STL266: Pro day with Hiller and Farrington!
Nancy Hiller and Mike Farrington talk candidly about the realities of being professional woodworkers.
This episode is sponsored by Mortise & Tenon Magazine and Triton Tools
I want to ask about managing clients’ expectations in doing commission work. I realize I’m speaking for myself and my circle of craftsmen friends, but just about every one of them has a litany of tales about clients being pushy, or not understanding the cost and time of doing great work, or being unclear on exactly they want and thus being dissatisfied. Sometimes our fragile makers’ souls just shudder (“That solid 5/4 walnut wedged through-tenon feature wall bookshelf?… Mmmmm I like it, but what if we painted it white?” – True story).
It can be fun, but I’m growing tired of all the complaining about this – The joy in being a maker is problem-solving! But in regard to the changing landscape of client expectations, it seems we all have an uphill battle to be won, and that the key weapon of that battle is communication and marketing. For better or worse, a lot of people’s perceptions on fair prices are formed by what exists on the mass-production market. And let’s not fool ourselves: there is some passable stuff out there for dirt cheap that’s printed out of a factory!
And so…my questions for you, whatever you have time for: How do you present your work in a way that sells a client on it without blowing up your business? How do you handle a dissatisfied client, or one that makes you jump through more hoops than you budgeted the time or money for? How do you communicate to people who really don’t know better about the differences in quality and cost between what you do, and the flat-pack stuff that Amazon and Walmart ship out that’s designed to be used for 3 years before it promptly falls apart?
Thanks so much! I’m looking forward to an awesome discussion. 🙂
Every two weeks, a team of Fine Woodworking staffers answers questions from readers on Shop Talk Live, Fine Woodworking‘s biweekly podcast. Send your woodworking questions to [email protected] for consideration in the regular broadcast! Our continued existence relies upon listener support. So if you enjoy the show, be sure to leave us a five-star rating and maybe even a nice comment on our iTunes page.