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Thread: Question for the PROS on our forum...

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Question for the PROS on our forum...

    There is a question that i want to ask all the guys who are self employed or have their own business. I dont what type of business that is if its snowplowing, landscaping or woodworking or construction or manufacturing.

    My Question to you is "What is a customers worth or value to you?"

    How do you look at a customer from a value point of view in real hard dollars terms?

    I would like to ask you to share your views and get a taste for your outlook on this subject. Thanks.
    cheers

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    somewhere east of Queen Creek, AZ - South East of Phoenix
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    To me a customer or client is someone with a problem and my goal is to provide the solution. In providing the solution then the money is my reward. The best client is someone who remains a client not only now but also in the future.
    "Thereís a lot of work being done today that doesnít have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesnít have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  3. #3
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    Don I hear you but what bounty do you put on the head?
    cheers

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    Salt Spring Island, BC Canada
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    [QUOTE=Rob Keeble;269662]
    "What is a customers worth or value to you?"

    The customer is the employer that signs the cheques. The job is what is important to me not saying that the employer is any less though. If they could do the work themselves they would't hire me. I have based my work on a good reputation of Quality work, trust, honesty and getting the job done on time or ahead of time. Acting proffesional at all times.

    How do you look at a customer from a value point of view in real hard dollars terms?

    The best advertising is my customers I get most of my jobs from word of mouth. One bad job or bad situation with an employer can hurt that reputation pretty bad I always tell them if you like my work tell all your friends if you don't like it tell me I will make it right.

    Not sure if that is the answer you are looking for Rob.

    Now saying all that there are customers that want everything for nothing and some that just will never be happy as what you have done is not what they envisioned or they just don't like it so I have no problem making things right for them but after the inital contract it is all extras after that or a different contract.
    QUOTE]
    Daily Thought: SOME PEOPLE ARE LIKE SLINKIES..... NOT REALLY GOOD FOR ANYTHING BUT THEY BRING A SMILE TO YOUR FACE WHEN PUSHED DOWN THE STAIRS...............

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Westphalia, Michigan
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    I'm no business pro but............My grandfather was and said that "the customer is always right" I'm sure you've heard this old saw. I think the value of the customer is somewhat subjective based on their % value to your business. If you have 1000's of customers then the likelihood is that they have a small value per head and it is certain that you can't satisfy all of them. I bet there is always a percent of your customer base that will always be a bit of a pain to deal with. You do your best but some will be told to move on.

    On the other hand if your client base is small then you might have to bend over backwards and mollycoddle some of your clients to keep their loyalty. I suppose it all depends on what you offer as your goods or service. If you have lots of competition then you have to be competitive . On the other hand if you offer a unique service or have a monopoly then you can afford to be selective with your customers.

    I am working on an invention that should give us somewhat of a monopoly in a certain business. It will maybe be an innovation that could give us an edge in a common thankless task related to farming. Even with the success of this invention there will be a lot of marketing to penetrate the market. So we hope to offer potential customers a value previously unrealized for them. We will always try to put the customer first and I think the results will sell most farmers on our service. The potential is that some large corporate farms will be very lucrative for us and we will probably offer discounts based on the size of the client. While we would always try to give good service to all customers the reality is that some will be worth extra effort because their value is higher.

    I don't know if this is what you are thinking about but this is my take on your questions.
    I'm a certifiable tree hugger. (it's a poor mans way of determining DBH before cutting the tree down)

  6. #6
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    Don my customers are my bread and butter. Each customer has the potential of bringing me Thousands. I've had a customer who I've made 500K from not the norm but it has lead to other very good just just from the experience with her different finishes I had to use. I look at them more then customers, their friends who need an honest friend to evaluate there work and preform the work to the highest degree of professionalism. When I get the job they will have put their faith in my by then and when I deliver the job they are more then pleased to pay me for my work. I want the money transaction to be as painless as possible. Kind of like me giving up my farm money for Jacob to go to school. I know he will reward me with the best he can do. So I will give him what ever he needs in my abilities to do so.
    So what value do I put on my customer head? 1st of all trust in me.
    I dream a lot. I do more painting when I'm not painting. It's in the subconscious.
    ::: Andrew Wyeth :::
    colonialrestorationstudio.com

  7. #7
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    Oct 2010
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    Courtenay/Comox Valley, Vancouver Island, BC
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    Interesting; but difficult question Rob. As a recovering small business owner, hereís my take:

    Seems to me a customerís hard net dollar worth could be best measured by taking the profit you earn from them over a given time period, then subtracting your cost to secure and carry out their business.

    But to evaluate a customerís real worth, you would also need to factor in the positives and negatives that exist among various customers. Positives would include loyalty, how well they pay, future potential volume of business, any advertising value associated with having them using you services or products, and how easy they are to deal with, etc. Negatives would include poor payment habits, constantly grinding you on price, being difficult to deal with, and the possibility of being a one-time only customer, as well as possible negative goodwill in having them using your stuff.

    In my day, I had more than one customer whom I didnít really earn a direct profit from, but doing business with them did benefit my business. So definitely not an exact science because one customer could have a hard dollar value in the millions and another could (literally) have a negative dollar value.

    Cheers

  8. #8
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    So i am hearing what some pros have said but i would like to throw in a further question.

    Do you ever find you have no work?

    If so why do you think this is?

    I am thinking i gotta start a blog for you guys to participate in so we dont upset the woodworking guys here with business issues.

    BTW my reason for posting this is i hate constant news of unemployment but no one is providing any kind of direction of how to fix it. We gotta go back to basics people need to think of what it was like being a pioneer again and how things have changed since.
    cheers

  9. #9
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    Rob, I don't see why discussing small business would be an issue here? Lots of people here run small businesses whether they are in woodworking or not.....
    AKA Young Grasshopper Woodworker
    AKA The Rookie

  10. #10
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    Nov 2006
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    Delton, Michigan
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    well i am not a pro and basically am not in business even although i used to be for bit..i opted for the easy road.. which looked rosey but i have since seen the error of my ways..to get back to robs point, i can relate to you a situation in my day job.. we had the chance to get this customer that had reputation for dropping the work off and wanting it now and then nit picking it always,, and would switch to another supplier because they didnt put up with there demands.. this customer had one major good point,, they didnt complain on price and paid on time always!!! and when yu are a small business that is looking at getting paid to survive you put a dollar amount on the customer.. this one pays and is valuable,, and in the long run has made us as company better.. we have had to do things differently than our normal procedure,, but once that is done and it comes out right the first time,, we can settle down and run there work..also on a different note, although i am not good at it at all.. you need to make the customer feel wanted and part of the group and that means a golf outing or a free supper or lunch somewhere to make them feel special and this relates to a cost per customer..looking back at my experience,,i had to put out flyers to get started and when i stopped and relied on word of mouth, well the word was just getting to the same folk in the same area and they already knew who to get.. i needed to make more flyers and put them in new areas to spread the word and then i would get a up surge in work again rather than being stagnate and relying on the phone to ring for the next customer.. those flyers paid for themselves many times, and there for i feel that things like flyers and suppers and golf outings need to figured into the cost per head of a customer.. like anything else in this world ,,medicine for example,, you need to keep track of the cases to see what works and what doesnt and change accordingly and those things all cost something..its money in one form or another..
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

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