Looking for Advice with a Personal Problem

MoscowRadio

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Around the end of December I began a project building twenty tables for a charity event that was being held for All-In Magazine. I made good on the deal, got them all of their tables, and everything seemed to be fine. A few days ago, the guy who heads up their pub league here in Phoenix asked me to build four octagon tables and he wanted them in four days. I've got two orders ahead of him and told him that I would do my best but couldn't get the tables done in that amount of time with the other projects ahead of him, school, etc. He then goes on to tell me that he could build five of these tables in a day "without breaking a sweat" as he said. He brought me all of the materials (the worst possible) and wants to pay me what amounts to less than minimum wage on them, all the while being a complete douche about it.

My problem is this: through this particular guy I can work with his boss, which is good for my business and I don't want to lose that. However, I don't think I'm willing to be someone's errand boy and not be properly compensated. Should I just tell this guy to take a hike?
 

Payback

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You pretty much summed it up in your post. Easy no fucking way.
 

atomiktoaster

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Sometimes your business is best served by no-quoting a job. Maintaining control over material quality should probably be a dealbreaker alone. The last thing you need is a conversation that goes like this: "Where'd you get this worn-out chintzy table?" "Some outfit called 'Palo Verde'..." Be nice as you can about it, even if the guy is a douche.
 

stocky

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Simply apologize stating your current workload prohibits you from completing them on time and you will not put your company name against cheap materials. If he wants the tables done quickly and ahead of other customers the price will be a premium. Also offer him a job if he can churn out 5 decent tables in a day.

Further more ore I would contact his boss and convey to him that you'd like to work with him in the future but don't wish to be treated unwell and insulted by his staff.

If this doesn't work a swift roundhouse kick to the face should suffice.
 

Mental Nomad

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Just tell him you're sorry, that's not the way you work.

You have standards for the way you do things, and it takes longer for you than he thinks. If he's unwilling to pay you a fair rate for the time it takes you to do the job the way you do it, he should find someone else.

Frankly, you're within your rights to refuse the work W based on those materials. Others will hear that you made these tables; do you want this work and these materials representing you?
 

MoscowRadio

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Sometimes your business is best served by no-quoting a job. Maintaining control over material quality should probably be a dealbreaker alone. The last thing you need is a conversation that goes like this: "Where'd you get this worn-out chintzy table?" "Some outfit called 'Palo Verde'..." Be nice as you can about it, even if the guy is a douche.

In the nicest way possible I told him that I didn't want my name associated with the tables. They're just for a rotating bar league, so I can understand not wanting to spend a bunch of money on them, but I think a little would be nice. Maybe they'd hold up longer. You should've seen the ones he said he made. :(
 

Ben

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If I were to give 3 prime rules above all else for turning a startup into a successful long-term business, they would be these (they all sort of run together as well):

1) Be fair. I.E. don't over-quote someone just because you think they can afford it, or that they are desperate. Also, don't EVER bump someone because someone else comes along who you think is somehow "more important" - particularly in the beginning stages, EVERY job is important, and as a small business, oftentimes the "smaller" clients will end up being your main source of income.

2) Be honest. Don't promise something unless you are sure you can deliver it. The best way to build your reputation is to exceed your customers expectations, and the best way to do this is to under-promise and over-deliver - even if it means losing a couple of potential sales along the way. And if you screw up somehow, own it and do what you can to make it right.

3) DON'T let people run over you. Set a reasonable price and a reasonable timetable and stick to it, come what may. Kowtowing to unreasonable demands will only beget even more unreasonable demands in the future. Also your time is worth something and on top of that, operating a business (ANY business) is expensive. Never let the customer set the price, but at the same time, if you screw up and quote too low, well, you have to eat that.
 

Mr. Cheese

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In my business I get people asking if they can pay extra to get their turbo rebuilt quicker. I tell everyone the same thing, we have a queue and we rebuild them in the order they come in. It's not fair for the person who doesn't have as much money if some rich guy pays more to get bumped to the head of the queue. I'd tell the guy you have to do the jobs in the order they come in to keep things fair. If he thinks he can churn out 5 tables in a day why is he wasting your time being a douche when he could be building his own tables.

Also I agree with what others said, you don't want to soil the reputation you are working to build by using cheap materials. There has to be minimum standards you set for quality so you protect your brands integrity.
 

Lars

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You made the right decision.Working for peanuts now so that you can make money later doesn't work. I made this mistake early. When you want to charge what you should later they will be upset that you raised your prices and go looking for someone that charges what you used to. Figure out your break even cost to run your business (tools, electricity, insurance, licensing, ect...) and then add on what you need to earn to make it worth doing while making sure that you are providing quality. If it doesn't work for this customer do what you can to find other customers and take care of the customers that you already have. If someone is a douche before you even start the work they are not going to get nicer during the project.
 

grandgnu

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Your time is worth more than below minimum wage. Provide him with your estimate on time and costs and if that doesn't work for him apologize that you weren't able to provide the service he is looking for and move on.
 

dennis63

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I've told people I simply won't do business with them. If this guy claims he can build the tables "in a day without breaking a sweat," my immediate response would be, "Well, go ahead then."

