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: Client Breakdown -Type?  ( 843 )
65Buick
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« : February 02, 2017, 08:01:57 PM »

I'm curious what sort of clients everyone has. Like, are 50% decorators, 25% public, 25% other? And so forth. Trying to gauge my community and who might have an actual need for upholstery.

Thanks everyone. And as many of you know, Punxatawney has spoken. 6 more weeks of gloom. ha!
SteveA
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« #1 : February 03, 2017, 03:14:08 PM »

5 % decorators - 80 % public or recommendation - 10 %  from advertising - 5 % internet hits
gene
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« #2 : February 04, 2017, 09:05:18 AM »

Interior designers mostly. I originally set up my business plan to work with IDs. I've been around long enough now that referrals from the public are growing each year. I do not advertise so I rarely get calls from someone who did not get my name from a previous customer.

gene

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


« #3 : February 04, 2017, 10:15:08 AM »

In terms of sales:
10% decorators
40% general public
50% commercial (hospitals, restaurants, offices, etc.).

Of that 40% general public, well over half are women over 50.
Women under 50 are bound by budget constraints.
Men (of any age) don't give a rat's ass about the furniture.

"Perfection is the greatest enemy of profitability" - Mark Cuban
65Buick
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« #4 : February 05, 2017, 10:02:29 PM »

This is very interesting.

Gene, would you say you are more or less satisfied dealing with IDs, versus the general public.

SteveA, how is it that you acquired the commercial accounts? I have thought through everything and am almost at the point of just walking in cold and asking people for their business.

SofaDoc, I'd agree in general most men really don't care about their furniture so long as it serves the purpose. With the women you deal with, would you say you enjoy the work, and do you try to proliferate it as such?

Thanks all so much for the help. Trying to decide which way to go as I want to do this long haul, if it all possible. Competition is tough though, specifically in the name of really cheap stuff coming from overseas. I hope and hold my head high that people will get tired of that garbage and want something worth something, made by someone who cares.
MinUph
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« #5 : February 05, 2017, 10:53:29 PM »



Thanks all so much for the help. Trying to decide which way to go as I want to do this long haul, if it all possible. Competition is tough though, specifically in the name of really cheap stuff coming from overseas. I hope and hold my head high that people will get tired of that garbage and want something worth something, made by someone who cares.

  The main draw for re upholstery as I see it is choices. If you look at new furniture at almost all retail outlets the fabric choices are really slim. One or two fabrics in 4 or 5 colors. We can offer pretty much an unlimited choice in fabrics. That will a better quality workmanship even on low end furniture is what sets us apart from the factories. If you do good work consistently and are in the wright market area you can do well.
  Our breakdown is a guess of about 40% Designers, 20% COM from non designers and the rest are my fabric sales. Women more than men but I get many men walk in and do business. I think more couples than not.

Paul
Minichillo's Upholstery
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sofadoc
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« #6 : February 06, 2017, 09:18:33 AM »

SofaDoc, I'd agree in general most men really don't care about their furniture so long as it serves the purpose. With the women you deal with, would you say you enjoy the work, and do you try to proliferate it as such?
I generally enjoy doing business with women. Since most are over 50, they have now reached the point in life where they have their own discretionary income. They don't have to get approval from hubby.

The few men that I deal with can tend to be anal. They obsess over all the specs on the back of the sample book and ask a lot of mind numbing questions. Then they try to pin me down to giving them an unconditional lifetime guarantee. Women just write the check, no questions asked. But most of the men that come in my shop are just accompanying their wives, and really offer no input. They don't want to say anything that will delay the process by causing the wife to start second-guessing herself. 

"Perfection is the greatest enemy of profitability" - Mark Cuban
byhammerandhand
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« #7 : February 06, 2017, 06:25:14 PM »

SofaDoc, I'd agree in general most men really don't care about their furniture so long as it serves the purpose. With the women you deal with, would you say you enjoy the work, and do you try to proliferate it as such?
I generally enjoy doing business with women. Since most are over 50, they have now reached the point in life where they have their own discretionary income. They don't have to get approval from hubby.

The few men that I deal with can tend to be anal. They obsess over all the specs on the back of the sample book and ask a lot of mind numbing questions. Then they try to pin me down to giving them an unconditional lifetime guarantee. Women just write the check, no questions asked. But most of the men that come in my shop are just accompanying their wives, and really offer no input. They don't want to say anything that will delay the process by causing the wife to start second-guessing herself. 

Interesting perspective, Sofadoc.  I have generally attributed that male behavior you describe as "engineer."

