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

I had one big customer go bankrupt owing me a few thousand .......the guy made sure I got paid eventually,in cash too,so the trustees couldnt clawback .........this is the big risk with companies,even if you get paid ,the money can be reclaimed by the trustee ,who is a lawyer /accountant appointed by courts...........Of course I was paid only because he had further need of me.............otherwise I would have missed out like all the other creditors.
 
For the most part, each job that we are a part of is an emergency. Thankfully we aren't the cause of the problem most of the time.

Rarely do we ever quote a job. Many times, by the time we are called to the scene, the situation at hand is out of control, so to say when it comes to the heavy industry side of work that it's not a question of cost but how quickly. The cost is never a concern until they are operating-- this is comes with the waters we swim in and is something that just has to be dealt with as though it's just another cost of conduction commerce.

Just yesterday, Saturday, in addition to the regularly scheduled emergencies we were working on, an auto repair shop down the road came to us with a dire emergency that took three hours to solve and then they ended up not having the rest of the parts to finish the job. They paid overtime rush rate. Meanwhile, a barber gets referred to us by one of our local hardware stores as a part on his chair is broken and he cannot operate without, so we fixed him up and he made a donation to the doughnut fund.

There are also times in which the large company that can afford to pay our overtime rush rate needs our magic, but the magic turns out to be nothing more than a limit switch over travel-- we let them know it's an on-the-house favor and send them an invoice stating such, just so more eyes are on it. When an invoice requesting zero dollars is sent to purchasing, it gets sent around and usually ends up crossing someone's eyes who is important enough to be of help in the future.

There is no textbook way to handle each situation.

We find our own praise in, first being called for our help, then in being compensated for it. It's easy for our new guys to get overwhelmed with pride after solving a pretty complex problem out in the wild, but our reward for our hard work is more hard work. That's what we are known for and that's why we don't get the "easy" jobs.
 
A positive story...to balance the 'whining' Ha...

A local MRO had the habit of selling customers replacement parts, then sending them to me for the R&R. Sometimes it was OK and then other times it was the retired guy with the rusted rototiller in his trunk, and some new bearings in his hand. "They said you can help me". Add in....."I need to just wait for it", "It shouldn't take more than 15 minutes", and "Seems like a $10 job to me, oh, I'm on fixed income ya know".
I'd been telling the MRO to 'please STOP' sending me the favors. It took repeat effort but it finally stopped.

Then one day......
On a Friday, after a frustrating week, guy shows up with clapped out pulleys from his boat hoist, and box of bronze bushings.....of course at the end of the day. He wasn't pushy or rude (lucky for him). And for whatever reason, I remained calm and told him I'd help him out. It easily could have gone the opposite way at that point and the mood I was in. He wanted them for that weekend of course, but he ended up getting them the next Friday. Sort of a miserable job, with extra effort needed, but it got done. I charged a reasonable fee and he was very appreciative, happy ending.

A week or so later my sister calls me, says THANK YOU for helping out...the principal at the school she taught at. 'He said you were so nice and he really appreciates you helping him with his boat lift'. Ha! I explained how lucky SHE was, and what a close call it was. She nervously laughed a bit.
 
I got a call last night 9pm, neighbor had an aluminum drop hitch with a stuck hitch pin, he spent the last several hours beating on it with an 8 lb hammer to no avail. I had him bring it by this morning, cut it off on both sides with a cut off wheel in an angle grinder then progressively drilled it out until it came out, about 3 hours in all. He left with his family on a camping trip and I went on to gardening, It will all work out in the end, He is younger than us so he should be around one day when we need a hand.
 
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.
No good deed goes unpunished
Don
 
I've never been a business owner. But my best friend was, for a bunch of years, when we were younger. Hmmm, I think that was roughly from his mid 20's to 40 or so I think. He ran a model making business for Die Cast customers with his brother in law. Did the wood models that molds were made from if I recall correctly.

And he and his brother in law ended up closing shop after some number of years. And one of the factors he cited was the fact that over the years there was an INCREASING number of customers who never paid up on time. Net 30? lolol. 60, 90, 120 days later, still no payment on the invoice. Still making calls asking to be paid for work done and product delivered.

And some of those were "rush jobs, we need it ASAP, we are in a crunch!" scenarios. And those ASAP requests were handled. Extra hours put in to help the Customer out.

If I recall a convo correctly: "They call us, say they need this ASAP because they are in a crunch, we do the work, we get it done in a crunch and deliver, and then . . . NADA. 120 days later still asking for payment. And this happens all the time with regular jobs too. People need the work done, but don't want to pay for it."

Owning a business can indeed be a challenge, in ways that many times are remarkably unfair.
 
I used to do/make rush repair parts at the big shop. Using an abrasive parting wheel on a cinci # ! Tc grinder set up as a chops saw,, the tool room welder guy, Transfered holes and a drill press, and the surface grinder I could usualy knock out a temporary-use machine part off the broke part as a near size template ofren a part that might take two or five hours I could make in 1/2 to one hour.
 
And he and his brother in law ended up closing shop after some number of years. And one of the factors he cited was the fact that over the years there was an INCREASING number of customers who never paid up on time.
You go c.o.d. There's a backlash at first but I figured what the heck, the complainers weren't going to pay anyhow so what did I lose ? After that it's yo, do the work, get the money, just like the grocery store. Yippee !

It really is much better, if you can do it. Not everyone can but more could than they think.
 
