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  • How to deal with unhappy customers?

    So I posted some pictures of the door I finished up for a friend of mines 240z and he says that it looks like a rush job and he thinks that there’s gonna be more then a 1/4” of bondo to make the door rite I ran a straight edge across the weld seem and there were still some lows but they were not a 1/4” low. As well I did that job for free as I was learning the guy only bought a sheet of sheet metal that’s it. I’ve been playing with sheet metal for a couple of years now and I don’t really practice much if really at all the practice I do is when Iam making a part and I consider that practicing but I guess there’s some things I need to really work on now. Iam trying to not let this get me down as I understand you can’t please everyone. But looks like I might really try to work on my skills before I take on any paying jobs now. I have another project that I plan to finish up. Then really focus on my skills mainly welding and working the distortion I do struggle with that

  • #2
    to be honest i personally would have said ''if you think that looks rushed then maybe you can show me how it would look when you do one''

    he is obviously aware you are not heavily experienced?
    thanks neil

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    • #3
      It's always a challenge to do subjective work and satisfy a customer. Part of the reason for my stone carving thread was showing how hard it is to do good work and simply be rewarded. It's almost always a gauntlet. I think I'm good at what I do, but I still have a hard time getting work approved. Sometimes, in order to make the customer happy, I have to do things I know aren't "correct". A chef doesn't have to like to eat what a diner orders. He just needs to cook it right (in the diner's opinion) to get paid.

      Be careful about showing pics of a project in process. Many cant see beyond the obvious or surface that is presented. If they get a negative opinion or bad image stuck in their mind, it's hard to change that. Patrons are right because they are paying someone else to do the job. Meeting their parameters is the only thing that will satisfy them. Don't get discouraged. You may look back on their harsh words at a later time and realize they were right. That's a great lesson in perspective & humility that long term craftsmen all experience.

      As long as a customer CAN be satisfied, you can succeed. Some can't be satisfied, so the only way to succeed there is to walk away. Hopefully that happens before you begin. Recognizing the differences takes time. See the challenges in the same way you see another tough shape to make. It's another aspect of the project to conquer.

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      • #4
        Thank you guys. So I wasn’t very clear so the project I posted pictures of here is the project the customer isn’t happy with. He’s saying this after he received the doors in person, it’s kind of a bummer but Iam gonna learn and improve from this that’s all I can do. I need to really work on raising lows and fixing weld distortion. I really enjoy this type of work and I want to make a career out of it. I am also considering building something for myself to help build my skill set

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        • #5
          As perspective, realize that formal apprenticeship or thorough training side-by-side with an appropriate expert would entail at least 2 years (if not many more) of full time labor before most people would be ready to service a project independently. Working & learning on your own is a tough path. So be realistic about what is possible and who will help make it possible.

          Always strive to run in such a way that you may win the race.

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          • #6
            I did this job for free didn’t charge for anything, he was fully aware that I was a amateur and I took this car on to build my skills this was the first car that I made all the patches for

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            • #7
              First off NEVER do anything for this guy in the future. He has showed you his true colors. He will never be satisfied with anything you do for him. You didn't charge him anything, he knew you are learning, and he still gripes. That is fairly typical in this business unfortunately so don't let it get you down. Keep practicing, learning and trying to do your best, and each job you do will be better. Nobody was born knowing how to do this, it takes time and practice. Peter's DVD's are a good place to start if you don't already have them.

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              • #8
                Thank you for the kind words I have made a mental note to never do anything for him ever again. I feel it could have been a little better but honestly it was good quality work better then what I seen some people pay for. One thing I need to get better about is practicing I don’t really practice at all the only time I do is when Iam doing something for someone, my goal is to be practicing at least 2 days a week. I’ll be asking the wife for 4,5,6 of peters dvd’s I already have 1,2,3 and David Gardner’s DVD’s I watch them over and over on my down time at home.

