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: C.O.M. designers  ( 518 )
65Buick
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« : July 06, 2017, 08:31:29 PM »

I thought about reviving the old thread but the forum notified me it was past 120 days.

I have found some designers interested in me. I have no interest in being a 'workroom'. I am sure they will insist on buying their own fabric from their trusted sources so I am asking what I should expect.

Many thanks.
MinUph
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Mainly furniture. Tarpon Springs Fl.


« #1 : July 06, 2017, 09:15:30 PM »

Hahaha. What you should expect. Just kidding.

 Designers are all different. Most will be C.O.M.s But not all. Beginners won't have the contacts yet. If they are true "designers" they should be very capable in room design and all things related but there will be many "decorators" in the mix. Decorators are like your next door neighbor. DYI kind of people. Not all but most.
 I have worked with both for all of my career and do well with them. You have to remember you will be working for labor only so charge accordingly. If they don't want to pay your fee you don't have to work with them. You are in charge of your business.
 Be very careful to get things on paper for each job. Email is OK as long as you have an understanding of exactly what they expect from the project. Purchase orders are the best way. Completed with what they want done. Charge them something to pickup and deliver. remember labor only!.
  You will be fine if you use your head and don't allow them to run your business.

Paul
Minichillo's Upholstery
Website
byhammerandhand
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"By hammer and hand, all arts do stand."


« #2 : July 06, 2017, 09:36:20 PM »

I'm sure SofaDoc will chime in here, but he's talked about the problem when the consumer comes directly to him after some jobs with with designer.   The designer feels cheated and/or wants a cut.   Be prepared on how to handle this.

Keith

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." Thomas A. Edison
sofadoc
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All types of upholstery.....except cars and boats.


« #3 : July 06, 2017, 10:23:06 PM »

I'm sure SofaDoc will chime in here, but he's talked about the problem when the consumer comes directly to him after some jobs with with designer.   The designer feels cheated and/or wants a cut.   Be prepared on how to handle this.
Chime.

Designers/decorators around here don't seem to like the fact that I work for the public. They all have my blessing to take a long walk off a short pier.

"Perfection is the greatest enemy of profitability" - Mark Cuban
kodydog
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North Central Florida


« #4 : July 07, 2017, 08:30:17 AM »

Some designers can be a real blessing, knowledgable and send you lots of work. Others can be real trouble and its better to let another upholsterer have the work.

I found a designer on Houzz who looked promising. I sent her a quick message telling her if she would like a worry free upholstery experience to call Ladd Upholstery Designs. So she did and Rose answered. Basically the designer told rose she needs to make money off our labor and our prices should reflect that. She also said she works with two other upholsterers and shops for the lowest price. The more Rose spoke to her the more she realized this was not going to be a good experience. Rose told her we won't be able to do business with her.

We did a rush job for another long time designer customer. We gave her an estimate that she accepted and when the job was done Rose called her for a delivery. When she answered the phone she told Rose she thought we over charged and she wasn't going to pay that much. :(

Fortunately our good experiences far outweigh the bad ones. The best designers are the ones who let you bill the customer directly. Listen for key words when dealing with a new designer. If all they want to talk about is discounting you price, walk away.  
« : July 07, 2017, 08:33:34 AM kodydog »

There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.
http://northfloridachair.com/index.html
sofadoc
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All types of upholstery.....except cars and boats.


« #5 : July 07, 2017, 10:00:17 AM »

Basically the designer told rose she needs to make money off our labor and our prices should reflect that. She also said she works with two other upholsterers and shops for the lowest price.
That's been my experience more often than not.

Maybe I'm basing this observation solely from my own little corner of the world. But over the years, I've seen designers and decorators headed toward extinction at a faster rate than upholsterers.

Most of the "designers" around here run to JoAnns or Hobby Lobby and buy the same fabric that every Tom, Dick, and Harry already has in their home. They leave it up to me to deal directly with their customer. I pick up and deliver. I go over the "particulars" with the customer. And when I'm done, the customer pays me directly for my labor. This is not how true designers used to operate. Back in the day, the customer never even knew my last name.

"Perfection is the greatest enemy of profitability" - Mark Cuban
65Buick
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« #6 : July 07, 2017, 11:01:52 AM »

Thanks for the input. I know a few of the ones I want to work with a true designers and don't go to JoAnn.

I have also made it explicitly clear that it is trade-only so even if a customer comes to me, I will reject that.
kodydog
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North Central Florida


« #7 : July 07, 2017, 12:47:56 PM »

About the loyalty to the decorator thing. There are a lot of different ideas on this subject. My feeling is the customer has already made up their mind they are going to do the decorating themselves. For some reason they decided to bypass the designer. Why would I send them to another upholsterer? I guess if the designer was truly loyal to me and gave me lots of business and asked me to be loyal, maybe i would have to be. That's never come up.

There has been only one Designer who "hinted" we should be loyal. She never came right out and told us but she said some of her other crews were loyal. I think if the designer truly wants me to be unanimous they should handle the estimate, measuring for yardage, do the billing and pick up and delivery. That way the customer will never know who I am. I can pick up the piece at the designers and she can save a little money. Of course most customers want to know who the upholsterer is and most designers want to say Ladd Upholstery. Wow! Was that ever a big headed thing to say, but true.
« : July 07, 2017, 12:50:08 PM kodydog »

There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.
http://northfloridachair.com/index.html
65Buick
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« #8 : July 07, 2017, 05:17:17 PM »

Nothing to do with loyalty. Just don't want to deal with people directly that could become a problem.
MinUph
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Mainly furniture. Tarpon Springs Fl.


