Hi Georgia,
I know some people are comfortable not asking for money upfront.  We always do and, with few exception, haven't had any problem collecting a deposit.  I'm willing to negotiate the deposit, but I think it is an indication of serious intent on the part of the client (and us as well).  I don't often ask for a deposit from repeat clients.  Of course, you also have to look at your business model.  In our case, we have a mid-sized custodial business as well that requires payroll every two weeks while clients are 30-45 days out paying us, and the margins for that are not great, so I simply cannot afford to carry that much overhead over an extended period of time.  But, as I said, it hasn't been much of a problem so far. If I ask for a deposit and the response sends up warning flags, at least that is better than not asking and then not identifying a potential problem.  Also, for what its worth, I would rather forego a deposit than a signed contract.

On Thu, Aug 27, 2009 at 6:59 PM, Georgia Rivera <georgia@stonebuff.com> wrote:
Hi partners!

I am having a little bit of a confusion and am hoping I can get some feedback you all to see what I could have done.

We bid on a commercial project last November.  A local Stone franchise under bid me by 15%. Three months later the commercial account calls me back completely unhappy with the quality of the work performed by this other company and wants me to bid again.  However, they just paid $26k to have 12 bathrooms of marble floors and 4 bathrooms of terrazzo floors done so they just want us to take over the maintenance until next year to do the restoration correctly. 

I say, sure we will do that.  But they put me off until June of this year.  June I call them to follow up.  They say August.  But in the meantime they have me coming to give my dissertation and show my samples (Alex made me sample boards and little sample marbles with different finish types so I can sell) 4 times to different people.  I gladly go there and take on the expense of driving 45 minutes each way in hopes I eventually close this sale.

Finally we are closed.  They tell me they want me to start in about three weeks.  Not a problem I tell them.  I let them know that we will need to complete the contract and get a 50% deposit to begin the project.  About a day later I hear back and they tell me they can't give us a deposit and ask if we can come to do two bathrooms as a sample...paid of course.  They let me know they want 0% down and 45 day terms.  Knowing that they have had really bug cut backs due to recent financial hardship, I really do not want to start without some kind of deposit.  So I state that I will gladly come to do the paid samples, when would they like to schedule that and could they consider a 30 day term with a 25% deposit.  The last response I get is, "We cannot give any money upfront, we have gone with another company."

Our prices are very competitive.  We really do not have much competition out her as most of the companies out here that offer stone restoration are cutting corners and doing a quick crystallizer as a quick fix and we end up getting calls from many customers saying that they now need to hire us to go behind that contractor to really do the job correctly.

Although we aren't pricing out the cheapest, we offer the best warranty and results.  We will not cut corners because we completely want and care that the customer will want us again and again and we want them to tell all their friends, colleagues and family about us.

What are your policies about deposits?  Especially large projects? Would you mind sharing with me?

Thanks all!

Stone Buff

Powered by http://DiscussThis.com
Visit list archives, subscribe, unsubscribe or change your subscription preferences
Start a new conversation (thread)

From the desk of
Baird Standish
Managing Partner
Facility Specialists, LLC
1616 Walnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Phone: 215-732-7505
Fax: 215-546-9160