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View Full Version : Awkward client - luthiers please read and respond.



Pete Howlett
11-05-2011, 04:57 AM
I have had close on 30 'enquiry' emails from a potential client claiming he is from Thailand - I'm getting exhausted answering his many and detailed questions. His name is Thiti Skoolisariyaporn. Anyone else out there been contacted by this guy andhad a similar experience? I just can't make up my mind if it is a wind up or not...

ukulefty
11-05-2011, 06:14 AM
His name is Thiti Skoolisariyaporn. Anyone else out there been contacted by this guy andhad a similar experience? I just can't make up my mind if it is a wind up or not...

LOLWUT? I just had to google that...

http://en-gb.facebook.com/thiti.skoolisariyaporn

dave g
11-05-2011, 06:44 AM
To me, 30 emails just screams "nut job"...

Michael N.
11-05-2011, 06:56 AM
Not had anything from him but I have had similar enquiries that go on and on and on.....
They always end the same way. The 'genuine' interest was never there from the word go. Otherwise known as time wasters and boy can they waste your time. As though this business isn't difficult enough as it is.
Now I can sniff them out much faster. I ask for a 'healthy' deposit. Kind of put up or shut up. The messing stops.

Rick Turner
11-05-2011, 07:26 AM
Ahhh, clients and long drawn out correspondence. Yeah, happens all the time, and when it does turn into an order, make sure you do one document that has all the specs on it that the client approves and signs of on. I've made instruments that lacked a tiny feature mentioned in email #6 out of 30 and the like.

Also, if you're selling direct, don't assume you can sell for what would be "wholesale". You need to make the retailer's portion of the final price as well as the builder's portion. Too many beginning luthiers simply do not understand that it takes time...therefore money...to sell their ukes and guitars. Every minute you're talking, typing on your computer, showing, going to festivals, etc., is a minute you're not at the bench building. Selling ukes costs money. Who pays for that? Your clients have to, simple as that. Do NOT underprice your work thinking that you'll gain market share or break in that way. And understand that the first ten decent ukes are easy to sell to your acquaintances, fellow club members, etc. The next ten take twice the time to sell. And the next ten...well, not easy. After that, you're either going to be a pro or spend all of daddy and mommy's money being an amateur 'til the money runs out.

CTurner
11-05-2011, 07:39 AM
I wonder if there is some kind of cultural factor in here as well? The number and kind of questions involved in a negotiation (which is what you are doing with potential clients) are sometimes ways of communicating trust. In some cultures it takes more time to establish a business relationship (see many Asian countries--western folks in a real hurry need not apply...). I don't speak with any knowledge of this man and his culture (and I certainly can't tell you whether he is a waste of your time), but he may be more comfortable in his own language spoken, rather than in English written in emails. Just my $.02.

Kekani
11-05-2011, 08:39 AM
I know the Okami's just came back from Thailand - `ukulele is BIG there, so this may be one of those that is looking to get something that no one else there has. If he's looking for a custom, that's what I'd think. If he's looking for something that everyone else has, and he's coming to you, well. . .

Aaron

PelicanUkuleles
11-05-2011, 08:54 AM
30? Too many red flags. Sounds like OCD. The money isn't worth the heartache. My 2

Pete Howlett
11-05-2011, 09:49 AM
Rick - I'm not a beginner at this I know how to price my work. Thanks for the advice tho... I was curious to see if he had contacted any other builders. Was worth a shot. I know how this is going to go from the last email sent after this post:)

thistle3585
11-05-2011, 10:00 AM
Is there really that much to discuss about an instrument? The standard questions that I get from customers are nut width, neck thickness, string spacing and wood selection. When people start asking really detailed questions I get very suspicious. Several times I've had people ask me really detailed stuff that most players wouldn't ask about so I have to believe that their asking questions on how I build my instruments and not about buying an instrument. If they were up front from the get go and say, "I want to build a uke with a bolt on neck how do you do yours?" then I'd be fine with that but the covert stuff just turns me off. If they really are a potential customer that is so wrapped up in the details then I don't think I'd be able to please them no matter what I do and would simply state that I don't think I could build an instrument to meet their expectations. If you want one of my instruments then you get what I want to build. I don't cater to every whim anymore.

