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Forum topic by shelly_b posted 01-19-2013 12:43 PM 831 views 1 time favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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shelly_b

848 posts in 869 days


01-19-2013 12:43 PM

Do those of you that sell your work put any kind gaurantee on your work? If so, how long do you make it, and what are the specifications for it? I am trying to decide if I should put one on mine, b/c I if something should happen to it, and it was my fault, I know I would fix it for free…but until I build up a reputation my costumers don’t know that and I want them to feel safe buying my furniture or whatever I make…


21 replies so far

View jerrells's profile

jerrells

868 posts in 1636 days


#1 posted 01-19-2013 01:20 PM

YES – I do and for life. Customer service is all you have to sell – the product is secondary. One dis-satisified customer can ruin your business. I will do almost anything to satisify a customer. That is my take and it has worked for many years.

-- Just learning the craft my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ practiced.

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shelly_b

848 posts in 869 days


#2 posted 01-19-2013 01:27 PM

So do you give them a written paper gaurantee when you sell the item? Or is it just verbal, on your website, etc…

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

1745 posts in 1673 days


#3 posted 01-19-2013 01:33 PM

jerrells policy is mine also. I don’t even talk about it to customers unless there is an issue. One time I replaced a toy that was defective. That is the extent of my experience with this so I have no written notice prepared.

-- In God We Trust

View Don W's profile

Don W

15560 posts in 1319 days


#4 posted 01-19-2013 01:35 PM

It really depends on what you sell. If all of your items are reasonably small, then I would certainly say you’ll replace it no matter what. Unfortunately there are many Unscrupulous people out there just waiting to take advantage of you. For instance you can’t say you’d replace a $30,000 kitchen cabinet build no matter what. The place has a fire and you’re on the hook? Like the guy who buys old chisels at flea markets and returns them to sears for new ones. If your going to put it in writing, make sure your covered as well.

I’ve never been a “the customer is always right” kind of guy. I would however do anything I could to keep a customer I wanted to work with again, but we’ve all had customers we don’t want walking through our door ever again.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

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Roger

15348 posts in 1555 days


#5 posted 01-19-2013 01:41 PM

I stand behind what I build, and want anyone I give/sell anything, to be happy. Sometimes, because of faulty parts from suppliers, things don’t work or break. The suppliers have been good about part replacement, so far, for me. I’m not sure a “life-time” warranty would be in order for, say, a step-stool. Sooner or later, things just wear out. I think it’s a common sense type o thing, and people hopefully should have that quality in them. (common sense).... That’s my opinion. Good luck with your decisions.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Kentuk55@bellsouth.net

View allwood's profile

allwood

72 posts in 915 days


#6 posted 01-19-2013 01:58 PM

i stand behind what i build as well. this policy has served me well for many years. i always tell my clients to call me the minute that something comes up, no matter what. i will gladly check on the problem, replace faulty hardware without question, and other problems i deal with as they come up. i once had a client call 2 months after i installed a kitchen, the glides were not working and one drawer was coming apart. when i arrived later in the day to check on the problem, it turned out that the kids were using the drawers as a ladder to climb on the counter. we had a laugh and i replaced the drawer and glides ( yes the glides weren’t top quality but she choose the down grade that was in writing) and i choose not to charge her even though she insisted on paying. it led to many more projects without question of price or quality as well as a lifetime of reference. i always put out my best no matter the project and people learn that very quickly, it has allowed me to book a full year and more in advance for all my work and when a client calls, they automatically ask to be put next on my list, knowing that right away is not an option. i have been very fortunate for this reputation. sorry for the run on….....

View Don W's profile

Don W

15560 posts in 1319 days


#7 posted 01-19-2013 02:00 PM

I think it’s a common sense type o thing
Although I completely agree, it just doesn’t always happen. I once had a women insist I fix the leak in her upstairs bathtub, because I installed her downstairs bathtub.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View JoeinGa's profile

JoeinGa

3694 posts in 758 days


#8 posted 01-19-2013 02:20 PM

@Don W
Reminds me of the “old days” when I worked at my father-in-laws gas station. Customer pulled in one day and said “You put air in my wife’s right front tire yesterday. Now the radio doesnt work. What did you do to it?”

SHEEESH! Some folks! :-)

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View JAAune's profile

JAAune

979 posts in 1068 days


#9 posted 01-19-2013 02:51 PM

My policy is lifetime guarantee on workmanship and material defects. For that reason I tend to design and build furniture that can be disassembled easily. It makes finishing easier, facilitates moving and delivery and means it won’t need to be completely rebuilt or refinished in the future should any damage occur.