One of my retail clients had a recurring customer.   The guy was nice enough and just got a golden parachute from the company where he was CEO and the company got acquired.   The wife was generally known by the designers as a royal PIA.   Her background was lower class, so this was definitely, "new money."    She used to drag him along to the store about once a month, which was pretty obvious he hated or at least he didn't really care, he'd rather be doing something else..  She'd muddle about the store and every once in a while she'd yell out, "Allll-bert, .....  Allll-bert."  He'd come over and she'd point out something she'd like to buy.  I could just see him thing, "Just buy the damned thing and let's go home."

Keith

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." Thomas A. Edison
gene
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« #8 : February 07, 2017, 09:52:25 PM »

Quote
Gene, would you say you are more or less satisfied dealing with IDs, versus the general public.

I would say I am very satisfied dealing with IDs. I have not had much experience with the general public so I can't comment on that.

If you read the threads on this forum you will notice a pattern. Upholsterers who are staying busy have found a niche that they are able to fill.

A niche allows small business owners to stay away from competing on price only.

Any niches in your area may not exist in mine. I've got IDs who want quality and service because that is what they promise their customers and that is what gets their customers to use them again and to refer family and friends to the IDs. And these Ids know that they cannot get that level of service and quality with the cheapest price. There are some IDs who only want the cheapest price. I do not do work for them, and that's OK with both of us.

The best client is the one who sees a win/win relationship in working with you at the prices you charge.

gene

gene

QUALITY DOES NOT COST, IT PAYS!
gene
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« #9 : February 07, 2017, 10:00:47 PM »

Quote
The guy was nice enough and just got a golden parachute from the company where he was CEO and the company got acquired.

Here's a guy who ran a company with the power to hire and fire people and make decisions that would effect both the company and it's employees, and yet he cannot tell his wife that he is going to watch TV instead of going shopping with her.

Do you remember the movie "On Any Given Sunday"? The older quarterback told his wife that he was going to retire because he could no longer deal with the constant pain from all the injuries he had. The wife slapped him in the face and told him he was not going to retire. She then walked away and he upped the number of pain pills and continued to play.

If I might indulge in a repost: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fj4vLZJhNEk

gene
« : February 07, 2017, 10:01:39 PM gene »

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


« #10 : February 08, 2017, 12:49:54 PM »


She'd muddle about the store and every once in a while she'd yell out, "Allll-bert, .....  Allll-bert." 
I have a similar couple. Except that he's the one who is always saying "J-u-u-u-dy, that's a dumb idea Ju-u-u-u-dy". Or "He can't do that Ju-u-u-dy. That doesn't even make sense Ju-u-u-dy"

After being reprimanded by him for about the 10th time, she will snap back at him. Reminding him in no uncertain terms that it is in fact her who is the breadwinner in the family and not him. And if she wants the sofa covered in lime green and purple, then she'll damn well get it that way. He just goes into a corner and sulks.

But then a year or 2 later, they're right back in my shop, and he's back to his old "Ju-u-u-dy" self. 

"Perfection is the greatest enemy of profitability" - Mark Cuban
65Buick
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« #11 : February 08, 2017, 08:23:03 PM »

Thanks everyone. Yes, trying to find niche.
bobslost
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« #12 : February 10, 2017, 08:54:59 PM »

When I had my business in Detroit it was about 50 -50
ID's and commercial accounts
Both had there challenges . but both can be very profitable
It takes a lot of leg work , but once or in with the purchasing agents
and as long as you deliver what you promise you will have pretty steady work.
I am now working mostly with the general public  which also has its challenges
But you have a little more flexibility on deadlines
Mojo
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« #13 : February 12, 2017, 08:15:33 AM »

I know we are not in the furniture end of things but I will go ahead and add my reply anyways.

We used to be 100 % consumer. Then we picked up a service center and then another and another. Now we have a limited and select dealer network across the USA. It has been good for us as it has smoothed out the annual production cycles a bit better.

We do not pursue dealers and try and build our dealer network. We are currently at about 20 % dealer request orders and I would like to stay at that level. It probably sounds insane to some of you to hide from sales but gross receipts is not everything. With increased sales comes increased costs and this is especially true with a busy shop. If we hit a certain milestone in sales then we reach the point of having to add staff. When that happens we just added a huge cost to the operations which can drop margins.

We have always tried and control our growth and this has included watching how many service centers we take on as customers.

My concern is NOT gross sales but net profit. Some customers can boost your sales numbers but cost you money and can be a drag on your net income. I assume some ID's can do this to you guys.

Just my perspective.

Chris
baileyuph
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« #14 : February 12, 2017, 10:29:01 AM »

Agree with all said, experience there.  Another point;  I notice work that requires little sales time is significantly more profitable for me.  Spending significant time (more than just a couple minutes) no matter the job, especially smaller jobs (under 60 dollars as just an example) maybe fairly fast to do but the margins aren't that impressive.  Include phone time in this discussion.

Sales time and total cost is just equally important as actual work time.

Doyle
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