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When is a customer not worth it anymore?

A wood worker friend and I were talking about custom work.

I said that a dream job would be to have wealthy people with custom work to be done. Like a kitchen.
Get to do all kinds of stuff with expensive wood etc.

He said no. They can pick apart every detail and work you over. Better to just make something with the words:
TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT.

I used to hate the picky wealthy customers.

I slowly learned how to communicate with them confidently and effectively.

Figure out the strategy and the picky rich ones will be your favorites.
 
No, my customers say that. I tell my employees that there is absolutely somebody out there that could compete with us, so we have to stay vigilant. Some day that shop will show up and make life harder, but that day hasn't come yet.

And to the point of this thread, if I had said that my customers were just picky jerks that don't know what they really need because I am the all mighty machinist... I would have never had the loyal customers that I've had over the years, and I sure as hell wouldn't be contemplating retirement in my mid forties. I like overly picky customers. They pay lots of money for parts that other shops can't (or won't) make.
Now that sounds like a smart man. I really was just picking man . My sense of humor can be a little dry at times. Unfortunately I have met way too many machinist that truly do believe they are the best and you can't tell them nothing. Sad really, when someone gets to that point they just quit learning.
 
I used to hate the picky wealthy customers.

I slowly learned how to communicate with them confidently and effectively.

Figure out the strategy and the picky rich ones will be your favorites.
They have to be educated. A tile setter told me that on one job this lady contracted for some work. So he did a floor. Came back the next day to do the grout.
There were all these little red stick-em dots over a bunch of tiles. These need to be re-done she said.
 
There is going to be a small number of customers that are just not worth it.
Curiously, the ones that complain about price, also often complain about quality and time frame-
Pareto's law and all.
Let your competition have them.
IMO.
 
When the Customer is costing you more than you are making, or has consistently impacted your typical margin to material degree (e.g. 30% profit is typical, but on that Customer you are always making, for instance, 8-12%).
 
I make sure there are no grey areas on any specification. Prints must have dimensions and tolerances, every detail (edge break, surface finish) spelled out. Then as long as you meet the spec, there should be no problems. If they need something different, have them put it on the print. I have let customers go who lied to me or suggested shady attachments to orders. Customers who don't pay on time get price increases or go on COD. I parted with a really good customer (automotive) that I held product that they needed because they were over 120 days payment (on a 45 day PO). They said they couldn't deal with a vendor who didn't meet delivery schedules. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I want out and got some new accounts that I probably would not have had time to service. I'm a big believer in karma.
 








 
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