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ctowne

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Hi Again  -
The buses and Office/bus/town car have been delivered to the client and as promised below is a recap of what I learned in this process.
The client ordered 45 buses based on a profile of one of the buses he sells and he has purchased the VW gas station and wanted 8 offices with a different bus and a town car based on the size of the VW gas station.  Basically the buses needed to have 1" wheels and the car 3/4" wheels.

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He requested 21 white buses, 21 black buses and 3 silver buses.  He wanted one plain early because he is designing graphics to adhere to each.  That was given to him about 3 weeks ago.  I delivered all the finished buses to him last Friday.

Attached are a few photos of the Office town car that I made.  My hand is in one photo so you can see the scale.

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Now a recap of what I may have learned or just some more questions or things to consider.  

All of this was done on a hand shake basis.  Maybe with an order this large it would have been a good idea to do a little more in writing and collect a deposit.  I was paid without issue but what if at the end he changed his mind. 

Do you charge more if you are designing a new item(s).  Meaning do you charge for the design and also the product.  My thought is no if this is something that you can incorporate into things you sell otherwise.  Now if this client wanted and exclusive design, maybe, you charge for that.

I brought the examples to him in the beginning for his approval and he gave it.  About 2 weeks later he emailed me and asked if the back bumper of the white bus can be painted black.  I had to remind him there were no back bumpers on the painted buses.  This really could have been an issue and just emphasizes that more should have been done in writing and with photos and email approval or signed off.  People like graphic artists always get an approval (email or signed) before they proceed.

Don't make assumptions that people know wood is imperfect.  My vendor is great but with wood as we all know nothing is always the same.  Even though we measure all things the same there are very slight differences in size  and how the wood takes the finish.  The assumption is if they are looking at wood toys then they should know this but it is best to not assume.

Silver is a very different color.  I did bring a bus to him after the first coat to see if that was really the color he wanted.  Black is easy, white is easy.

Now to the lighter side of what I learned on a order this large:

No matter how much time you think it will take, it will take so much more.
There is no such thing as too many clamps.
If you are looking forward to getting a lot of work done over a holiday weekend you will have unexpected house guests.
You will lose sleep. 
White is the worst color to work with.
When you have a big order like this, all of a sudden the day job will be requiring much more of your time including out of town trips.

This was a wonderful experience and I'm sure I have left some items out but if you have any questions, please ask.
Cindy


Ken Martin

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Cindy

I want to be the first to send you congrats on a job well done.
It is so good to see one of our own do well.  I am like proud of you, because you are one of us.
I really like how you kept us in the loop as you went along.

The buses and office and the little town car look great.

A cool thing might be to ask your client to send you a photo or two of the decals he puts on the buses.
I would think that would be fun to see what he does with them.

One thing we do when people send us a photo of their child playing with one of the toys we have sent them, is to put the photo they sent us on a magnet, about the size of a business card, and send it back to them as a thank you.  First, I love to see the children with our toys.  The smiles just make my day.
Second, sending a magnet is so much better than sending a thank you card, because it usually goes on the Ref. for all the world to see.  On the bottom of the photo it will have a line like, "Thanks For Your Special Order"  FuzzyDuck Creations and our phone number.
I think this is a really effective way to keep our name in front of our clients.
Everybody likes photos.

Sorry, of the subject.
You have done a great, great job on this project.

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Udie

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Reply with quote  #3 
Cindy (Ctowne)
   So, as it was predicted, you did have to burn the midnight oil after all. Looking at what you have produced it certainly looks like it was well worth it. The big bus's, widowed bus, car and building look exceptional, good job. I am going to guess that the table saw saved a lot of hours not only in cutting but also sanding the profile.
   That would be great if you can show a photo of the toys with the customer's graphics.
   Good point about requesting design approvals with a project of this scale. A photo or sketch identifying the components and the colour scheme sent for customers approval and signoff is a great idea. As is requesting a deposit to cover material costs, not only for wood but paints also.
   Did you take any photos of your fleet of vehicles prior to delivering them to the customer? They would be nice to see also.
   Big job, and we can see not only your woodworking talents displayed but also the organization behind it in planning and execution to completion.
   Two thumbs up for this project Cindy [thumb][thumb].
osni chioveto

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Reply with quote  #4 
Parabéns Cindy
Seu trabalho ficou perfeito, um ótimo acabamento.
Abraços
Osni

Congratulations Cindy
His work was perfect, a great finish.
hugs
Osni
Dolf Joubert

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Reply with quote  #5 
Cindy,
What a great job! I think you were very brave to take on a job of this magnitude! None the less, well done!
Regards
Dolf
ctowne

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Reply with quote  #6 
Thank you Dolf.  It was a good learning experience.
Cindy
ctowne

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Sorry all, I did not take a final photo of the fleet before delivery.  The best I can give is the fleet waiting for wheels. 
The table saw was a huge help in getting the sides tapered in uniformly and because the blade had more TPI the sanding was minimal. 
I did request from my client a photo of a bus with the graphics applied but he doesn't have them yet.  I do need to work on my photo quality.  lol

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Udie

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Reply with quote  #8 
Cindy (Ctowne) - I love seeing production photos. Thanks for posting.
phantom scroller

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Reply with quote  #9 
Wow a fleet of buses really good work like it.
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Sdaupanner

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Reply with quote  #10 
Cindy ;
   The quality of your pictures is helped by using a tripod, it will reduce the amount of the movement a VR setting will reduce the movement a lot also. I have done a lot of photography over the years and besides many Cameras I also have about 6 of 7 different tripods so I can take pictures from only a few inches above a table top to where I have one that extends to 74 inches I never go any where with out at least two of these tripods one is in the camera bag all of the time and one I carry that is two big for the camera bag. The cost does not have to be a lot a cheap tripod for these types of photos will be just fine. Love your work so far and have followed you since you first became a member of the forum, Keep up the great work!!!!
Don
ctowne

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Reply with quote  #11 
Don -
funny you wrote this, I bought a tripod this weekend.  It is obvious the steady hand is the first to go with age.  [biggrin]
Cindy
Sdaupanner

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Reply with quote  #12 
Cindy;
   That and the eye sight and my ears are always ringing and the better half always sez answers them ..... and I have been trying for the past several years, don't seem to help. I do a bit of photography and I also subscribe to several forums and the one that I find the most help full in fact it is about like this forum is to toy making is Uglyhedgehog.com they are really helpful with anything from macro to panorama and for my money I help try to keep abreast of all of the new things going on in the field, I have a tripod that stands about about 8 inches off the table top and that is handy when a ride in the car needs a fast set up and not a lot of height. and for close up macro in taking pictures that are about 1" to 12" from the lens it is really handy and steady. Like I said a tripod does not have to cost you an arm and a leg it just has to be sturdy enough to no move when you take a shot .... and if you are on a tripod turn of the lens it is always trying to give you a steady picture and in can make a shot look like it has a shadow and if you set up the shot then use your self timer and it takes the human element out of a shaken foto.
Don
JTalbot

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Reply with quote  #13 
Well done! With experience in commercial custom woodworking, I would say it helps to have everything in writing, t's crossed, I's dotted, and signed by both parties. As for custom design charges, are you allowed to use the design for your own product line, or is it an exclusive design not to be re-produced? People don't realize the cost of product research and development, not to mention tooling and equipment costs. In the end however, you produced a quality product that pleased the client, you have new skills and equipment. Everyone wins!
Jeremy

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