cheapest, fastest, and easiest way to do or buy something?

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  #1  
Old 03-11-04, 04:02 PM
Furniture Bldr
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Question cheapest, fastest, and easiest way to do or buy something?

I thought I'd pass this on to you all for the next time you go to purchase something and want it to be cheap, but yet you want what you want. Quit being ignorant to reality people.

The common law of business

There is hardly anything in the world that someone cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this man’s lawful prey.

It is unwise to pay too little.

When you pay too much, you lose a little money… that is all.
When you pay too little you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do.

The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot… it can’t be done.
If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is wise to add something for the risk you run.
And if you do that, you will have enough to pay for something better.
 
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  #2  
Old 03-12-04, 08:55 AM
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Can I get a "HELL YEAH!"

I hear you Mike.
 
  #3  
Old 03-12-04, 10:57 AM
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Whales,

LOL! It really irritates me when people want custom made furniture from scratch, but they don't want to spend what it's really worth. Time and time again, I wish I could have told my clientele, "If you think my job is so easy and just a 1,2,3 GO DO IT YOURSELF!

People don't realize how much work goes into the stuff we make. They ASSUME I take a piece of wood, push it through a table saw and WHALA! IT'S A PIECE OF CUSTOM FURNITURE!

Oh how much fun would it be to bring a client who doesn't like to get dirty and sit them down as I'm spraying highly flammable lacquers and paints. Mmmmmmmm The smell... Yummy!

Our society has gone down the crapper with people who can appreciate quality stuff. It's always PRICE PRICE PRICE. Face it, if someone can't figure out that the word CUSTOM means EXPENSIVE, they need to come back to planet earth.

I simply ask these people who feel it's not worth what we charge, "Do you get paid what you're worth"?

If you've been noticing I've posted pics of how I made the home theater for a few reasons:

1. To show people how it's done
2. For potential customers of anyones to realize how much work really goes into this stuff. Not that they would care anyways.

Some days I love comming to work, other days, why even bother because you know they only care about the bottom line $$ not the fact that someone used their hands to make what is standing before them and it didn't get run through an assembly line.

Eh, just my two cents.
 
  #4  
Old 03-12-04, 11:34 AM
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I do enough woodworking without plans to knows its a royal pain to make custom things. I also know how much fun you can have when you have a plan you like and want to change the dimensions a bit. By the time you are 1/4 way done you wish you made it the original size.

And a thought for you all and a quote from someone i work with..

"Nothing is impossible, for those who don't have to do it."
 
  #5  
Old 03-12-04, 12:24 PM
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I couldn't agree with you more hellrazor

I love the famous saying, "It's just a cabinet, it's just this, it's just that. Well, if it's just this or that, MAKE IT YOURSELF.


Heck, sometimes the customers are harder to deal with than how difficult the piece is to build.

"I can make anything anyone wants, as long as the check is good" I'll even paint it pink if that suits their fancy. I don't have to live with it.

A client I met with the other night said, I thought you said it was going to be $5,000. I said no I said it would be in the ballpark of 5 grand but I cant be sure until I know exactly what you want.

Then I said, well I can do a lot better than that, they said, really? I said, ya, 7 grand. It got a chuckle/smile and then said, no it's ok the $5,400 is good.
 
  #6  
Old 03-12-04, 07:01 PM
millertime
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people also dont realize that if you try to drive the quality guys price down that they will actually refuse to build it. and then people go off about how this guy refused to do the job.



People problems are the hardest to solve.
 
  #7  
Old 03-12-04, 07:37 PM
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Here's a good one that just happened a few days ago:

An Interior Designer came to me the other day and told me about this kitchen job for one of his clients and the client said she didn't want to spend $17,000 on a kitchen.

That was fine, up until he told me that she wanted a "Paint and Glaze finish" Paint jobs are the hardest and most expensive because they have to be flawless. If you have a hole the size of a pencil tip you'll see it. He tells me she only wants to spend about $12,000 I said no way in hell!

Her words were, I don't care what the box is made out of nor do I care about the quality, I just want that Paint and Glaze finish.

I told the designer to tell her either buck up more money or there is no way to do it. The designer told me that he assured her that what she wants is very expensive and she may just have to buck out more money. I told him that either she raises the budget or go find someone else to do it.

Even if i used White Melamine for the boxes, I still couldn't do the job for that much. Paint jobs are typically any where between 10%-30% more. """"More like 30%""""

See what I mean, people don't care how it gets done or how much it costs to manufacture something, they just want what they want for the price they want to spend, which is typically NOTHING.

My printer told me he would throw in a few things because of how much business I give him, I said, no charge me for it. I don't feel anyone should work for free. I guess that comes from me working hard for everything I have.

I didn't get this 3,500 sq ft shop by being a jigalo.
 