BlackBearUkes
11-05-2011, 10:50 AM
I have had the same experience with some buyers from Thailand, so I ended the correspondence. Some time in the past many years ago, I had one guy who wanted rope bindings (2 types), abalone inlays next to that, then colored purflings around all the edges, fingerboard and sound hole rosette, with a sunburst finish. We did not talk about fingerboard inlays because I cut off the discussion. I gave him the name of several other uke luthiers. I get folks asking all the time what it would cost for this or that design, size, etc. It just a fishing expedition and they are looking for the cheapest way to go. I give them a price and time and my terms, but I usually don't hear back. Dealing with the public is very hard at times when it comes to a custom uke, so like Andrew, mostly I don't.

Tarhead
11-05-2011, 12:46 PM
Dear (Insert name of Client),

Thank you very much for an opportunity to build a (insert project name) for you! I am interested in making the best (insert project name) I can for my customers.

In our (insert number) (emails, calls, etc) we have exchanged many details regarding the (insert name of project) you want me to build for you. I am concerned that some important details may get forgotten or misconstrued. As such, I have prepared a detailed quote of the (insert project name), options you have inquired about and an estimate of time required for completion. It is attached it to this email. Please examine this quote and return it to me with a signature and an initial by each option price you wish to include. Please also include a deposit for 50% of the total, including all selected options, and I will put your (insert project name) into my schedule. At the present time there are (insert number of projects) ahead of you.

Unfortunately I am unable to spend additional planning time on this project at no charge and will need to be reimbursed for a minimum of 1 hour at (insert your astronomical hourly labor rate) for time related to each design change. If you send me a design change inquiry, I will send you an estimate of the total design time required for each change and expect full payment prior to any design work beginning. After the additional design work is completed, I will prepare a change order detailing the scope of change and any additional project costs associated with the requested change. I will expect this to be returned to me with a signature and full payment for the change prior to any change work commencing.

I look forward to building the best (insert project name) I can for you!

Best Regards,
Pete, Uke Maker Extraordinaire

Pete Howlett
11-05-2011, 12:53 PM
Great stuff Tarhead. He has changed his mind at least 5 times, asked for soundfiles, videos - you name it he's done it. I always ask for a 50% deposit because it shows comittment. If he ever gets back to me I will certainly use some of your suggestions here. Thank you :)

Allen
11-05-2011, 12:53 PM
Not had this particular person, but others like them. Fortunately not too often. I've learn't to cut them off petty quick now. Unless they have clear and concise questions that I consider pertinent to a particular instrument I have in stock, or a commission, then they are just time wasters. And the older I get, the more precious my time has become to me.

Timbuck
11-05-2011, 01:10 PM
In my dodgy mental state of mind, I could not handle all this customer/builder relationship stuff, ( Mrs Timbuck calls them Finacky Buggers):D...Thats why I don't build to order..and thats why I build them to my own specifications, and then I put them in the shop window for sale...Come to think of it thats what "Henry Ford" did with the T1,(You can have what ever colour you like as long as it's black):) I think he quoted that phrase.

byjimini
11-05-2011, 01:17 PM
Christ, me and Rick have exchanged 23 emails as I wait for the bank to deposit my money so I can buy a Compass Rose; please don't think I'm a crackhead too. :(

ukegirl13
11-05-2011, 05:24 PM
First of all to Pete, no I have not done any correspondence with your client, but have had one or two wack-o's. I have to thank you all for making me remember to charge for the little things that I seem to forget about. Answering e-mails, updating website, writing blogs, staying up to date on social networking...etc, etc. Also, next time I do need to charge for a photo log of the building. I agreed because I didn't think it would take too long. But man! It ate up all kinds of time. I've always been more of a crafts/artist person and have never been much of a business person so I really need to step it up and get with it!

