"Re-Do" Opinion


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Dec 4, 2001
Torrington, Connecticut, USA
A situation arose today which I haven't encountered before, and I'll try to be brief.

I made a house call the other day, which meant hauling selected moulding and mat samples to a prospective customer's house. (I offer this service upon request) There were (4) pictures to be framed. The customer had her two assistants (she is rather well to do) involved in choosing the designs. All designs were agreed upon. I complete all (4) projects yesterday. The woman had one of her assistants pick up the work from my shop. She (the assistant) loved them all.

I gave this customer a courtesy call this morning to make sure everthing was ok. She proceeds to tell me she thinks she wants to make changes to three of the projects, two mat changes and one frame change. She will get back to me when she and her assistants have a chance to discuss.

Then, also today, a sweet little old lady for whom I just finished framing (3) geneology charts which she did for herself and two daughters came in to pick them up today. She decided she did not like the mats we chose, (we, meaning the woman, her daughter and me) and picked out a lighter shade of gray (#8812) and wants them re-done. The original mat was a dark gray (#8434).

Both of these women are first time customers. My question is, in the spirit of goodwill, should I not make these two customers pay for all of the re-work they want done and pick up the tab myself and let them have one "gimme" or have them pay for everything. They both are already expecting to pay for the changes.

I would just like to know what others have done in similar situations.

That'll teach you not to make courtesy calls!

If they are expecting to pay for the redos, I'd probably give them a break. Maybe just waive the refit charge or something you're comfortable with.

If they WEREN'T expecting to pay, I'd assume they were trying to take advantage of me and I'd charge them full price.

What's the point in being the boss if you can't be a little arbitrary?
Oh yeah, that's why I left Connecticut and moved to Maine... but then again, so haven't well-to-do folk from Connecticut so I'm right back where I started! You gotta love the Martha-Stewart-Attitudes...

I think it depends on who pushed for the design... I guarentee the designs that I push for... if a customer wants something that I believe is a mistake, I'll tell them why I think so and tell them that if they use my design, I'll redo it ONCE at no charge if they don't like it. If they really want it their way, I won't guarentee it... most often, they take the guarentee.

In your case, it sounds like it could be the common design scenario where everyone agreed initially... so I guess it would depend on what she wants to change... differnet mat? Sure, goodwill = no charge. New frame or a different fabric on a custom wrapped mat? That's a different story... I also think it depends on why she wants to change it... if it were me and I got the impression she was disappointed with me and that I didn't help get a design she liked, I'd do anything I could to make her happy. However, if she's the stereotypical West Hartford wife of an insurance CEO with more money than god and too much time on her hands and who can never seem to be satisfied, I'd charge her... even if it is just matting.
I would probably do the little old lady's for free because I'm a sucker for little old ladies, which is why my fellow workers will almost never let me wait on them.

As for the other lady, I would probably give some kind of a serious discount, if not free. (I'm always a little worried that this will set a bad pecident...is she the type to always expect you to do this?) Did you think they looked really great? Maybe she will change her mind and keep them like they are....
Yeah, I'd redo the little old lady's stuff too, particularly if she was filthy stinking rich, ............ and had some kind of serious maybe terminal illness.

Then I would propose to her and treat her like a queen for the rest of her days!!

(I just can't believe that nasty thought came out of my virgin brain! Maybe those moulding fumes in the campfire DO burn out brai brai brai brain cells.)


P.S. Hi Leslie. Wanna go build a campfire with me??
Let's see - "The customer had her two assistants (she is rather well to do)..." Apparently she has the money to pay for the redesign. However what would it cost to get a customer like this in your door? More or less than a redo? How happy would she be to not be charged? Will her assistants be thrilled with not having to go back and tell her how much more it is going to cost? Will any of these people tell some friends, who probably also have money, about your business? If this was my customer, and she picked materials that were more expensive than the first jobs (I'd try real hard to do this), I would charge the difference between the two jobs. Less expensive and it's free.

