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  #11  
Old 02-20-2002, 04:07 PM
Jim Conway's Avatar
Jim Conway Jim Conway is offline
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Any source of income ( if it fits your business operation) is well worth the bother! Most people here would not be interested in Disaster Recovery work because it entails too much work on the originals, but it's still (or can be) a real profit center for others.

I have only one DR order in process at the moment but I've already been paid over $4K on it and it's less then 50% completed. I use a "completion phase" billing system because some of the jobs take months and months for ME to finish because I make them low priority after the initial cleanup. There is seldom any kind of a collection problem, probably because all of it, including the payment terms, is worked out with the Claims Adjustor in advance.

Another thought on "declining jobs" that you don't like or do not want to handle, I'd suggest that you not let any inquiry go to waste! If I can't do the work, we don't just let the customers hang out to dry, we find someone who can handle the work for them. That's not just hype either - go to the business card that we use for out of town inquiries. http://card.netscape.com/timemark

That's part of my reason for being here - most Conservators know each other (by reputation if not in person) and have no trouble making referrals - finding qualified Pro Retouchers on the other hand is very difficult. They have no associations representing them, so it's much harder to determine skill levels or interests. In all good faith, I cannot recommend someone unless I know they are qualified to bid the jobs properly and deliver what's actually needed rather than "bending" the job specs to fit their own facilities. A color snapshot reprint from an old 35mm slide or cleaning the Mona Lisa - neither job would fit in my shop but it's important to me to point the customer in the right direction!

Doug has done an exemplary job in creating a place for Retouchers to come together and learn from each other. I see it as more than a learning center, it's a network in the embryo stages with the potential to save millions and millions of old photos. Only time will tell, but putting the clients needs before your own is the only way that this (or any other network) can grow.

I've belonged to numerous organizations - all "academic" in nature. This one is different - it's hands on. The sales adage that "nothing happens until someone sells something" can be applied here. All of the research and academic papers in the world are not saving our heritage of old photos, that's your job and a priority to consider even when it's not a "do-it-in-my-own-shop" type of a project..

Jim Conway
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  #12  
Old 02-20-2002, 05:35 PM
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thomasgeorge thomasgeorge is offline
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I would respectfully disagree about one point Jim, and that is that any source of income is worth the bother. Some sources may involve unethical or immoral type material and I am not willing to compromise myself simply in the quest for the almighty dollar. Additionally there are persons who are so disagreeeable,dishonest or hard to please that it is more destructive to one's business and reputation to deal with them than to simply refuse service. There are some threads concerning this very thing in the work/jobs section. Regardless of how much the job is worth, if you spend months fighting a bureaucracy to finally get paid, or, have to spend time sending letters, making phone calls, etc., you are loosing valuable time, plus, not being compensated in a timely manner is a real drain on the bottom line when you consider that the time you spent doing the job could have been spent doing work for those who pay promptly. Somewhere in the work/job section there are a couple of threads addressing referrals, which pointed out what you wisely said reference referring certain types of jobs to others more qualified, a very good piece of advice by the way. Again though, if an Ins. Co. has a track record of "foot dragging", I would be hesitant to commit very much time or effort to them, unless the customer was paying me directly and then submitting a claim for reimbursment to the Company. Waiting months to get paid just isnt a way to run a successful business... if I try telling the Power Company I'll pay 'em as soon as "XYZ" Ins. Co. pays me, I suspect I would be reading the mail by candle light... Tom
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  #13  
Old 02-20-2002, 07:22 PM
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Jim Conway Jim Conway is offline
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Hey Tom, I would hope that the insurance companies that I deal with are not lacking in morals but who knows, probably a lot of people paying the premiums rate increases might think so! :-)

In any event this is a good post for me to bow out on and get back to that pile of work I reminded myself is still sitting there waiting for me. I've made my business an open book here so everyone pretty much knows my views and I don't want to get into that "old man" trait of being overly redundant in expressing them. At my age that's a much needed form of "energy conservation"!!

