How do you ask for a deposit???


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Feb 19, 2002
I am looking for an creative idea that is customer friendly, not negative sounding, of how to post our policy that a deposit is always required.

Any unique ideas???
I adopted a policy I saw posted in a pro photo lab:

Orders under $100 must be paid in full when placed.

50% deposit required on orders over $100.

(mine's in a nicer frame, though)

Other than a glass replacement or other repair I have very few orders under $100 - but it makes them feel like "At least I don't have to pay the whole thing up front"
"All total, done in conservation techniques, it will come to only $478.23"

This is when you slowly in your mind count to 5.

"And did you want to pay all of that or half today? And will that be check or charge?"

You've given them time to gasp, [and they didn't] so now it's time to give them THE choices.
I don't have a good idea but so far Meghan is the only one that has addressed the question that was asked!

C'mon guys, pay attention!
Ok Tim, Deb called me on it (assume she meant to add a smiley face) we don't post it, we say it as does Baer but it still gets the point across.

Here Deb these are for you:
:D ;)
OK, in the interest of appeasing Deb, Neon. Discreat 2'x4' neon sign.. with naked lightbulbs running around the outside.

Oh, come on.... that ain't creative?

Ok, a big bowl of fortune cookies... that either say 50% deposit, 75% deposit, 100% payed in full up front, or Pay Double NOW.
Most of our customers pay up front.

Almost all use a credit card.

Hardly any would bother to read any sign about our custom ordering policy so we don't have one posted.

I have maybe one in ten or less that want to pay half at the time of the order. Most consider custom framing as having to order most if not all of it on a special order and they are willing to pay the entire amount up front.

The average customer drives either a Beamer, a Mercedes, or an Escalade type SUV. Some drive Hummers.

That should explain something about their spending habits too.

This is rough, but you can take this idea and iron out the wrinkles...

A small sign next to a bee-yoo-ti-ful framed pic (like baby's first bday, wedding, some real awwwww moment)

Dress/clothes for pic: $$$
Photography session: $$$$$
Custom framing: $$$$
Cost to get started: Only 1/2 of $$$$
Memories: Priceless

(Of course, we accept MC, Visa, Amex)

* * * * * * * * * * * *
Make the "deposit to get started" line in bold or bigger font..
You could insert actual #s or just do dollar signs equiv. to the average amount it costs..
You could also tailor this to a couple of things, a wedding pic, since the framing costs pale in comparison to typical wedding costs..

Graduation: pic of happy grad
Cost of books, classes, blah blah
Cost of diploma framed: $$$
Education- priceless

I can think of about four of these off the cuff...

Hope this makes as much sense here as it does in my head.

I’m sincerely happy for your present wellbeing for I recall not so distant days when you were in distress, because nothing yet was coming together for you after moving down to Florida. I noticed how your frantic posting pattern had changed after moving out of St. Louis and, I had associated the new pattern with incessant troubles for you.
Man, I'm glad I was wrong!

Perhaps those grumblers who happened to have told us about their facing big storms should appease our tension by updating us on their having survived them and doing much better now.
This is not a reproach, as I can't possibly read everything that's being posted in here and know every issue's outcome; just a reminder for general use, because, you people know, it's nice to learn that, for instance, Emibub, Framerguy and hopefully Buddy had worn-out the storms and are doing just fine after having their names strongly associated in the past with very serious hurdles.
Originally posted by j Paul:
Wait a minute / hold the phone / thought I was wrong but I wasn't. Title of post is How do you ASK for a deposit.

You're right, that is the title but you forgot to read the question which is about a posted policy. ;)
Originally posted by Framerguy:
The average customer drives either a Beamer
FYI, a Beamer (or Beemer) properly refers to a BMW motorcycle. The enthusieast accepted term for BMW's cars is Bimmer. My nephew is big into them or I wouldn't know myself.
This is the most effective way we say it and works every time. You tell them the total then say "How would you like to pay for it?" They hand you their credit card or write a check. Or they ask "Do I have to pay for it all now?" We say "We need at least half" Deposit is made or they will come back with the deposit if they don't have it. We tell them we will hold the order until they come back. I've never had anyone uncomfortable or complain when you say it this way. And 90% will pay for the whole thing. Then we joke that if someone else needs to pick it up for them it's paid in full.
Ok, a big bowl of fortune cookies... that either say 50% deposit, 75% deposit, 100% payed in full up front, or Pay Double NOW. [/QB][/QUOTE] From Baer

I like this idea best. Especially since you left out that one in one million cookies: FREE!
I don't. After studying this issue in depth, I determined that paying in advance (in part or in whole) fed the consumer's element of "custom framing costs too a mystery....I don't know all that I am paying for".

Instead, I bankrolled the first month of orders as part of my startup costs. After that I have 30 days to pay for all materials, so get the job done in less time than that and collect when they pick up.

Also gave me the opportunity to demonstrate that I backed my work 100% (with my resources, not their's) and if they were not pleased with something it would be corrected before they paid.