And he and his brother in law ended up closing shop after some number of years. And one of the factors he cited was the fact that over the years there was an INCREASING number of customers who never paid up on time. Net 30? lolol. 60, 90, 120 days later, still no payment on the invoice. Still making calls asking to be paid for work done and product delivered.

And another relate, a negative that turned positive. The customer I mentioned in post #1 was a horrible payer. I'd email an invoice, and it wouldn't get in the system. Had to re-submit, pester, then it would finally get in the system, and eventually they'd pay. But then it would be 2 weeks additional before they mailed the check. Grrrrrr
Finally after a lot of 'wheel squeak' I got added to their 'other' automated pay system. Supposedly some sort of AI 'bot' scans the email, finds the PO number and .....woosh...the invoice is in the system within minutes. And even better, payment is direct deposit within 2-3 days of 30. Huge 180 degree turn around from the giant PITA it was.
 
You go c.o.d. There's a backlash at first but I figured what the heck, the complainers weren't going to pay anyhow so what did I lose ? After that it's yo, do the work, get the money, just like the grocery store. Yippee !

It really is much better, if you can do it. Not everyone can but more could than they think.

I wish everyone would get on the same page and break the machine shop terms system.
 
I wish everyone would get on the same page and break the machine shop terms system.
Yeah, that'll be the day............if in some magical world where that could happen, there would always be the shops that would bend over and start on the slippery slope to the bottom..............
 
Yeah, that'll be the day............if in some magical world where that could happen, there would always be the shops that would bend over and start on the slippery slope to the bottom..............

Everybody needs their niche I guess.... For some it's being a doormat.
 
Our favorite special move is to do the emergency rush job for the customer who hasn't paid in a while, complete the job and when it's ready to ship (as in now it's way to late to try and find someone else to do the job again) let them know they need to get caught up so we can release their parts.


The real big thing to remember is their emergency is just another day in the shop for you. The only difference is the customers emotional state. Last time I checked emotional states aren't referenced on any welding procedure or machine shop best practice. How awful would it be rushed to the hospital only for the doctor to get as worked up and emotional as you are about your emergency. Some one needs to be calm and just do the work, rush jobs are just normal jobs with someone else's emotional baggage attached.
Following normal procedure and getting the job done in the way you always do is the best policy.

Edit" I got in trouble once for saying " I'm here to make the parts, not to make you feel good." :smoking:
 
Our favorite special move is to do the emergency rush job for the customer who hasn't paid in a while, complete the job and when it's ready to ship (as in now it's way to late to try and find someone else to do the job again) let them know they need to get caught up so we can release their parts.


The real big thing to remember is their emergency is just another day in the shop for you. The only difference is the customers emotional state. Last time I checked emotional states aren't referenced on any welding procedure or machine shop best practice. How awful would it be rushed to the hospital only for the doctor to get as worked up and emotional as you are about your emergency. Some one needs to be calm and just do the work, rush jobs are just normal jobs with someone else's emotional baggage attached.
Following normal procedure and getting the job done in the way you always do is the best policy.

Edit" I got in trouble once for saying " I'm here to make the parts, not to make you feel good." :smoking:
An old boss at a machine manufacturer I used to work for would do similar for some customers that would string out bills as long as they could. One time a local customer had a significant unpaid bill, their machine failed and he needed immediate assistance. Service manager told him to have a check ready for his unpaid bill when we arrive, or we are going back home. I can’t remember if he had to prepay for that service call or not. Company owner said he will have the check ready by time we are done. Nope, check in hand now, or we go home. He was pissed, but company got paid. He probably strung the company out again for that service call lol.
 
let them know they need to get caught up so we can release their parts.
^^^^^This.

The only customers that should be getting a day more than N30 are steady, repeating customers. That way, when this month's shipment is due, it's not released until all past dues are caught up. "Sorry, it's long-established company policy."

The big companies are N60, even N90 or worse, but that can be OK if they are buying on a regular basis. There should be an invoice or two due about the same time they're needing more parts, so you have leverage. Once the pipeline gets started, checks should come in steady.

Although we will never go N90 with any company, we do have a few N60 accounts (big companies of course). They all know our company policy: we cut no slack for the N60 accounts, although we might for reliable N30's.

One thing about companies, they sure take most of the N60, and try to squeeze by longer sometimes...try anyway. They always need more parts.

It remains true today that if you don't offer credit terms as a contract shop, you will rule-out about 90% of your potential commercial/industrial customer base.

I've never had the luxury of N60 terms with any of our suppliers in almost 28 years of business. I wouldn't feel good about it anyway, I like to pay all my bills in N30 like clockwork. (Can help with pricing from suppliers, eh?)

ToolCat
 
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Your thank you to your self should have been charging $1,500 for the job.

I bail folks out often and do get thanked, id rather have a wad of cash.
 
In another forum I recently came across this post:
It amazes me that in a world where you can send money to someone on the other side of the planet in seconds, it can still take 60 days or more to get an invoice paid. There is simply no technical reason for that now. It's just accounting tradition.
Another respondent said: "accounting tradition?" That's too kind!
 
I still see the customers point of view that a 2 1/2 hour fab is usually not priced at $800.
The fab is not likely as good as the $1000 part that had to hold a lot of specifications.
Might have been better to give fab for materials and shop rate. Plus offer to make spec part for $750 / 800 to establish a new customer.
 
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