Thank you tarhead for the letter!

coriandre
11-05-2011, 07:24 PM
Geez 30 emails ?!?!? I wrote 5 or 6 when I oredered a custom ukulele......and I thought I was asking a lot of questions......

Dan Uke
11-05-2011, 07:35 PM
Everything does make sense but unless you have built up your reputation, there are lots of builders that people can choose from. You need to do a break-even analysis with price vs. quantity projections. It's important to distinguish what is fixed cost and variable cost.

Rick Turner
11-05-2011, 08:03 PM
Look, if we're selling direct, it's simple...we're both building the ukes as "manufacturers", AND we're selling them as "retailers". Both activities come with their time commitments and their costs to us and to the ultimate buyer. I don't see a problem with that other than that too many luthiers don't consider the selling part...and the hand holding part...as a part of their actual costs, yet it is. It's the cost of doing business, and if you build to order, as I do, it's simply going to take time to settle a sale with a client. The best clients know that part of what they're paying for is attention...attention to exactly what they want, attention to detail, and that means a relationship that goes beyond seeing a uke in a store or on line and just buying what is there.

If all you want to do is build...and not have to deal with "bespoke" orders, as would seem to be the case here with Tim, great. Build some stock designs on spec, and whoever wants them can buy them. It's certainly an easier way to go. But there are a significant number of potential clients in that price range above about $1,500.00 USD who want something special, something "bespoke", and to be honest, we luthiers have to be able to charge enough...fairly...to accommodate their desire for a direct relationship with us, the builders, and their instrument.

I do a bit of all of the above...I build some "spec" instruments to set designs and wood & trim specs, and we make a lot of parts...tops, backs, sides...on spec. I also build to order for retail stores. And, of course, I also build to very custom specs for direct customers. It all works for me.

Pete Howlett
11-06-2011, 04:48 AM
Just to clarify - the correspondencehas been over a 10 day period. The potential client has changed his mind 5 times not on spec (that keeps going backwards and forwards) but on model. He has requested soundfiles, deleted YouTube videos, my opinion on what would be right for him and just about every other question NO ONE but the person themselves could answer... I just wanted to know if anyone else had dealt with this guy. A simple question I would have thought and directed to LUTHIERS. Where i am greatful for opinions and thoughts THAT is all I am looking for - some ID! The rerst I already do...

Rick Turner
11-06-2011, 10:29 AM
Pete, threads take on lives of their own...

Never dealt with the guy in question, but the whole topic is valid...

thistle3585
11-06-2011, 01:08 PM
For what its worth, when I did build custom instruments, now I build on spec except for existing customers, I'd average over one hundred emails with a customer from start to finish.

Rick Turner
11-06-2011, 01:38 PM
Haven't quite hit that many, but that much communication could take a good portion of the time it takes to build a uke! And guess who ultimately pays for that time? If you're not out of your mind, the client pays...

hmgberg
11-06-2011, 03:47 PM
Well, I don't have this experience as a luthier, but I was a home builder for 20 years. Occasionally, I'd have the kinds of clients who would have me fill out detailed spec sheets for them, literally hundreds of items. Then they would change their minds and change them again. Each time they changed their minds, I would calculate a new price. These were the dreamers: they wanted the experience of building a home without having to commit to anything. All of the time spent in reviewing these details prolonged the fantasy for them and drove me crazy. No contract ever materialized with these folks. Never even could wring a deposit for them. I would ask for a deposit from him at this point. Find out if he is for real. Write all the specifications down on a deposit form and have him sign it. Indicate on the form that there will be a charge for additional changes.

The best clients were the ones who asked for recommendations, not just because it was easier for me, but because I knew I could satisfy them.

thistle3585
11-06-2011, 04:41 PM
Haven't quite hit that many, but that much communication could take a good portion of the time it takes to build a uke! And guess who ultimately pays for that time? If you're not out of your mind, the client pays...

