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Rush repair magic.....does it ever get rewarded?

dkmc

Diamond
Thankless business?

They show me a picture on a phone, u shaped channel, with 5/16 rubber sheet shoved into the channel, rubber is 5" wide, piece is 36" long.
OEM cost is $1000 and lead time is 4-5 weeks. Machine is down, 'we need this today'.....I'm told with wide-eyed panic.

I have no way to bend 12ga steel into a narrow 5/16 channel like the OEM part.
OK so I start thinking.....and come up with 5/16 steel rod, and 2pcs of 14ga, 1-3/4 x 36" long. TIG tack it together, shove in the rubber, get it
delivered back to them in 2.5 hrs. They are happy. It works and solves the problem, machine back up and working. They ask, how much to make these for us?
I think a bit, and say $650, this one here is $800 with the 'drop what I'm doing' rush. Hum.....no smiles.
It's been a week, silence. I just emailed and said I need the PO for this job. I will most likely get paid.

Over the years, it seems like invariably, panicked people with production stopping problems that are all clingy and wide eyed, and eager for a
solution to their dilemma.....tend to be fine until it comes time to PAY UP for pit-stop engineering and creative solutions to their problems.
Soon as it's 'all better', they seem to think it's more of an honor helping them than a paying proposition.
Why bother. I'm probably the bad guy now.
If I ever once heard 'Great job! Thanks for getting us out of a jamb'! I'd probably go into a awkward recoil and not know how to act......lol.

Rant-ish.......off.
 
I've been living that life for 20+ years now brother. All I can tell you is quote up front and get a po# before delivery.
EDIT: Also only beat the OEM on price or delivery, never both. If they aren't willing to pay double ( in this instance $2k for that job) they don't really need it.
 
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I think it is like when I get a kidney stone, when it is happening it is the end of the world and it feels like I am going to die, but as soon as it is over, I think, 'it wasn't that bad'. It is a true flip of a switch from getting killed to nothing at all. I don't understand how something can hurt that much but not have a lasting affect like soreness etc, but all is well except I am exhausted.

I bet most emergency repairs like yours are the same way, the world is ending and everyone is going to die while the machine is down, but as soon as it is fixed, 'wasn't that bad'....
 
But it's the general 'no attaboys' thing that gets old sometimes.
Thick skin required......'check'.

Yup. But it's not just on rush jobs. Getting paid on time is about as much thanks as I ever get.

It is critical to agree on price up front though. That's the only way for both parties to know how important the job really is. Pricing after the work is done is a recipe for hurt feelings.
 
You gotta

"Oooofff hmmmm haaaa I think I can do this for ya, man it'll be expensive though since this is a big deal for us but I think we can work some magic and get you sorted."

Let them expect $1200 and only charge them $800. Or whatever. Repairs get really wacky and if it's an estimate, give them the higher end of the range.

Under promise over deliver.
 
On the other hand, when I can produce an "unobtanium" part for somebody who is in a panic, I either charge my normal rate (if it takes a long time) or just deliver it with a grin, (if it is a quick job) because you can't beat good P.R....
This weekend I welded an 80 year old part for a fella at an airshow, and it got me a ride in his really cool old warbird, so there's that.... :D
 
They did now send the PO 'sorry for the delay'.
Well established customer, I was not worried I'd get paid.
But it's the general 'no attaboys' thing that gets old sometimes.
Thick skin required......'check'.
It's not just repair stuff.

A few years ago we "prototyped" a large job where my customer was competing against a couple other suppliers. We could make 36/ea of two sister parts with pretty tight tolerances per day, and they wanted all 36/ea every day. So we made protective shippers, sent the parts to our plater via our courier every morning, and the courier would grab what the plater had done and deliver direct to our customer.

Every day for over a month we did this. Not a single late delivery and not a single bad part. Zero drama from us. And not a single thank you, and NET 30 as usual.

They won that job eventually and it earned us a blanket PO that kept two of our machines busy for over a year. That's a pretty good "Thank You".
 
You gotta

"Oooofff hmmmm haaaa I think I can do this for ya, man it'll be expensive though since this is a big deal for us but I think we can work some magic and get you sorted."

