Hi Barb, I have worked on a piece work basis with several different
retailers and manufactures over the last 20 years. The relationships
you can develop can be beneficial to you and to the store provided
you both establish what is required and expected. I have never paid
rent to be in a store location or a shop location. Good store owners
will appreciate having a quality jeweler on the premises for their
work when they need it. Many cannot afford to pay the salary of a
good jeweler though. Piece work keeps the stores overhead down. On
the downside for you, piece work will require you to stock and supply
your own findings and materials so you’ll need to spend some bucks.
Also, I always had my own tools …soup to nuts… Most places will
have a bench, ultrasonic, steamer, and some tools. (A couple places I
brought the whole shop.) With hand tools I always preferred my own.
You benefit having work handed to you vs. traveling from store to
store picking up jobs or shipping back and forth. You also can have
the understanding that you will do other work while there (stores
work always comes first) …be it for yourself, or other
non-competing accounts. (The security and alarm systems also makes
insurance a feasible option to help you get the larger accounts.)
Another benefit of the piece work scenario is that you are now a
contractor (self employed) not an employee. You establish your own
hours. If work is slow you can go out and find more accounts or take
time off. (to be with my kids in my case) I also had a shop at home
making the work hours extremely flexible for me when my children were
growing up (I could work through the night). Being self employed has
it’s obvious advantages. Unfortunately, you will not getting health
insurance, paid vacations, etc…
To do ring sizing and repairs in a barter situation will only work
temporarily. If the store gets busy where do you draw the line if
you are not getting paid…Who supplies materials (gold, silver,
stones, burs, tools, machinery, etc) As far as displaying your line,
that is a two way street too…A lot of ground rules to establish at
the start. Example: Is your merchandise on display as memo goods as
if you are a supplier? When are they considered sold? On layaway or
on final payment? In other words, is it your layaway or the stores?
Do you keep the profits, a % of the sale, or straight cost that you
charge the store?
Sorry, I am rambling.
Lots to discuss, think about, and work out.
Good luck with your endeavors,