I'm just curious of you guys. What do you say to your customers to combat impatience? The number of email and calls I get about, "when will it be ready", or "how much longer"? is driving me crazy. What do you guys say to your customers, ahead of time, to let them know it will be done when it's done? I've been overcome over the holidays as to when their instruments' fret level or such will be done. God forbid, I actually take a vacation over the holidays to spend some time with my family. Anyway, any forthcoming would be greatly appreciated. I'd love a paragraph I could include to an email to say... look.. I'm the only guy in this area that does this type of work.... it'll be done when I get around to it. Please, leave me alone!!

*Sorry to vent... but it gets impossible at times.........

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 Well after all my friend tis the holiday season. That should be good for starters. When they ask me when it will be done I tell them I will call and let you know when it's finished.Bill................

Clause for your repair contract.

It comes down to a choice, and by choosing me your saying that it's better to wait for a job well done than it is to rush to a job well, done?

When I give a completion date, I do try to hit it.  IF I'm unsure at the outset, I'll consider my worst case scenario, and add a bit of extra time. Then, if I get it done early, I can deliver a nice little surprise.

In the case of a "time-and-materials" kind of restoration with no predictability, I try to be upfront about that and get an agreement (verbal) that time isn't an issue, even if it runs to more than a year.   

The only written disclaimer I have is on the repair tag, where, instead of "Due Date," it has "Estimated Date of Completion."

Most of the time, I use the same method as Franck. Unfortunately, I'm often too optimistic on my working time. Jeff : I have no magic trick for that kind of problem and it puts a lot of stress on me sometimes.

My shop offers "quality, affordable, and speedy repairs" and my clients are advised to pick any two...

Seriously though I subscribe to the "Scotty of Star Trek" school of time to complete estimating - I double what I think it will take to complete the repairs and then typically complete it in half the time, call the client and let them know their instrument is ready and they often think that I am a hero for doing it in half the time....

Hello Jeff.

I share your dilemma and recently stopped accepting instruments in my home shop.  I love musicians ( I have to as I am one) for their senses of humor & talent, but most lack basic social finesse. Ex:  They call at 9:30p.m. on a Sunday night wanting to bring a guitar by for a quick setup or minor repair.  The same guys also seem to want to pick them up at similarly unreasonable times.  It affected our family's "routine" so now I tell them to take them to the vintage instrument shop where I work.

Now I know all that verbosity doesn't answer your question but hopelly you feel as if you're not the only one with this issue.

I'd recommend that you give them a reasonable time frame and add 7 working days to it.  If difficult parts acquisition isn't a factor, that should give you plenty of wiggle room. Again, just like with an inflated (read: cya) cost estimate, folks love getting their gear back ahead of time &/or at a lower price than estimated.

There's no disgrace for up-charging for rush jobs or for closing your door the last 2 weeks of the year.  Most factories and many business have a shut down period near the end of the year.

One last note: I always tell my customers that the most counter-productive phrase you say to a repair guy is "Take your time."  In my case, that adds 3 months to the process...or longer.  (insert face of shame here)

Best of luck (-:

Thanks guys. I think it just comes with the turf. Why people think it's OK to call me at 10:30 at night, and sometimes even after midnight, I still don't understand. I have children that go to bed at 8:00. I wouldn't call my insurance agent or car mechanic at that time of night. Why it's OK to do that to us luthiers just urks me. I'm sure you guys out there know exactly what I'm talking about. And, I've always got about 15 guitars in line to be repaired. But, that never seems to come into the picture of completion estimation, even though I specify up front that I do my repairs in order. I'm a musician and love other musicians, but a little bit of manners don't hurt... and they're free. It always seems to be the case, and I've heard it many times from many of you, that the guy who I'm actually doing a "favor" (giving him a price deal as he's broke) for is the most anal, while the guy who's paying me properly rarely seems to care how much time I've put into making the repair as invisible as possible. 

Well i agree with everyone here in my shop we tell them usually around the holidays it takes a little bit longer due too vacations ect. my father always told me there are several types of people we all have to deal with and smileing is always the best thing to do lol.

I ask the customer when they need their guitar. It's surprising how often it works out to be manageable time frames. Some people aren't in a hurry or are from out of town. I always tell them I'll call when the work is done and sometimes ask them to call me on a specific date (which I make a note of). I like to push the easy little repairs through right away rather than doing them in order, it means less time on the phone for jobs that aren't making you that much money. My 2 cents.

I agree and by asking them when they want it my clients are usually far more reasonable than need be for me to have it done.

Also, my area is still economically depressed being heavilly impacted by the near extinction of the US auto industry and our proxicimity to Metro-Detoilet....  As such unemployment here is still very high (8.5%) but falling now with some regulartity I am happy to say....  Because of the sour economic climate most if not all of my clients want to pick-up on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday and I've been told that this is because it corresponds with their paydays. 

When I think about this I feel grateful that as a Luthier we never have to worry about when pay day is because at least in my case I am always broke....;)

What's the old adage about how to make a million dollars as a Luthier - start with 2 million....

I hear you Hesh.  The economy is hurting all MI related businesses. 

I once read a piece on luthier history that said that, in the pre-industrial age, all luthiers' very first project was to build themselves their own caskets as the knew they'd be destitute by the end of their lives.

Now that's what I call good career planning (:

LOL!  Excellent Paul and I had better get busy on mine!!

Just can't decide, rosewood or mahogany - so many choices, so little time..... ;)


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