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: Lost a big job last week  ( 4445 )
mike802
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« : June 28, 2010, 06:31:59 AM »

We have talked alot on this forum about customers supplying their own fabric and the different policys used by shop owners concerning this.  Some just wont take the job, others charge a cutting fee, but regardless of a shops policy most all have a disclaimer to protect themselves against fabric defects, shortages, human error,dye lot changes, or the manufactures warranty.  Last week I gave a quote on a large job with many different pieces, the labor came in around ten grand.  The customer wanted to supply their own fabric, so I added my disclaimer to the estimate. Because I would not guarantee "their" fabric I lost the job.  Maybe they used the disclaimer as an excuse not to have the job done because they could not afford it, but I doubt it.  I actually had a preliminary go ahead, received a chair and fabric because they wanted to get it back quickly, but after the chair was striped I was told to stop working because of my disclaimer.  Weird, but I cant take the risk of being "shorted" with 500.00 a yard hand woven silk from Persia and be expected to cover the whole yardage because it.  Unfortunate, but maybe it's all for the best.

"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power" - Abraham Lincoln
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baileyuph
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« #1 : June 28, 2010, 07:30:09 AM »

There are more details to this that a reader doesn't know; however, from our view point, your disclaimer woke the customer up to the fact that they are taking responsibility they hadn't counted on.  They become worried.

It is nice to save a few bucks, but at the expense of taking on more risk, it will scare a lot of them off, particularlly on a large project, where the decision maker has to answer to a superior or someone else.  Was this an institution or an activity larger than a homeowner?  

Like I said, got to know all the details, but I wouldn't worry about it if I were you because now, you don't have to take the responsibility of any fabric defect/color issues (which can arise).  

I have had customers get my price, labor, materials then become speechless when they bring their projects to me for rework and announce "I decided to get my own materials" which I respond "you just bought all the liability for this job!".  It sure sounds scary to them when they hear that.  It has saved me having to deal with problems that surfaced later.  Even coming up short on materials is their problem with me, I tell them I don't even provide yardage estimates on materials bought from another source.  Com people are simply on their own, this doesn't mean I discourage the work, it is not bad working with less problems and responsibility.  If the question of cleaning advice comes up, I simply say I don't have that information about the materials.  No responsibility means you took it all, customer.





Doyle

« : June 28, 2010, 07:38:30 AM DB »
Saddleman
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« #2 : June 28, 2010, 11:15:23 AM »

I learned not to seperate materials cost and labor cost in a quote.  It is one price based on a spec'd material.   It helps a little with the customer trying to go and out shop you for materials. 

I like this "you just bought all the liability for this job!"  I bet that will stop many in their tracks.

I realize that not everyone is my customer.  It's hard to face that and "loose" a job, but I think I'm better off in the end.  Sounds like this maybe one of those cases for you.

Loren
Gregg @ Keystone Sewing
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« #3 : June 28, 2010, 12:18:01 PM »

So who does in fact warranty the material?  I would have to assume that the supplier would back their products with a warranty, no?  I do understand that the supplier is NOT going to go out to locaiton, remove failed product, and then install new, so it's not about that. 

 
mike802
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« #4 : June 28, 2010, 02:24:42 PM »

Quote
So who does in fact warranty the material?  I would have to assume that the supplier would back their products with a warranty, no?  I do understand that the supplier is NOT going to go out to locaiton, remove failed product, and then install new, so it's not about that. 

Hi Gregg:  I feel that it is about that because if someone buys fabric remnants off E-Bay, a remnant and closeout store, or a mill that retails seconds your right, who is going to warranty the fabric, if it has one at all?  If that same person had purchased their fabric from the upholster they would have a professional to go between them and the supplier, who ultimately contacts the manufacturer.   I have been through this process a couple of times and the questions I am usually asked are; A Does the fabric look like its been abused in anyway to cause the damage.  B Was the fabric professionally installed and properly cleaned.  Improper cleaning can void the warranty on some fabrics.  Even if the company decides to honer their warranty it only covers the cost of the fabric, not the labor for reupholstering.

