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Deposit how much to keep

Discussion in 'General Signmaking Topics' started by CentralSigns, Mar 26, 2011.

  1. CentralSigns

    CentralSigns Very Active Member

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    I had a customer give us a new type of job. While we do billboards of all types he wanted a photo used as a background for the billboard add. Our experience with photos and enlarging them is null. I did warn him that it had to be a huge photo and likely several stitched together, and that a simple camera picture would not suffice. We collected a small deposit and brought in material as the customer was in a rush to get the job completed. The material needed for this job wasn't what we usually use for these products. We built the add, received the picture from the client and proceeded to plug it into the billboard layout. I must admit that it looked real nice in the proof, but not something I would recommend to customers.

    When we went to print a test of the quality of the photo at the size it was to be increased to, it was crap, way too grainy. The billboard is in a unique location while having a long site distance to where it can be seen from a car it is also close to a sidewalk (10 ft). The photo would have been good for a vehicle distance but not for both as the customer wanted. We then tried various things to try to make the photo work but realistically and 10 hours later realized we needed a better picture. After some more research I let the client know what he needed to have for me to plug the photo into a billboard.

    Waited for the client to get the necessary picture for the sign. Stopped by there and found out he had gone to get another opinion from another company, didn't bother me as I figured he would come back with the right picture. Anyways the other company came up with a picture that he likes, not as much as the original but could go with it. So I have his deposit and all the materials and now he wants the money back.

    I am out about 15 hours of time and have $1000 worth of material. The material is not something that will be used up any time soon. The guy has been a decent customer in the past and I am not sure how to proceed. I know I need to keep some of the deposit, but whats fair? What would any of you guys do in a situation like this? How do you explain it to the customer and pave the way for him to return without hard feelings? How would you do this?
     
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  2. royster13

    royster13 Very Active Member

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    What is fair and what you need to do may not square....

    How did you get so far in before you realized you could not do it?...Some of that might have been on the job training that might not be fair to pass on to your client...

    Also, you live in a small place so if you are unreasonable in the eyes of the client it might cost you more in the long run than a little bigger refund than you might think is reasonable...

    Good luck!
     
  3. spur

    spur Member

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    Your in a no-win situation........Am I reading correct that the other company got the job, or just provided a new picture? If they ultimately got the job, I would say the deposit is yours, but you can probably say goodbye to this customer.

    Like I said, no-win.
     
  4. CentralSigns

    CentralSigns Very Active Member

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    Thanks Royster. I had actually built all the foreground and proofed it before the customer provided the picture. The material had been ordered as well because the customer was in a rush. I should have waited till had picture in hand, but carried on because, it really had no bearing on the foreground.
     
  5. weaselboogie

    weaselboogie Very Active Member

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    I'd refund minus my time involved at my shop rate and returning the material minus your suppliers restocking fee.
     
  6. CentralSigns

    CentralSigns Very Active Member

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    Thing is weaselboogie the supplier will not take the material back. I am stuck with it till I can find another job to use it for unfortunately.
     
  7. round man

    round man Active Member

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    a security deposit is just that,..defined as an amount of money you need to go ahead and start the process of doing the job so you will not be out of pocket for the effort and any expenses incurred in said process if the client changes their mind before you can produce a one off or multiple custom product. The money should be considered yours if you proceeded in good faith to do the work he requested depending on the laws in your state. As for the being a good client, if he actually IS a good client he will understand loyalty and fairness if you try to explain,hopefully he will but I wouldn't bet on it seeing as he went with the competition after making you jump thru some hoops first.;
     
  8. TyrantDesigner

    TyrantDesigner Art! Hot and fresh.

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    Well, I'm about being fair to the customers. IF you CAN refund, it should be for the amount of the deposit minus materials and work completed. You can always tell him that you can reserve the materials for X amount of months if he does decide to use you again and that the amount you can not refund back to him can be applied to the next job using that material (and that material only). otherwise, consider him a lost client who really won't be back since he will be out how many of thousands of dollars.
     
  9. Craig Sjoquist

    Craig Sjoquist Major Contributor

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    Hopefully the the deposit was more then what you put into it ...1st off the list is the grand you spent, next is time, since this is a no win deal here, you might say oh well to some of the time , and return more. . But customer was wrong to go with another shop to do job , picture no big deal but job..... sorry customer you lose you went to another shop to get full job done, result lost customer bad feelings, other people will not see his point going to another shop.

    How do you make that look good return monies and lose anyway, customer will not go around saying what a great guy you to many people for doing that, will he ask for more work toss up.

    I would credit him some monies for next jobs. ya both win.
     
