View Full Version : Preference changes *after* knife is made.

10-23-2002, 11:53 AM
Ok guys, this gripe might fit in somewhat with the *deposit* thread that's been going on but differs in that this customer
decides to change his preferences after receiving notice that the knife he ordered was ready for shipment.
I guess asking for a deposit, and waiting to get it might curtail this from happening some, but I wrongly assumed people know what they want *when* they order, and put any special instructions in the *special instructions* place provided on the order form.
Anyway, what would you guys do if someone orders a knife...and only state their change of plans after receiving notice that the knife is ready for shipment, and then gets cocky saying they stated these preferences with the original order, when all evidence proves differently..? Thanks.

Bob Warner
10-23-2002, 12:14 PM
On custome orders I usually draw the knife on graph paper to scale and give it to the customer. They can "redline" is all they want. I then redraw it incorporating their changes. I give it back for another "redlining" session. I go back and forth until the customer agrees exactly what they want. I make then decide on handle material, bolster size, design, material, pin material blade length and type of grind. EVERYTHING Then make them sign it and give me a deposit, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH.

No mistakes can be made. If they change their mind, you have a signed paper proving to them what they wanted "When they ordered it." This usually stops any problems.

As for you in this case. If it is a knife that you can sell to others relatively easy, tell the customer that you will keep the knife and make them one with their new preferences but you will have to define them more clearly. Then do the drawings.

If it is a truly custom knife that may be hard to sell to others and you can reasonably make the change, do it. Next time he orders, draw the picture before you make the knife.

10-23-2002, 01:55 PM
Well, whats odd is that he wanted a picture of what the carved Eagle would look like, and I provided a close up picture of that the day he ordered. An actual picture! Then after being notified that his knife was done, he then states that he would prefer it without the coloring. If an actual picture don't work, I doubt that a drawing would with *some* people. Some people!:rolleyes:;)

Your idea about the exchange of communication and signiture is a good one though. Since my emails weren't being replied to I should have considered then how...reliable? this individual might be. Thanks.

Bob Warner
10-23-2002, 06:25 PM
It's a fine line and you just have to try to read people. If you are hard and fast all the time you will loose somce customers, if you are too soft, you get ripped off.

I just explain that people before them have probven to me that the honor system does not work, therefore, UNFORTUNATELY, you now require deposits. If the knife is outrageous and you won't be able to sell it to anyone else, get them to pay in full but do their knife next.

10-24-2002, 09:07 AM
That's a tough one. As makers, we have to consider lots of things when these situations arise. I've had a similar thing happen to me and after getting over the initial aggravation, here's the way I've tried to view it...
If a customer buys your knife and is not completely happy with it, then you as a maker stand to gain nothing from making that knife once the initial money has been received. The customer will not be proud of the knife and show it to others. The only advertizing you're likely to get will be less than good. This is especially true with these forums where a customer may post his side of the story for everyone to see. Heck, you may not even know this has happened if you don't spend much time on the forums.
It's not always easy, but I believe in the long run it's always in the maker's best interest to make the customer happy whenever reasonably possible. That means you occasionally get taken advantage of. That's my story and I'm stickin to it until I change my mind :D

Fox Creek
10-24-2002, 10:47 AM
This sort of thing has parallels with other small businesses involving skilled trades and design work. The hardnose approach is to charge people $25.00 an hour up front for design services, retain ownership of all drawings (copyright and physical possession), and require customer to sign off on a final work order incorporating standard terms that subsequent changes constitute new work that will be quoted and billed accordingly. Metal fabricators and sign shops, etc get royally shafted regularly over this kind of thing if they are not hard nosed about it. A "customer" "borrows" your sketch and takes it next door for a competitive quote, etc.