In two years only one customer has asked me to change something before we settled. No one has failed to pick up their work within a week of being called.

I believe this has built lots of goodwill and helped battle the entrenched belief that custom framing "costs too much and I don't know why." Customers love it when they ask if they "pay now" and I say "No, we'll settle up when I finish and you are satisfied with the job."

Shows I have confidence in my work and relieves them of a widely-held anxiety that custom framing and cliff jumping are related.
"most" of my customers pay in full w/credit card. the ones that crack me up are the ones that will get their order in a day or two(everything on site & is RUSH) and still only want to pay 1/2!!!! It usually is not a snap descision on their part, actually takes 'some' cogitation. Jeszzz guys, in 2 days its the other half to the fore, yes? Yes I understand (only too well) about credit limits/budgets etc, but this one just never fails to make me shake my head all the way to the credit card terminal!!!!
" How would you like to pay for that today " says designer/framer.

"Must I pay in full" asks customer.

"Only on orders less than $xxx. Otherwise, 50% deposit is acceptable" replys designer/framer.

Don't know how to put that onto a sign, which probably wouldn't get seen anyway.
I have been left with some of them not picking up, and that is with a deposit. Maybe your idea would work better. You are either a very trusting person or a very good judge of charactor! I'm glad that's working for ya!

And isn't it good to know we have the "Grumble Police Posting Force" up and at em today! I sure hope it's OK that I strayed a little from the original question. :D I'm Kidding, of course!I'm just picking at ya Deb!
I have a nicely framed black and gold 5x7 sign on my design table that states:

"A 50% deposit is appreciated on all custom orders."

It has worked like a charm for 19 years. Folks have their plastic handy as we are wrapping things up.

edie the keepitsimple goddess
Like Jack Flynn, I seldom ask for a deposit, but when I do it’s usually 1/3 or 1/2 of the total price.

To keep it light, we generally say, “The total will come to $XXX. Unless you hear from us, it will be ready on (date). If you’d like to leave $XX, it will seem a lot less painful when you pick it up.” Most smile and agree.

If they balk about leaving a deposit, we don’t press it, but they often offer to pay in full.
It's okay, Jennifer.
When we open our mouths we have to be prepared to take the flak.

It beats sitting in the corner muttering to myself!
After we have given them the price and the order is officially written up, we just ask "How much would you like to put down on that today? We only require a 50% deposit ."
I'd say at least half of our clients decide to pay in full so they don't have to worry about it on pick up days.
We have a small sign next to the computer that we take orders on which reads "50% deposit required on custom orders". At the close of the sale, we say "How would you like to pay for that, all of it, or would you prefer half?" You would be surprised at how many people actually read the deposit sign...

Also, if it is a rush order, I usually require payment up-front, so if they don't show up xxx date(which happens alot!) at least I've gotten paid for it. (I don't usually charge a rush charge, but I've often thought I would like to tack one on only if they don't pick it up at the agreed-upon time!!!)

I used to be more shy about asking for a deposit, but finally realized that ALL other custom-made businesses required one...why should I be any different?
Originally posted by Leslie S.:
ALL other custom-made businesses required one [deposit]...
Exactly. Why be shy, cute or apprehensive about asking for money for your services? It's business, plain and simple. (Can we get a "CASH FLOW" from the Choir?)
You don't have to be rude about it, just business like.

If you feel the need to post it somewhere why not have your deposit policy printed on the bottom of the invoice?
I admit that I scanned the responses. I’m sorry if this is a duplicate but I didn’t see it.

I have had serious problem with this in the past. There is a whole weirdness about it but you just have to at least get a deposit these days.

What has worked for me is.

“The total for that design with (run down the design) comes to $375.52 for the whole shooting match including tax and all.”

They usually do one of two things then. They either hand over payment or ask one of two questions. One is “Do I need to leave a deposit” or “When do I pay”.

If they don’t hand over payment and instead ask the questions, I say “Sure that would be great. It 50% which comes to $187.76” or “We just need to collect half as a deposit.”

It seems to flow well with no weirdness.

Immediately upon pricing it out, we say:

The total with the conservation assembly & the museum glass with the beautiful fillet comes to $409.


if a neg reaction (facial or otherwise) we ask if that was more than they wanted to spend & deal with her response

if they pull out their wallet/purse or have a positive reaction we immediately ask "How would you like to pay for it today" - they either respond with the type of payment they prefer & we process it all, or

if they ask how much do we need today - or "Do we have to pay now?", we simply respond with - "You only need to pay about 1/2 today - but most peple like to pay it in full - that way they can send anyone to pick it up too!"

if they fuss - we may make exceptions for older people or with any projects that are easily re-sellable for more than the framing cost - otherwise - its a requirement - sometimes we will tell them we can hold on to it until they make a deposit then we can start on it. If its a repair job - or rush - its Paid in advance!!!
David, now don't be knocking "cute". Do what works, and cute can be a very effective tool in the arsenal. ;)

Shy, no, of course not. I think we're just looking for that sweet line between knocking 'em over the head with "YOUMUSTPAYNOW" and eating the $/frame months later b/c we didn't want to "bother them" about a deposit. (I am also flabbergasted that Jack has had almost no one leave their finished work- dep.or not. Congrats on that.)

