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Sunday, 7 July 2013

Benchmark for Made-to-order / Custom Orders

Benchmark when making customs Made-to-order 

Made-to-order means once an order is placed it needs to be made from start to finish. Once that is complete the item can be packaged.

Tips that I am going to share that I am learning to a bench mark for Custom orders.
Are you still getting sucked into the traps at times.Are your ready to stick to your own guns on your own policies – and add a few new ones.

I’ve been doing custom work pretty much since the beginning of selling online.Nothing says you put time, thought and effort into a gift like personalization. I mean creating something unique for that special individual. and I’ve learned a lot over that time. Mostly I’ve learned The Hard Way. I used to hesitant about charging too much, wanting so badly to get something sold. Then I decided that I needed to make at least some money and bumped my prices up. It really hasn’t hurt me at all in terms of number of sales. Also I, too, was hesitant about being paid up front.

And I’ve learned the hard way on that. Don’t ever think you can trust someone who has paid you regularly in the past and who gives you a new order without payment ahead of time.  I just got stiffed recently that got me to write this article.  Even the most honest, best intentioned people can run into money problems, and if they’re choosing between food on the table and paying you, I think we all know what they’re going to choose. Hopefully this list will help others here.

Lets start: {custom questionnaire}

please take the time to ask these questions.

1. Who is this for, you or a gift?
2. What occasion is it for birthday/wedding ( photography in my case a propt)
3.When do you need it?
4.What is your budget?
5.How old is the recipient?
6.Do you or the recipient need custom sizing

{custom timeline & prices}  this is for your personal 

Initial free telephone consultation. Agree or decline to proceed.
Agreement to proceed with design ideas.
Pictures, sketches or fabric swatches are sent by customer.

1. Always require payment up front

 When you give a customer a price quote, leave room for “estimates”Made-to-order is always (estimated price)

for Eg: If you do custom work in which the customer gets to choose the fabric and buys the material then, it’s the perfect place to indicate that the cost of fabric is ESTIMATED, and that certain materials or customization may change the price.
shopping for fabric/materials/travel/ (value your own time) time taken to shop
You only need to buy the bare basics to keep things running smoothly. buy only what you need.
made-to-order comes higher expenses. They may be safer purchases, less-frequent purchases, but they cost more. You aren’t able to buy in the exact quantity you need so you pay more to buy less.Retail verses Wholesale. Made-to-order verses pre-made. You get the idea :)

Take a day to decide do homework to find out before quoting .

your not a bargain basement good.If you value your worth, value your time Please don not bargain  Also remember the customer could  return and will always want to bargain a price on every product

Many will ask for a copy of a big box store item or designer couture, saying it's way out of their budget,

There seems to be a misconception that handmade = cheap. cost of labor is going to be higher for handmade goods.Handmade is worth more. It's made by one artist, with two hands. We are not able to take advantage of true wholesale prices when buying supplies for our creations because we're just small indie companies and cannot afford to buy huge bulk orders."handmade education" is not very widespread. To know more please do read my post on why-is-handmade-so-expensive.

Cost of goods + cost of time (value your own time) + cost of overhead + desired profit = product price

Shipping costs can be calculated by adding the cost of shipping goods to the cost of time.

2. Don’t take on orders that are out of your comfort zone.

A lot of us crafty people get strange requests. People assume that since I make different products and work on various materials and projects that interest me. they think I can make anything. And given enough time, maybe I could.And yet somehow, I often find myself pulling my hair out working on a custom order I was dubious about in the first place.Being a small business person makes it difficult to tell a customer “no.”  The customer is always right, they say. But sometimes it’s okay to say, “I just can’t do that.” Do it for your sanity’s sake.

3. Don’t do custom work for friends and family for free

I’m not talking about gifts either. If you’ve got a friend that’s been hankering over your stuff for months and their birthday is coming up, by all means, gift them one of your awesome crafts.
The second reason is that if you don’t value your own time, other people will follow suit. 

4.Design and prices are approved by customer in writing (email okay).

5. Deposit is paid by customer.

6. Give your customer a timeline for you and them

It’s probably a no-brainer for most sellers to give their customer a time frame for expecting the order to be finished. Some might give a hard date – Your item will be shipped by X date. Others, like myself, might give a more general time frame – Custom orders take 1- 2 weeks to complete. You’ll figure out what works for you.

If you’ve got a custom order with a tight schedule, give the customer their own deadline.When I get a custom order like that, I explain exactly what I need from my customer and when I need it. Give them a hard date.“I must have your payment, ideas, and choice by X date.” “If I don’t receive it by then, I can’t guarantee your order will arrive in time, unless you upgrade to a rush order.”

Yes Rush Hour (remember most of us artist work alone not a lot of helping hands) (value your own time, you will be leaving all your other work to do this order on first priority adding extra working hours / time.right out of your comfort zone dont you value your time your effort ).

here is an example of what you could do.If you need to receive your order within one week or less, there is a fee of Rs Xamount.oo per item in addition to the rush order charges . If expedited shipping is required that charge will be additional to the rush order charges.

7. Completion date is agreed upon between customer and designer.

8. Design work begins after payment ONLY

I hope this helps you out there. I am open to more comments and tips of how you handle custom orders dont forget to leave a feedback

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  1. Love each of your posts and how direct your approach is on each one of them. i am sure you have several other topics in mind to post, if I can add two more that you can do in your own time, I would be greatful and a lot many newbies like me
    1. Please make a post on packaging, making the product safe, different kinds of packages etc.,
    2. How to estimate the weight of the product.

    Thanks for your sweet help. Loving your blog most!

    1. Evita am so glad you reading my post makes me feel good. thank you for taking the time I will be writing the post soon on what you asked just stay tuned. I promise to cover them up in the next few weeks.

  2. Thanks for the post I loved the part "don't do custom orders free for friends and relatives" Unfortunately many expect that :(

    1. Subhashree thank you for reading I hope more people read these post.Trust me I used to go through it all the time , at work everything was a gift and friends and they wanted for their friends and family for free too, My husband is my biggest motivator he put a stop one day and said u will never be able to run a business this way and also said once u charge them see if they come to buy ;) and he was right no one turned up till date .

  3. I hate it when people try to bargain with handmade stuff! I'd like to ask them to come and watch me paint shoes and t-shirts! Maybe then they'd realize that it's not as easy as it seems.. Also they don't understand that handmade things take time. I get requests saying "please squeeze in my order, its a gift for a kid and it's his birthday in two days" If it was meant as a birthday gift, why did you think of it 2 days before the birthday? Maybe you couldn't find a nice gift and you thought ''she'll make this in no time!" But they tend to forget that I might have other orders and deadlines to meet and it's unfair that I have to make them wait because I need to 'squeeze in' your request!

    1. Shailee your not alone ,It is simple to say no we have to get in the habit of it shows that we mean business or refer someone else. that is what I do. referring helps alot in its own way. we got to learn customers are strange they will hop an never stick to one person. so before feeling bad the best is to just refer someone else. in turn they return back always