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General Upholstery Questions and Comments => General Discussion => Topic started by: gene on January 28, 2013, 09:43:01 PM

Title: Price for a cushion cover
Post by: gene on January 28, 2013, 09:43:01 PM
A lady called today and wanted a price for a cushion cover. I told her I needed some info to give her a price. She said she only wanted a price. Why did she need to give me any info?

I explained why and she did give me the info I needed. I gave her my labor price and how much fabric she would need.

Caller: (BIG GASP!) I can buy a cushion at Wal Mart for less than a third of that price.

Me: I think San Fransisco will win the Super Bowl.

Caller: What are you talking about?

Me: What are you talking about?

Caller: I think you are being rude.

Me: Snarky

Caller: (A moment of silence.) "What?"

Me: Snarky. I'm not being rude. I'm being snarky. It's my word for the day. Snarky. It means crotchety, sarcastic, or impertinent.

Caller: (Silence)

Me: (I wondered if she had hung up.) Listen. You called for a price for a custom made cushion cover. And I appreciate that. Someone gave you my name and number and they obviously know the kind of work that I do. You can't take your 3 yards of fabric to Wal Mart and have them make you a cushion cover for $55.00. Wal Mart has a company in China that makes 1/2 million cushion covers at a time and ships them to all their stores. These are two totally different and unrelated situations.

Me: con't. If you are looking for a cheaper price than Wal Mart you might want to try Meijers or Big Lots. If you want a custom made cushion cover, with your specific fabric, that is done right and looks great, I can do that for you. (At this point I still didn't know if she was still on the line.)

Me: You've got a good idea of what a custom cushion cover will cost, and if you would like to go in that direction, I will be happy to work with you.

Caller: (A bit of a pause.) Oh. Well. I do thank you for that. That's just a bit more than I was expecting to pay.

We said our good-byes on a positive, pleasant note.

The moral of the story, boys and girls, is:

No need to be rude and no need to be crude.
If someone gives you malarkey,
Just act a bit snarky.

gene

Title: Re: Price for a cushion cover
Post by: sofadoc on January 28, 2013, 10:39:29 PM
If you ask me, the ONLY act of rudeness in that conversation was when the caller said "I can buy a cushion at Wal-Mart for a third of that price".

I am VERY understanding and polite when I encounter a customer that simply has no concept of what a particular job might cost. If they just say something like "Oh sorry, that price is more than I anticipated", then they have my full respect. Or even if the customer told me that my price was out of line compared to other professional upholsterers in the area, I wouldn't take offense. I will briefly explain why my price is what it is, and hopefully we will part as friends.

But when they pit me against Wally World, I tend to show my snarkability (or is it snarkism?......or snarkisity?)

Perhaps I'm being replete with snarkiousity?
Title: Re: Price for a cushion cover
Post by: Mike on January 28, 2013, 10:44:48 PM
makes me thinks ot  3 jobs I missed latly the first a guy wanted a full to the waterline sun cover for his 45 foot 14 foot beem boat  140 yards Imy first clue was he said he used to shrinkwrap it in NJ himself with his own gun for a couple hundred in material  my cost was way more then he wanted to pay  he told me he bought 2 motorhome covers and may want me to sew them together I bought one when I vacationed in florida and left the rv hwere the cover was all shreaded  
second was a guy talked to me when I was leaving west marine  had me come over and price new upholstery in his 22 ish bayliner  when I called back a week later his wife said he went with another guy  then last week same thing I get called for upholstery and carpet and im the first guy hes got 2 more coming  he went with another  so what is it people want the best price m there not going to pay it unsatisfied?
ill do the same I had a dock built and got a guy I could afford .
should I sucjk it up and lower me price? when I started I advertised as best prices in the region  I was happy with what I made I did it fast and turned a good living  but if you try to raise your price with the riding material cost and shipping   seems they go with the cheaper guy
Title: Re: Price for a cushion cover
Post by: byhammerandhand on January 28, 2013, 10:47:51 PM
My wife and I had a good laugh over this when she told me about her call to you.


A lady called today and wanted a price for a cushion cover. I told her I needed some info to give her a price. She said she only wanted a price. Why did she need to give me any info?

I explained why and she did give me the info I needed. I gave her my labor price and how much fabric she would need.

Caller: (BIG GASP!) I can buy a cushion at Wal Mart for less than a third of that price.

Me: I think San Fransisco will win the Super Bowl.

Caller: What are you talking about?

Me: What are you talking about?

Caller: I think you are being rude.

Me: Snarky

Caller: (A moment of silence.) "What?"

Me: Snarky. I'm not being rude. I'm being snarky. It's my word for the day. Snarky. It means crotchety, sarcastic, or impertinent.

Caller: (Silence)

Me: (I wondered if she had hung up.) Listen. You called for a price for a custom made cushion cover. And I appreciate that. Someone gave you my name and number and they obviously know the kind of work that I do. You can't take your 3 yards of fabric to Wal Mart and have them make you a cushion cover for $55.00. Wal Mart has a company in China that makes 1/2 million cushion covers at a time and ships them to all their stores. These are two totally different and unrelated situations.

Me: con't. If you are looking for a cheaper price than Wal Mart you might want to try Meijers or Big Lots. If you want a custom made cushion cover, with your specific fabric, that is done right and looks great, I can do that for you. (At this point I still didn't know if she was still on the line.)

Me: You've got a good idea of what a custom cushion cover will cost, and if you would like to go in that direction, I will be happy to work with you.

Caller: (A bit of a pause.) Oh. Well. I do thank you for that. That's just a bit more than I was expecting to pay.

