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Rant: Why do customers wait until last minute?

Discussion in 'General Signmaking Topics' started by scarface, Oct 14, 2009.

  1. scarface

    scarface Guest

    Hey everybody!

    I offer business cards as a up sell like most here.

    I have seen many times where a customer will ask to be sent proofs, i do it and then they drag their tails for a week or two then finally call and say "i was wondering if it's possible to have those cards in 5 days for a special event but it's not a big deal if they aren't here in time"


    I outsource my cards and it takes about 5 business days but i always allow 7-10 to be safe.

    I just don't understand why customers wait until the last minute or drag on getting back with sign shops. A great excuse is always "i have been super busy".

    I know if I'm busy but am driving out to a job site, i tend to call customers then while I'm doing nothing but driving. We all have time to get back to people no matter how busy we are :wink:
  2. Pat Whatley

    Pat Whatley Major Contributor

    Sep 29, 2003
    Wetumpka, AL
    Make sure that when you send the proofs you mention the 7-10 day turn around time....it won't make them order any earlier but at least you'll have something to point to.
  3. royster13

    royster13 Very Active Member

    Apr 3, 2009
    Montrose BC
    If I have a proof out I follow up every morning.....Yes it is a pain but I figure if you do not, you can lose orders in the long run....
  4. scarface

    scarface Guest

    Well, i forgot to mention that i do that as well but the customer has to answer.

    I don't know, I always get customers who do great vehicle lettering transactions but when it comes to getting that done and moving onto something else they never answer the their phones or drag for weeks on end and claim "i was super busy"

    Heck, the one guy did a $500 lettering order with me and I've waited 2 weeks for him to get back about the card proofs.
  5. Air Art Girl

    Air Art Girl Very Active Member

    Nov 26, 2006
    welcome to my world!!!!!!

    got a fax today for hoodies for some foreign exchange students visiting the local high school.

    "Can we have them by Friday?"
  6. Replicator

    Replicator Major Contributor

    Nov 19, 2006
    Sun City, AZ
    Happens to me all the time too . . . with business cards !
  7. Circleville Signs

    Circleville Signs Very Active Member

    Sep 30, 2009
    Circleville, OH
    I for one have never had a problem with "last minute" orders. I LOVE them. Because I charge about 50% more for the job.

    The old saying will be true forever. There are three variables in business. Good, Fast, and Cheap. You can have any two, but you can't have all three.

  8. d fleming

    d fleming Very Active Member

    Nov 28, 2007
    Middleburg, Florida
    Large customer who just switched to national supplier calls on Tuesday 9am sharp. There new company has dropped the ball on large yearly event and they need 20 banners designed, printed, packaged and delivered to their office Wednesday am to go out to site on truck for install. 10-3x16, 10- 3x6. Can we help? You bet. Was here til 2am finishing the job but I think we have a strong chance of getting all their work back now. Grass isn't always greener on the other side.
  9. binki

    binki Premium Subscriber

    Jul 23, 2007
    The PRC
    We have a street fair every Thur night and a week ago a guy walks in about an hour before closing and he wants a shirt done. That night.

    The only artwork was a t-shirt already done with the image on it.

    We have had several like this over the last few weeks.
  10. It's nice to see that we are not alone with customers needing things
    at the last minute. They drive us nuts. I try to remember to ask each
    one "Why did you wait until the last minute?" I don't usually get any kind
    of real answer.

    The thing that drives me nuts even more is my inability to say no.
    Always trying to be the hero, I take these last minute jobs even if
    it means staying untill the next morning getting them done.

    Some appreciate it and some don't. They kind of expect it.
    Whether it's worth the effort or not, I can't decide.

    Lately, I've been thinking that the customers are running the
    business rather than me.

    I think it's because we let them do it, we let them dictate
    how we run our business and how hard we are going to work.
    I know the customer is always right, blah, blah.

    A couple of months ago, a water pipe broke under our house.
    I called two of the plumbers that we have done work for to get
    at least an emergency repair done. Neither could get to me for two

    Both of these guys have needed things from us immediately: cards, magnetic
    signs, truck lettering and etc. We accomodated them as we do all of our
    last minute customers.

