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Business Practices - Ben

1/5/2006 12:03 PM
David Warren
Business Practices - Ben
This is an excellent forum, and I recognize many of the names here as so many have great reputations in the musical industry. This may not be the proper place to post this, but some folks need to be embarrassed around their peers as a wake-up call.  
I wish that some of you good, honest businessmen would start a thread about business practices.  
Ben, where's my pickups that I ordered from you in October? You didn't mind cashing the check. Noah is also looking for his five humbuckers he paid for through PayPal. Are you really a pickup maker or just a money taker?
1/5/2006 1:41 PM
Dave Stephens
This is a potentially good thread to dwell on. Most of us small pickup makers get our money up front and we have a waiting line. In business this is kind of an odd way to do business really, but the reality is parts cost alot and take alot of time to track down and the really small pickup makers can only wind so many pickups in a day.  
OK so all that said, the small guys also have to be accountable and not blow off or disappear and not return emails or phone calls. Getting paid up front is very good but some can fall prey to spending it all and forgetting what they were paid for. For myself I am always kind of in a panic trying to keep up with orders and keeping things straight and not forgetting anyone and trying to stay in touch with all my customers. You guys who sell your products need to keep some real simple things in mind and if you don't you will FAIL and your business will die.  
First of all you have guitar players who are PAYING you to give them the tone they are dying to get and which they will never get from Guitar Center or SeeMorePumpkin or DeeMarzeeOh. These guys are guys just like you and me, they are not rich, and they are taking a big risk in their minds in paying alot of money to have some pickups made for them, so they are skeptical, and scared that you won't come through.  
In my mind, its why I pretty much have a totally open ended guarantee and I have done ridiculous things when I have had a rare unhappy customer, to try to MAKE them happy. In reality all it takes is ONE really pissed off unhappy customer who can destroy your business. If you truly believe in your work and your tone and your customers, you will sometimes have to eat it because you made a mistake or because between you and your customer you came to a wrong pickup choice, so if you are honest you will give them their money back no questions, or fix the problem. I am not a young guy and I have been in a couple businesses in my life, and please believe me that total honesty and fairness is the only way to do business, to the point of losing money with an unhappy customer in order to be straight with them. When you leave that principle you are then going into the territory of Guitar Center and a few pickup makers who sell their shit, take it or leave it attitude, you spend your money and its gone and you are stuck with it. If you are big enough you can get away with that for a couple years then you will get a bad rep for selling crap and then your biz is dead.  
For me I plan to stand behind everything I make and have an unlimited warranty no matter who owns what I make or who bought it from whom or Ebay or whatever, I don't want someone with my pickup and it dies and he thinks my stuff is crap, I'll fix it for free and I will gain a new customer in so doing.  
So bottom line "business practices" for me is your customers are your buddies, they love guitar just as much as you do, they put their trust in you and to me that is a big responsibility that you had better be big enough to handle and stand behind or just quit right now. This isn't an easy way to do biz but its the only way to build a reputation and your customers will help define your product line in the process. So Ben, get off your ass and pony up, someone isn't happy with you and you need to be up front with these guys if they are for real, or the word WILL get around.
1/5/2006 2:30 PM

A few customers that are not happy can ruin your business and cost you a lot of money. It's one thing when a troll gets on you, but another when people who are know as legitimate say things. Ben if you read this then I'm sure you have also read my emails.  
You are a talented winder but get your shit together or your pickup making future will soon be over before it starts. That would be a shame because you are a nice person and there is room for custom winders in this business. You could make a nice living or supplement your income if you devote yourself to this and learn proper business practices.  
Communication, your customers are more important than yourself.......they give you money, the money feeds, cloths and houses your family, simple arithmetic.  
No matter what, there will always be one or two guys that no matter what you do, they will never be happy, but they are the exception. To have someone go to a forum to contact you is a very bad sign. I also had to do that.
1/5/2006 2:35 PM
David Warren

Thanks for that great response and the great attitude, Dave.  
I'm not here to trash somebody, believe it or not. I'm here to embarrass a man who has ignored my requests for updates. I was given the impression up-front that it would be two weeks. If I were told it would be two months, then that would have been OK, too. But I'm being ignored. I've been waiting since late October, and have no idea of a delivery date. Another customer of this man has befriended me and tried to help me get a response. This guy is waiting for five pickups himself, which he has paid for, and this pickup maker is now ignoring him. I don't know how many pickups Noah has either bought, or has sent referrals for, to this pickup maker.  
I have a small, one-man business myself. If I ignore my customers I won't have a business.
1/5/2006 7:25 PM
Hi David, thanks for the embarassment, much appreciated, and thanks also to BD. David, your pickups are on the way, thank you for the business. No excuses here, just to say as I posted on my website family things have been quite hectic, my wifes uncle who had cancer as BD knows I told him about that, well he passed on and left a lot of financial business for my wife and her mother, so back and forth to our old home town, etc... As I told BD, I was not getting any of Mr. Warrens emails. BD your re-winds are almost done, As I state on my website, re-winds are the lowest priority and will be done as time permits so not too sure what the confusion is about those pickups. I have done several pickups for BD and he liked them except a few I did a couple of months ago and he sent them back with a note about re-winding them. If I fail to answer an email in 1 or 2 days BD sends out the Coast Gaurd looking for me. I have a family of a wife and 4 kids, 2 of which are baby twin girls, my wife works 3rd shift at the hospital and most of my time is dedicated to my family first. I'm sorry if I cant get to a computer and answer every email as they come in. No I am no Deemarzeeeo or sleeemoreplunkin, therefore I dont have a bunch of people working for me, it's me and my machine and my hands, every pickup is hand wound and hand assembled by me, no one else, just me. So i cant turn them out as fast as the big guys but I bet you the farm mine are far better than anything they put out. BD, I have sold you pickups at my cost before because I thought we were friends. I guess I was wrong. I have learned a lot in this business, especially how when you think you try to do someone a favor of give them a break it gets you nowhere. Never again. Thanks to all here who has offered up great ideas and answered questions but I will be leaving and never return Thanks to these 2 really freindly guys. Peace.
1/5/2006 7:53 PM

This is all a bit harsh people. It's a good job Dunky and DiMarzipan don't post here as I'm convinced this forum would be full of complaining customers. Didn't think the forum was for that.  
For sure we all know the pressures of maintaining a good name but there are circumstances that can put the mockers on that for any one-man operation.  
And there goes one of our contributors to this forum. Harsh words hurt real people with real feelings. Nuff said.
1/5/2006 7:54 PM
David Warren

I've described my experience with you with total accuracy. You had my home address, a phone number, a fax number, and two e-mail addresses for me. Noah also knows the series of events and they are not as you described.  
As I understand it, the better custom pickup makers are backed-up with orders. That's to be expected.(There's alot of guys who post here that have lots of back orders, and back-orders are always better than no orders!) I won't mention his name, but one of the posters in this forum is also a custom amp builder. He totally re-built a friend of mine's amp head. It took him almost a year to turn it around, but he did not run and hide every time my friend asked for an update. I think you're paranoid about telling people up front that it's going to take a long time for fear that they then won't give you the orders. In doing so you promise more than you can deliver. The truth is always the best course of action, and feedback is the breakfast of champions, as they say. Just tell somebody it's going to be two or three months and don't hide from them. That's pretty simple stuff. And, be willing to be a stand-up guy and admit your own screw-ups instead of pointing the finger at everybody else. I don't claim to be perfect, but I do try to fufill my obligations.
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