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Messages - stitcher_guy

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 13
1
General Discussion / Re: Another supplier gripe
« on: May 24, 2012, 01:41:12 PM »
That's what griped me right off the bat. To put the charge on my card without even having the material in stock. I've run into out of stock items before with supplieres, and it's no problem. when the material comes in, it's sent and then I'm charged on my card. I order Ruff Tuff seat covers all the time, and the turnaround is 3-4 weeks. There is no charge on my card until the day they are sent out.

I did exactly what was suggested. Called my credit card company, filed a disputed charge. They credited my card the next day, and now it's between them and the supplier. All for a measely $85. But that's still a chunk of change in my world.

2
General Discussion / Another supplier gripe
« on: May 24, 2012, 07:49:04 AM »
I won't name any names of this company in Oregon, that holds all the cards with hard-to-find old original auto cloth and vinyl. Simply put, they S-ure did M-ake me S-team with how they treated me recently.

Put in an order for body cloth on an 87 Iroc Camaro (the striped stuff is not around). They gladly charged $85 to my credit card, and then did not send the cloth. I called after ample time to get it to me, and was told "oh, we don't have it, but we're looking for it." Well, I'd already called Original Auto and they didn't have any, and there's no other sources that I am aware. I told them to forget it, that the customer was griping and I had to get the job finished. In the meantime, I found some of the same cloth in beige, dyed it black, and finished the job.

I never got my $85 back on my credit card. After a cycle period, I called again. "Well, you never said you wanted to cancel that order. Are you wanting to cancel?" DUH, you idiots. I said I didn't want it anymore the last time. Ok, cancelled. But, Doug P, the owner, only issue credits on the weekends. They left him a message.

Another credit card cycle, and the return was not posted. I called again, was told by the snotty woman on the other end that she'd passed on the information, and he was the only one to issue credits. Pretty much, screw me, it wasn't her problem.

I called two days later. Thankfully Ms. Personality was gone, and I talked to her counterpart, Mr. Doesn't Care. His hands were tied, he could do nothing, he didn't even have the file because it had been filed as "cancelled." But, he did tell me I should e-mail the owner to "encourage" him to give me the credit. I have to encourage my 6yo to eat her vegetables. I shouldn't have to encourage a business owner to own up to not providing product.

I e-mailed. I heard nothing for several days. I e-mailed again, I got a response "I'll work on that this week."

Well, for once I have to say thank you to Capital One credit card. I disputed the charge, laid out the timeline, and they credited my card and will go after this lackluster supplier to reclaim their money.

I know that I don't order much from them (and never again, if Quality Auto doesn't have it, then it doesn't exist). And to them it was only $85. But from my end, that's enough money to get my hackles up. If a customer came to me and I hadn't provided service, they'd be in my face wanting their money back. It's just average customer service, and no one should be so big in their head that they feel they don't need to provide.

3
General Discussion / Re: Miami Corp Order & UPS
« on: May 24, 2012, 07:28:32 AM »
Too late now, but in the future it might have worked to re-order your materials to get it on time, and then when the first-ordered package arrived, you simply refuse it. My driver has said sometimes the package will simply fall off the conveyor or something stupid like that, and it doesn't get picked up or reinserted in the delivery timeline until later and that throws off the delivery schedule.

I'm lucky in my vantage point. If I order to Miami by 2p CST, then I can have it next day by 9:30a (my driver delivers me at the start of his route). Even better, still, I can order with Andrew at DLT/Dubois in Chicago up until about 4:30 (but it's a gamble that late) or 4p to be assured of it going out, and I get the order by 9:30a. They also have another delivery company, SpeeDee, that does it for about half the cost, but I don't get the order until midday the next day.

4
The Business Of Upholstery / Re: Labor time boat interior
« on: March 17, 2012, 08:15:07 AM »
Still hard to say. Some pontoons use the plastic formed seats that have no rot, but still get removed for full recovering. Other customers want just panels fixed and repaired. Some customers are willing to recreate their design, while others are just looking for a party barge and don't care if you do a simple pattern as a replacement. Different materials are different prices. Etc. It all figures in, which is why customers at my shop just have to accept that I work on a materials/labor per hour basis (currently $55/hr).