I'm with you a hundred percent Rick. Which is one reason I went to spec models, but a lot of those emails were me sending in-progress photos and updates.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
11-06-2011, 05:20 PM
Which is one reason I went to spec models, but a lot of those emails were me sending in-progress photos and updates.
Yep, even those spec ukes will often turn into commissioned ones.

Rick Turner
11-06-2011, 06:32 PM
I am seriously considering charging for "custom" photos...for work in progress, for anything that isn't already on my website, etc. If you think it takes time to write emails, try taking photos and uploading them. Frankly, I'd rather be building ukes and guitars than photographing them, but if I'm taking pictures, I need to make as much doing that as in the actual build process. A lot of my clients want...or insist...on work in progress pictures. The cost has to be part of the equation...

Pete Howlett
11-06-2011, 09:56 PM
At last = on topic again - but thanks for all the other stuff. Just wanted to clarify things.

I like spec sheets - the client has done their research and you know you can cost it out accurately. In these situations you are providing no add-ons. Takes me about 3 hours to shoot and edit a 3 -4 minute video instructional.... and that's why there hasn't been too manhylately folks :(

Speculative work is great if you have a large market and no orders. Although the UK is part of the Eurpean Union most of my enquiries still come from the UK which now is saturated with ukulele builders. At one time it just about supported 3 of us and now, much like Hawaii ther is a bunch of new comers and amatuer builders diluting the market place with very well built yet underpriced instruments both here and in Europe. It's possible that I will clear my books in the next three months and be able to put up Vita Uke and Shrine Uke on my website for sale along with some resos and blinged up Tasmanian Blackwood thingies... we'll have to see how the economy goes won't we :)

Gadzukes!
11-07-2011, 05:56 AM
I'm guessing that many clients assume when they hire you for custom work that you're "working for them," which is why they assume it's OK to ask for all those things.

In reality, working for yourself always requires some salesmanship, and in today's environment, customer service is key. I would suggest spending a little time deciding what you're willing to offer the customer in terms of service and then defining that clearly as part of your contract. Photos may need to be a part of that. Make it easy on yourselves and get an iPod Touch or iPhone as another tool for your workbench. You can take photos or videos and add them to a gallery in minutes, not hours. Work smart, not hard. :)

As for your demanding customer, Pete, I'd say communication is key. Communicate that you realize he has a lot of questions, but that you're very busy building instruments for other happy customers. Offer a phone number and time when they can call you to get their questions answered quickly. Polite truth is always a good option.

To those of you commenting in this thread about how you've been rude to demanding customers: why would you do that? Might as well go on Yelp and write yourself a bad review. If you love building instruments but hate customers, you either need to hire someone or give some thought to what you'll do when your business fails (don't blame it on the economy).

My wife and I started a service business in an area with lots of competition, during a bad economy. We don't offer all the services as the other guys, and we're not the cheapest, but we are incredibly friendly, service-oriented, and good at what we do. We've had clients drop off their computers at our house at 1:00 in the morning. It lost us a bit of sleep, and gained us one of our best repeat clients. We've also fired clients that needed firing, and there are a few of those out there.

Pete Howlett
11-07-2011, 09:19 AM
I know how to hand off potential clients who are going to turn into maniacs! Building ukulele however is not a service industry - it's a craft which is an entirely different kettle of fish. Every time you build an instrument you give a bit of yourself away and you have to be careful how you do that. I learnt a great lesson in the 1980's from a documentary about a Britsh cabinet maker who called himself "Andy the Furnituire Maker" - he took no prisinors and bt doing so, maintained complete control over the entire process.

