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: Dealing with ignored phone calls  ( 15797 )
JDUpholstery
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Ash Flat, Arkansas


« : August 15, 2012, 01:33:03 PM »

So I did this job, an RV couch and a custom shaped mattress for an RV, they got the estimate, left 150 dollar deposit, and I did the work...I called them Wednesday of last week to let them know the job was done and they said they would be by on Thursday to pick it up...I have not been able to get them on the phone since, left several messages with no returned phone calls yet...I haven't hounded them, called Friday, then again on Monday, and once again today. I am not out money on this job, and still have their items, but I am beginning to get annoyed, because if they cant pick them up they could at least call me and let me know when!

How do you guys deal with this when they just drop off the face of the planet, but surely they will be coming for their stuff, they paid 150 bucks up front (cash; not check at least, or I may be a little more worried), so it just has me confused and annoyed!
Rich
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« #1 : August 16, 2012, 08:59:36 PM »

If it's more than an occasional thing, you might want to state on your invoice and on a sign in your shop that there is a  storage charge past a certain time. Usually 30 days, I know that's longer than you want to wait, but check the law on this. You might not ever have to actually charge for it, it usually just makes customers more aware so they don't put a low priority on picking up their stuff.
Rich

Everything's getting so expensive these days, doesn't anything ever stay at the same price? Well the price for reupholstery hasn't changed much in years!
kodydog
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North Central Florida


« #2 : August 17, 2012, 07:38:27 AM »

Annoying and rude for sure but I wouldn't worry about getting paid. Some people just don't see things the way you or I do and don't realize how important it is for a small shop to stay in touch and get prompt payment. I think when they get ready they will show up. The guy I work for finally got paid for his Mexican restaurant job. Took over a month and many phone calls.

There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.
http://northfloridachair.com/index.html
gene
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« #3 : August 17, 2012, 02:11:41 PM »

Excellent example of why I get a deposit up front.

I put the project back in a corner somewhere and cover it to protect it, then I go on with my life.

I learned years ago that I was always making assumptions about everything, and my assumptions were always "worse case scenarios", and just in making these assumptions I would spend a lot of miserable time worrying and all stressed out.

And of course the "worse case" never happened.

With your example JD, I tell myself that the homeowner is on vacation, or there was an emergency in their family and I hope they are OK, or that other things are taking up their time, and they will get back to me as soon as they can. Everyone who eventually does call back always has had an excuse like the ones I mentioned.

I can't get customers to call me back, but I can go on with my life without being upset or stressed that they did not.

gene
« : August 17, 2012, 02:13:03 PM gene »

QUALITY DOES NOT COST, IT PAYS!
sofadoc
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All types of upholstery.....except cars and boats.


« #4 : August 17, 2012, 03:44:37 PM »

Excellent example of why I get a deposit up front.

I can't get customers to call me back, but I can go on with my life without being upset or stressed that they did not.
Unless the deposit is 100%, I'm still going to be stressed if they don't pick it up right away.

I've had to ask a few customers "How would like it if your employer ducked your phone calls on payday?"
All those excuses about family emergencies, or vacation don't fly with me. They still pay their electric bill even though they've had a death in the family. Their moprtgage still gets taken care of even when they are on vacation. In fact, all of their financial obligations are dealt with in spite of any crisis that may arise.......all except the upholsterer of course.

Even if they've paid for it in full, I still want it out of my way.

"Perfection is the greatest enemy of profitability" - Mark Cuban
JDUpholstery
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Ash Flat, Arkansas


« #5 : August 17, 2012, 06:23:11 PM »

I agree with Sofadoc, it is the fact they do not return my calls that irks me most, if you cant come get it, call me and tell me...but I do rely on getting paid, I am still a start-up and a lot of expendable income I have not...I have been spending a lot getting my shop where I need it to be and my funds are limited....I did get 150 up front for material costs, but I under estimated the material cost by about 70 bucks....foam shipping was disgustingly high
JDUpholstery
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Ash Flat, Arkansas


« #6 : August 20, 2012, 08:36:06 PM »

They came and picked up the stuff today, paid the balance and left happy, I was worried but they just had some other trailer to deliver to Texas so were gone, now this one is ready to deliver to Texas as well, and they plan to bring me another
byhammerandhand
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« #7 : August 21, 2012, 05:08:35 PM »

I do mostly service work and most of that is paid for by third party (delivery company, warranty company, insurance company, retailer, etc.)    They get on the phone to call to complain, then when I call for an appointment, it languishes.  They also seem to seem to have no problem with last minute cancellations or (Grrrr!) no shows.