Same for the old lady.
Yeah Mike, that fact that the first lady appears to be very well off would make me want to dazzle her with my customer service. Just imagine how much more she could spend in the future if you back up your product this time.

If somebody made a habit of changing their mind I would take a different approach, but this is her first impression of you and your shop. If she is unhappy with the existing design it will be a learning experience for all of you.

Making her pay for the new design just because she can afford it makes no sense in my book. It isn't about money it is about understanding what she wants. You have a chance to make an extra big impression on her right now. Go win her over with enthusiasm.

Oh yeah, I'd do the same for the little old lady. Can't go wrong with making a little old lady happy!
Ok, after having some time to think things over, and reading your responses, I've decided to re-do everything at no charge, this one time. Given the fact these are new customers, I want to make a very good first impression.

The first lady because she could be a very good, long term customer. She and her husband are film-makers, (documetaries, commercials, etc). She explained they always have a need for a lot of framing. (Note to Kittyfaces: Litchfield, not West Hartford, same difference however)

The second lady, just because she is a sweet old lady.

Thanks for all your in-put. As always, very much appreciated!

I hope she is not so rich she is bored and wants to come in and waste her day framing and giving you a headache. these folks are the poopers!

old ladies can be very sweet and if they are we would give them the world.

now as for framerguy,

you said virgin...virgin to what?hahahahah

Maybe the little old lady would like the light mat as a top mat, and you could keep the darker mat in place as an undermat. That might look nice.

I hope you don't lose too much money on this job if you don't charge.

I think the other lady should be charged for a frame change, though. That's a cost you shouldn't have to eat, and then maybe you could do the mat changes for free. (Is it a frame you would be able to sell and/or use on a display piece? That might determine how to approach the issue.)
I dunno. After spending time with the woman and her assitants choosing the look, I would be disinclined to give her a break on a re-do. If she is just being indecisive, she can pay for the re-do. She can change it as much as she wants, as long as she pays.
Unless you charged her for the house call?

If someone takes something home, and it doesn't look as good in their house as they thought it would, that's one thing. If they just changed their mind, that's another.
As they agreed on the design to begin with, I would charge for the materials to recover those costs. As a courtesy, I would not charge for the labor.
Based on the information presented, I would cheerfully redo and cheerfully charge for same. I don't think she will complain. Since she has two (I assume) paid assistants, it seems that she is willing to pay to be indulged. Anything you wish to offer for good-will purposes such some amount of credit for replaced frame (provided you can re-use or re-sell) will probably make her happy, without your having to subsidize her interior decoration.
Make them Pay for it. You went out of your way by going over to her house. I would expect there was no discount given because of the extra service. People don't don't appreciate what they don't pay for. Great service is what will be remembered. Give them the bill with the expectation of being paid for your extra time. Make them the heavy if they want to complain. If you did a good job they will want you to take care of them in the future regardless of cost. I've dealt with many with 7+ figure income folks in my life, if you fold on this one they will do it again and again to you. Charge for it don't wimp out.

As for the nice old ladys, I treat them on a case by case basis's. I would do whatever it takes to make here happy.
It's interesting to see such diverse reactions to the same situation.

Ah, the privilege of small business ownership. We can be hardnosed, money-grubbing scrooges, or we can give away our profits as we grovel for business from uncaring customers.

I don't think there's any absolute answer to this dilemma. Do what you think is right. But one suggestion: Be consistent with your policies.
Thank you again to everyone who responded. I've not heard back yet from customer #1 (with the personal assistants) as to what she has decided to do. Since she said she wanted to consult with them again, my hope is that she has decided to stay with the original framing, since her assistants very much liked the designs I initially presented and she seemed to rely on their opinions in the first place.

As for the sweet old lady, I will redo hers for free, what can I say, I'm a sucker for little old ladies. But she better not try it again! :D

Thanks again,