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To Charge or Not to Charge?


#1

I feel silly asking advice about this, but I can’t seem to make up
my mind.

Here’s the story:

A woman who bought a somewhat expensive ring from me some years ago
admired another ring of mine at a show, but decided it was too
expensive ($650). Her sister was with her. The sister told the
husband, who bought her the ring (nice, huh?). It was a "shield"
shape-- tapered to a wide front, with a point, fused and embossed
silver and gold. Actually, if you want to see it, look on my blog
http://noelyovovich.blogspot.com/ about halfway down in a shot of a
group of rings-- the one with no stone.

After wearing it for several months, she asked me if I could round
off the point, saying she expected to pay.

The job took about 30-40 minutes, as I had to saw between the ring
and the gold rectangular wire framing it, adjust the shape, and
solder the framing back on; polish, re-oxidize the silver, etc., but
it took no materials except gold solder.

So, clearly I could charge her, but if it had been a sizing, I
wouldn’t, and it was probably easier than sizing this particular
ring.

Should I charge her, and get the money, or not charge her and get
the goodwill?

Noel


#2

I would not charge her (I know, surprise!)

David Geller
www.JewelerProfit.com


#3

Well, it sounds like it’s too late now, if you’ve already done it
and the situation wasn’t clear to the customer.

My vote is for goodwill.

Elaine
http://www.CreativeTextureTools.com
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay


#4

Charge her. She wants a different style ring, not what you were
offering. It’s not a matter of poor fit, or defect. She just changed
her mind about what she likes.

M’lou


#5

Noel,

Every time you interact with a customer you are training them, not
unlike a child or a pet. If you train them that you will work for
free, they will VERY quickly come to expect that. And that is what
they will tell their friends. Good will does not pay the bills.

Many years ago, when I opened my first retail store, I decided that
I would gladly re-finish any piece bought from me for free, for the
life of the product (or me!).

As time went by, it occurred to me that I should have put a two-year
limit on that offering.

One day, about seven years into this business, I had to spend almost
an entire day polishing and cleaning just to honor my commitment. It
happened right before Christmas, of course, when I did not have a
second to spare. I changed the policy to the first year of
ownership, and then a standard fee of $10 to clean and polish if NO
repair was necessary.

Here’s my present policy:

If they show up, bill them.

Every time I look at your lovely work, I am thinking your time
should be worth around $125/hr. But, if you say it’s worth nothing,
well…

Wayne


#6

Hi Noel,

I wouldn’t charge her. You made some good money on the ring. You
wouldn’t have charged her for the sizing which would have taken more
time. You’ll make her really happy by not charging her. Then
hopefully she’ll be back to buy one of your pins next.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC
1780 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140
www.spirerjewelers.com


#7

Hi Noel,

I look at stuff like this as inexpensive advertising. A happy
customer will spread your name around to their friends. You could
charge and still have a happy customer but not charging when they
expect it puts you over the top.

Just my opinion,
Mark


#8

I would not charge her. The good will undoubtedly will bring more
business your way. I have had customers purchase something, then
later on ask me to make some modification, which I have done, and I
have not charged them.

In one case I had sold the woman some post earrings, and as she had
changed her hair style so that her hair covered her ears, she wanted
them converted to hook type. I cut off the post, polished up the
rough area, drilled a hole for the ear wire. Very little of my time.
She was pleased, and has now become one of my steady customers, and
referred others to me.

Another time, a bracelet was a bit too tight, so I added a jump
ring. I did have to do soldering, and pickling, but as there were no
stones to remove, it did not take much time.

So—for small changes, I do not charge. Something that would have
required removing stones, or presented other problems, I would
charge, but would explain my reason to the client.

Alma


#9

Hi Noel,

Should I charge her, and get the money, or not charge her and get
the goodwill? 

Don’t charge, the goodwill is far more valuable as she will tell all
her friends…

Best wishes,
Ian
Ian W. Wright
Sheffield UK


#10

Hi Noel,

I vote not to charge her, and keep her goodwill and future biz.

Cynthia Eid
http://www.cynthiaeid.com


#11
Don't charge, the goodwill is far more valuable as she will tell
all her friends.... 

Yep, and half of those who show up will be offended when they don’t
get the “free service”. Tell me something, please. At what point do
you stop the “free” and start charging? Never? I’ll bet your
accountant loves that! I’m not saying never help a customer for free,
especially if they have spent good $$$ with you, but if you really,
really think “FREE” builds good will like you believe, take some
courses in psychology. Every study shows it is not true, IF there is
more than a few hours between the “free” and the potential sale.

I’m not trying to sound mean, but professional work, fairly charged
for, will bring you far more loyal customers than freebies. people
do not buy jewelry where they get free stuff, they buy based on
trust and quality of workmanship.

