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  • Customers expecting work too soon?

    Posted by Karen White on April 25, 2022 at 2:32 pm

    Hi everyone!

    Sorry i haven’t been around much but my workload has me chasing my tail. and on that note, i was wondering if this is a covid trend type of thing. because i do not remember it ever getting this bad.
    when an enquiry comes in i deal with it promptly and give a price. i get the job and tell them i will email an approximate date for the completion of the work and anything else i need to add about the work. however, i have had a couple of customers respond asking for the work much sooner, only to cancel. which is fair enough and i will accommodate if i can. but what i am getting constantly now is “how much and how soon?”

    it was bad enough being price checked against the local competition but now we are being compared on speed also!

    sorry for the rant, but is this just me? ๐Ÿ˜ณ

    Karen White replied 1 year, 10 months ago 6 Members · 12 Replies
  • 12 Replies
  • David Hammond

    April 25, 2022 at 6:56 pm

    Here’s how I do it.

    1) Send quote.

    2) Get deposit or purchase order number.

    3) Do any artwork & get approval

    THEN! Confirm completion or install dates.

    Any leadtimes quoted are from the customer satisfying steps 2 & 3. The onus is on the customer then to pull their fingers out, and if Joe pays his deposit before Jane, and approved his artwork first, he goes to the top of the que.

    Of course if Jane only wants some black vinyl, and Joe wants a full wrap, we can squeeze Jane in before Joe.

    I gave up chasing my tail years ago, with customers expecting something fitting on Friday, and still changing artwork on Thursday evening.

    If it is time critical, we tell the customer when we need approval etc to meet THEIR deadline.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 10 months ago by  David Hammond. Reason: Wrong steps
  • Mark Johnston

    April 25, 2022 at 11:22 pm

    I like your process David. it is similar to ours but we tell them when they can have the van for once they OK the price. when it should be once they confirm the artwork. as you said, they drag the whole thing out and still want the deadline to be met.

    nice one!

  • Simon Worrall

    April 26, 2022 at 1:08 am

    I will give them a “current turnaround time for a job of this size” sort of thing on first contact. By the time the job is confirmed and artwork approved, this is often very different.

    Most customers understand this.

    Last minute changes cost money, and time. Normally they get this also.

    Perhaps people are more chill in new zealand, as this is not usually an issue.

    • David Hammond

      April 26, 2022 at 4:22 am

      I think the sign industry is undervalued here in the UK.

      Customers happy to spend 1000’s fitting out and furnishing a shop, then expect a sign, designed, manufactured and installed for a few hundred quid.

      99% of our customers are brilliant, the 1% that fight against the way I work, I quite happily let them go elsewhere.

  • David Hammond

    April 26, 2022 at 8:59 am

    Saying all that, I’ve a customer sat outside waiting for some printing they sent over yesterday.

    All would have been fine, except the supplier wanted to use a silk stock and ordered it in, and now we’re running late. I don’t think the customer would have minded!

  • Jean Oakley

    April 26, 2022 at 9:32 am

    Im with Simon, job comes my way i do artwork and give price and a turn around time based on them okaying the artwork. That way they know its on them to pull their finger out and ok everything. I usually give myself a few days extra and then tell them if i can do sooner ill call them. That way im not under pressure but if I’m ahead they’re happy I’ve gone the extra mile to do it sooner, win win ๐Ÿ˜€

  • James Phillips

    April 27, 2022 at 3:44 pm

    A project i was working on ended with the phrase

    “your deadline is not my deadline..”

    they were pushing to get things through because they were under pressure their end (and had had time to spare if they were organised!)

  • Mark Johnston

    April 28, 2022 at 10:36 am

    i have just had one of these customers!
    they wanted a banner and some small signs, but for “tomorrow afternoon”. i said we would try, once we know whats going on them and artwork agreed. they then proceeded to give me a bunch of “their thoughts” ending in…”but i will let you decide as your the professionals, but please send us an initial draft!” ๐Ÿคจ
    i have just said to send me an email with the details, but unless it is a basic layout we cannot help them. that was after 20 minutes of talk! ๐Ÿ˜ 

    • David Hammond

      April 28, 2022 at 10:42 am

      This is my pet hate… I’m often miming to my old man to just tell them to email it over.

      Not spending half an hour listening to them waffle on. Same when a customer wants you to come out and do a survey but they’ve got no idea what they want ๐Ÿ™„

      • Mark Johnston

        April 28, 2022 at 12:43 pm


        The quicker they give you the details, the quicker you can start the artwork and give a better idea of what is possible and what is not. having it in writing also covers you for spelling, colours blah! ๐Ÿ˜

        • David Hammond

          April 28, 2022 at 12:51 pm

          It’s the admin time that kills some jobs, they’re not willing to pay for the time you spend explaining it to them, only for them to baulk at the price.

  • Karen White

    May 3, 2022 at 10:24 am

    Thank you for the replies everyone. that has given me a bit of food for thought!
    I think i need to take some points from you and put it into a fixed process and stick to it. because i cant lose business but equally i don’t want to be a busy fool. ๐Ÿ˜

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