Service has the derivative noun servant - as a builder I serve only one master and it certainly aint the client - they benefit from my experience and skill. My personal dedication is to God and I hope that the work I do is a worthy testimony of Him. This business is like anything which involves an understanding of who you are and what you are worth. I think if you sacrifice yourself on the alter of a customer's whim you are not being true to yourself. I want my work to be the best it can be. That starts with a very clear idea of what I am going to do. It doesn't include endless therapy sessions because the client can't make up his mind what he wants :)

Coda - I am glad none of you have had to deal with him yet... I don't think he will commission me so be prepared if you get that email :)

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
11-07-2011, 09:54 AM
Spot on Pete! I'm a firm believer in offering great service but it's not my primary function.

When it comes to designing the actual instrument, I caution people that I am not the Burger King of uke builders. That is, you can't always have it your way. Hopefully I can accommodate some of the customers wishes and work around their parameters but I always have final say in what the finished instrument will be. There are plenty of builders out there who will build anything you want. I can't do that. If you've been in this business long enough you've gotten your share of crazy requests. Sometimes the customer will suggest something to me that I may be uncomfortable with but I know it's a direction I should be going in anyway so I'll accept it. These are the challenges I sometimes look forward to. They push me out of my comfort zone. I appreciate all on the input I receive from a customer but it's my job to inform them of what I can and can not do and what I do best. My very best ukes were those in which I had ample freedom to work. Of course, this involves instilling trust in your customer!
Hopefully, the customer see's something in what I do that they like. After all, they were attracted enough to my work to want to contact me in the first place. Every uke I build comes straight from my heart and honestly, every uke takes a lot out of me. Musical instruments tend to be traded like baseball cards. So, while the customer buys the ukulele and will own it for however long he chooses, ultimately, the uke will always have my name on it and will always be mine; a reflection of who I am. I'm not just selling stuff, I'm selling a piece of me, the highest part of who I am. I'm not a factory, I don't crank these things out. I'm an artist and a craftsman. I'm the kind of guy who lays awake at night worrying about the details. I'm very careful of what I put out there to the world that has my name on it. Some people have a difficult time understanding that. I try to gently coax those people to seek another builder knowing that I'm not going to be able to please everyone. I realize I only have so many ukes left in me. Each one I build has to be carefully thought out and considered.

Flyfish57
11-07-2011, 10:12 AM
Spot on Pete! I'm a firm believer in offering great service but it's not my primary function.

When it comes to designing the actual instrument, I caution people that I am not the Burger King of uke builders. That is, you can't always have it your way. Hopefully I can accommodate some of the customers wishes and work around their parameters but I always have final say in what the finished instrument will be. There are plenty of builders out there who will build anything you want. I can't do that. If you've been in this business long enough you've gotten your share of crazy requests. Sometimes the customer will suggest something to me that I may be uncomfortable with but I know it's a direction I should be going in anyway so I'll accept it. These are the challenges I sometimes look forward to. They push me out of my comfort zone. I appreciate all on the input I receive from a customer but it's my job to inform them of what I can and can not do and what I do best. My very best ukes were those in which I had ample freedom to work. Of course, this involves instilling trust in your customer!
Hopefully, the customer see's something in what I do that they like. After all, they were attracted enough to my work to want to contact me in the first place. Every uke I build comes straight from my heart and honestly, every uke takes a lot out of me. Musical instruments tend to be traded like baseball cards. So, while the customer buys the ukulele and will own it for however long he chooses, ultimately, the uke will always have my name on it and will always be mine; a reflection of who I am. I'm not just selling stuff, I'm selling a piece of me, the highest part of who I am. I'm not a factory, I don't crank these things out. I'm an artist and a craftsman. I'm the kind of guy who lays awake at night worrying about the details. I'm very careful of what I put out there to the world that has my name on it. Some people have a difficult time understanding that. I try to gently coax those people to seek another builder knowing that I'm not going to be able to please everyone. I realize I only have so many ukes left in me. Each one I build has to be carefully thought out and considered.

Excellent Chuck! I feel I should print this and hang it in my shop!

Allen
11-07-2011, 10:32 AM
This talk of all the to and fro with a client also brings up an issue. Do you charge more for a commission than a spec instrument? For me a spec instrument is built on my whims. Exploring techniques, wood and designs for the sheer joy of it, as opposed to trying to tick all the boxes on the build specifications that a client has specified, no progress emails and no deadlines etc.