Wayne


#12

Hi Noel,

I say don’t charge her but gently let her know that in the future
you might have to… something like: “First one’s on the house.”

I know from working in retail that she will remember and tell her
friends, yay!

I also know that she will remember and then come back to you when
she wants it sized, or for another reason and expect not to pay
again.

I wouldn’t treat it as “policy” as much as I would a favor that
you’re doing for her.

Does that make sense?

Amery
Amery Carriere Designs
Romantic Jewelry with an Edge
www.amerycarriere.com


#13

I say don’t charge her. She is already a repeat customer, and could
easily become a long-time customer. Those are the ones that stick
with you and bring you their friends as well.

ginger


#14
Every time you interact with a customer you are training them, not
unlike a child or a pet. If you train them that you will work for
free, they will VERY quickly come to expect that. And that is what
they will tell their friends. Good will does not pay the bills." 

Think of it this way. How much money do you want to make in one year?
How many hours do you want to work to make that amount? How much good
will can you do and meet your goal? I do good will, on occasion, for
really good, long time, dedicated customers.

I pay people what they are worth (and sometimes it hurts) because I
want to be paid what I am worth.

Share knowledge for free, charge for skill.

Richard Hart


#15

Noel,

charge her or get goodwill ? 

Word of Mouth, worlds greatest free advertisement! And you’ll feel
better having done it.

best regards
bill taylor
orange park, fla


#16

Ok I am going to play the devils advocate here. I am good at this
position. First off I have worked for poor jewelers and rich
jewelers. The poor one would have done this for free and the rich one
charged. If the economy sneezes the poor one is gone. Now back to it.
One posting I think from Wayne was right on. You charge for this
because this was an alteration. Now your customer that you did
goodwill for shows up again and buys another piece, say an other
ring. Then a month or so down the road she wants to change it in some
fashion other than a sizing… You do the work and you decide that
this time you want to be paid because your car payment is due and
you have given away to much jewelry. Well now she is offended because
you did it for free last time. For those of us that have to punch a
clock for a living. Say your boss comes to you and asks you to clock
out and do some goodwill work, say waxing the floors, for the good of
the company. Gee I am a nice guy and I am going to do that. Well the
boss just found him a sucker and he will ask for more goodwill time.

When a customer has said right up front that they expect to pay, you
take it. You diminish the value of your time and your skills by not
being paid. Now I am not saying that I have never done something in
the name of goodwill but when I do I make it clear what I am doing. I
will say “normally I would charge this for the job but because of
Blah Blah Blah I am doing this for free/discount/material cost”.

Regards,
Rodney


#17
First off I have worked for poor jewelers and rich jewelers. The
poor one would have done this for free and the rich one charged. 

The post has a 2 sided idea.

  1. Yes, having the mindset to charge even when others says NO means
    you have a better chance of ALWAYS charging for everything you sell
    or do.

  2. But…the reason many jewelers are poor has MORE to do with
    5 reasons. If they MOSTLY DO shop work, then YES, they HAVE TO CHARGE
    to make money. But usually its buying too much inventory, not getting
    rid of it when it doesn’t sell and not enough store traffic.

David

David Geller
JewelerProfit
www.JewelerProfit.com


#18
I'm not trying to sound mean, but professional work, fairly
charged for, will bring you far more loyal customers than freebies.
people do not buy jewelry where they get free stuff, they buy based
on trust and quality of workmanship. 

Right on Wayne. I ‘gave away’ entirely too much expertise in my
earlier years. I caution all my students, “Don’t give yourself away.
Keep it in perspective.”

Cheers, Don in SOFL.


#19

Noel,

I would charge. This is an optional change in the design of the
ring, not a flaw or a repair. She said she was willing to pay, she
understands the situation. Charge a fair and square amount and she
will be happy and so will you. Otherwise, she will expect freebies in
the future and so will her friends.

Just my 2 cents (from experience).

Regards,
Vera

PS: Gorgeous rings!

Vera Battemarco
Couture Artisan Jewelry ™


#20
She said she was willing to pay, she understands the situation. 

I have a very well to do friend who went to a jewelry store in
Atlanta. Has spent $5-$8000 there last year. Needed a kinked chain
fixed. They went in the back, 6 minutes came back and said “It will
be $10, if that’s OK?”

She said she understood, didn’t want to be rude.

She told me she’ll never go back.

There is some repair work that falls under customer service/making
your customer happy. If you charge higher prices for the repair you
SHOULD charge for, you have room to do nice things for people who
deserve “a break today”.

If you charge just enough to keep your head above water, yep, every
penny counts"

David Geller
JewelerProfit
www.JewelerProfit.com