I got a call a couple of weeks ago from a woman I called a number of times in MARCH!   She is finally ready, "Can you come tomorrow morning?"    She had a baby earlier this year and despite a single, healthy child, her life has turned into chaos.  She apparently does not handle stress well.

Keith

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." Thomas A. Edison
Mojo
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I'm Always In Trouble


« #8 : August 24, 2012, 10:16:09 AM »

JD:

I specialize in RV's only. I do not do anything else ( marine, furniture, etc. ). I have a vast amount of experience dealing with RV'ers and they are an interesting group to deal with.
Many are on the road full time while others are part timers. I chase customers all over this country by shipping their orders to locations that they will be at next. As an example I took an order for an RV'er in Indiana in May and shipped their toppers to them in Wyoming a month later. :)

I am probably going to sound snobby by saying this but the vast majority of my customers own the large and expensive diesel pusher motorhomes or motorcoaches. They tend to be a little more flush with money and are a great group to deal with. I have never failed to have been paid by one of them. Many of them pay the entire bill upfront. This is why I target market my services to a select group of RV'ers. I am very picky about my clientele because I am a one person shop and do not have time to screw around with tire kickers and people who cannot afford my services.

The vast amount of headaches have all come from the lower end of the RV spectrum ( towables and gas MH's ). I got stuck with a $ 400 order once when the people left town. In other cases they waste alot of my time beating me up on pricing. The lower the price of the RV the bigger my headaches. I finally had to change my mode of operation. I send the people with the less expensive RV's and who are parked in dumpy campgrounds to other stitchers in the area. What is funny is that one of these guys does not want to deal with them either and will send some to me. :) I hate to be that way but these people end up costing me money in the end by constantly calling me, haggling over prices, wanting to use cheaper fabric, etc. etc.

I built my business and reputation within the RV world by providing high quality toppers and awnings. I have worked too hard to get to where I am today so I am not going to sell myself short and give away my products because someone cannot afford them. There are other alternatives out there for them which are cheaper and of low quality.

I concentrate on the high end coaches now but I remember the time when I was just getting started that I did alot of work for towables and gas coaches. I always got paid but sometimes had to chase the customer down. The vast majority of my work back then was also done in nice campgrounds which resulted in being paid on time.

You have to be very careful when doing work for RV'ers. Many are transients and are parked at a campground in your area for a short time before heading off to another location ( or State ). Always get a big deposit.

Chris
mroy559
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« #9 : September 12, 2012, 04:27:43 AM »

That they came and selected the products today, paid the balance and still left happy, I ended up being worried they just had another trailer to produce to Colorado so have been gone, now this place is getting ready to deliver to Texas too, and they decide to bring me personally another.

JDUpholstery
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Ash Flat, Arkansas


« #10 : October 07, 2012, 10:25:30 AM »

I never learn! This same customer brought me another scissor couch and some dinette cushions to do, said they needed the dinette ASAP but the couch could wait...they paid deposit that covers material costs in advance and because they said ASAP I went ahead and worked Saturday and Sunday and got the couch and dinette done for them. Called Monday an got voice mail....left message...that was over a month ago and despite repeated phone calls I always get voice mail and never get a call back. I have decided to start a new policy just because of them.

Customer must pick up goods within 15 days of notification of completion or be charged $30 a week storage fee...any items left over 60 days without prior agreement will be sold to cover repair and storage fees

might light a fire under their butts doing this I hope....I would be more than happy to store it for them free if they agree to pay full job cost up front...I am not rich and waiting for over a month for the $300 they still owe is not easy for me....not to mention the frustration of being "ignored"
BCKC
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Kinda sorta in around about way but not really:)


« #11 : October 07, 2012, 10:46:30 AM »

Wow, that is the way I deal with unresponsive people. Sure does get things off balance in a hurry when your are trying to work around completed  projects. I have learned when I get voice mail to tell the customer that I am delivering the bla bla bla at a certain time on a certain day and to be there or they will be billed a nondeliverable fee of bla bla bla, they are 99.99% there on delivery.