We said our good-byes on a positive, pleasant note.

The moral of the story, boys and girls, is:

No need to be rude and no need to be crude.
If someone gives you malarkey,
Just act a bit snarky.

gene


Title: Re: Price for a cushion cover
Post by: west coast on January 28, 2013, 11:43:34 PM
i completely understand the need for some diplomacy in dealing with clueless customers but unfortunately for many that I get now I`ve been worn out by them and they get a complete history of my frustration with cheap offshore junk and the willingness by most people to buy it. When I get people wanting me to recover their leather sofa in new leather because it rotted in 3 years and they are astounded that I can`t do it for the 800 bucks they paid originally I kind of go bonkers a wee bit. Basically most people have no clue and I will include designers in that group.
Title: Re: Price for a cushion cover
Post by: Rich on January 29, 2013, 07:45:25 AM
I don't doubt that you actually said that to that woman Gene, it's something that I would only dream of saying, but the words were perfect!
Rich
Title: Re: Price for a cushion cover
Post by: baileyuph on January 29, 2013, 08:01:47 AM
Callers are not often buyers.  What I usually advise callers is to bring it in and lets get all the details needed.

Phone time can be lost time.

Doyle
Title: Re: Price for a cushion cover
Post by: byhammerandhand on January 29, 2013, 12:29:46 PM
Oh the Snark, they... ?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SEllHMWkXEU



P.S.   The reason why Gene never heard the work 'snarky" before is because he doesn't listen to Teri Gross.
Title: Re: Price for a cushion cover
Post by: Darren Henry on January 29, 2013, 05:57:06 PM
Quote
A lady called today and wanted a price for a cushion cover. I told her I needed some info to give her a price

I'm snarky enough even on a good day----I jump straight to sarcastic. As Doyle says most of these calls are a waste of time, so my answer to "how much to fix my couch?" was usually "Can you move it a little closer to the phone, I can't hear what's wrong with it from there".
Title: Re: Price for a cushion cover
Post by: gene on January 29, 2013, 06:55:03 PM
Quote
My wife and I had a good laugh over this when she told me about her call to you.

Hey Keith, I thought I heard sounds in the background like squirrels scratching in the wall cavities, chewing on the electrical wiring, and loading the attic with disease carrying droppings.   ;D

FYI: Keith has a squirrel lady in his neighborhood. The good news is that the Psychiatric Diagnostic Service Manual is considering an "animal hording" diagnosis.

If you are not in the "price only" business it can get tiring when folks keep calling for price only.

gene

Title: Re: Price for a cushion cover
Post by: DBR1957 on January 31, 2013, 02:21:00 PM
I've had customers come to me after going with a lower priced shop. turns out they found
out the hard way why the other shop was cheaper.

For years the word in our area is we are the most expensive but the work is right and we stand
behind it. I have a boat dealer client that won't use anyone but me. They don't sell super high
end boats but they give their customers high end service. They realize quality costs.
Title: Re: Price for a cushion cover
Post by: Mike on January 31, 2013, 07:16:53 PM
I hated working for dearlors dbr  specially the big ones
 no deposite and wait 30 days for payment when I could have done another job and got money that week rather then just buying materials and they want to to do it right away so they can moves the boat so stop what your doing
I had 5 at one point then with the economy they started falling the last patially due to the
BP spill loss of sales
Title: Re: Price for a cushion cover
Post by: DBR1957 on February 01, 2013, 04:30:15 PM
Mike - We had more dealers in the heyday, but when things went south the looked for the cheap way out.
Occassionally they will call us to fix something another shop messed up.

The one dealer I work with now will have a check waiting for me when I go to install if I ask them to. Many
times I've gone to install something and while I'm in the process the servicewriter will ask if I brought an
invoice. More than once he has brought a check back before I'm finished. If the check signer isn't there at the time I won't wait more than a few days for a check in the mail. We take care of each other.
Title: Re: Price for a cushion cover
Post by: sofadoc on February 01, 2013, 05:31:38 PM
More than once he has brought a check back before I'm finished. If the check signer isn't there at the time I won't wait more than a few days for a check in the mail. We take care of each other.
That's rare.

Most of the time when I deliver the finished product to a retailer, office, restaurant, etc., I present them with an invoice.

That EXACT moment (when I hand them the bill) is the absolute FIRST time that it has even occurred to any of  them that the job will require payment. They act as if the situation has never come up before, and they have no idea if there is any procedure in place to handle such an occurrence.

Funny though, in the days leading up to this unforeseen event, they had plenty of knowledge regarding specific requirements of the job. But when you hand them the bill, they all get that "Deer in headlights" look in their eyes.
In fact, they act a little annoyed having to "deal with" the invoice. And of course, the only person authorized to sign the check is currently in another hemisphere.
Title: Re: Price for a cushion cover
Post by: bobbin on February 01, 2013, 07:24:49 PM
Gene, I am generally more diplomatic than you seem to have been in your "telephone diplomacy".  But I usually end up in the same place.  I refer to myself as a "neo-Victorian"; which means that you manoeuver the other person into a position that allows them a graceful retreat.  You basically put them in a position where they "have egg on their face" and you graciously avoid drawing attention to it!

I understand my price has taken you by surprise.  I must pay the same bills you must.  And I must pay my share of taxes, as well.  Wal-Mart will always "beat me on price" but they won't provide the service I offer and your money won't remain in our community.  You get the gist...

General politesse has the ability to redirect the conversation from "price" to "our community".  It doesn't always work! but it's worth a shot and it seems more useful to play the "community" card than the "snarky" one. 

Just sayin'