My basic rule of thumb with boats in this area (flat fields of Illinois with no real bodies of water anywhere close) -- especially if someone is just tire kicking and not committed to actually doing the work -- basic base cushions are $150 - $200. The big bench seats on a pontoon will be $300 - $500. Most of the pontoons around here price out between $1,800 - $2,500. Any more than that and the customers turn purple, gasp for air, stumble backwards in shock and realize that it's expensive to drink a lot of beer sitting out in the local puddle with their freeloader friends.

5
General Discussion / Re: Sewing in letters
« on: March 14, 2012, 01:15:00 AM »
I sew letters and designs two ways. Embossing them is sewing the outline through a padded layer of vinyl. I use a relatively short stich and go slow. I also do relief cut designs and letters, where you put the contrasting color behind the main panel, sew through both layers, and cut out the front color, revealing the secondary color. I prefer to do either of these in cars and boats as opposed to embrodery due to the perforation caused by the embroidery machine, and fading of embroidery thread.

I just did a Mustang relief design in the back seat of a 65 Mustang. I have pictures on my Facebook business page.

Facebook: search/ pro stitch auto.

6
The Business Of Upholstery / Re: RE: Intuit and Square
« on: March 10, 2012, 10:52:52 AM »
I've never taken credit cards in the 11 years I've been open, but in the last couple years I"ve gotten more inquiries if we handle them. My shop is three miles out of town, and I require a deposit from customers to schedule their repairs. I have to make them come back or mail a check to order material, and I take a risk scheduling without a deposit if there is no material to purchase (can leave a dead space in the schedule if they are a no-show).

I have looked into Square and Intuit. I am more inclined to go with Intuit because we use QuickBooks for our accounting, and it would be a seamless flow into the accounting for updates. The per-transaction fee is about the same (2.7% vs. 2.75%), and if I ended up doing a lot of business with credit cards, with Intuit, you can opt for a 1.6% (about that) with a $12/month fee. The reader that plugs into your smart phone (it has all the major styles of smart phone as options) seems heftier and stronger with the Intuit service.

My only up-front cost would be purchasing a smart phone (I'm still in the stone-age and don't have one), but that is cheaper than buying an in-store card reader. Doing so would require an extra $30/month data fee on my cell bill, so I guess that would in essence be the monthly service fee. Other than the credit card option, I really have no need for a smart phone.

I was talking to the Exec for the Automotive Parts and Service Association here in Illinois about credit cards. She said the contract with the credit card company that solicits members is about to run out, and the association will likely not be renewing their contract because the smart-phone method is cheaper for their members to use.

Now I just have to convince my wife that we need to take credit cards.   

7
General Discussion / Re: obsessive compulsive !? customer delema
« on: February 26, 2012, 08:44:56 AM »
The point that stood out with me -- because I've run into this as well -- while you have doubts about your abilities because of her ditching the sofa/having another shop work on it/etc..... she has MORE WORK for you.

She will never be happy with anything, but doesn't mind trying to spend money going for perfection. Car and boat people are the same way. They have in their head how perfect something should be. It is either impossible, or not feasible from a budget standpoint, yet you give it your all. They will leave you feeling you did a bad job, when in reality they are bragging you up to their friends.

Disliking the outcome isn't a reflection on your work, it's more her inability to accept that something is actually done to a point of satisfaction. But you obviously came closer than anyone else she's used if she's coming back. I like these customers as repeats, because the following jobs I can be "in their face," which is what she probably wants. Get cocky with the next project. As she's talking about firmness, tell her flat out "no, you'll hate that foam. We're using this foam." When she shows you samples tell her "Oh my heavens!! Are you serious? You know that you're going to like XXXX better" and show her what you will be using." Wasting the money is a gamem to her, and she's found a suitable opponent.

You've passed the test with that first project, whether she kept it, burned it or donated it to charity. And if she has more work for you, then that means her pocketbook is open and she wants to hand the cash to you. TAKE IT!!!!

8
General Discussion / Re: vw seats sricky nightmare
« on: February 26, 2012, 08:23:02 AM »
LOLOL@ Mike. Yep, kind of my thinking, too. It was a 2011 BMW 335is. Sporty car, but the interior was all black. Customer had us pull the inserts and replace with white leather, plus removing all the French Seams and resewing same seams with 138 white thread. I also added white double fells to the headrests. We also pulled the door panels, removed the insert section, and split the black, seamed panel. We redid that panel with a white leather strip on the lower portion, and redid the black upper.