  #8  
Old 03-12-04, 07:40 PM
Furniture Bldr
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Ps. Miller, you're absolutely right....... The more someone talks about price, the higher the price goes and the less freebees I give them.

I had one guy have me bid on 3 home theaters which came to a total of $56,000. All he cared and talked about was price. Every convo had the words "How Much" in it. In our second meeting, the same thing, price price price. So when we were sitting down at the kitchen table and he did it again, I said, "I'm sorry, do I look like Monty Hall? Is this lets make a deal? They laughed, but at the same time I'm sure they didn't appreciate it. Well TOUGH, I didn't appreciate the fact that all they cared about was price and not how much work was going into the piece and the fact that it's the only one like it in the world.
 
  #9  
Old 03-12-04, 07:58 PM
millertime
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Originally posted by Furniture Bldr
Ps. Miller, you're absolutely right....... The more someone talks about price, the higher the price goes and the less freebees I give them.

I had one guy have me bid on 3 home theaters which came to a total of $56,000. All he cared and talked about was price. Every convo had the words "How Much" in it. In our second meeting, the same thing, price price price. So when we were sitting down at the kitchen table and he did it again, I said, "I'm sorry, do I look like Monty Hall? Is this lets make a deal? They laughed, but at the same time I'm sure they didn't appreciate it. Well TOUGH, I didn't appreciate the fact that all they cared about was price and not how much work was going into the piece and the fact that it's the only one like it in the world.
the trick in all this is to make qaulity work at a fair price. which basically requires you to re-think the way you do business. The guys who do that are the ones that get all the work. Of course, if you are flooded with work, you dont really need to do that.

So do you do everything yourself mike?
 
  #10  
Old 03-12-04, 08:31 PM
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Yep, what is said is perfectly correct.

However, if WalMart ever decides to use it's Chinese (or Vietnamese) connections to sell custom furniture over the internet, the local guys will have one hell of a time competing.


I have seen pool tables from VietNam without a shred of composite or veneer; it's all finger-jointed tropical wood. Heavy, yes, but if you want "solid wood" you can't get it cheaper anywhere.

If they only understood the reasoning behind raised-panels and could better deal with shrinkage and swelling, there wouldn't be anything nasty to say about VietNam cabinet work.

Oh, and their quality control is non-existent.
 
  #11  
Old 03-12-04, 09:19 PM
Furniture Bldr
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Yes, Miller, I do everything myself. 100%

I've thought about hiring someone, but I'm not sure if I can deal with all the excuses. "Oh I was drinking last night, Blah Blah Blah"

It's the way it works. I don't have the time nor the patience to babysit.

It's a shame that people cut the quality and price, just to get the work. I don't put out crap work and I'm pretty busy right now. Times are good, times are bad, it's just the way of the business.

I'll just keep doing what I'm doing. My clientele know what they will get from me and I usually throw in bonuses too. I make custom wood pens on a lathe as a thank you present.
 
  #12  
Old 03-13-04, 09:03 PM
millertime
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Originally posted by Furniture Bldr
Yes, Miller, I do everything myself. 100%

I've thought about hiring someone, but I'm not sure if I can deal with all the excuses. "Oh I was drinking last night, Blah Blah Blah"

It's the way it works. I don't have the time nor the patience to babysit.

It's a shame that people cut the quality and price, just to get the work. I don't put out crap work and I'm pretty busy right now. Times are good, times are bad, it's just the way of the business.

I'll just keep doing what I'm doing. My clientele know what they will get from me and I usually throw in bonuses too. I make custom wood pens on a lathe as a thank you present.
thats cool, I was just wondering.
 
  #13  
Old 03-14-04, 12:46 PM
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For me this is a hobby and I don't like having a deadline or color issue or this or that. Most of what I make is for my house or a family member. I ask only that they pay the cost of material. I did one piece for a friend of a friend and wound up stripping and refinishing it because I didn't think the color was what they were looking for. It drove me nuts to have to strip that piece.

I could sell my stuff but frankly, I don't want any issues clouding my therapy.
 
  #14  
Old 03-14-04, 02:41 PM
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Dog,

I tried selling my stuff once, but the kid across the street with the lemonade stand kept stealing my clientele.

Caused me to consider a different line of work...like professional cloud-watching. Not a great demand for it yet, but I'm hopeful.

Tom
 
  #15  
Old 03-15-04, 04:44 AM
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The best thing about cloud watching is, you get to keep all your fingers.
 
  #16  
Old 03-15-04, 05:00 PM
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Plus, you'll need them to interlock behind your head.

It's tough work, but someone has to do it.

(Somebody's probably beat me to the idea with Spring and Summer coming on. And I wonder why I have to actually "work" for a living...)

Tom
 
  #17  
Old 03-16-04, 04:53 AM
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Have a great summer.
 
