"Pay now or leave a deposit?"


Why is it so embarrassing for a framer to ask for a deposit? It can overcome many problems and can also end up being useful to the customer.


Many framers are reluctant to ask for a deposit. The deposit however can be nothing but beneficial. It has many advantages for the framer. Where does so much embarrassment stem from then?
The problem is not created by client, which in most cases conforms to the rules, but by the framer himself. The framer is frightened that the customer will take up a defensive and hostile position and that it is a indication of mistrust. Asking for money before completing the job therefore creates an uncomfortable feeling and can give the framer the impression that he is being dishonest.


The advantages of a deposit


Greater cash flow



One of the main problems with any craft or retail type activity is cash flow. The deposit can help overcome this problem.


No more abandoned frames



In order to avoid lapses of memory, on the customer's behalf, the deposit has a miraculous effect. It is unlikely that a customer will forget to pick up their frame if he/she has left a deposit.





This is another problem that the framer frequently encounters. When the customer comes to pick up the completed frame he/she notices that the mount is of a slightly different colour or not exactly what he had thought it would be or that the frame is slightly damaged or that the job as a whole is not what they expected. In front of the framer's objection the customer could decide not to accept the frame. If the customer has already paid a deposit then he will not come to such a snap conclusion and will usually be more willing to discuss the matter.


How to ask for it?
Usually the customer accepts to pay a deposit without any discussion. It would be advisable to keep a sign up in your shop stating that deposits are necessary. Something like "A 50% deposit is preferred". (At the end of this article there is an example of this sign that you may copy and display in your shop). The first part of the message actually makes the customer feel more comfortable. The figure indicates that the deposit is to be made in proportion to the size of the job. If the customer has read the message there will be no need for further explanations. If the customer did not notice the sign then it is easy enough for the framer to point to it with a smile. "Do you prefer to pay now or just leave a deposit?". The customer is left with two alternatives and is free to choose.




The client's objections
If you have followed the suggestions above you will probably not receive many complaints. Irrespective of the signs put up and all the hints we have suggested there will every so often still be the difficult customer.
The first client to object will probably be a regular customer or a long time friend. There is no problem in these circumstances as the trust established in previous years between yourselves will be enough to avoid asking for a deposit.
Another objection made by the customer is that the framer is keeping his picture. If the picture is rather valuable then the objection is valid (although all pictures are valuable to each customer). From a legal point of view the picture will, for many years, remain the customer's property. It will make little difference that on the consignment docket you have written things like "If the picture is not be picked up within 6 months it will remain in our possession". Not only is this not true but it is also an unpleasant way of handling things and the result will usually only be in irritating the customer. It is more advisable to write something like "Could the frame be picked up within a reasonable time".
Another difficult case is when the customer says that they haven't got enough cash with them. If you have Credit card or other similar facilities, you can throw the ball back into his court and even suggest that they pay the full amount. If you haven't got these facilities then you are at a road block. If the job is of modest proportions then it may be worth risking. You can communicate to the customer that it is an exception and that it is bit of a gift on your behalf. If however the total amount is rather substantial you could say, "I'll start the job if you could come past tomorrow to leave the deposit".