I would hate potential clients to be thinking, "what's going to happen when I send this guy an email or, heaven forbid, give him a call?" I feel the same way before I order take out at the Bahn Mi joint in El Cerrito. So, here is a detailed overview of the way past projects have gone from initial contact to delivery or installation and beyond:
1. Initial Contact: Client calls/emails with some project in mind. Sometimes they are not sure what they want: an end table maybe with a drawer? That is fine. Sometimes they have a very clear idea and send me a sketch of a cabinet with glass doors, dimensions and wood preferences. That too is just fine.
2. Narrowing Preferences: I will respond within a couple of days with some questions and perhaps pictures/links to narrow down client preferences. I will suggest various wood types. I will recommend different design and hardware options. If you have a set budget that can also be discussed at this time and I will factor that in to the design options. At this point, we can arrange a meeting to take dimensions of the job site, if necessary. Clients are also welcome, at any time in this process, to stop by the shop and take a tour. Come look at some wood, come touch some tools.
3. Design Drafts: When I have a better idea of your preferences I will draft 2-3 options using Google Sketch Up, a 3D drafting program. I use Sketch Up because it allows clients who are not necessarily used to viewing 2D architectural CAD drawings, to see a more fully flushed out version of their furniture. Additionally, Sketch Up is a free program that can be downloaded by the client and used to move, spin and manipulate the drawings I send.
4. Evolving & Finalizing Design: I will continue to meet and discuss with the client until we can come to an overall design that they prefer. As we discuss we will fill in more and more details including hardware options, paint/finish choices, and lumber type. The Sketch Up drawing will become more detailed and when we have agreed on the majority of the details I can provide a detailed estimate of the project.
5. Detailed Estimate: I encourage clients to look closely at the estimate and question any costs that are suspect. Certain costs are unavoidable, but others can change dramatically based on client preferences. My preference is to provide the highest quality to cost ratio for the wood and hardware I use. I aim to be as transparent as possible about why I prefer various options but am open to discussing other possibilities and how they will affect the overall piece.
6. Deposit & Construction: Once the estimate is approved I require a 50% deposit to start construction. This helps cover the materials and hardware as well as overhead costs. I take many photos of the construction process and am happy to send them to clients at their request. If photos are not enough, please stop by.
7. Delivery & Final Billing: A final invoice for the piece will be sent before the furniture is delivered/installed. The final invoice will be the same as the initial estimate unless changes were discussed with the client that resulted in cost changes. There should be no surprises with the final bill. The final 50% of the cost is required upon delivery of the piece. If the furniture is to be installed 30% is required on delivery and the final 20% after installation.
8. I'm Still Here: I want you to be completely satisfied with your furniture for years after delivery. If you notice any flaws as a result of craftsmanship or the durability of the hardware after it is delivered I will come by and fix it for free. While I intend my furniture to last, wood is inevitably subject to the elements and will respond to abuse whether by you, the sun or that 2000 watt space heater. Upon delivery I will provide detailed care instructions along with samples of proper care products. If you notice the wood drying out or moving in mysterious ways I will gladly stop by and provide consultation on how to refurbish your furniture.
Are you still here? Thank you for reading.