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  • jangler14
    replied
    Re: Commission issues

    Really like your thinking here Jim. Challenged by doing commission work can only improve upon our skill and make us some money in return. I am all for commission work, my issue is marketing or the lack there of.
    By the way Jim, was looking at your Etsy site and I really dig the hippies versus the establishment chess set. HAHA that is funny stuff.

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  • Jim Arnold
    replied
    Re: Commission issues

    I made my living carving commissions. I only NOT took a 33% or 50% deposit once, about 17 years ago when I started. In addition to a deposit, I also send sketches of the project. Sketches get OK'd by the customer before any chisels get picked up or even any wood gets purchased. Over 1,200 orders and only one return in 17 years and its because of the deposit and sketches. The sketches are key because they won't look as good as the carving work sitting in front of them, so if they like the sketched concept, strong likelihood of them really loving the carving work. I also make the sketches very 'rough' in appearance, and give estimated dimensions, they can make changes to them or whatever they want. Once the sketches are done and we both agree, I give them a price, when the work is done I take pics and send them to the customer along with the balance invoice and I ship once I get paid 100% (money in my bank before ANYTHING gets shipped!).

    Commissions provide opportunities to grow your carving experiences...they have the possibility to make you a better carver. Most of them 'suck' at first, but they challenge you, they take you out of your 'comfort zone', they stoke your imagination, and when you're done, you have given the customer something they couldn't get anywhere else in the world, that's a customer for life, that's a salesperson for your work for life...don't let the 'business side' of commissions stop you. Deposits and sketches a must. Develop and tweak your commission processes and take them, hammer out all details up front, design, materials, price, shipping cost, and lead time (give yourself two to three weeks extra when quoting lead times versus your normal fare) you'll be a better carver in the long run for taking them. I always carve for fun, if it wasn't 'fun' I would do something else (its just a little more fun when somebody gives me lots of money for it)!

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  • Bob Tamillo
    replied
    Re: Commission issues

    Anyone who carves will at some point be approached to do something for someone that would be representing what they would like. But I found that the problem or issue once the carving is completed, that what I considered creating is generally not what the person had in mind. I've done 3 carvings where I was asked to do something specific and each time they said that wasn't what they had in mind. So I just chalked it up to experience and exhibited them at carving shows to which they were eventually sold. But I have since then I vowed to Never Do Commissions Again! When approached by someone now, I will ask to see what they are suggesting for a carving, i.e. a fisherman, hunter, baseball player, etc. and will tell them that I may do one sometime if the idea appeals to me. But if it doesn't I say so right away and thank them for the suggestion. If it's one that I think would make a good carving I tell them that I may do that sometime but won't produce one for a specific time period and whatever it is will be a caricature of the subject. This usually satisfies both of us. However, if you're "pro" carver and make your living doing commissions, I'm sure you have all kinds of preconditions set to take something on. To me that's like work and I carve for enjoyment rather than a labored task. I think that's why I retired so I wouldn't have the pressure.

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  • Bob K.
    replied
    Re: Commission issues

    I don't carve for a living so I can afford to be a little flexible with my commissions. I try to be as accommodating as I can...especially with past customers. That said, you still need to be paid for your time and materials. Always try to work things out through open dialog. A deposit of some kind is always a good idea with commissioned carvings whether you are carving as a business or carving for fun.

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  • Perry Reynolds
    replied
    Re: Commission issues

    I always required a 50% deposit and I have a commission agreement that specifies all aspects of the agreement. In the event they, for any reason, change anything after the signed agreement then it effects the entire agreement. If a change can be made at the stage it is in then its simple, if not they bought it. The deposit is non refundable… I charge them for the drawings of the project which is credited upon final payment. They reserve all rights to the Original work and I retain the rights to use images of the work in a fair manner… Long story short you should treat it like business and continue with the original concept… Even though the person is no longer in the club it is not your fault...

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  • hbohardt
    replied
    Re: Commission issues

    Thanks for the advice. We talked it over via email and came to a decision that works for both of us. I am glad I am still able to make her happy and not over work myself!

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  • Buffalo Bif
    replied
    Re: Commission issues

    if this is your main source of income you need to approach this in a business sense- insist on payment or cut your losses. If this is beer money you can afford to be generous. Work with her to rescue what you've started or start something new. maybe a meeting over a cup of coffee and a donut would be a good start.

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  • hbohardt
    started a topic Commission issues

    Commission issues

    I am working on a commission from a client that I have done a commission for before. I am 75% through carving something customized and she contacts me saying that her son no longer participates in the club that was the central theme of the carving (plus has his name on it). I feel terrible since this is a March birthday present and I don't know why he left the club. She has paid for materials on the carving but not the time spent. I am not 100% sure I can design something new and carve by March. Sounds like she is still going to complete purchase but is depressed by it. Any ideas on how to handle?
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