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                • #9
                  See if you can get DVD's 7,8, and 9 as well. Those 3 are where Peter makes the 1/4 panel in one piece. Really amazing and he communicates the techniques so clearly in those three DVD's. If I only had the cash for three those would be the ones I'd get.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Chris_Hamilton View Post
                    First off NEVER do anything for this guy in the future. He has showed you his true colors. He will never be satisfied with anything you do for him. You didn't charge him anything, he knew you are learning, and he still gripes. That is fairly typical in this business unfortunately so don't let it get you down. Keep practicing, learning and trying to do your best, and each job you do will be better. Nobody was born knowing how to do this, it takes time and practice. Peter's DVD's are a good place to start if you don't already have them.
                    I'd have to disagree. A critic that points out every wave and flaw could help on the road to achieve better results.
                    If I were the OP, I'd get the doors back, post up some questions here about on and off dolly work and move forward to being able to service clients. A great learning opportunity is within grasp. Even if it's not 1/4", if it's 3/16", I consider this way too much for a door that gets banged a lot.

                    I spent a ton of time smoothing this deck lid after welding a poorly shaped patch on. The learning experience was quite fantastic though.

                    I wonder if the OP's friend would feel about being presented with the lid in the last shot. Not perfect, but pretty good. I'm certain if I presented the part to him before I did the finish work, he would have called me a hack, which would have been correct.


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                    Pugsy

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                    • #11
                      I looked at the pics in your door thread and they look pretty good, but the angle doesn't show if there are waves in the panel.
                      Overall they look good. Especially for the price paid.
                      Pugsy

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                      • #12
                        Maybe you should also set an amount of how much filler would be required before starting a project. A flexible yard stick and a thickness gauge to check between it and the surface of the panels will be an exact measurement. No one could tell you that "it will need more than a 1/4" of bondo because you've already carefully checked.

                        Keep practicing! I sure wish I could do something I love as a job. I'm stuck in a job that I find so boring, it's like a prison sentence...7 years to go....
                        Pugsy

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by 123pugsy View Post
                          Maybe you should also set an amount of how much filler would be required before starting a project. A flexible yard stick and a thickness gauge to check between it and the surface of the panels will be an exact measurement. No one could tell you that "it will need more than a 1/4" of bondo because you've already carefully checked.

                          Keep practicing! I sure wish I could do something I love as a job. I'm stuck in a job that I find so boring, it's like a prison sentence...7 years to go....
                          I appreciate all the feed back, here’s the other thing had he brought this to my attention I would have addressed his concerns and said let me fix it, instead he’s bad mouthing me to another close friend, that also really bums me out. I did go over the areas with a straight edge/ yard stick so I honestly now how much filler should be there. The other kicker is the door was full of filler I had to sand it all off to get to clean metal. This is a hobby for me Iam wanting to turn this into a full time job, Iam the same way stuck in a boring job that I dread going to I feel at 33years old I need to make a career change still unsure what it’s gonna take to make this a full time job! I agree that I need to really work on my on dolly off dolly skill set, as the last little bit really seems to challenge me the most.

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                          • #14
                            Completely disagree with you Pugsy. If you are trying to do this type of work(metalwork, restoration, paint) for a living, those types of customers are never satisfied, they want to pay as little as possible, nitpick, and for a guy just getting started can put you out of business. Learning to choose the correct customers is as important as learning the skills.

                            Ecrafton if you do decide to change careers, go to work for someone else before you go out on your own. I cannot emphasize that enough. You need to build your skill set before trying to make a living doing this on your own or you will be in for a lot of pain.

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                            • #15
                              A friend of mine once said to his students, who claimed that their work was excellent – "If this was for sale in a shop, would you pay money for it?"

                              The honest ones said no, and pointed out the flaws.

                              I use that saying every time I inspect my automotive castings, before posting them to my customers; so far in 20 years only one has come back to me, for a porosity problem that couldn't be seen by eye.

                              Sounds like your customer, is a customer from Hell but remember that the customer is always right! Even if he is wrong.

                              When my English Wheel arrives I am going to start practising on small scale tasks. Someone on Allmetal, made a miniature wheel arch using Peter's Monaro DVD to guide him,

                              Cheers Charlie

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