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Modding Items on Request?
Old 06-04-2010, 01:04 AM   #1
Czari
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Question Modding Items on Request?

Since "The Great Full Perms Request Escapade," now I have another question for you all more experienced merchants.

For the first time since I began my shop, I received THREE requests from customers last week to modify products after they purchased them. Having a small shop and comparatively few products, I consider my shop in the "boutique" niche. Due to this, one of my desires is to provide personal customer service when needed. My thinking was along the lines of someone needing help lining up their drapes, not understanding directions and needing clarification, those types of things. I consider it good business, good for word of mouth, and hopefully some advertising.

However, after now doing two of the requested modifications I realize that things that sounded easy to do are not always. The first mod took 5 hours total due to the specifics of the build and the second took roughly the same amount of time as I had to hunt down a specific script to do the mod. The third one "shouldn't" be as time-consuming. *Crossing fingers*

Since I was taken by surprise by the requests, especially three in one week, no mention was made of extra charges for this work.

I have seen some profiles that state the designer does not take custom orders. To me that sounds like making something that is not already in the product line, whereas mine was *just* modding. Then there are profiles that state if something special or additional is requested, it will be (usually some really high price) per hour. "Per hour" is a bit sticky since from a customer's viewpoint they could think the time was being padded.

At any rate, I really don't want to go either of those routes but I need to value my time and either not do mods at all or figure out some consistent policy. I would prefer the latter, but then what is "consistent?" Stating a particular price doesn't take into consideration I may be able to do one mod in a half hour and another fiver hours.

So, how do you all handle this? Discuss pricing up front when the request is made (and how to determine the amount), have a standard price for anything extra, or don't do anything special if asked?

Yep, this is going to be an interesting summer!
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Old 06-04-2010, 04:42 AM   #2
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I generally do not take mod requests unless it's for something that can be developed into an overall product improvement and then I will implement the change, put out a new version and provide them with a copy free of charge.

This happened a few times with my DJ headset and my DJ Booths.

Other than that, custom work is custom work. I tend to be one of those people that charges whatever feels right at the time. I know what time I spent, and no one will ever compensate me for expenditure of that time entirely... so part of what I'm doing must be for the sheer satisfaction of helping someone and/or accomplishing something.

There were a few custom builds I did when I get started mostly for free just to get some experience with building larger venues.

Anyway I'm like totally high so I'm not sure if I helped you or not but either way have fun.
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Old 06-04-2010, 07:45 AM   #3
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What you're describing here sounds more like a custom project done for free than a mod. When would you have time to come by my plot and do another, um, mod? I have a whole house that needs building around those drapes.

More seriously ... yes the request to mod items comes up every so often. I'm only familiar with the accessories market, but here is my take on it, fwiw.

- "Can you make it bigger so it fits my shape?" I now sell everything +mod and let the customer fend for themselves. Resizing stuff is imho part of the basic SL skillset.
- "Can you add this / that color?" I've tried to expand my color palette so most tastes are covered. If it's just a gemstone change, I'll see if I have the texture and comply. Of course there's still the odd request for colors I don't do (white / champagne, they are both a bitch to get right). I've done that in the past for a nominal 100L$ for about 20-30min work. Is it worth it? you decide.
- "Can you make this and that?" Sure, give me a reference picture, I'll think about it.

Whatever you decide on doing, don't expect people to understand that you value your time. I've read one too many crazyheads on various forums rag on how evil merchants are ripping off honest customers by selling re-tints of their object for lots of $$$, and showing a fundamental ignorance of the texturing process. If I could just re-tint everything inworld and have all the highlights and reflections come out juuuuust right, wouldn't that be a nice timesaver!
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Old 06-04-2010, 09:27 AM   #4
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Ok, odd...I'm positive I pressed the submit button, but now my post isn't showing up. Will do this again and then there will likely be two of the posts...lol.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bams
I generally do not take mod requests unless it's for something that can be developed into an overall product improvement and then I will implement the change, put out a new version and provide them with a copy free of charge.
This was actually the situation with two of the mods. They were changes to existing products (I sell home accessories) that I wouldn't have thought of. Now I can add these to my product line, giving more flexibility and choice of these particular products.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bams
... so part of what I'm doing must be for the sheer satisfaction of helping someone and/or accomplishing something.