The lifetime policy is written in the contract so it’s there to be seen.

Even though it’s not in the contract I pretty much give away the little favors if an issue comes up. Things that cost me $50-$100 aren’t worth quibbling over when I’m charging tens of thousands of dollars for a major project. Small expenses like that are a good trade off for happy customers.

-- See my work at http://remmertstudios.com and http://altaredesign.com

View shelly_b's profile

shelly_b

848 posts in 869 days


#10 posted 01-19-2013 03:11 PM

Thanks:) I wanted to do alifetime guarantee like JAAune, but there were people telling me I would be taken advantage of. I like to think that the majority of people are decent and have common sense though lol. Esp. since I am just starting out, I don’t want people to be afraid to buy from me. Hopefully once I get some costumers behind me and references, then it won’t be a problem!

View JAAune's profile

JAAune

979 posts in 1068 days


#11 posted 01-19-2013 03:18 PM

There are always picky customers but most problems actually occur before the job even starts. Basically, customers seldom know much about woodworking and may actually think they are getting something that you don’t intend to make. Communication in the early stages is important.

Document all communications in written form, use samples and/or pictures and make sure the client understands and signs off the paperwork. It’s not just for legal protection but also to ensure the client knows exactly what he’s getting for the price. If the client gets unreasonable after the job is done it’s up to you to decide how firm you wish to stand. I’m generally flexible so long as my finances aren’t dropping into the red.

In other words, make sure the client isn’t expecting a hand-rubbed, mirror finish table top when you’re thinking about (and pricing for) an off the gun semi gloss finish with no grain filler. Chances are the customer will look at that as a defect.

-- See my work at http://remmertstudios.com and http://altaredesign.com

View Kjuly's profile

Kjuly

303 posts in 2037 days


#12 posted 01-19-2013 03:56 PM

A warranty is part of the customer relationship. Some clients ask about it up front but 95% of the time they don’t mention it. When the job is complete or the piece of furniture is delivered, I always give them a business card and tell them to call me if “anything” comes up.
Several months after the job is complete, I give them a follow up call and ask if everything is OK.
I don’t put a time limit on my guarantee because if at any time there is an issue, I want to know about it.
I got a call three years after I installed a custom vanity. The client was having problems with a drawer. A under mount drawer slide failed. The soft close feature wasn’t working. I checked all the other drawer slides on the vanity and found another one about to fail. I replaced both of them for free even thought the client offered to pay for them. Two years later I get a call from this client…. wanting a new kitchen. I built their kitchen without a mention of a warranty.
Keith

-- Keith, Charlotte, MI www.julyswoodworks.com

View shelly_b's profile

shelly_b

848 posts in 869 days


#13 posted 01-19-2013 04:08 PM

That is something I have to remember. I forget that most people have no idea what goes into real woodwork. For now, all of my clients are friends, which makes it hard to charge what I should. I am hoping that they will spread the word and increase my clientele, along with some advertising. Although I don’t have enough time to get the projects done, or even started, that I have planned now. The small hospital I work for is more than likely closing in the next year or 2, so I am hoping for some unemployment so I can give full time wood working a go and hopefully it will take off!

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

112933 posts in 2328 days


#14 posted 01-19-2013 04:20 PM

I agree with the working relationship statement ,I’ve never given a written guarantee, all my customers know I will take care of them and the items I make for them and I don’t recall anyone asking about a guarantee , Customers recognize quality it they don’t they buy items that are from big chain stores that are the lowest price possible. With the exception of abuse I do my best to make life time products.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View Kjuly's profile

Kjuly

303 posts in 2037 days


#15 posted 01-19-2013 04:43 PM

Take pictures of everything you build…everything. You will need them for future advertising and your web site. Yes, a web site is a must. I use my web site as a marketing tool. I don’t sell from my site but it’s address is on everything. When I meet someone and they ask about my work, I give them a business card and refer them to my web site. This gives them a chance to browse without feeling like they are being pressured. There are lots of free web building sites. As your business grows your site and it’s value will grow with it.
There is nothing wrong with giving friends and family a break on the price. BUT…don’t hurt your business in hopes of getting a referral. Do quality work at a fair price (a fair price for you ) and you will get the work you need and the money to support your business.. Do quality work at a cheap price and you will have lots of work and a failing business.
If you think your job will be gone soon, start your business plan now.
BTW, you’r on the right track. Asking questions here will be a big help. There is a boat load of highly skilled and knowledgeable people on this site.
Keith

-- Keith, Charlotte, MI www.julyswoodworks.com

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