You touch it, you own it. This is Universal Customer Imposed Rule
Number One in the business of jewelry repair. Embrace it or hate it,
it is what it is.
Wholesale clients tend to be a little more understanding, but the
bare-bones truth is that it is your responsibility to inspect every
single piece and discuss any potential problems, their repair and
costs with the customer before doing anything more radical than
holding and looking at it.
Alastair was pretty much spot on. The only thing I might add to his
post is that when you give an estimate for working on a real can of
worms, make sure that the estimate you give will be high enough so
that you’re going to be OK with it if the customer says yes. Really
think about it before you give what you may think off the top of your
head is a high enough price to scare them off. They just might call
your bluff and tell you to go ahead. I’ve been burned by that one
many more times than I care to admit.
Which leads us to Rule Number Two. Very few customers will ever give
you a second chance to hit them with a final price over your
estimate, or worse, charge them without giving them an estimate
first. That is a sure way to anger someone. Think how you might feel
if an auto mechanic calls to tell you your car is ready and when you
get to the counter, he hands you a bill for $100 for a new battery
and installation and an estimate for the new alternator you’re going
to need (or they won’t warrantee the battery), after you brought it
in for an oil change and “Free 20 Point Inspection”.
There is a simple way around these rules. All you have to do is have
a marketing strategy that is so good that you don’t need to worry
about repeat customers or word-of-mouth referrals. Lots of companies
seem to be able to make a lot of money doing that, so I wouldn’t even
think of arguing that it isn’t an option.