There were a few custom builds I did when I get started mostly for free just to get some experience with building larger venues.
As indicated in my OP both of these were reasons I wanted to offer personal service to my customers; however I realize I can't do a lot of 5-hour mods as that takes away time from other building, advertising and RL. Which is where the first point comes in on deciding if the mod is something that can be added to inventory.

I definitely won't be charging for these three requests. I do hope it garners a bit of positive word of mouth advertising and recommendations to friends.

I really appreciate you input, Bams, and....can you pass over some of what you're smoking or inhaling or taking? I could use it about now.
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Old 06-04-2010, 09:44 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jackalennui
When would you have time to come by my plot and do another, um, mod? I have a whole house that needs building around those drapes.
/consults my calendar and think I can fit you in around June 15.

Clothing accessories would be a bit different in type of requests but same principle in how to handle them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jackalennui
"Can you make it bigger so it fits my shape?" I now sell everything +mod and let the customer fend for themselves. Resizing stuff is imho part of the basic SL skillset.
I learned to resize items manually probably the first few months in SL. I totally destroyed one outfit the first time, but gradually gained experience and can now isolate one strand of hair on a wig and mod just that. I have a friend who has been in SL for about 5 years and I was blown away when we were sending some items back and forth and she said she didn't know how to rez a box or put anything in it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jackalennui
"Can you add this / that color?" I've tried to expand my color palette so most tastes are covered. If it's just a gemstone change, I'll see if I have the texture and comply. Of course there's still the odd request for colors I don't do (white / champagne, they are both a bitch to get right). I've done that in the past for a nominal 100L$ for about 20-30min work. Is it worth it? you decide.
This one totally baffled me when I first made my curtains. The base color is beige and they are tintable. I include detailed instructions on how to tint them to their own color preference and figured that's what everyone would do. Then later I added two other colors (just tinted from the beige) to show how the beige could be tinted any color (except white...that is impossible to do on these). Those new colors began selling like hotcakes, so now I sell about 8 different colors and all sell, some more than others but, like you, *especially* with instructions, I thought tinting would be an obvious SL skillset.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jackalennui
Whatever you decide on doing, don't expect people to understand that you value your time. I've read one too many crazyheads on various forums rag on how evil merchants are ripping off honest customers by selling re-tints of their object for lots of $$$, and showing a fundamental ignorance of the texturing process. If I could just re-tint everything inworld and have all the highlights and reflections come out juuuuust right, wouldn't that be a nice timesaver!
I've read the same threads and wonder who these people are dealing with as anytime I've had a legitimate issue with a product (never asked for a mod or special design) not only did the designer take care of it promptly, but often added a special extra gift as well. I've yet to run into "evil" greedy merchants. Not saying they're not out there, but wonder if they're as prevalent as the forum posts seem to indicate.

Thank you for your input as well; I really appreciate it. Between your's and Bam's posts, I feel like my initial thoughts were not too far off track.
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Old 06-04-2010, 09:53 AM   #6
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I have had the "do you have lashes like this or that?" And those end up being part of the line so I have only charged regular price which for me is anywhere from $80L to $275.00 per set. I have done custom fitting provided the person can send me their shape and charged an extra $200 for that. As for the furnishings of which I have a few odds and ends- if it is a simple thing I don't mind re-texturing. If it was something I had to go get the texture for I would proly charge some fraction of what the pack cost me.
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Old 06-04-2010, 09:55 AM   #7
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And yes moding to some degree should be part of everyone's skills as they gain experience in our world. However, to add to the mix- the new viewer is making that pretty impossible as it seems to be in favor of dumbing down the general SL population
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Old 06-04-2010, 07:33 PM   #8
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I'm always happy to share what I'm smokin... if the world would just sit down and puff a phatty, everything would be fine.

Just make sure when you get rolling and people start asking you to do more work because they saw the sweet ass job you did on their friends parcel that you take time to breathe. I ended up doing 3 venues back to back and one of them was an entire sim it was exhausting and Bunnie was ready to bitchslap the shit out of me.

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Old 06-04-2010, 10:33 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bams View Post
I'm always happy to share what I'm smokin... if the world would just sit down and puff a phatty, everything would be fine.

Just make sure when you get rolling and people start asking you to do more work because they saw the sweet ass job you did on their friends parcel that you take time to breathe. I ended up doing 3 venues back to back and one of them was an entire sim it was exhausting and Bunnie was ready to bitchslap the shit out of me.

Great advice...on both counts

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