Let them expect $1200 and only charge them $800. Or whatever. Repairs get really wacky and if it's an estimate, give them the higher end of the range.

Under promise over deliver.
Well,
1. If the job was 'easy', don't be to quick to get it done (or get it done but hold off on delivery a bit).
2. NEVER say 'that went well, no problems'. Or 'it wasn't a bad job'.
Because, generally,
I've watched expressions and body language. And things always seem to go smoother if I say, for example:
"Wow that took a lot longer than I though it would", "Broke a tool" , "That material is a bitch", etc.
Way less likely they will complain about price or delivery time if they hear you had some struggle.
YMMV. It could just be something in the water 'round here, but that's my experience.

Every day for over a month we did this. Not a single late delivery and not a single bad part. Zero drama from us. And not a single thank you, and NET 30 as usual.
Ya! So I've got this other 'customer' I've done a few 'Get us OUT of TROUBLE' things for in the past few years.
Simple stuff, but it's always a panic-rush. And I've dropped everything and helped them like 'next day' response.
And their terms are net 60, with payment coming in more like 75. Last year, phone rings......I save them. It's like $600 and my invoice says COD. A week later, I call......"Sorry company policy is Net 60".
I went off.
Went on a rant with the purchasing person, 'If I can help YOU with Fire House response, I need MY money NOW'.
Plant manager calls me and says they can pay with CC, which they did after I added 5% to the invoice.
Haven't heard from them...Again, I'm probably the bad guy. Oh well.
 
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So funny Ive lived this for years, and very frequently am reminded that no good deed goes unpunished.... Then just Wednesday we received this email from a newish customer that we have done some emergency repairs for;

"Perfect thank you all for all the hard work. You are one of the most efficient companies I have ever worked with in my career."

Was nice to see a human at the other end that see the value of us understanding their needs and finding a way to make it happen.

In the OP case, I definitely would have charged more than new, and confirmed before work completed, or at least a -not to exceed- type of understanding. Its the price/time/quality -- pick 2 situation. You saved them 5 weeks of downtime.. if thats not worth another grand to them, they can wait for the new one..
 
You saved them 5 weeks of downtime.. if thats not worth another grand to them, they can wait for the new one..
That's true, I git it............but If'n you charge time(at your emergency shop rate o'course, I charge 2.5Xs) and material and price comes in under a new part, I'll charge what I have in to it. I don't need to fleece some one cuz I'm butt hurt they didn't bow down and worship me for doing my job.....................
 
That's true, I git it............but If'n you charge time(at your emergency shop rate o'course, I charge 2.5Xs) and material and price comes in under a new part, I'll charge what I have in to it. I don't need to fleece some one cuz I'm butt hurt they didn't bow down and worship me for doing my job.....................

Im somewhat in agreeance, but my concern is more about all the customers I pushed back to accomplish this.

Staying ahead of schedule so that I can be flexible enough to take this stuff on is a significant expense that is hard to be quantified.
 
So funny Ive lived this for years, and very frequently am reminded that no good deed goes unpunished.... Then just Wednesday we received this email from a newish customer that we have done some emergency repairs for;

"Perfect thank you all for all the hard work. You are one of the most efficient companies I have ever worked with in my career."

Was nice to see a human at the other end that see the value of us understanding their needs and finding a way to make it happen.

In the OP case, I definitely would have charged more than new, and confirmed before work completed, or at least a -not to exceed- type of understanding. Its the price/time/quality -- pick 2 situation. You saved them 5 weeks of downtime.. if thats not worth another grand to them, they can wait for the new one..

You can't know the circumstances of what happened any why. My sales person wants to be lower than the OEM so they will switch to us as a supplier. I assure you any sort of quality, 1 or more of those parts at $650 is quite fine
with me. There are lots of other parts in the mix as well. It's a 'long haul' thing, not a 'get 'em good, one and done' thing.

Watch out for that customer praising you up, they definitely have something wrong with them. That just doesn't happen. ;)
 
Thankless business?