When a customer has a piece reupholstered from me and also buys the fabric from me I will go the extra mile to make sure that customer is happy, weather or not the manufacture is willing to warranty the fabric.  But if the customer is c.o.m than my hands are tied regardless of how much I want to help.

DB:  To the best of my knowledge this is a private home, I have not dealt directly with the homeowner, but a go between, which could explain my getting the job initially, then being told to stop work.  I suspect my estimate came in within budget, so I was given the go a head before the owner saw the paper work?

"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power" - Abraham Lincoln
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kiwistuffer
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« #5 : June 28, 2010, 02:32:37 PM »

It seems more likely to me that the go between was supplying the fabric and realised they would be carrying the can.maybe?.
mike802
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« #6 : June 28, 2010, 02:36:53 PM »

Quote
It seems more likely to me that the go between was supplying the fabric and realised they would be carrying the can.maybe?.

Good point, hadn't thought of that.  My wife thinks the whole deal was fishy.

"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power" - Abraham Lincoln
http://www.mjamsdenfurniture.com
gene
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« #7 : June 28, 2010, 06:46:01 PM »

Did you get paid for the work you did? If not, my guess is that they simply found a cheaper price somewhere else.

Can you post your disclaimer? I do not use one on my Estimates. I inspect all COM and let them know if it has problems or is short. I let them know if the fabric is not upholstery material and they get to tell me if they want me to use it anyway.

Gene

QUALITY DOES NOT COST, IT PAYS!
Gregg @ Keystone Sewing
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« #8 : June 28, 2010, 07:47:52 PM »

  I actually had a preliminary go ahead, received a chair and fabric because they wanted to get it back quickly, but after the chair was striped I was told to stop working because of my disclaimer.  Weird, but I cant take the risk of being "shorted" with 500.00 a yard hand woven silk from Persia and be expected to cover the whole yardage because it.  Unfortunate, but maybe it's all for the best.

One word; Deposit

People have to unde
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« #9 : June 28, 2010, 08:44:28 PM »

 2 years ago an old folks home contracted us to do 150 dining room chairs with their own fabric. We did the job in batches of 12 as they couldn't be with out to many at a time, and fun was had by all.

Then they decided they might like backs. A loose cushion with a pocket over the back of the chair. We made five and it started a bit of a fight in the home. They had to take them away till the other 145 were ready. We ran out of fabric so, call up to the distributer who they bought it from and ask for more. No problem, off it comes. When it gets here, it's all screwed. Like photo negative. We had to send a scrap to the distributer and they figured out that one Friday a roll of fabric got wound through the machine *upside down*, so the backing got put on the wrong side. Making udsipe down fabric (that we always thought looked bad). But we didn't ever check it against the sample book 'cause here's a customer with a full roll of fabric that they finally got the Comity to agree on, what, we say it's ugly?

Any way, long story short, the distributer paid us to redo it all. 300 chairs 200 backs. 12 at a time. Wouldn't have happened with an Ebay second.

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baileyuph
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« #10 : June 28, 2010, 08:53:19 PM »

Mike,
The designer thinks she can get someone to work without a disclaimer, time will tell.

I would have done what you did, otherwise I am busy anyway.  You have to do what is smart for you and I believe you have.  You probably won't miss any work, hang in there.

Doyle
Gregg @ Keystone Sewing
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« #11 : June 29, 2010, 11:14:36 AM »

2 years ago an old folks home contracted us to do 150 dining room chairs with their own fabric. We did the job in batches of 12 as they couldn't be with out to many at a time, and fun was had by all.

Then they decided they might like backs. A loose cushion with a pocket over the back of the chair. We made five and it started a bit of a fight in the home. They had to take them away till the other 145 were ready. We ran out of fabric so, call up to the distributer who they bought it from and ask for more. No problem, off it comes. When it gets here, it's all screwed. Like photo negative. We had to send a scrap to the distributer and they figured out that one Friday a roll of fabric got wound through the machine *upside down*, so the backing got put on the wrong side. Making udsipe down fabric (that we always thought looked bad). But we didn't ever check it against the sample book 'cause here's a customer with a full roll of fabric that they finally got the Comity to agree on, what, we say it's ugly?

