HOW TO MAKE A GOOD CHOICE AND CLOSE A GOOD DEAL
During the last twenty years a renaissance of wrought iron is noticeable. It can be seen everywhere. There is nearly no film or series where sequences of gates or beds in advance determine the status of their owner. For a long period of time at the beginning of the last century, wrought iron was fashionable. Even today, those old fences and gates, which have persisted ravages of time, can been seen, and that is one more reason for us to want them on and in our facilities.
The need for these products has suprised potential customers because they did not have necessary information on their quality, design and price. On the other hand, craftsmen were caught with the dilemma what would be better – to make or buy elements and then to assemble them. Because of a lack of information, both the craftsmen and customers have not managed to do well. We will try to help both of them with these texts.
TIPS FOR CUSTOMERS
You must be sure that you know what you want. Let your wishes be in accordance with what you can afford. Look at similar projects when you go through your town. Do not hurry. These are products for a life-time, so make your decision slowly. Look at photographs through the Internet, make a wider choice of options and then a narrower one. Look at the photographs before your final decision, consult your relatives and friends – everyone will have a piece of advice.
In the end, find a craftsman. You can find him through recommendations of those who have already employed him or you can find him yourself on the Internet. You need to be a bit cautious, but we will help you to be superior enough in these negotiations.
On Internet web-sites you can find many things. It may happen that you find a lot of beautiful photographs which are not products of the owner of the site. People like to put other people’s photographs in order to show themselves better than they really are, so they steal other people’s clothes. An elementary thing is to ask first whether the photographs represent works of that company and if the answer is affirmative, ask for a few addresses of locations where they could be seen. Sometimes, the answer will be that it is in another town or that it is hard to find, which casts doubt on the truthfulness of the answer to the first question. It is necessary to insist on seeing their previous works before you make a deal. However, if you actually get an address of the place where works have been done, see the location, look at the quality of the work, speak with the owner if you can and find out whether he or she is satisfied, ask him/her whether he had got what was agreed upon, had the work been done in time, etc.
Visit the craftsman’s workshop. You will see whether he is a real business partner, whether he has a company and employed workers, whether he inspires confidence that he will do the job successfully.
Ask for the price of the product you are interested in, but define all elements so that you could check the prices at several other places before making your final decision. It is important that you know which materials would be used, including the paint, whether the installment is calculated in the price of the product, what is the quality warranty, how much is the advanced payment, terms of payment, transport, terms of delivery.
It is important to point out that you want to see the phases of the work and that you want to approve of the performed work.
The processing lasts for a relatively long period of time, so the agreements are often forgotten. Then there come conflicts of interests which lead to a bad business environment. Be a serious negotiator, make an agreement and ask for a signature for every payment in advance you pay. In that way you will not only protect yourself, but you will also show earnestness in business. The craftsman will have to respect you because he took the money and together with that his obligations.
Give notice that you are coming and call on the workshop in order to be assured that your project has been done. Timely check all agreement obligations. Craftsmen do like when someone pokes his/her nose into their work so do not do that; you have already shown that you are serious regarding business and the craftsman will respect you. Show good will; praise the craftsmen if there is a reason for that, bring them beer or juice to show that you are kind. If you gain the workers’ sympathies, they will make more effort to do your project.
Wrought iron requires maintenance. Write down the name of the colour with which it was painted and at least once a year check whether there are traces of rust. If there is rust, clean it and paint it with a primer and final paint. Lubrication of hinges is current maintenance. Lubricate the cylinder with glycerin before winter. In that way, your gate will last for at least the next hundred years.
TIPS FOR CRAFTSMEN
There are many of you but little customers. The prices of materials are becoming higher and the price of your work is getting lower. The liabilities towards the state, workers, electricity and materials have to be paid. However, everybody is going through a tough period; it is not hard only to you.
The customers will demand a lower price than the one presented to them, and because of the fear that you will lose a job, sometimes you will agree to work for a little profit. You got a job, sat down, thought about it and then you saw that you have made a bad deal. Now it is too late; you have agreed about the terms of the deal and you got an advanced payment. You have become a lost case and you are thinking what to do so that something is left of that job. You will get boxes with thin walls, the worst paint, you will paint only once, you will buy a cheap lock and hinges and you will do everything by halves, just to get yourself out of a badly agreed deal. For the money you will get, all this is even too much. Of course you will shame yourself and such an approach will not lead you to new deals. This is not the way true craftsmen do.
There are some standards which you must adhere to when speaking of your work and negotiations. You must explain to the customer that you have a serious approach to work, that you will not allow use of bad materials and that that would insignificantly lower the price. If you are fair, the customer must be given work of high quality and the only way to save is saving on the price of your work. Even if you make a bad agreement, you must not give up your principles; you must work as if you have made a proper price.
In order to be credible, offer only your work and let the customer supply the materials. Then they will see that not much is left for you as it seemed in the beginning, and you will ease your conscience at least when the material is in question.
Your work can be seen and it is your best business card. Only work of high quality can bring you new deals. Stay in touch with the customer, call upon him/her occasionally to see whether some intervention is needed or if the paint has loosened, lubricate the cylinder with glycerin before winter, remind the customer of yourself. Your attention will certainly be awarded – they will recommend you or you will get a new job. Show them that your obligations are still not fulfilled and that something can be got for free.
Learn from those who are better than you, get acquainted with new technologies and materials, present your earlier works to your customer, find good suppliers, take care of the storage of materials, be meticulous, inform your customer about the way the phases of work are carried out, make drafts and photographs of the sites so that there are no surprises during the installment. Do not leave a job undone; sometimes it is necessary to check the details after the installment.
Only such approach gives good results in the long run.
Author: Miroljub Jović, Eng.