What slowed us down was the construction of the seat panels. The factory seat heater unit is one piece spanning the whole face, not just the center section like most units. The facing panels are sewn through the unit and pulled across to make the face.

It was a pretty involved project, and made us question ripping apart brand new door panels/seats. But that's what we do. And it must have gone over with his college friends because we have another 300 series coming in this week to be estimated for the same job in suede.

9
If you're still exploring ideas for the headliner, have you considered making your own listings from the same material you are using for the liner? If it's thin like Ultrasuede, it should stretch fine as listing. Or, use a heavier cotton material, but cut reliefs in each run to make it more flexible. I've never done a plane headliner, but any bowtypes I do in cars, I've never had an issue using the standard listing material.

10
Hey Andrew. Jack hasn't called me in awhile. Down to one and a half pails of glue.

11
General Discussion / Re: Growing pains
« on: February 09, 2012, 02:29:34 AM »
Shane, who works for me now, doesn't get paid hardly a pittance. I do what I can and his benefit package is that we sponsor his show car and I help him with upholstery needs free of charge (he buys material at my cost). But no medical, paid time off or anything. He never complains about the wage because he loves working in the shop and has fun doing his job. Wow, I'd go to work for someone at $35 an hour wage. Heavens.

Anyone who has ever worked for me has always had access to the shop for personal projects, even storage of their projects. But they also always understand that if they do it for pay then they have become the competition and they are gone.

12
General Discussion / Re: Hot Knives - Please Educate Jethro
« on: February 09, 2012, 02:21:22 AM »
Where's a decently priced place to buy a hot knife? I"ve been needing one for awhile, but never investigated. But, hey, if Chris got one, I gotta have one.  :P

13
General Discussion / Re: Andrew good to see you back
« on: February 04, 2012, 10:44:45 PM »
Did you get their Christmas card? Loved the caricatures.

14
General Discussion / Re: Growing pains
« on: February 04, 2012, 10:40:33 PM »
A few years ago I had one employee in a satellite shop, and two employees working for me in the main shop. Plus my wife doing the bookwork/business side of things. That's when quality sunk and I didn't get to touch a project. I was too busy making sure they didn't screw things up. And I wasn't overly controlling, I just wasn't seeing the shop produce the quality that it should. It is also the one time I totally blew my top and yelled at the two guys in my shop because it just wasn't working out.

Nowadays, I have one employee who is also a long-time friend and as devoted to PRO Stitch's success as I am. He sells us whenever he can. Today, for example, he was getting his hair cut and talking to the stylist about a chair he'd already sold her on. In the process, he sold another patron on a headliner and actually went to another person's house afterwards to take rocker cushions and brought them out. And this was on his day off!!

Yet, there are days when I want to kill him. He will bite off more than he can chew with a project sometimes. If it will be a learning experience to let him mess up but not cost me money in materials, I will let him. He is a hands-on learner. But, if I see disaster looming, he will listen to me when I tell him "Do it exactly how I say, because I've already screwed things up trying it other ways, and you need to listen to what I'm telling you."

He is almost obsessive/compulsive about picking up and stacking things. i'll lay a tool down to move a project or do another part of it, and he'll take the tool and put it away. Then I'm stuck looking around. It's simply a matter of weighing the good with the bad and realizing that his presence in the shop is an overall plus, and I have to bite the bullet and let things happen the way they will.

Bottom line, though, no matter how good he is or how we get along, it is my shop, my mortgage and my name on everything that rolls out of here. It isn't necessarily done my way, but it is done to my expectations. We both undersatnd this, realize it, and accept it.


15
General Discussion / Re: vw seats sricky nightmare
« on: February 04, 2012, 10:18:12 PM »
Whenever I have to remove foam from the back of a covering, heat usually loosens the original glue to allow separation. This is usually on industrial seats, however, where the material (cloth, vinyl) is glued directly to the bun.

Totally agree with RM on the restitching. It takes some lining up, but 138 thread seems to cover mishits when going back along the original holes. I use a scrap piece to mimic the stitch length, but that isn't always exact around curves and such. We'll be doing this exact thing this coming week when we pull all the French Seams from a pair of BMW seats (black) and restitch in white. Should be fun.

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