« #9 : July 07, 2017, 05:44:39 PM »

About the loyalty to the decorator thing. There are a lot of different ideas on this subject. My feeling is the customer has already made up their mind they are going to do the decorating themselves. For some reason they decided to bypass the designer. Why would I send them to another upholsterer? I guess if the designer was truly loyal to me and gave me lots of business and asked me to be loyal, maybe i would have to be. That's never come up.

There has been only one Designer who "hinted" we should be loyal. She never came right out and told us but she said some of her other crews were loyal. I think if the designer truly wants me to be unanimous they should handle the estimate, measuring for yardage, do the billing and pick up and delivery. That way the customer will never know who I am. I can pick up the piece at the designers and she can save a little money. Of course most customers want to know who the upholsterer is and most designers want to say Ladd Upholstery. Wow! Was that ever a big headed thing to say, but true.

This brings up an experience I had with one Decorator. She called herself an interior designer but I'm not sure of that. Anyway she was the type that felt she owned the tradespeople she worked with. She wanted us to wear her t-shirts when on her calls. When I took over the business, I alway have my vehicles lettered to attract business and she commented on that also. We didn't last long until I fired her.  I can put up with some things but if it gets out of hand I'm all about saying goodbye. LOL. That was a great day BTW.

Paul
Minichillo's Upholstery
Website
65Buick
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« #10 : July 07, 2017, 06:35:12 PM »

Paul that does sound out of hand. While I'm fairly new to upholstery I have had experiences with dumb difficult people. I'm trying to be extra careful about who I might do biz with. As you mentioned firing clients can be a bear but can be done.
kodydog
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« #11 : July 07, 2017, 09:04:31 PM »

I think if the designer truly wants me to be unanimous they should handle the estimate,

Wow, did I really say "unanimous". Been a tough week folks.

There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.
http://northfloridachair.com/index.html
gene
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« #12 : July 08, 2017, 07:57:41 AM »

Quote
Wow, did I really say "unanimous". Been a tough week folks.

I think you meant to say "unambiguous". :)
-----------------------
When I started my business, I targeted ID's for my customer base for various reasons. It has worked out well for me and for the IDs that use my services. I have the impression that my business model would not work everywhere.

I've gotten to the place where I am a resource for furniture upholstery with many IDs. I'm often asked if this or that will work and how do I think it will look. This is a great compliment and I've spent a lot of time getting to this place. I'm not a Spring chicken so I'm trying to get my 30 years of experience in half the time. I still enjoy watching upholstery videos on line.

There are some IDs who want the cheapest price. I hope every ID can find a cheaper price somewhere else.
And there are some ID's who what the best quality and service possible because they want the homeowners, who are their customers, to give them future work. These are the IDs I tend to work with.

gene






« : July 08, 2017, 07:59:31 AM gene »

QUALITY DOES NOT COST, IT PAYS!
gene
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« #13 : July 08, 2017, 07:00:16 PM »

Quote
We did a rush job for another long time designer customer. We gave her an estimate that she accepted and when the job was done Rose called her for a delivery. When she answered the phone she told Rose she thought we over charged and she wasn't going to pay that much.

If that were to happen to me I am certain the furniture would not leave my shop until I was paid in cash. No check. No credit card. No discussion. Nothing to talk about. Cash in my hand and then I deliver the furniture.

How about if Rose called the designer customer and said you were only going to reupholster half of the sofa and then deliver it, and the designer customer needed to pay you in full? Do you think the designer customer would complain about that? Of course not!

I work hard to do the best job I can and I will not then work hard to get paid.

I know a retired husband and wife interior painting team and they had a homeowner refuse to pay them the balance on a job once. The homeowner lives in the richest neighborhood around and he screamed and cussed at the wife to make sure she knew he was not going to pay her. What do you do?

If you have a legal contractual agreement and you complete your part of the deal there is no reason for the other party to not complete their part of the deal.

I had an designer lie to me about being tax exempt on the first job I did for her. She was not tax exempt. She came back to me two or three years later with a project and I told her I needed her to pay the sales tax on that previous job. She was not happy, AND, believe it or not, she did not pay me that sales tax that she owed me, AND, believe it or not, she took her business somewhere else, AND, believe it or not, I have not heard from her since then. Wow! Can you believe it? Some people!

gene
« : July 08, 2017, 07:11:57 PM gene »

QUALITY DOES NOT COST, IT PAYS!
kodydog
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North Central Florida


« #14 : July 08, 2017, 10:48:04 PM »

If that were to happen to me I am certain the furniture would not leave my shop until I was paid in cash. No check. No credit card. No discussion. Nothing to talk about. Cash in my hand and then I deliver the furniture.

That's pretty much the way I felt. Rose is pretty tough when it comes to getting paid. But for some reason she agreed. And we both knew this would be the last job for this designer. When I delivered the job (custom toss pillows) I dealt with the assistant, Ronnie. I could tell Ronnie was embarrassed about the whole deal and she could tell I was not happy.

There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.
http://northfloridachair.com/index.html
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