For me I tend to let those instruments go at a discount over the commissioned ones simply because of the reasons above.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
11-07-2011, 10:53 AM
For me I tend to let those instruments go at a discount over the commissioned ones simply because of the reasons above.

Yes. And the ironic thing is that these spec instruments often tend to be the best things we build.

Rick Turner
11-07-2011, 07:32 PM
I do like it when clients ask, "What would you build next for yourself?"...and then say, "Build me one..."

It doesn't happen nearly often enough...

Allen
11-07-2011, 11:06 PM
That's exactly what a client said to me earlier this year. The best guitar I've ever built was a Style 5 parlour that the client called up then came around to pick wood. Picked the exact set and top that I had set aside to be in the "I'll get to it one day" pile, then said do whatever you think appropriate. I trust your judgement.It's an instrument that I was really sorry to see go.

His wife called the other day to ask about getting a triple O done the same way for his 50th as he's in love with the parlour and would like to get another to fill out the set. Those type of clients get a lot more thrown in for nothing, just for the sheer pleasure of doing it.

It is ironic that people that are in the pointy end of the market don't look at luthiers spec stock as often as you would think. Some of my very best work is sitting on the shelf waiting for a new home, as I"m sure is the case for others here.

joejeweler
11-08-2011, 05:23 AM
You're still OK,....as i believe "30 emails" was the required number to signify a crackhead/crackpot.

.....you ARE getting close, however! :D


Christ, me and Rick have exchanged 23 emails as I wait for the bank to deposit my money so I can buy a Compass Rose; please don't think I'm a crackhead too. :(

joejeweler
11-08-2011, 06:09 AM
When it comes to designing the actual instrument, I caution people that I am not the Burger King of uke builders. That is, you can't always have it your way. Hopefully I can accommodate some of the customers wishes and work around their parameters but I always have final say in what the finished instrument will be.

There are plenty of builders out there who will build anything you want. I can't do that. If you've been in this business long enough you've gotten your share of crazy requests. Sometimes the customer will suggest something to me that I may be uncomfortable with but I know it's a direction I should be going in anyway so I'll accept it. These are the challenges I sometimes look forward to. They push me out of my comfort zone. I appreciate all on the input I receive from a customer but it's my job to inform them of what I can and can not do and what I do best. My very best ukes were those in which I had ample freedom to work. Of course, this involves instilling trust in your customer!

Hopefully, the customer see's something in what I do that they like. After all, they were attracted enough to my work to want to contact me in the first place. Every uke I build comes straight from my heart and honestly, every uke takes a lot out of me. Musical instruments tend to be traded like baseball cards. So, while the customer buys the ukulele and will own it for however long he chooses, ultimately, the uke will always have my name on it and will always be mine; a reflection of who I am.

I'm not just selling stuff, I'm selling a piece of me, the highest part of who I am. I'm not a factory, I don't crank these things out. I'm an artist and a craftsman. I'm the kind of guy who lays awake at night worrying about the details. I'm very careful of what I put out there to the world that has my name on it. Some people have a difficult time understanding that. I try to gently coax those people to seek another builder knowing that I'm not going to be able to please everyone. I realize I only have so many ukes left in me. Each one I build has to be carefully thought out and considered.

That is just about the most profound statement i have ever heard from a builder! So much so that i do believe you might send a letter with that copy off with every uke you sell. Tee shirts inprinted with it would be a wise choice also as a 2nd source of income as you work toward your retirement. Let's hope thats a long way off,.....but ultimately inevitable. (Note: I did break your thoughts down into paragraphs for easier viewing, no disrespect intended.)