So, best of luck to all of you - and if any of you are out this way, stop in - the welcome mat is always out.

Jim Conway
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  #14  
Old 02-20-2002, 09:46 PM
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Lampy Lampy is offline
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Tom you had me laughing by candle light reading your post. You have a sense of humor.

Just to set the record straight. Although insurance companies and salvage places are a pain in my butt, I still deal with them. I just have specific policies in place in the hopes of reducing the hassles, and not waste my time and money (making phone calls, writing letters, paper work, looking at pieces left in the studio for months or years on end). I always like to do the best I can for all my clients because it's all about saving the art/documents/history...as Jim said. BUT like you said Tom if they have a track record of not paying and such I likely won't deal with them again. Well maybe if they pay up front. It is a case by case basis.

Anyway as Jim has said this is a forum for all of us to learn from in a practical sense and I think anyone who wants to gain the business of ins and salvage companies should be aware of the pitfalls. And who better to learn from but those who have dealt with them.

Tangent for a moment....

which reminds me...there was a thread somewhere on the site where people were asking how long you have to keep someone's piece if they don't pick it up. The answer is 7 years, and you have to show you've made attempts to contact them (registered mail receipt will do this). My goal is to not have any pieces left in my studio. So far so good.

The referal thing is a bit iffy though. I'm not so sure my good colleages would appreciate me reffering one of my dead beat clients to them as I would not appreciate them doing that to me.

On the other hand I have a long list of conservators, appraisers, museum quality frame shops and so on that I refer my clients to all the time. These are people I know personally or have been told by conservators I trust that they are reputable. I certainly don't leave anyone hanging if I can help it (with the exception noted above). Just the other day I spent an hour hunting down the phone number of an old colleage for someone on the east coast that was desperate to find her and found my name and number because I used to work at the same place and that's just one example of
the efforts I try to make. And it's not all about making money it is about providing a service and helping people preserve and conserve their valuables.

As I've said in the thread about referals, being helpful and nice to the clients ensures that they've had a possitive experience and hopefully they will express that to their friends!

Business is half about the service you provide and half about the way you go about providing it.

I don't know about you guys but all I need is someone to rub me the wrong way and I won't frequent a business anymore. The other one I hate is no pricing on goods for sale in a shop! Especially a big store that is understaffed.

Ok that's all for me for now...I'm getting off topic!

Before I go...Jim it sounds like you are leaving us? Is that true? We all appreciate your comments suggestions and questions. I hope you continue to write in the forums, I look forward to reading what you have to say!

Talk to you later eh? :o
(hehe...sorry my American husband is watching Molson Canadian commercials on his laptop and it's bringing out my Canadianisms...ooot and aboot!)

--Heather

Last edited by Lampy; 02-20-2002 at 10:22 PM.
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  #15  
Old 02-20-2002, 10:05 PM
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Sharon Brunson Sharon Brunson is offline
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Heather, I like what you said about frame shop referrals and others. I remember Stanley Marcus writing about the lady who came into Nieman-Marcus to buy her husband socks and the salesman sold her suits, shirts, everything. Not because he took advantage of her but because he met her needs.

That's all part of caring for the people we are with each day, customers, family, friends - we all appreciate people who care for us and meet our needs.

Professional service stands out.

Sharon
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  #16  
Old 02-20-2002, 10:45 PM
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Doug Nelson Doug Nelson is offline
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Tangents are evil.

Please, please, if you know you're changing the topic or departing from the purpose of the topic, start a new thread.

Have a heart for those that haven't joined yet and will be reading these in the future.
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  #17  
Old 02-20-2002, 11:25 PM
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Lampy Lampy is offline
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Sorry I was hoping someone would recognize the thread I was refering to and add the post. When I find the time I will track it down and post to it myself.

I think some of our discussions end up more tangents than on topic...but its fun to read anyway.

--Heather
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