Amen to the Cash Flow choir... lol.

Yes, the deposit requirement is on my work order- in bold, and plain to see. I still have the convo. with a lot about the deposit.
Here, we are direct and as blunt as possible.
" We require 50% down to get started ".
Most if not all know that things cost and if you have to order it, it can tie up even more of your money.
So paying 50% up front has never been a problem.
The closest we ever came to it was when a guy came in and said " we had his painting as colateral and it was worth $10K". I told him directly back "it wasn't worth 10 cents to me. Not like I could sell it and that it would still be required of him to put 50% down" . Didn't even like it to hang on my walls. I have learned however to keep my mouth shut (well for the most part...I am just to open and blunt for my own good). I say it like it is. What ever piece comes in is all of a sudden the greatesdt ever.

The hardest part is telling someone that there is a "ATM" machine across the way. We refuse to accept credit cards of any type. Thats the first thing you see when you come in. A big red sign that says " No credit cards accepted ". So far no problem. I do feel however for a few of them who have had to come back with cash. Most leave their art on the table so I know they will be back.Not had one person not come back. This was a very difficult policy to accept. Everyone else in town accpets cards. I have no way of judging how much I may be loosing, but I do know that we are still making our sales for those that do come in. I am seriously thinking of trying the cards out for a year to see.
We do our best to run a debt free and cash flowing business.I hate being in debt. Not an easy task I might add.
"A 50% deposit is appreciated on all custom orders."
Edie, I like that word, "appreciated". Keeps everything all friendly-like (even though it is stated in the passive voice.
I'm just teasin' senior year high school English teacher would give us an automatic F on a paper if we used the passive voice.
When we have the total, I say, "What I generally do is collect half when you order it and the other half when you pick it up." If there's any sign of bafflement, I explain, "I do that because I have to order the materials, which costs me money."

My customers are not quite as high end as some here. I'm in a small town with a lot of down-to-earth middle class people, and they understand the idea of cash flow. Most pay the half, and some say well, they'll just pay the whole thing now. I don't feel in the least embarrassed about requiring the deposit, because I need it.

I kind of like to have half waiting, because when I make my "to do" list, after each job I put what will come in when I finish it, and that motivates me to get it done.
When they've already paid in full, it's more a sense of obligation than anticipation. Just my brain's weirdness.
“Because of the unique “customized” nature of our work, a minimum deposit of 50% is “appreciated” with all orders placed.”

This is the best wording of a sign I have seen in a shop before. Not only is it "soft" but it also offers logical explanation.
Bought a vehicle lately and those folks are kwite knowing in this department.

They talk to you about his and that slow well thought out. Then the cute little gal that does the undercoating and extended warranty comes in...she talked so fast I got dizzy. This is being on the ropes, not knowing what hit you, then she saids all we need to do is sign here here and here. She never asks if you did not want this. She is rolling and you are swept up in it.

They are sales people, they go in for the kill when they see they have you, and while they are at it they give you a cute curve ball. You have no idea if it is a ball or strike, just that something is happeing.

I do not agree with this method, but there is something to it. Price it up say ok with this this this and this it will be a great design that you wife will love, I can't wait to complete the oder for you. The total for this is XXX. Now in order to get started all we need is a deposit. Would you like to do that with check, credit or cash?

Roll it out and don't stop, if you balk they will too. Go strong.

What I was lookign for was a "friendlier" way to say a deposit was required.

Just putting the word appreciated makes a difference.
I'm having a local leather worker custom make a wallet for me. He spent about half an hour getting all the measurements, picking the color, etc. It came to $300.00. He then looked me dead in the eye, he's kind of a big biker looking character, and said, "I ain't doing a thing without half of it up front."

I did my best trying to not crack up laughing, and I gave him his fifty percent deposit.

So you see, there are many classy ways you can ask for a deposit.

I thought y'all would enjoy his special approach to this age old problem, we have always had in our industry.

I didn't have a sign.

I had no problem asking people for money.

Any other policies were on the sales receipt, which I explained to them and then had them sign the receipt. Such as "By leaving a deposit, I accept the design and price. It is okay to proceed with the order". And "I understand that once the materials have been ordered, the order cannot be cancelled". Or words to that effect. It's been two years. I can't remember the exact wording.

For the most part, people don't read signs. Those that do, don't think they apply to them. The soliciters that walked into my store past the "no soliciting" sign are prime examples.
Myself, I think you should keep signs in your store to an absolute minimum, especially if the sign is some sort of "rule" you may have.

I have my refund and exchange policy clearly posted by my cash register. I have most of my Americans with disability act signs up. I have my hours posted, and thanks to the ADA, I have a "No public restroom" sign. If I had my druthers, non of those signs would be up.

Signs can place an unnecessary negative burden on your whole operation, try to keep them to a minimum.