  #18  
Old 03-19-04, 03:20 PM
boardslinger
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When I do sidejobs, I charge $30. an hour. Most don't complain about my price. Some on the other hand have fits, that usually ends with, I'll get someone cheaper, or I'll do it myself. This usually ends with a phone call a few days later asking me to do it anyway. Unhappy with their own work or the other person they hired. They then are informed that the price will be going to $40. because know I have to undo what ever was done. It all boils done to "DO YOU WANT IT DONE? OR DONE RIGHT" Half asses tools, work products are nowhere on any list of mine. Not that I have to have the best of everything, but when it comes to my work, YES I DO. I could buy it once, or buy it 12 times a year. I'd rather buy it once.
 
  #19  
Old 03-19-04, 04:03 PM
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My rate stays the same if I follow someone else, but the time estimate goes up by about 50% - reinforcing the theory that mistakes are expensive.
 
  #20  
Old 03-20-04, 10:00 AM
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I've found that most people are pretty "bipolar" about what they spend. Down here is Texas it's all about the grooming of your horses (now cars) and your womenfolk. I see lots of people that are "car poor" cause they're driving a loaded up Suburban, Escalade or Navigator, but they P and Moan to the doctor about charging $50-$125 for an office visit.

Sad to say the cheapest cohort to ever walk the face of the earth is the Depression/World War II generation. Higher wages on whole then the immediate following birth group, better VA benefits, full paid tuition vs the $345/month us Viet Nam vets got, they careers were accelerating during the postwar boom of the 50s and 60s. Yet they vote in droves so the politicians are taxing Gen X and Gen Y to pay medicare and socail security benefits to this bunch that doesn't want to pay school taxes either since they're kids are grown and gone. They don't realize that what made this country strong was our EXCELLENT, OPEN TO ALL, primary eduction system.

Side track is over, if your want to dance, you got to pay the piper. You can't buy a Lexus on a Hyundai budget.

Frank
 
  #21  
Old 03-20-04, 01:03 PM
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Arrow My Two Cents

Gents:

Good discussion and many great points made.

To avoid the "How Much" crowds, the rift raft and pay you laters crowds in every industry, sharpening is no acception, I simply charge 20% or more above the local competition.

WHY?
Because I do sharpening as a vocation primarily?
Answer. Yes and No.

Those of my stead customers know full well they are paying more than any other local sharpening service.

They also know I do all the work. They also know each carbide blade must be less than 5 thousands of an inch in tollerance when completed. Nothing else is acceptable.

Quality does come at a price.

My customers know it too. They also expect quaility in the final result of their cutting and the blades, bits and planner blades must be as near as perfect as possible to produce final quality results.

Dead beats, drifters and rift raft avoid me. Quality woodwork wokers seek me out. Never ask how much once they learn from others the quality or try out my services.

Equally, my customers do not abuse their tools, which makes my work easier but not cheaper. We all work that way. They refer me and I refer them to those whom have the bucks to pay for quality wood work products.

Old saying has merit:
If you have to ask "How Much" chances are you cannot afford it."

If a potential or prospective boat or yacht buyer askes "How Much" for fuel, move on to another client, that one can't afford it...LOL!...

BTW:
A lost client or customer, due to price, is not a lost client or lost sale, it's a head ache or problem never to arrive... They will always have something to complain about! (In My Opinion.)

"My Two Cents"
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  #22  
Old 03-20-04, 01:34 PM
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Talking Two More Cents

The word custom has lost it's meaning in our society. In my opinion it has done so simply by over usage. Custom appears in every thing and applies to almost every thing today.

The word custom has been so over used it no longer has it's original meaning. Custom means made just for me or one of a kinda.

Thus, as it applies to having a product made to my specs or done to my plans, etc designed for me, by me, a decoration person making something to my desires in plans or one whom specializes in the field of the final product, means custom or customized.

In todays world, that meaning does not always apply. Many have lost the meaning and compare it to price. Price does not imply quality nor reflect quality in mass produced products.

Thus those whom know quality ask for a price after all the other factors are discussed and known. A means for a professional for determining a customers ability to pay without them knowing it.

Enough said.

Imagine that? Me being brief and to the point...LOL!...

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  #23  
Old 03-20-04, 09:48 PM
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Sharp, You are so right. Custom does not mean sold by Walmart and made in China, Tiawan, It means; expensive, time consuming, quality, hand made, my blood sweat and tears, and a piece of my soul, went into this item. When they get this into their heads, finally the price issue will no longer be an issue. But don't hold your breath for it to happen soon.
 
  #24  
Old 03-22-04, 08:16 PM
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I'm finishing up on that home theater that I've been posting pics in the woodworking forum, as I'm now doing the installation process.

