The First Step
The first thing that has to happen is that you’ve got to think about what it is you want. Do you need a nice-looking entertainment center to replace those sagging shelves you’re now using? Would you like to have a computer desk that was designed and built for your needs? Look around. What have you been living with that you wish you could replace? What about an executive desk and credenza for your husband’s office? How about a nice armoire and make-up center for your wife? When you have a good idea of what it is you’d like, it’s time for the next step…
Put it Into Words
It’s time to put your thoughts into words. Contact me with as much information as you can. I
need to know:
- What is it? A description of the item in as much detail as you can.
- How big? Give me some approximate dimensions.
- Style? Do you have a preference for style? Country? French Colonial? Early American? If you don’t know, that’s okay. I can help you with that.
- What species of wood do you like?
- Do you have a preference for the finish? Hand-rubbed? Satin? Glossy? Dark? Light?
- Your contact information. How do I reach you by phone? We can correspond a lot via email, but there comes a point where we need to talk. You might also provide me with the city and state where you live. This helps me figure if there will be any shipping involved.
Sometimes I can get a good idea of the scope of a project early in our discussions. I like to meet in person, but sometimes this is not practical. If I think I understand what you want, I can give you a rough estimate without an extensive preliminary design. For larger or more complex projects, I may need to create some drawings or build a rough 3-D model of the project to get a handle on the cost of materials and labor. This may take one day or a few days. I have to charge for the design. My minimum design charge is $250. I will let you know up front what the design charge will be.
Why do I charge for design work? There are a few reasons. One reason is that it takes time away from my other paying customers to create designs and drawings. Secondly, when you give me the go-ahead for a design, you get put next in line on my project list for shop time. Thirdly, a design fee lets me know that you are serious about your project.
Most people do not understand that hand-crafted, custom woodworking comes at a premium price. You will pay more for me to create a piece of furniture or other custom piece than you would pay at your run-of-the-mill furniture store. I know that when you pay me for a design, you appreciate the quality of workmanship and materials that go into your project. You want something that will last for generations.
Approving the Design
Once you approve a preliminary design, I will spend time to finalize the design. I will provide as much detail as necessary so that you understand what you are asking for and what you will be getting. I will create a quote document and a contract or letter of agreement. Once you agree to the design, terms of payment, and delivery, we can begin work.
We cannot begin work until receipt of a non-refundable initial deposit. This deposit covers the cost of materials, supplies, and some shop time in order to begin your project. I cannot possibly stock materials for every conceivable project that may come about. I order the materials for your project after I have received your signed contract or agreement and initial deposit.
How much will the deposit be? It depends on the size and complexity of the project and the cost of materials. A typical deposit is 30-50% of the total quoted price. I will typically ask for 25% of the remainder of the balance when the project is built and ready for finish. You will have the opportunity to inspect the work at that point. You can really inspect the work at any time throughout the project, but I require that you schedule the visit several days in advance. The final balance of the cost will be due on delivery or shipment of the project. The item will not be unloaded until final payment is received.
Enjoy Your Handcrafted Piece!
We are not happy unless you are happy. That’s why we require your involvement from start to finish (literally). We expect that when you accept delivery of your project that you and your family will enjoy it for years to come. We’re paranoid about your satisfaction.