Rule of thumb; never give a quote up front. Tell the client that once the custom handmade jewelry design has been approved you will get back to them within a week with the actual cost of fabricating the piece and the work contract. This is n important will give you an opportunity to price the work correctly. The client may want a rough estimate, stay firm and tell them you will give them the correct quote within a week. Make sure to send a written quote along with the contract within the specified time.
Remember to add you time to the final quote. Many times we think that if we charge too much they won’t hire us to complete the piece. Specify that you design time is also included in the final cost. Keep track of the cost of any gemstone and materials that you will be using to complete the order. Don’t forget to include the cost of shipping, particularly when you may be ordering specific part to complete the order. Always calculate the extra time that may take to complete a piece that requires some extra work because of the complexity of the design. Don’t be shy to charge for you work, people know that a custom handmade jewelry piece tends to be more expensive and they are prepared to pay for it.
Preparing a Custom Jewelry Work Agreement
Never work without a contract – A well written contract agreement will save you many headaches and problems when selling your jewelry. This contract has to be well defined and drafted clearly. The contract needs to be detailed enough to save you going into court and dispute and issue.
The contract needs to include the following information:
• You name, company name and information
• Client’s name and date when the order was placed
• Detail information of the jewelry piece you will be completing
• I also attach a copy of the final sketch and a photograph of the stone that will be used
• The contract should also include the amount of materials and their cost
• Include your hourly rate and an estimated amount of time it will take you complete the work. Include your design time and the time spent with the client.
• Always include a return policy in the contract; Custom work that is created as a special order is not returnable. My guarantee is that the piece will match the final design you approved including the dimensions, type of stone(s) and metals (gold or silver). Note that all handmade jewelry will differ slightly due to the nature of the craft and may include minor variations in the overall size of the piece(s) and/or minor
• The specific delivery date:
o Be realistic when setting the completion date. Take into consideration how long it will take for you supplies to arrive, as well as the actual shipping time to send the piece. As you know the unexpected can always happen. If there is an unforeseeable delay, let you client know. Keeping you costumer informed is not only good practice; it is also ethical and will help you keep your professional integrity.
• Terms of payment:
o I highly recommend getting a 50% non-refundable deposit up-front. Make it clear that no work will begin on the piece before the deposit clears. This will protect you in case there is a cancellation. Always wait to purchase any jewelry making supplies until you have received the down payment.
o I recommend including a statement that once the final sketch is approved you do not re-design or modify the piece. Include any measurements in the contract to add clarity to the final specifications. Altering a piece after you complete it is complicated and can be costly.
• Delivery arrangements:
o When a piece has to be shipped out of town, suggest that the client pay for insurance covering the value of the jewelry.
o Always send the item requesting a signature stating that the client received the jewelry. This will protect you in case the client claims that the work never got to them.
o Take a photo of the work before shipping and include the photo along with the packing slip.
o Call your client know that their jewelry is on their way. Follow up with an e-mail giving them the shipping track number. This is always good policy and gives you the paper trail. At the bottom of the contract, include an area for both you and the costumer sign and When this custom jewelry work agreement is ready, present it to your customer. Have two copies ready to be signed and give one to the client. Let your customers know that this agreement protects them as well as you, especially since they will pay you for at least part of the job up front.
Getting more clients to order custom work happens mostly from word of mouth, it is crucial that you build your reputation and make the client happy. Package you jewelry attractively, this enhances your work and the client will remember you. I always follow up with a personal note thanking them for ordering one of my custom handmade jewelry pieces.
In the note I ask if they would mind sending me a picture of them wearing the custom handmade jewelry piece. If they agree to give you a picture, ask if they mind you publishing the photo in your website. This is always helpful to promote and market your custom handmade jewelry and other design work.