"No quoting on the vast, vast majority of my work because because to a large extent the parts were an unknown (like trial and error to get something to work). I never did COD, I thought it was an insult to a customer and reflected badly on my business needing cash up front.
Yes, I know it sounds like a dream to have the customers I did. Not only me, I worked closely for 20 some years with another prototype shop that had the same experiences I did with customers. On the other hand I ran into a number of shops that completely f'ed up everything they touched."
My experience with getting this to work is to find a way to offer the potential customer confidence you can do what they need and that you will not hose them down in the process.
I have always started relationships like these with a good sit down heart to heart in which we talk about what they want from me and where they hope to go.
I point out the realities of what they are wishing for from my perspective and try to help give them an intelligent and realistic roadmap forward in a general sort of way.
I do this so we are all aligned with our expectations from the relationship.
I pull no punches here and I do not bullshit my way into their hearts...I do my best to help them articulate their need and to apprise them of what their need is going to take without getting into the weeds.
The second thing I do is to give them confidence I can do their work, in a way they can appreciate at a gut level.
They get a shop tour (of course) and I put some of the prototypes I've done in the past into their hands to play with...ones that don't violate any confidentiality agreements:
I have a particularly sexy one that is almost irresistible to play with...it's a little right angle drive surgical screwdriver I developed decades ago for implant dentistry, and it just feels SOOO nice to turn the knob and watch the little screwdriver tip turn in circles.
I have a couple assembled and waiting for whenever I conduct these introductory interviews.
Never fails to impress even though it's not actually all that impressive from a "How did you MAKE that" perspective.
I've also got a smattering of ones they will likely have trouble sourcing elsewhere...little teeny tiny bits you can put on your finger to show off several at a time.
The last thing I do is to give them a mechanism to retain control over their costs.
I always offer them a fixed price contract to begin development, circumscribed by a pre-paid sum they're willing to part with in order to begin.
We decide together roughly what the scope of work will be (usually design work or evaluation of their own designs) and once I've spent their money, we have a review together.
They get to decide if we continue down the path and under what conditions...typically I bill biweekly or monthly and I give them an accurate time log.
A few want to stay with the original setup but most relax when they find out I'm not there to screw them.
It's very rare that they abandon the project after this gentle entry into it: my customers mostly appreciate my work properly and I do my best for them.
I trust them as I demand they trust me, and I've been screwed once because of it (major screwing...twenty grand worth of screwing)
There are things I do NOT do:
I don't bullshit them.
I don't screw them over
I don't clutch the job if there are better resources out there for parts or all of it.
I don't hit them with bad surprises: either time delays or cost overruns.
I don't fight them over design decisions...I point out what they imply and then I offer alternatives and let them choose.
So far this has worked pretty well for me, but I had to spend time at it to get independently prosperous enough not to have to be greedy for THEIR gig.
After all, when you're dating, there's nothing that turns a lovely young thing off worse than the signal of desperation.
Business is like that too...if you want it too badly they can smell it and it doesn't smell nice.
Implant Mechanix • Design & Innovation > HOME
Vancouver Wire EDM -- Wire EDM Machining