Any way, long story short, the distributer paid us to redo it all. 300 chairs 200 backs. 12 at a time. Wouldn't have happened with an Ebay second.

Example # 345,404,444 of someone tying to do things on thier own accord, with no experice.  All the while your standing right there watching this whole mess transpire. 

vu
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« #12 : July 28, 2010, 09:14:46 AM »

Extremely interesting subject. After looking in my fabric books with prices $25-$500 customer gets my yardage estimate leaving "to think about it", and then comes back with the fabric they bought online for $5/yard. Silly question: How do I tell them that it changes the labor estimate, because there is only labor left to charge for. Liability and disclaimer are nice, but it is simply not truly what I am worried about-I worry about lost profit, and I worry about not giving a customer an incentive to buy fabrics from me.

Any fabric comes with note - check before you cut - ones you cut it you can not return it, if you check your fabrics then there is nothing to have disclaimer for. Plus I am never responsible how well any fabrics from my suppliers will ware.  I would not feel right to tell people to pay for liability, they will just tell me just do it anyway, whatever happens - they will assume the responsibility.

I probably just not completely understand this liability issue, but I do need to invent something that will make buying fabrics from me more attractive then buy it somewhere else.
stitcher_guy
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« #13 : July 28, 2010, 07:15:51 PM »

You're all talking about furniture. Automotive isn't exactly the same, but still issues regarding COM. My customers usually come to me and ask about doing an interior, and then query about the price if they bought the covers. I tell them up front that I'll install what they provide, but I do not guarantee it. I also tell them a couple tales of past cover issues (one where the outer welt was pulled too tight, and it was wrinkled. Company fought the customer for replacement. Another cover had a crooked pleat in a panel, and I was told I'd void warranties if I pulled out the panel and redid it). Probably 3/4 of the time the customer chooses to go with me making custom pieces. If they don't, my labor rate goes from $49/hr up to $65/hr.

One customer brought me the convertible top to put on his late-80s Camaro (when the top was cut off by a restyler before going to the dealers). I did it at the higher rate, and the top ended up being 1/2" too wide causing it to bump the door glass every time. I actually got in the middle of it (dumb move) with the company, providing them measurements of the old top vs. the new, proof I knew how to install, all that (funny thing is their tops are the ones I use the most. When they are correct, first-run that go to suppliers, they fit perfect every time). The company sent a new top for the customer, and I got paid twice to install it.

I just turned down a job on Monday that was strictly because of the customer. I build power seats in cars when they aren't factory available. I get car dealers all over the state calling about them. One dealer has been calling and asking about one for the last three months. The customer wanted it, wasn't wild about the price (tough, it's all custom, it costs about a grand). Then they put it on hold. More calls, they were upset that there was a wait until it could come in my shop. More waiting. never got me a deposit to get them on the list so that we could actually get them scheduled. I even sent an e-mail to the dealer so he could prove to the customer that it was a delay on my end, and not because he was trying to cause them problems.

Finally this week, the dealer called. I answered only to hear the customer yelling at him about the whole job and that it should be done immediately. He asked for a specific date. I gave it and reminded him we needed a deposit, and then heard the customer running me down. I told the dealer that I didn't think this was a great idea, and when the job was done we'd never stop hearing from them about problems. He assured me that wasn't the case, and then more yelling from the customer. The dealer sounded so relieved when I finally told him "Hey Pat. You know what. I'm sorry, but the Sienna has a computer box under the passenger seat that prevents a power seat from being done on that side. That's why they aren't available from the factory." He was so thankful for the out.

Sew what???
vu
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« #14 : July 29, 2010, 03:47:17 AM »

Automotive is definitely different. I don't do automotive too often and only something that does not require my installation - customer brings the seat or part of the interior. I am always expecting a labor cost fight when dealing with automotive stuff, what can I do - it is complicated sewing that have to have exact fit on the piece of interior. 70% of customers "go to think" and never come back after they hear my quote, I even use to give a quick quote for automotive adding about 30% to what I think it might cost in shop time hours rate. Save me time to work on paying customers jobs - we are busy, thanks to recession!
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