During the day yesterday, I set up the whole unit and had the lights in, notwithstanding I still had crown to do around the unit/room and install the mantel. The client comes home just as I'm leaving and sees the unit with the hallogen lights on and all other lights off. The first words out of his mouth are Holy f****** s*** this looks f****** awesome! OmFg, you did an awesome job and it fits perfectly! LOL. All I could do was say thank you and chuckle. It didn't help much that he was schnookered at the same time.

Before I got the job, it was all price price price and now that he sees it in his home, I'm sure his tone will change for future jobs about it being more than what he wanted to spend. ::Sigh:: We can only hope!

On a different note, I now charge a Design Fee which is refundable if they decide to go with me.

A potential client calls me up last week and told me he wants a Home Theater, Bar, etc done. I said, that's fine, but keep in mind I do a free consultation, But I do charge a nominal, refundable design fee if you go with me which is $300.00

He said, well I don't feel comfortable paying you $300.00 for that. Can't you just come out and give us a "Ball Park Price" , I said, no, it's not fair for you as a potential customer for me to give you fictitious prices. He then said, well can I go on your website, look at a few things and give you an idea of what I want and give me a price upon that? I said No! I still need to do drawings in order to give you a price. I then said, if I give you a ball park price after seeing the space of $15,000.00 and then when I come back to tell you it's going to be $20,000.00 you're going to want to know why it's not $15,.000.00 or I could have done the unit for $12,000.00 but I knew you'd spend $15,000.00 then I just made an extra $3,000.00 off of you. He said, well, let me look at the pics on your site and I'll talk to my wife. LOL NICE EXCUSE! Back peddling to the wife excuse.

My rule of thumb is, if you're going to whine about the $300.00 design fee, you're going to whine about $15,000.00 When it comes down to it, $300.00 is nothing when you're having custom furniture made.

You're so right sharp, people have lost the total concept upon what custom is.

People think I just go somewhere, buy some cabinets and customize it to their needs. Other people have no clue and the last percentage knows what I go through and don't want to spend the money because they're too cheap.
 
  #25  
Old 03-23-04, 06:22 AM
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Great thread. The simple fact is that you get what you pay for (in most cases). I used to love woodworking (got out of it past high school), though I would eventually like to take it up again. Anything custom made is going to be expensive, period. Why people don't understand that simple concept is beyond me.

Chris
 
  #26  
Old 04-20-04, 07:42 PM
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I am a Masonry Insulation contractor in Ohio. I have been in the Foam business for 15 years. 10 years ago to insulate a Wal-Mart would yield about $18,000. Today you are lucky to get awarded a contract for over $11,000. I am also a thermographer (Infrared Thermal Scan’s) I look as some of the work people do and am amazed they are in business. But the general contractor cant see the insulation in the wall the only thing they can see is your proposed price. I do however get the last laugh. They got a great price on the insulation but they pay for it for the life of the building. Remember This “The Bitterness of poor quality workmanship remains long after the sweetness of the low price is forgotten”
 
  #27  
Old 04-20-04, 08:35 PM
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Nothing cheap is good and nothing good is cheap

You get what you pay for in floor coverings and other home furnishings and products. Finding a "real" bargain is rare. I sell kitchen cabinets and hardwood floors. I always price them low to be competitive. And, that means against the big box stores that market and sell less than first quality wood and kitchen cabinets as 'first quality.' The majority of folks who shop price, do not compare apples to apples. It seems that they do not care about quality or customer service, despite posted complaints on forums about problems. They tend to whine and complain and never admit they took the deal because of the low price point. Folks who bring in kitchen designs from big box stores to me tend to present some very poor designs. It's amazing how many people don't care. All they care about is price point.

I read an article somewhere on the internet that stated that Walmart's future goals included selling every conceivable consumer product under the sun. That means that they will eventually put us all out of business. Can you imagine Walmart sellling automobiles? Kitchen cabinets and hardwood floors? That would put me and all the other little dealers out of business.

I can lecture from sun up to sun down about quality, warranties, and price, but folks tend to go with price point without any consideration for quality or warranties. Sometimes I wonder if I should go into the salvage business.
 
  #28  
Old 04-21-04, 10:29 PM
SkyKing
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One sublte point that should be made:

Michelangelo worked on a budget. Palladio worked on a budget. Rapael worked on a budget. Bramante worked on a budget. Picasso worked on a budget.

For money not to come up, is ridiculous. A person who can afford a $56,000 home theater cabinet (unless a lotto winner) is not a person who is frivoulous with their money. They are going to want a definite price.

Obviously you can't buy the David for $12,000. You're job is to quote a price, it is either accepted or rejected. If they want to haggle, you leave (unless you really need the job).

But I agree with 99% of what you're saying. In an assembly line, MDF, lowball economy, there is no appreciation for fine craftsmanship. To you, it's a labor of love, to them IT IS JUST A CABINET! (which cost them an arm and a leg ).
 
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