BUCKLE UP!


If you can afford to. Of course the buckle alone is only $330. Get a package deal with adding the belt and the total is $815., before applicable taxes, of course. Ahh, the rich.

My customer's wedding was two days away. She had the idea to put an inscription for the groom on the back, so she called me; the store gave her my card when she asked about engraving. Her window of available time was about 40 minutes on the morning she could bring it to me.

"Can do," I said.

She asked no questions after giving me the words. I did them in my script with a ball point on a small Post It Note and she approved the layout and look. I took it to my table and engraved it in a shade under 3 minutes. No guidelines or layout procedures. Just put it on the pillow and engraved it.

I then put it on a black background....large piece of felt from Walmart....shot a couple of pictures with my iPhone 7+, and then handed the buckle to the customer. She asked how much, and I told her $65. (which was just a shade under 20% of the item's cost.) She was pleasantly surprised at the fee, especially on a while-she-waited job. She gave me her credit card. I processed it through SQUARE, and she was on her way home, 15 minutes after she arrived.

BOTTOM LINE:

Leave a trail of your business cards. I had done an event at the store just before Valentine's Day and left a batch of cards there for just this kind of situation.

Don't be bashful in quoting your fee, but know ahead of time the value of the item. Honestly, I did NOT know the retail, but figured it was waaaay higher than a typical belt and buckle for a man of my means.

If I hadn't known the store and their pricey items, I would have casually commented and asked the customer the retail price. They'll always tell you....proud to let you know they can afford such. Though I would not have told her, my fee would have been close to 20% of the retail. As it was, I under-charged her a bit at $65. No worries there. She promised to come back with some other items after their extended honeymoon in Italy.

Now, for those of you trying to justify learning this skill, at a conservative 4 minutes for the job, that was 1/15 of an hour. Though I didn't have 15 buckles to do in an hour, my $65. fee for 4 minutes X 15 comes out to a rate of $975. per hour.

Why 20%? If I muffed a word or screwed it up in any way, I own it. Most customers expect to pay a chunk of the cost of the item for engraving....when it's done beautifully and professionally. If my customer could afford a belt and buckle at $815., the $65. for the personalization was merely icing on the cake.

So what did I use? An experienced #1 round carbide. The metal on the back was definitely harder than the gold on the front so I had plenty of control with the bur for the job. Wish I had a steady stream of this kind of work!

-Ken

"Leap and the net will appear!"

See my other blog at kenbrowncalligraphy.com


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