    If they were willing to put in the extra hours that we do to make things
    happen, I wouldn't have had to go without water for two weeks.

    Maybe, I'll adopt thier attitude and can get my "life" back.
  11. 49hd

    49hd Member

    Jan 12, 2008
    If they appreciate it, I will try to accommodate them. If they expect it, they can suck on a fence post.
  12. Farmboy

    Farmboy Active Member

    Feb 8, 2007
    Auburn, NY
    We also love last minute orders. Our heat press is always on just for this. We average 4 or 5 a day. Either cut them on the plotter or do a digi print. Same with signs. Best advertising there is...Happy happy customer.
  13. Jillbeans

    Jillbeans Major Contributor

    Dec 24, 2003
    Butler, PA
    This week has been rather nightmarish for me, while I am glad for the job, I am working on an order of about 200 cut vynull signs.
    Guy called Wednesday, he was getting married yesterday and needed directional corosigns for Friday.
    He was so nice to me, he even gave me a tip for getting the job done in a hurry.
    I have no idea how I managed to squeeze it in.
  14. Si Allen

    Si Allen Very Active Member

    Jul 17, 2004
    As Gary said...a 50% rush surcharge makes it worth your while!
  15. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

    Jun 7, 2006
    In every quote, we make sure it's well known before they order what the turnaround will be from the time we receive the signed order and deposit... then they can't balk about a time sensitive order from their end without a rapid turnaround re-quote.
  16. Checkers

    Checkers Very Active Member

    Jul 24, 2003
    As long as you keep saying yes, you'll keep getting rush orders.

    I don't mind helping out a client when they're in a jam, but I'm getting a little to old to be jumping through hoops for every Tom, Dick and Jane calling and saying they need it yesterday.

    Although I rarely say no to a rush job, I'll (almost always) add rush charges which seems to change the client's mind into thinking that it wasn't that much of a rush job after all.

    For the few that still need a project right away, they normally don't mind paying an extra fee for the service and I don't mind the extra cash for my extra effort.

  17. Jon Aston

    Jon Aston Very Active Member

    Mar 4, 2004
    I'm not in favour of surcharges. This post on ChurchOfTheCustomer.com gives a great example of why not.
  18. Checkers

    Checkers Very Active Member

    Jul 24, 2003
    Hiya Jon,
    I agree with the theory, but the airline industry isn't the sign or graphics industry.

    Try asking Southwest to change their flight schedule to fit your needs and see what happens.

    Rush fees are not meant to penalize customers. They are, however, meant to keep you profitable.

    Whatever you call them, rush charges or added fees, are meant to cover the costs associated with expediting the order. It could be shipping costs, whether it's getting materials rushed in from your supplier or your extra cost of getting the finished product to the client, overtime or any other expense you would not normally incur during your regular handling of the job.

  19. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

    Jun 7, 2006
    I totally agree with ya, Checkers………….. :thumb:

    We are not charging any extra if the customer plays by the rules. ​

    I would equate the airline episode to… if our competition started charging extra for a digital print or gingerbread on a sign that was already quoted and we didn’t. That would be a penalty or sur-charge on their part. If we have quoted something with a standard set of rules and everyone agrees to ‘said rules’ and later they [the customer] wanted to change the rules by advancing the deadline or adding more to the order…. they have in fact, changed the whole transaction. I haven’t prepared for the new rules and need to advise them of the new conditions.

    If this is viewed as a penalty, then I believe the customer is one you don’t want to fly with…………..

    Speaking of airlines…. Have you heard of the Japanese company that is expecting passengers to relieve themselves before takeoff and not allowing the bathrooms to be used during flight…. in order to cut back on costs ??

    Others have dropped back drastically on things such as ice cubes and cut in half the amount of fruit they put in drinks to cut cost. Is that a penalty or a ‘hidden’ savings cost ??

    If I know something upfront, upon entering into an arrangement, I can’t get angry or upset with someone for charging me extra if I change the rules…. especially to my advantage.
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2009
  20. Jon Aston

    Jon Aston Very Active Member

    Mar 4, 2004
    Checkers, I can't argue with any of that...all justifiable, can all be discussed with the customer, not punitive. I was really just responding to Si's post, and should've quoted him. Sorry.
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