Trade work is good and bad at the same time. Charging flat fees for
problem solving guarantees you will starve while working your ass
off. If I could go back, I would have an agreement with all of the
companies I did work for. They pay x dollars per hour plus materials
and you document your start/end times.
Seems onerous but after 35 years this is the only method I have
worked with that guarantees a solid understanding between the
tradeworker and the retailer.
Nearly every other trade utilizes a similar method and ours
shouldn’t be any different.
Some trade shops have price lists for common repairs, some based on
David Geller’s lists. Look those up, they are useful, at least to
Setting charges per stone are nebulous…depending on what material
and style of setting, you could do well, or wind up working for
nothing. Don’t agree to cover losses if you damage something
expensive while being paid 20 dollars per hour. Liability should
fall on the retailer, who gains the largest profit out of the sale
that you are enabling. You are an enabler, they need you, and don’t
let them bully you into working for nothing.
Work at being the best you can be and don’t allow anything
questionable to leave your hands. Don’t take on anything which is
leagues beyond your capability. I have read many forums where
descriptions of the work of neophytes has people gagging. If you
accept a job it must be within your scope of capability by a slim
margin of error or you will suffer some nasty consequences…
And, finally, good work takes time. Set this as a ground-rule of
your contractual agreement.The “rush job” is a combination of the
greed of a retail employee and the lack of knowledge of the buyer.
Good work takes time, have I mentioned that? Impossible timelines
mean you suffer or make compromises or both. Jewellery is seldom an
actual emergency. People do not die if they don’t get their pieces
by an actual deadline. You won’t do good work when you suffer, and
your possible compromises will result in the doubling of your
efforts at no charge because that’s what the retailers will expect.
If you blow a deadline the sky will not fall. There will simply be a
revised deadline, and the sky won’t fall then either.
Best of luck.