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Getting a downpayment for commission work.

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  • Getting a downpayment for commission work.

    Hey guys, up until about a year ago I would never expect any money from a customer until after the work was done.

    I got burned a few times and now I ask customers if they would mind paying half before I start the work and the other half on completion.

    So far, no one has complained and they understand completely ... but I still feel awful asking for the downpayment. Whenever I have to say it my voice gets low and I am very uncomfortable...I feel like I am doing something wrong.

    *sigh* my wife says "I'm nuts!" but that's another story. Ha ha!

    What do you guys think...anyone else feel like this? Do you require the same??

    Thanks guys.

    Check me out on the web:

  • #2
    I understand completely! It's always hard for me to discuss price with customers when it comes to commissions. I generally ask for a deposit of $100 before I begin the design process, try to get a feel for their budget to gauge design by and go from there. The "Artist" gene and "Salesperson" gene are so different that I think many artists have this problem. Usually, I'll give them a price range that I "guarantee not to exceed" unless they request changes so if I do go over- they're not on the hook for more.


    • #3
      I have to ageree on ALWAYS getting a deposit on commissioned work. At least Half. People understand that Custom work requires it so you don't have to 'Lower your voice,"


      Old Dust


      • #4
        I have to agree also. I hate to ask people for the money. It is really hard when you have to remind them more than once. I guess its my personality. But my wife does not have that problem asking me for money *LOL*


        • #5
          [QUOTE=FRETDUSTBut my wife does not have that problem asking me for money *LOL*[/QUOTE]

          LOL!!!! Mine doesn't either!! Ha ha!!
          Check me out on the web:


          • #6
            I believe requesting a down payment is tough to do, but it's also sometimes necessary. I would just explain to a customer that you have been stuck before and had to adopt this common policy. "It's nothing personal, but I may have a tough time finding another buyer for this custom piece. Don't you agree?" Smile when you say this and I can pretty much guarantee they will agree. When they do, ask them for 1/2 now and the rest won't be due until it's completed. Make sure, when you ask them for the half, state it in $$$. Otherwise, you're basically asking for it twice. A lot of people won't make the attempt to compute 1/2.

            Making sawdust with a Dremel 1680.


            • #7
              Ya don't like asking how about scrolling it. Then ya just have to point. LOL


              • #8
                That's not a bad idea
                Check me out on the web:


                • #9
                  Kerry nf

                  I hear you on asking for money up front and I ask for 20 % if I really don't know the person and all and depending on the price of materials and there's no refund if they cancel the order. I put it all in writing so it's not a word of mouth. I do it so I'm not initially putting out too much money out of my pocket and it's also a commitment, where they are committing to this investment and if they decide against it then part of my materials are not on me. So far never had an issue.



                  • #10
                    I definetly agree with doing some sort of down payment on pieces ,whether it be 25% or 50% even and will write everything down . It is very unfortunate that it is so hard to trust some people nowadays , even family and friends unfortunately. i just recently had a friend of my wifes burn me with a custom piece and I doubt ill see anything from it . Would definetly say 25 to 50% down and in writing . I used to feel bad for it or for asking to much for a piece but not anymore lol and its unfortunate that it only takes one person to make things difficult .
                    "Everything Happens for a Reason"
                    Craftsman 18in. 21609



                    • #11
                      If a piece is truly personalized and not usable by anyone other than your customer, it's entirely fair to ask for up to full payment up front. The variables are how well the scroller is established, and how well he knows his customer.

                      To get your foot in the door with a skeptic, you might back down to 50% down, 50% on delivery (and I don't mean AFTER delivery).

                      There's absolutely no reason to be apologetic. Think about how it goes when YOU buy stuff.



                      • #12
                        That's exactly what happened to me bad apple as they say. Thanks for the wonderful input. It's nice to know so many others can relate and feel the same way.
                        Check me out on the web:


                        • #13
                          Very true Pete.
                          Check me out on the web:


                          • #14
                            Boy can I identify with your predicament! After giving away most of what I've ever done to friends and relatives, when I was ask to do a show of crafts during one of our car shows locally, I had no idea what to charge or what to ask for items that some folks requested. Luckily I had some craft catalogs to use as a "here's a similar item and they get x$$$ for it" comparison. That's how I wound up pricing my craft items. Since there's nothing really around here to compair fretwork to, this summers shows are going to be a real test. I plan on showing some 'portrait' style work but I think the fretwork sign with all the expected stuff on it (down payment for contracted work, packaging cost for shipping, etc.) is a great idea. As much as most folks don't read regular signs anyway... a fretwork sign would surely catch their eye and act as advertisement too. It could be made to replicate a business card if you have one you use. That's where I'm going to go as soon as I can get back in the shop.
                            Delta 16" 40-530
                            Ryobi 16" VS

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