They show me a picture on a phone, u shaped channel, with 5/16 rubber sheet shoved into the channel, rubber is 5" wide, piece is 36" long.
OEM cost is $1000 and lead time is 4-5 weeks. Machine is down, 'we need this today'.....I'm told with wide-eyed panic.

I have no way to bend 12ga steel into a narrow 5/16 channel like the OEM part.
OK so I start thinking.....and come up with 5/16 steel rod, and 2pcs of 14ga, 1-3/4 x 36" long. TIG tack it together, shove in the rubber, get it
delivered back to them in 2.5 hrs. They are happy. It works and solves the problem, machine back up and working. They ask, how much to make these for us?
I think a bit, and say $650, this one here is $800 with the 'drop what I'm doing' rush. Hum.....no smiles.
It's been a week, silence. I just emailed and said I need the PO for this job. I will most likely get paid.

Over the years, it seems like invariably, panicked people with production stopping problems that are all clingy and wide eyed, and eager for a
solution to their dilemma.....tend to be fine until it comes time to PAY UP for pit-stop engineering and creative solutions to their problems.
Soon as it's 'all better', they seem to think it's more of an honor helping them than a paying proposition.
Why bother. I'm probably the bad guy now.
If I ever once heard 'Great job! Thanks for getting us out of a jamb'! I'd probably go into a awkward recoil and not know how to act......lol.

Rant-ish.......off.
I worked for over 30 years in the University setting doing scientific instruments. We were always pulling someone out of a hole. We also had to charge for our time and would always get the long face. They would have a $500k microscope from Japan that had something wrong. We would have to charge them for a few hours of labor and they would go off into a tizzy. And then we would get the professor who wanted a special stainless steel fitting for his boat and would expect us to do it for free. Ugh!
 
You can't know the circumstances of what happened any why. My sales person wants to be lower than the OEM so they will switch to us as a supplier. I assure you any sort of quality, 1 or more of those parts at $650 is quite fine
with me. There are lots of other parts in the mix as well. It's a 'long haul' thing, not a 'get 'em good, one and done' thing.

Watch out for that customer praising you up, they definitely have something wrong with them. That just doesn't happen. ;)

I agree, there are always extenuating circumstances and hopefully a long term strategy to get and keep the customer. I just also try to think about "training the customer". If you give them something today, they expect the same tomorrow, so I try to start in a place that is comfortable for both parties and commiserate with the "ask".
 
I learned how to say NO in the seventies, but I have done a lot of rush repairs. But I only do it for people I like, and have often done it for less than it should cost, or trades, or, sometimes, for free.
Aint no way to make a living, to me its more a community service.
I have fixed a fair amount of commercial kitchen stuff, for example, usually get some money some food.
I used to have my shop next to a retired lawyer from Philly who made a fortune representing the mob in criminal trials, and then retired to Ojai CA to his dream job- making crazy fancy candies and pastries.
He had a top of the line pastry and desert kitchen in the industrial unit next to mine, and did exactly what he wanted. He sold it, to local stores and restaurants, but at his prices.
I once had to fix the stainless conveyor belt on his machine that had a waterfall of molten chocolate that coated the cookies, and he paid me money, but gave me bags of candies and biscottis as well.
I have repaired high end french bread baking equipment, no longer made, no parts even in france, and got years of free loaves.
But if some grump comes by, I am busy.
 
I like the emergency repair jobs.

Parts don't leave my shop without payment. Rush or otherwise. Period.

Repair customers are generally pretty thankful. If it's a new customer I almost always get "I couldn't find a shop who could do this anywhere" or "A friend told me about another shop out here that builds XXXX and told me to get that guy to look at it before I commit." "Yeah, that's me. I do that too."

Best thank you I get is a tip. Just today a longtime customer gave me $400 for a $250 job I did for him. It was kind of a tricky job and he was in no hurry so I told him I'd stare at it for awhile and think on the best way to do it. It took me 9 months of walking by it daily to have the light bulb turn on and realize how I could do it fast, good and cheap. It was exactly what he wanted, cheaper than he expected and he didn't care about it taking so long.
 








 
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