As you probably know, i recently decided to sell one of the two soprano ukuleles you made that i had aquired. Like you have found, your work is greatly in demand and it sold within about 1/2 hour of listing it. I chose not to ask for more than i paid, partly because i didn't feel right asking more than you so graciously sold the 2nd one to me for "new", but also because i wanted someone else to feel as i do that your work is very much underpriced! It's a fine instrument, but was a second soprano in my stable. Someday i hope to aquire a concert and possible a tenor of yours, and funds only go so far.

Buying one from you directly was the more special one to me, and the wood mindboggleing beautiful. So that's what i'll play when i want to drool while i play,.....and often overlooked secondary effect of the heart and soul you transfer into your offspring! I feel good about letting another adopt and care for one of yours in another sense,.....in that i felt a bit selfish owning two very similiar ukuleles in terms of size and tone.

......i can assure you no such guilt will prevail should a MB concert or tenor cross my path! :D

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
11-08-2011, 06:28 AM
Spreadin' the love is always a good thing.

PhilUSAFRet
11-08-2011, 07:02 AM
Maybe he's an aspiring luthier looking for free "lessons"

SailingUke
11-08-2011, 08:20 AM
Pete, I am not a luthier, nor do I have any aspirations, but I am player/collector.
You have a fine reputation and would trust your judgement on small details.
When I have ordered a custom I have specified the important details to me, size, wood, etc.
I put my trust in DaSilva and Mya-Moe to make it look and sound good.
To me 30 emails is excessive. I would tend to believe he is just out kicking tires.

UncleElvis
11-08-2011, 08:33 AM
Just a q...

If you were approached with... well, I won't beat around the bush...

When I get my customs, the only real specifics I have are that I'd like Bermuda Cedar to be incorporated into them somehow (as a veneer or inlay if it's not suitable as a tonewood) as well as a little inlay of Bermuda Sand (stole that idea off Mr. Moore!), I'd like them to be warmer and richer sounding, leaning towards low-end, rather than bright, one in tenor, one in concert or sorpano and the tenor, I'd like to be 8string... oh, and I'd want good electronics in them. Possibly a side-port, too, if recommended.
Other than that... you guys know best! The closest I've got to luthierie is making a cigar box ukulele, which really doesn't count, so I wouldn't DREAM of making demands on that end of it.

Am I on the right track with, like, how to ask for what I'm looking for (at least in a way that would keep you, the luthier, happy?)?

hoosierhiver
11-08-2011, 08:35 AM
I tend to think the guy is fairly new to ukes, has got the fever and is super super excited and overly nervous about making a big investment with an overseas maker. It's probably a big deal for him.

I talked with a well respected builder this past weekend and we got into a discussion about this sort of customer. He mentioned people who wanted to come by and take photos of each stage in development while promising not to be a bother and take up his time, but of course they take up your time. He said that if a customer seems like they are a hassle he explains the uke will take 6 months (even though it takes less) and if they contact them before the 6 month period is over, that means they want and will recieve their deposit back.

UncleElvis
11-08-2011, 09:12 AM
I tend to think the guy is fairly new to ukes, has got the fever and is super super excited and overly nervous about making a big investment with an overseas maker. It's probably a big deal for him.

I talked with a well respected builder this past weekend and we got into a discussion about this sort of customer. He mentioned people who wanted to come by and take photos of each stage in development while promising not to be a bother and take up his time, but of course they take up your time. He said that if a customer seems like they are a hassle he explains the uke will take 6 months (even though it takes less) and if they contact them before the 6 month period is over, that means they want and will recieve their deposit back.


That's pretty much how I was thinking...

I'll say what I want, a discussion is had as to what's feasible and what's not, we finalize, I pay a deposit, then I shut up and wait for them to get in touch, either with questions, clarifications or an "It's Done" message.

I don't get why people think that pestering or demanding is going to make people work faster or better.

Pete Howlett
11-08-2011, 09:17 AM
I accept and listen to clients who @know' what they want and I can work with that - this is the symbiosis that makes the work worthwhile. This poor guy is as Mike describes hime. We call them a 'bottle of pop' (soda to USA readers. In his case someone has riled him up and he's firing off in all directions...