Diplomatic Advice: No, you don't own the entire Slab - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 22 Old 11-17-2013, 02:54 PM Thread Starter
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Diplomatic Advice: No, you don't own the entire Slab

So I finished a table for a client, it was made from 1/2 the slab I had to purchase to get the necessary piece and they expressed interest in the other portion of the slab. I told them that "consider the other half yours until I hear otherwise".

They both declined the other piece but say that they have a friend who is interested in having me make something from it. Now they are asking how much to sell that piece to her and I am afraid that when their friend balks at the added level of confusion that they'll come to me looking to be paid back.

My opinion is that their table cost what it cost and that I wouldn't have purchased this slab otherwise. But, I need a better way to say this so they understand and feel comfortable, not burning any bridges. They are nice people and I just want to make sure I communicate this the right way.
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post #2 of 22 Old 11-17-2013, 03:10 PM
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your in a jam

Here's why:I told them that "consider the other half yours until I hear otherwise". Sounds to me like it's theirs. There were no qualifiers like, we'll talk price at a later time.

You bought the whole baby, and split it, now they want the other half.... What ever they do with it is beyond your control.
That's my view of it. Sorry, to disappoint.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #3 of 22 Old 11-17-2013, 03:13 PM
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Tricky situation, did you charge them for the full slab or just the half you used?

I recently went through this sourcing Caesarstone vanity tops for my bathroom reno, quotes from suppliers that had to order full slabs were twice the price of ones with off cuts on hand. In this case the left over from a full slab stayed with supplier, all I got was what they cut. Justification for this was delivery costs, etc. of full slab.

Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something -Plato

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post #4 of 22 Old 11-17-2013, 03:31 PM Thread Starter
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yeah, the original intent was to use the other piece for something else in their place and then it evolved into this. maybe I should ship it to them along with the table. lol.....
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post #5 of 22 Old 11-17-2013, 03:32 PM
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Gideon,

You do have a bit of a PR mess on your hands. I suppose you should have told the client that their table is coming from a whole slab that you had purchased for more than one job. That would have established that what they paid for the table contained whatever costs were absorbed by the slab cost. That would have made them understand that you had more in that slab than just their job would pay for. That would have established a boundary for them, as clients, for material costs vs. labor. When you have countertops made from a slab of granite, there is some left over, the company doesn't bring the remainder of the slab(s) out to client. At least, I have never had that happen when overseeing a kitchen remodel.

As you well know, now, when you offered up the other part of the slab, you walked down the slippery slope. That implied, to them, that their cost included the other part of the slab. I am not clear why the friend is going to balk at your next offer but that is something you probably have a better feel for. I would cross the blowback bridge if and when that presents itself. Make as attractive an offer, on the next piece, as you can to the friend and wait to see what they say. If the friend does balk AND the customer comes back to you about a rebate, explain to them that it is your time and additional materials that dictated the friend's price. Tell them that the remainder of the slab was merely a gift from you to them, as good customers, and was not part of the original sale. Not knowing the particulars of your conversation with them about the slab, you may have to make them aware that you "cherry-picked" that portion of the slab for their project and that the remainder is considered waste. We often have waste from projects that we turn into gold by reuse. It really should not be a shock to them.


That would be my take on this. It's just my opinion...

Paul
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post #6 of 22 Old 11-17-2013, 04:06 PM Thread Starter
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This is my drafted response:

"Determining the value of the left over piece is difficult. This is the lesser piece and it has possibly two pricing structures. The first structure is as a slab hoping the right person comes along to buy it and the second structure is as dimensioned lumber in which case this has what we consider defects (not clean continuous board footage) making that difficult to accomplish. So, basically, we're looking at a slab worth $30 to $75. And that's still making a few assumptions.

This piece in its entirety, with the section I used for the top, is in the $250 to $300 range. If the piece had not had the bark inclusions and the cracks I checked with bowties, this would have been about $500 +. There are just a whole lot of factors that go into determining how much a slab should cost. This is a highly specialized area of woodworking.



As far as your friend goes, not sure what she's looking for and what I would have to do to make this piece fit what she wants.


When you get a chance, maybe forward my email or phone number to her so I can learn about what she's looking for. "
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post #7 of 22 Old 11-17-2013, 04:11 PM Thread Starter
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Paul, thank you. I drafted a response that outlined a bit of what you said.

My concern is that the initial contact is being made by a client who has ownership of the material to be used, possibly. No guarantee that this person even wants this piece of wood.

We did establish what the cost of the table was going to be very early on and regardless of that portion of the slab. I made it clear that there was going to be a sizable cut off and thats when they floated the idea of something else being ordered from that piece. I thought it was pretty straight forward.

Next time, I crop the photo to show what I intend to use of a piece...
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post #8 of 22 Old 11-17-2013, 04:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gideon View Post
This is my drafted response:

"Determining the value of the left over piece is difficult. This is the lesser piece and it has possibly two pricing structures. The first structure is as a slab hoping the right person comes along to buy it and the second structure is as dimensioned lumber in which case this has what we consider defects (not clean continuous board footage) making that difficult to accomplish. So, basically, we're looking at a slab worth $30 to $75. And that's still making a few assumptions.

This piece in its entirety, with the section I used for the top, is in the $250 to $300 range. If the piece had not had the bark inclusions and the cracks I checked with bowties, this would have been about $500 +. There are just a whole lot of factors that go into determining how much a slab should cost. This is a highly specialized area of woodworking.



As far as your friend goes, not sure what she's looking for and what I would have to do to make this piece fit what she wants.


