Full Version: On the Ropes

From: Stunt Engraver (DGL) [#1]
 15 Sep 2005

Do your customers treat you as if your "On the Ropes?"

I guess I shouldn't take such offense, (it's not the first time in my 34+ yr. career) but in the past few days I've had a couple customers try to dictate what I charge for my work.

One of the scenarios had me turning down an $800 job. Problem is, in my world, it was a $1,000 job!

I was in no mood to hand $200 to the person, for the exact type of work I regularly perform for other companies in his industry, who appreciate the quality of my work and the added service of free pick up/delivery. I could probably charge more and not hear a complaint.

The appreciative companies also pay upon completion of the work, which the "price conscious" shopper's company doesn't. Their company has a main office, out of state, through which all payments are made.

This person said, "My boss wants to get this job done for $800." I said, "If he's determined to get that price and has other options, I'd suggest he pursue those options."

The guy was flabbergasted and said, "I was just trying to help you out! I may be able to get him up to $900."

I said, "If you want to help me out, tell your boss, if I'm the person he decides to go with, this job will cost him $1,000."

I suppose the reason I'm so unyielding with this company is, so far, they've sent a trickle of work, which has been barely worth dealing with. There's always been talk of "big things to come."

Now that a relatively "big thing" is on the table, they're kicking in with the heavy grind.

Maybe in a past life, but not this time around.

No $200 DGL Engraving gift certificates!

EDITED: 17 Sep 2005 by DGL

From: Harvey only (HARVEY-ONLY) [#2]
 15 Sep 2005
To: Stunt Engraver (DGL) [#1] 15 Sep 2005

Give him a $200 gift certificate that expires in 30 days. Either he brings you more work or it expires. ;-) 

Non-redeemable untill the original invoice is paid. (devil) 

EDITED: 15 Sep 2005 by HARVEY-ONLY

From: Stunt Engraver (DGL) [#3]
 15 Sep 2005
To: Harvey only (HARVEY-ONLY) [#2] 15 Sep 2005


This company would use the $200 dollars up in ten separate transactions.

From: Rodney Gold (RODNEY_GOLD) [#4]
 15 Sep 2005

I understand where you coming from
The customer has been a pain in the ass up till now and you basically subsidsed every job and went over the call of duty rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb and so on.........and now the big one comes and he's lowballing you thinking you are beggging for work!! - The swine !!

BUT look at it from his perspective and you have promoted this image yourself preciseley cos of the service you have given him. I'n being too good and ethical and all that , you did yourself in!!!
You see , he's sees you as this guy who has basically jumped at his endless stream of "Oh do I REALLLY wanna do this????" jobs ...so obviously in his mind if you acted smartly with small jobs , you GOT to grovel for the big one :) 

If I were in this situation , IF I needed the work, I would have taken it on for the $900. Tell the guy it's a special introductory thing , one time offer etc.

I think there should always be a wiggle room built in , customers love feeling they got the better end of a bargain and it really only happens you leave money on the table once
Cos next time they come to you build the discount in and haggle a little , moan a little , cry you a small guy and have 17 starving kids to take care of --- the whole sob story,
Then grudgingly give in to the cheaper price (which is what your no haggle price woulda been) and he walks away feeling great and happy to pay etc.
A nice touch is to wring your hands Uriah Heep style and mutter things like "ever so 'umble yer lordship" as they go past :) 

From: basehorawards [#5]
 15 Sep 2005
To: Rodney Gold (RODNEY_GOLD) [#4] 15 Sep 2005

Sir Rodney,

Uriah Heep!

You bring back my days as a long hair - 8 track tape playing - rebel without a clue.

Thanks for the invitation to walk down memory lane.

From: Stunt Engraver (DGL) [#6]
 15 Sep 2005
To: Rodney Gold (RODNEY_GOLD) [#4] 15 Sep 2005


Doing the job for $800 would have still been profitable. The way I figure, I'd already let them have the good end of the stick all this time, which is, as you say, where I went wrong.

From: Ed (EMANA) [#7]
 15 Sep 2005

What's an 8 Track? Just kidding.


I think you did the right thing. Whenever I am told about "future work", I always tell them that I would be happy to offer them some sort of discount on that "future work", but right now, do it by the book.

As for the lost work, think of it this way: If you are fair in pricing (which I assume you are) then you could have taken that time to do $1000 worth of work instead of $800 for someone else. Or, you could take that time to find $1000 clients instead of the $800 ones.

A 20% discount for a PITA customer....no way!


PromoCreation, Inc.

How do you PromoCreate? =)

From: PenTrophy (PENINSULATROPHY) [#8]
 15 Sep 2005
To: Ed (EMANA) [#7] 16 Sep 2005

An 8 Track is Two 4 Tracks taped together....

From: sawdr73 [#9]
 15 Sep 2005
To: PenTrophy (PENINSULATROPHY) [#8] 15 Sep 2005

You missed this one. An 8 track is the railroad crossing about a quarter mile to the north of my place, and a 4 track is the crossing just west of me. We also have a "mono-rail" ( single rail crossing) 100 yards east of me. Any "redneck" from Arkansas can help you if you need further assistance. (devil) 

From: UncleSteve [#10]
 15 Sep 2005
To: Stunt Engraver (DGL) [#6] 15 Sep 2005

Hmmm..... take it for $900 PLUS $100 for pickup and delivery.... :P 

From: Stunt Engraver (DGL) [#11]
 15 Sep 2005


I knew it would go this way, but I didn't want to count my chickens.

I received a call from the "economy-minded" company today, saying they'll go with me at my price.

I doubt they did any shopping, but if they had, I'm sure they discovered what I could have easily told them:

1. They couldn't find an engraver willing to take a risk on expensive items.

2. Of those engravers willing to take the risk, they couldn't find one who knew how to hold this item in their machine.

3. They couldn't find an engraver who would have the items back within 3 days.

4. They couldn't find an engraver who would engrave the items for less than my price.

Could have been one, or all of the above.

One thing they did discover -- I'm not the person to run the grind card on. :-) 

EDITED: 17 Sep 2005 by DGL

From: Stunt Engraver (DGL) [#12]
 15 Sep 2005
To: Ed (EMANA) [#7] 23 Sep 2005


As for the lost work, think of it this way: If you are fair in pricing (which I assume you are) then you could have taken that time to do $1000 worth of work instead of $800 for someone else. Or, you could take that time to find $1000 clients instead of the $800 ones.

There was a time, when I let people grind me so often, and so hard, that I was on the verge of being evicted from my (rented) home. Your suggested mindset, was what I had to employ to work my way off the ropes.

This time around, it was easy for me to dismiss this company. I actually have substantial jobs waiting in the wings.

It wasn't always that way. When I was struggling, I didn't have those types of jobs on deck. Regardless, my attitude had to become one of confidence and I would bluff as if I were swamped.

It became important to advance the notion that I was a skilled craftsman, in high demand, and the quality in workmanship and level of service I offered made my pricing a bargain.

Naturally, all that is true, but in the days when I was on the ropes, the only person who didn't believe it was me.

EDITED: 17 Sep 2005 by DGL

From: Cindy (CINDYM) [#13]
 23 Sep 2005
To: Stunt Engraver (DGL) [#1] 23 Sep 2005

You know there is nothing that will get your back up better and faster than a client "telling" you what you will charge. To me, that is insulting and I'd just as soon not complete the work for them with that attitude. Add in the other state payroll, which to me equals 60-90 day payments, and their price would be higher than $1,000.

Good for you David for standing firm. We need to have some dignity and belief in our work value.

Cindy M

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