Most of the time when something like happens they get in over there heads and simply don't know how to take care of the situation......they learn quickly with a little smile on delivery and a voice of authority when leaving them messages.

But do know that I hate...just hate when I have to be Stern with them. That part just bites!

Karen

Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them........http://www.candcupholsterydesigns.com
byhammerandhand
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« #12 : October 07, 2012, 04:15:05 PM »

Be sure your policy is clearly stated on paperwork you give to the customer (claim ticket, receipt for deposit, etc.) and probably also on a poster on your lobby wall.   CYA in case they get all legal with you.

Might want to check with your state laws regarding this topic.  Here is mine:
1333.22 Dry cleaner's lien - disposition of unclaimed articles.

Any garment, clothing, wearing apparel, or household goods that remain for one hundred twenty days or more in the possession of a person and on which cleaning, pressing, glazing, or washing has been done, alterations or repairs have been made, or materials or supplies have been used or furnished may be sold by that person to pay the reasonable or agreed charges for the services or labor and the costs of notifying the owner of the garment, clothing, wearing apparel, or household goods as described in this section and in section 1333.24 of the Revised Code or may be given away or otherwise disposed of by that person. The person to whom the charges are owed shall notify the owner of the garment, clothing, wearing apparel, or household goods of the time and place of the proposed sale or other disposition of it in accordance with section 1333.24 of the Revised Code, except that, if the garment, clothing, wearing apparel, or household goods remain for one hundred eighty days or more in the possession of the person, the person may sell them, give them away, or otherwise dispose of them without giving prior notice pursuant to that section. This section does not apply to property that is to be placed in storage after the performance of any of the services or labor described in this section.

1333.24 Notice or publication of proposed sale of articles.

The mailing by certified mail, return receipt requested, of a letter that states the time and place of a proposed sale or other disposition of any garment, clothing, wearing apparel, or household goods and that is addressed to the owner of the garment, clothing, wearing apparel, or household goods at his mailing address given at the time of its delivery as required by section 1333.231 of the Revised Code to the person described in section 1333.22 or 1333.23 of the Revised Code for the performance of services or labor or for storage constitutes sufficient notice under those sections if the time requirement of this section is satisfied. If the mailing address of the owner was not given at that time or was given at that time and is inaccurate or incomplete and cannot be ascertained by a reasonable effort, the publication in a newspaper of general circulation within the county of a notice that states the time and place of the proposed sale or other disposition of the owner’s garment, clothing, wearing apparel, or household goods constitutes sufficient notice under section 1333.22 or 1333.23 of the Revised Code if the time requirement of this section is satisfied. The person shall publish the notice, cause the notice to be published, or mail the letter described in this section at least thirty days before the date of the proposed sale or other disposition, and, if the proposed sale or other disposition is pursuant to section 1333.22 of the Revised Code, the person shall publish the notice, cause the notice to be published, or mail the letter not earlier than ninety days after the garment, clothing, wearing apparel, or household goods were delivered to the person.


Customer must pick up goods within 15 days of notification of completion or be charged $30 a week storage fee...any items left over 60 days without prior agreement will be sold to cover repair and storage fees

« : October 07, 2012, 04:17:11 PM byhammerandhand »

Keith

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." Thomas A. Edison
baileyuph
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« #13 : October 07, 2012, 07:32:22 PM »

JD your experience is more frequent in this economy than in the past.

It has made me more sensitive about who I am working for.


Doyle
JDUpholstery
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Ash Flat, Arkansas


« #14 : October 07, 2012, 09:27:43 PM »

I have no doubts that they can and will pay, it is just the way they are, happened on first job and happened this time..and will probably happen next time because they are repeat customers who have more work for me...when they come in I will make it clear that I cannot wait this long to be paid, I will store it for them as long as needed but want timely payment...either upfront full payment or timely payment on next job or I will just start passing on doing their work!
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