: <snip> All this being said, in some ways you helped to actually endorse my point -- i.e., you think that for the OP the decision should be between $2/hour woodworking or somewhat more flipping burgers. IOW, again, it is not a yes/no decision on the woodworking job, it is a this/that decision on the ww job or burgers.
Noooo, I think he shouldn't be charging $2 an hour for woodworking. Unless he wants to sell hs stuff for only $2 an hour. But, seeing as how he's out of work, I think he'd be better off flipping burgers, at more than $2 an hour, to get some money coming in. $2 an hour Isn't going to cut it, unless he's living at home with his parents, and not paying food, rent, etc. And, I didn't get that impression. Could be wrong tho.
JOAT Intellectual brilliance is no guarantee against being dead wrong. - David Fasold
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Wed, Feb 9, 2005, 9:39pm (EST+5) no snipped-for-privacy@sprynet.com (igor) has said: <snip> All this being said, in some ways you helped to actually endorse my point -- i.e., you think that for the OP the decision should be between $2/hour woodworking or somewhat more flipping burgers. IOW, again, it is not a yes/no decision on the woodworking job, it is a this/that decision on the ww job or burgers.
Crap. I think I'm getting different threads mixed up with my response.
Anyway, if he charges $2 per hour, he's gonna be expected to charge $2 in the future. My thought was if he wanted income, while he waited around for another woodworking job, he could do better flipping burgers, rather than $2 an hour for his woodworking. It's his woodworking reputaiton on the line. Unless he sold the stuff and his past and future customers never found out.
JOAT Intellectual brilliance is no guarantee against being dead wrong. - David Fasold
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[major snippage]

Yup. You want customers who appreciate your work and realize that it costs money to create an heirloom-grade one-of-kind piece of furniture. If they don't understand that, you don't want them as a customer because they will never find it 'worth-it'. Suggest they go check out proper furniture stores as they will likely find something they will appreciate for the money (because they obviously don't have a clue what custom work is all about).
As a friend of mine always says: "if they won't let you make any money...maybe you should just give it to them?"
If I were in your shoes, I would follow my gut and bail.
00
Rob
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Charlie Self gave good advice.
I've lost money on clients like this - in other industries. Usually the shenanigans start after the project started and you invested your own money. So consider yourself lucky.
So far you have invested more time than it's worth. Be polite when you say goodbye.
Tattooed and Dusty wrote:

--
Will
Occasional Techno-geek
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wrote:

If I could add a fervent AHHHH MENNN!
In the past five years, I have taken on two clients even though my "spidey sense" tingled, telling me to say "no". On both projects, I lost money ... not just didn't get paid for my time, actually lost money!
The hardest lesson I've had to learn is to say "No" when the customer is even half a bubble off plumb -- no matter how much I want or could use the work.
Ken
Now returns to lurker mode.
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On 7 Feb 2005 23:11:31 -0800, "Tattooed and Dusty"
<<<Snip>>>

Drop him like a bad habit. I've had situations much like the one you're describing with both carpentry and website design, and it's never come out well for me. If they're expecting more and more for the same or less payment, that's just going to continue until you're ready to kill them just to make them go away!
The rough thing about customers that act like that is they're very often the same folks who will get really indignant when you drop them. Generally the best way I've found to deal with the situation you're in is to quote a price you know they are not willing to pay, and stick to it. Otherwise you're just setting yourself up for a gigantic headache!
Good luck!
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Simply put - go with your gut - chances are he will find something else to change AFTER you've done most of the work. Be polite but kiss him goodbye.
V

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Vic Baron wrote:

This is good advice before accepting any commission. If the customer or the job don't 'feel right' to you then either ask for a whole bunch of money up front or politely decline.
Someone made the point that economically it's better to put your time to use on a low paying job than to sit idle. Economically that's correct. However you have to factor in what it does to you as a person. If it makes you feel resentful or taken advantage of, you're better off sitting idle, economics or no.
--RC

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