When you get a chance, maybe forward my email or phone number to her so I can learn about what she's looking for. "

I would just ask your customer for the friend's number/email/whatever first thing. Speak to them about what they want and figure your price for that next piece. Wait to see what that friend says about your offer AND wait to see if there is any blowback from the original customer. You may be pleasantly surprised and not need to worry so much. If they do say something...

Then, and ONLY then, would I have the "woodworking enlightenment" conversation with the original customer.

Paul
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post #9 of 22 Old 11-17-2013, 04:21 PM
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Quote: "they expressed interest in the other portion of the slab. I told them that "consider the other half yours until I hear otherwise".

They both declined the other piece but say that they have a friend who is interested in having me make something from it. Now they are asking how much to sell that piece to her and I am afraid that when their friend balks at the added level of confusion that they'll come to me looking to be paid back.":Quote

When you offered to "hold" it for them until you heard otherwise, I would take this to mean they could purchase it (or) pass.
When they "declined", this implies they declined to pay for it and you were free to sell it elsewhere.
Now they have provided you with another customer, I don't see the problem unless you charge them more for an equal amount of wood and labor?
Unless I am missing something you could cut the new customer a little break as a courtesy to the original customer and everyone should be happy.
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post #10 of 22 Old 11-17-2013, 04:31 PM Thread Starter
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The initial client wants to sell the piece to the potential new one because they think they own it.
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post #11 of 22 Old 11-17-2013, 04:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gideon View Post
The initial client wants to sell the piece to the potential new one because they think they own it.

Yeah, that's the slippery slope I was talking about. They kinda do have control of it at this point. I would still talk to the friend first, before anything else. Find out what they want. Then, tell the client what the remainder of the slab is worth and incorporate whatever they want out of it into the new cost for the friend. That way it's the two friends that are at odds, not you. Break it out for the friend Labor is..... Slab is..... and that way you have no control over what the slab costs the friend and the original customer feels they have a rebate.

And, don't ever do that again!

Paul

you could even have the friend pay the original customer, directly, for the remainder of the slab so that cost is hammered home that it is not your decision...

Last edited by mobilepaul; 11-17-2013 at 04:48 PM.
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post #12 of 22 Old 11-17-2013, 04:52 PM
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I looked at your facebook link, that's really nice stuff...
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post #13 of 22 Old 11-17-2013, 05:43 PM Thread Starter
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I think I'm going to describe this as a miscommunication...

1. The price for the table was agreed upon prior to purchasing the material and
2. "Consider it yours until I hear otherwise" meant they had first right of refusal but that piece did not belong to them. Cutoffs are cutoffs. Cutoffs are a part of every job and some wind up in inventory.

Last edited by gideon; 11-17-2013 at 06:38 PM.
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post #14 of 22 Old 11-17-2013, 06:20 PM
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Explain that you'll ship it with the table. They will tell you to dispose of it and it will be yours.

The other potential customer can purchase, and ship, the material to you if they decide on something to do with it.

Or not!
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post #15 of 22 Old 11-17-2013, 06:54 PM
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Gideon,
It all has to do with HOW you priced the piece and contracted.

example...I will build you a table that looks like XYZ and will be ABC in size, this includes labor and materials to make such. I can get it out of this slab (pictured or showed)...oh you liked the first half, I can hold the second for you....Provided you didn't sell them the whole slab and then cut it out, it's yours to price or resell. I sell mostly by "the piece" and not BdFt due to each section has different cost value...a crotch feather has more value then the limb section.

I have customers that want a special length, I can sell them the whole slab and then cut it OR sell them the section they want...I find this out up front then sell it the way they want......we're both happy and I probably made the same amount short or long.

Have a Blessed and Prosperous day in Jesus's Awesome Love, Tim
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post #16 of 22 Old 11-17-2013, 07:21 PM Thread Starter
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Tim, yes, the price of the table was negotiated before the purchase of the material. When the material was secured, they were interested in doing something but then declined as the size wasn't what they wanted.

In some confusion, she believed that she owned the slab and wanted to broker a custom piece for another person who would buy the slab from her...

So I just sent this email:

"
I think we're having a miscommunication on the other piece.


The price of the table was for the finished size - originally 38" then 46". What I meant by "consider it yours until I hear otherwise" was that you and ***xx have/had first right of refusal to do something else with the other piece.


If you had ordered a table that was the full 93" of the intact slab, the price would have been in the $***x range but the table ordered was half that size.


Cutoff material is a part of every project. I make cutting boards from some, shelving units from others, they get recycled as rails, stringers and legs into other pieces made for other people all the time.

Sorry for the confusion, hope this clears it up. "
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post #17 of 22 Old 11-17-2013, 07:30 PM
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Looks like a god reply and very professional....thumbs up!!!

Have a Blessed and Prosperous day in Jesus's Awesome Love, Tim
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post #18 of 22 Old 11-17-2013, 08:55 PM
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Pricing custom/1 off furniture is new to me so I enjoyed following the thread. IMHO:
I'm used to bidding commercial construction projects and have had to explain to clients:
If an electrician brings in his wire cart with 1000' rolls of wire to install an outlet and 10' of conduit, the client isn't entitled to the balance of the wire on the rolls.
If a stone contractor buys a slab of stone for a counter top, the client is paying for the finished installed counter. They do not own the full slab but is available to them for other work for an additional cost
If I issue a set of drawings , the client does not own the files I produced to print the drawings.

Cut it twice, measure once and it's still too short.
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post #19 of 22 Old 11-18-2013, 11:42 AM Thread Starter
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just heard back from my client. she understands and all is good. whew. this is one of those grey areas which needs to be defined in the beginning of a project.

thanks for helping me to clarify and respond to the issue. truly, thanks.
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post #20 of 22 Old 11-18-2013, 12:02 PM
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Glad to hear it worked out for you

Cut it twice, measure once and it's still too short.
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