Give him your real price and your real time frame, then stick to it. Obviously, you are doing top-quality work and have integrity. Don't compromise for this guy!
 

detroitdad

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Sometimes your business is best served by no-quoting a job. Maintaining control over material quality should probably be a dealbreaker alone. The last thing you need is a conversation that goes like this: "Where'd you get this worn-out chintzy table?" "Some outfit called 'Palo Verde'..." Be nice as you can about it, even if the guy is a douche.

I concur. Or just GTFO............Atomiktoasters way is prolly better
 

trever

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While it is scary to let money walk out the door, the only thing worse than losing a customer is keeping a bad customer.

Your work has value, so proudly charge for it.
 

chipjoker

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In my business I get people asking if they can pay extra to get their turbo rebuilt quicker. I tell everyone the same thing, we have a queue and we rebuild them in the order they come in. It's not fair for the person who doesn't have as much money if some rich guy pays more to get bumped to the head of the queue. I'd tell the guy you have to do the jobs in the order they come in to keep things fair. If he thinks he can churn out 5 tables in a day why is he wasting your time being a douche when he could be building his own tables.

Also I agree with what others said, you don't want to soil the reputation you are working to build by using cheap materials. There has to be minimum standards you set for quality so you protect your brands integrity.

^^^^^^x 1000.... well put Mr Cheese.... If he can build them, let Him do it.....
 

k9dr

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I get that all the time in my business. People try to bargain me down on surgeries by saying they can get it done elsewhere for less. I try to explain the differences to them and all they think about is the price. I would rather not do the surgery than to compromise the quality of my work. I simply tell them they can choose the price or the surgeon, but not both. :p
 

fish72s

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This isn't always true. I had brain surgery a few years ago and I talked the doctor into doing it for half price!
I've told this to some people and they tell me that explains alot. I don't understand what they mean though.


I get that all the time in my business. People try to bargain me down on surgeries by saying they can get it done elsewhere for less. I try to explain the differences to them and all they think about is the price. I would rather not do the surgery than to compromise the quality of my work. I simply tell them they can choose the price or the surgeon, but not both. :p
 

manamongkids

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when i read the thread title, i thought this was going to be about an herpes or your wife/gf cheating on u.

talk about click bait
 

Psypher1000

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I've said this before - the quality of your product is your/a business card. Often times the quality of your product is the only first impression you'll ever get to make. Just look at the Geekchic line of tables & how the company does business. They ONLY build top quality, handbuild products, and ONLY work in FCFS order; and the product sells itself - most people buy without ever speaking to a salesperson. They just see or play on one of the tables, and it's a done deal.

Oh, and did I mention that their business is behind by 10-18 months at any given time, and people continue to line up to give them money?

Granted, Geekchic has something of the corner on the market (not completely, but effectively) whereas there are many more poker table builders who build quality top quality products. The point stands, however - their quality is their business card, as is yours. Don't let it be compromised.
 

Poker Zombie

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I would love to be the counter-opinion here, but there is no possible way.

Poor tables would turn away future business.
Succumb to this guy now, and you will probably be at his mercy when trying to deal with his boss (likely through him).
Miss deadlines on products promised and those clients may wind up badmouthing you.

dash on over to CT and do a search on RedOtt. That thread will cover every thing you should never do in a business - because you can turn off your most loyal customers with slow service, poor products, and the ability to ignore emails because you were looking at scoring the big win With Ott it was a dream to get into casinos (and deep pockets), and you were looking at some other potential client with deep pockets.
 

pltrgyst

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This isn't always true. I had brain surgery a few years ago and I talked the doctor into doing it for half price!
I've told this to some people and they tell me that explains alot. I don't understand what they mean though.

Ah-hah! That explains the months you spent in Costa Rica.

I thought you sounded a little "odd" when you returned...
 

MoscowRadio

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I thought about it for a long time and I decided to turn away business from this particular person. I felt conflicted between two ideas: one was that I shouldn't be turning away any business being a new venture, but on the other hand, you guys brought up some tremendous points. I didn't want to get stuck doing this guy's work with the worst possible materials and I was definitely sick of him texting me every day asking when his tables would be done when he knew that I was working on my first fully custom table with drink carts. This guy wasn't going to get any more understanding and the stress was not worth the money. He says he can build five octagon tables in a day "without breaking a sweat", so let him do it. The most important thing is that I didn't want my name on the tables.

Thank you guys for all of your insight. I know the answer seemed very simple, and it really was, but I felt turning down business was unwise. I don't feel that way anymore.

Let me add that this is why I love this community. You guys are top notch.
 

NiceShot

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I thought about it for a long time and I decided to turn away business from this particular person. I felt conflicted between two ideas: one was that I shouldn't be turning away any business being a new venture, but on the other hand, you guys brought up some tremendous points. I didn't want to get stuck doing this guy's work with the worst possible materials and I was definitely sick of him texting me every day asking when his tables would be done when he knew that I was working on my first fully custom table with drink carts. This guy wasn't going to get any more understanding and the stress was not worth the money. He says he can build five octagon tables in a day "without breaking a sweat", so let him do it. The most important thing is that I didn't want my name on the tables.

Thank you guys for all of your insight. I know the answer seemed very simple, and it really was, but I felt turning down business was unwise. I don't feel that way anymore.

Let me add that this is why I love this community. You guys are top notch.

Good on you. Knowing when to say no is a powerful thing. There was very little upside to that transaction...
 

abby99

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Good for you! As difficult as it was for you to turn down business, I'll bet you feel a great sense of relief.
 
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