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'Could You Make This?' - Message From A Friend

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As a welder, I was always asked if I could repair this thing or that thing.The answer was usually "YES", but when it came to paying for it, that usually was forgotten. After my retirement, I decided I wouldn't own a welding machine because I couldn't afford to keep my friends in repairs.

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3 hours ago, kmealy said:

I got an e-mail from a guy today who is looking for someone to build two or three kitchen cabinet drawer replacements two or three times a year.   I am telling him that set up time is going to be a killer.   I've referred him on to companies that custom-make drawer boxes, likely banging them out by the thousands on CNC.

invite him to your shop.  have him "help" you make 2.  turn on a timer the moment he walks thru the door.  fetch your stock, cut to size, do joinery, assembly..... all done, stop timer.  ok, that took "us" 3 hours (or whatever) for 2 drawers.  your shop rate of $50/hour x 3 hours = $150 for 2 drawers.  how many do you want now?

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If I'm approached by someone who starts a conversation with "how much would it cost for you to make me a..." my answer is "more than you want to spend".  It usually ends the conversation. :D

My wife and family are the only clients I'm interested in having.

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A couple of houses ago, I had a friend that would occasionally want a small thing made or built.   He'd come over to the shop and I'd cut up and join some wood for him while he watched.   He used to always say, "Boy, it sure is easy when you have all these tools."   I always felt like saying, "I have a piano upstairs, it sure is easy to just sit down and play something when you have the right piano."

 

Anyway, another friend is going to consider working on the drawers.   I find out it's an apartment complex and he occasionally needs to fix up some drawers damaged by tenants.   My impression is they are just a few different widths and possibly heights, and all the same depths, so running a batch of parts might not be too bad if you have a shelf to store parts.   I told the guy most of the time would be in set up and doing 100 or 200 at a time will take a lot less time per piece than one or two at a time.  He'd also deliver and pick up at the shop so no windshield time.

Edited by kmealy

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1 hour ago, kmealy said:

A couple of houses ago, I had a friend that would occasionally want a small thing made or built.   He'd come over to the shop and I'd cut up and join some wood for him while he watched.   He used to always say, "Boy, it sure is easy when you have all these tools."   I always felt like saying, "I have a piano upstairs, it sure is easy to just sit down and play something when you have the right piano."

 

Anyway, another friend is going to consider working on the drawers.   I find out it's an apartment complex and he occasionally needs to fix up some drawers damaged by tenants.   My impression is they are just a few different widths and possibly heights, and all the same depths, so running a batch of parts might not be too bad if you have a shelf to store parts.   I told the guy most of the time would be in set up and doing 100 or 200 at a time will take a lot less time per piece than one or two at a time.  He'd also deliver and pick up at the shop so no windshield time.

Then you would have to add storage fees for storing all the parts to built a drawer on demand.

Kind of like an attorney and his retainer.

Herb

Edited by Dadio

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My wife once asked me to build a quilt rack for her friend, she knows I don't do work for others. I said I would as a favor to her. I told the friend I'd only charge for the Walnut wood she wanted. I got the wood and showed her how it would look finished (spit test) She wanted it darker and I told her she could go to a big box store and select the color she wanted. She got the stain and brought it to me. I built the rack, stained it darker and finished it nicely for her. When she came to pick it up I could tell she was disappointed, she didn't like the color she selected. She paid me for the Walnut and left. 5 minutes later she was at the door. She wanted what was left of the stain she selected, paid for and didn't like.  I couldn't believe it. I said never again and I haven't.

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15 hours ago, Snailman said:

If I'm approached by someone who starts a conversation with "how much would it cost for you to make me a..." my answer is "more than you want to spend".  It usually ends the conversation. :D

My wife and family are the only clients I'm interested in having.

I guess I'm lucky. Most of our friends have plenty of money and time. So, if one of them asks me to build them something, I'm pretty sure it's something they can't find in a store. And, none have ever asked me to quote a price or asked how long It'll take. They know I'm slow and usually backed up. They also know I'm not cheap. No one has ever raised an eyebrow at my prices.

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Alas the fact that I have no woodworking skills as of yet, doesn’t seem to deter people. They know I’m starting to do stuff in my basement, and the requests flow in. I just say no. On the other hand I am an electrician, and I get way more requests for that. I have now decided to do work only for family that I like, and close friends (the kind that would give you a kidney, if need be). I do not charge, I long ago learned that if you give a number, they no longer believe they are getting a deal. I give no number, they usually pony up something, and know you gave them a break, plus I have no shortage of people to borrow trucks off of, help move, paint, and the like. Unfortunately right now I have had 3 friends do remodels/additions at about the same time, I am inundated, but this too will pass. It is true when you stop doing favors, you find out who is really a friend, and who wasn’t.

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19 hours ago, Gene Howe said:

I guess I'm lucky. Most of our friends have plenty of money and time. So, if one of them asks me to build them something, I'm pretty sure it's something they can't find in a store. And, none have ever asked me to quote a price or asked how long It'll take. They know I'm slow and usually backed up. They also know I'm not cheap. No one has ever raised an eyebrow at my prices.

That tells me how much of a master craftsman you are..........the best:D

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56 minutes ago, Ron Altier said:

That tells me how much of a master craftsman you are..........the best:D

Well thanks, Ron. But, I'm really just an aspiring hack. 

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7 hours ago, Gene Howe said:

Well thanks, Ron. But, I'm really just an aspiring hack. 

I’m just a perspiring hack. (With aspirations LOL)

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I try not to sweat, Artie. Streaks my glasses and makes me shower more than once a week. ;)

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On 4/15/2018 at 1:45 PM, lew said:

Guess he won't be a "friend" any longer :)

My best friend with'ez new wife, brough an old chair that had been thrown away, probaply in a road ditch. Needed one arm & one rocker replaced. Getting it cleaned up, they came back to see what I'd found. Splained to'm what needed to be repaired, she thought I would do it for nothing. She was eager to see/get it home. I mentioned $$$. She thought I'd do it for nothing because we were friends!!!!!! I splained to'er how long & briefly what had to be done. My friend overrode'er! He looked at me $80? Told'm $50. She almost fainted. LESSON HERE:If I did this for free, she would have drug every piece of junk someone threw away for me to fix, FREE. NAW I'M PURTY GOOD BUT expensive

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sounds like this happens everywhere!

 

"oh, fix this old chair for free?  well, i guess i could do that, and while i'm doing that, you'll take my truck down to the gas station, fill it up, get the oil changed, wash and wax it, and invite me to dinner, right?  that seems fair to me!"

 

 

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