  10. weaselboogie

    weaselboogie Very Active Member

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    Sell the material to the other sign shop. If they don't want it, threaten to sell it to the customer . Muahahaha..... I hate it when customers bring in their own materials.
     
  11. signage

    signage Major Contributor

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    I think weaselB is onto something, when he comes in asking for his deposit just give him the material! See he got his deposit back:thumb:
     
  12. MikePro

    MikePro Major Contributor

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    if the client is good enough to jump through hoops for, then why is he going to other sign companies when he's clearly in a rush and you clearly only needed a better picture (or approval to blur-out the crappy picture) to proceed?

    Deposit is yours. Keep it and don't sweat it. The other company just met his deadline and he will most likely be going to them in the future. Returning him a few bucks won't change that.
     
  13. Custom_Grafx

    Custom_Grafx Very Active Member

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    It pretty much goes without saying that a deposit is forfeited if you choose to go elsewhere halfway through the job...?

    Try doing what he just did to you, to your mechanic. Lucky if you don't walk out with a spanner out your ear.
     
  14. jc1cell

    jc1cell Active Member

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    Did he give you the opportunity to look for a different image with a more favorable resolution?

    jc
     
  15. CentralSigns

    CentralSigns Very Active Member

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    Thanks guys for the comments. Pat it was 1 hours design time 2 hours fiddling with the picture and the rest figuring out why it didn't work and how to make it work. You are bang on with the difficulty of the long and short viewing distances, big issue here.

    Right now I figure I need 5 pictures across and 3 pictures high an at least 10 mega-pixel camera to do this. It has to be a high elevation snow picture. The multiple pics will give the total size I need once sewed. Then I need $300 in software I don't have, plus learn time to figure it out. GG bless her soul has offered to give some help if needed.

    This would increase the budget beyond what he is willing to pay me, although I talked to him today and it appears as though, the other shop can't do it either. What he is providing isn't up to snuff photography wise. The plot thickens now. The customer has his heart set on the concept. So JC1cell, I guess I have a couple of days to find a photographer, who wants to make a little money by providing a real good snowmobile picture.

    The customer has also said he would like to have me keep the deposit and use the total for future work as opposed to asking for it back. I guess our working relationship matters to him. With these two developments it's starting to look like a win-? (win) and not as bad as it did when I started this post.
     
  16. GAC05

    GAC05 Major Contributor

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    You need it 50Kpixels by 30k of just the machine? or the whole scene including the snowy background is 50x30?
    What kind of snowmobile are you looking for?
    Does it have to be a specific brand?

    wayne k
    guam usa
     
  17. BobM

    BobM Very Active Member

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    So the other supplier couldn't do what you couldn't do and the customer found out you were correct. Kudos to the customer for swallowing their pride and coming back to you to get the job done correctly. I give him/her credit for that.

    Now be sure that you live up to the customers expectation.
     
  18. TyrantDesigner

    TyrantDesigner Art! Hot and fresh.

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    So, my big question is ... if none of the photos will do ... why not go illustrative with it? it wouldn't take much to vector the image. I mean, one of the actual useful features they added onto illustrator in the past ... 5 versions is the live trace. Live trace is horrid for actual artwork but fantastic for taking photos ... and tracing them with over 200 colors for near photo realistic results. experiment with that atleast to see if you can come up with something that works.
     
  19. MikePro

    MikePro Major Contributor

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    sounds like a WIN to me!
    nothing better than a client thinking they can shop you out of a project, just to find out you weren't bullshitting him in the first place.

    safe to assume you've still got yourself a solid client for future work. now make this graphic work for him and lock him down!
     
  20. signswi

    signswi Very Active Member

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    Am I reading it correctly that he walked off with a design you did and took it to another company? You own that art, if there hasn't been a final signoff with rights transfer you could take him to the moon and back. However it sounds like the customer is one of the rare "good guys" so I'd let it ride...this time.

    Also buy Perfect Resize already. Everyone in this industry should have it and know how to use it. Graphic industry standard for image upscaling.
     
  21. CentralSigns

    CentralSigns Very Active Member

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    More just a scene, any brand machine on one side of centre, can be either one, but small and on the side and small in relation to the size of the billboard. Outdoor scene is good as well, without machine, looking for a high elevation lots snow scene. I had a snow machine built out of steel with a guy riding it. Putting in a solar panel and riders eyes and the machine headlight lit as well as the company name behind. The machine was to be placed in the front center of the billboard like it was coming out of the snow scene. I hope I can get it together cause it will look cool. Whole scene needs to be 50 x 30. You might have this kind of picture?
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2011
  22. CentralSigns

    CentralSigns Very Active Member

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    I actually got a full version for free from them for this job, awesome company, but still need a better photo.
     
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