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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi,

I wanted to get some advice from you all on what you would do or how you would handle my situation. This could get long so bear with me...
After doing some research I chose Joe Perkins to do the work, so I emailed him on 10/15/14 about what I wanted. He sent me an invoice and how much it would cost. On his website he states it is an 8-9 week turn around and add a couple more for some special work so lets say 10-12 weeks, that's 3 months give or take a couple days so I am good with that. I guess....So,
10/16/14 I sent my gun to him and it was signed for by him on Saturday 10/18/14, so his website states that as soon as he has the gun it goes in the rotation, so I figured he put it in the rotation.
10/21/14 I sent him an email wanted to make sure he had it, mainly for email documentation.
10/26/14 He sends email and says, have the gun and the check. So now I let him alone to do his mastery.
12/15/14 I sent him an email at 7 weeks from 10/26/14, and asked how it was going and to let me know when he was ready to ship it back to me so I will know to be here when it arrives.
12/18/14 He emails back and says he always calls before shipping back, and it will be after Jan 1st. I was bummed but no big deal. yet.
1/18/15 I email and asked how it was going and was everything ok?
1/19/15 He sends email back and says all is good, you are paid in full. Well I knew that, I was basically asking him nicely how much longer, so I emailed him back same day and asked for a timeframe of completion. At this point it has been almost 12 weeks.
1/21/15 He sends email back and says should be finishing next week, I will call before shipping. So ok, I figure we got something definite here.
2/1/15 I emailed him back and asked if he tried to call, that I had a few out of state calls but no messages, I was really trying to be nice about the whole thing, I did have out of state calls, but I really wanted to know, Hey are you done with my gun yet? Lol,
2/2/15 He emails me back and says he always leaves a message and mine should be done this week.
So the week of 2/2/15 has come and gone. No phone call no email. It is now going on 17 weeks since he has had it and 16 weeks since he acknowledged having it. I know that he does great work, I have seen the photos, the testimonial, and read great reviews on other sites, so I know he does great work.
My question is to you good people is, am I being too impatient here? Should I just suck it up and wait for his reply and let the man finish? What really bothered me was that on another forum during the time he has had my gun, a guy said he sent his gun to Joe Perkins and got his back in 3 weeks sweet! I thought I was in the line up? Plus the fact that 2 weeks in a row he said mine should be done. So............
What would you do?
 

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Not much you can do but wait. Demand he return the gun immediately? More cans of worms open. Sue him? Good luck filing an interstate suit. As for the delays what are getting? Ivory? EVERYBODY is ordering ivory lately ahead of possible legal bans. Sellers may be swamped with orders putting them behind. Maybe he got sick and fell behind. Who knows? I think we've all had this sort of thing happen. You sit it out and be patient. I'm sure he'll get it out as soon as he can. I know you're anxious but contacting him every few days likely won't help.
 
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I'm having similar problems with Belt Mountain. Won't accept e-mails (starting with my second one). Going on 2 months for a base pin.

Nothing we can do but wait. The alternatives are worse.

People will say quality takes time but customer service doesn't seem to factor into the quotient.
 

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From my own personal experience and from some of the many forums I belong to, it seems that this is the "norm" for a lot of custom gunsmiths. I am on the Accurate Reloading forums and there are threads there about a project taking YEARS longer than promised, even when paid for in full. Most of the posters over there defend this practice as the normal way a custom gunsmith works. I had a gunsmith I worked with for years in this area, but the one time he told me two weeks to put sights on a rifle and 3 months later it was not done, and then told me that "what is your hurry, you have other guns you can shoot", is when I found a new gunsmith. I understand there are delays, some can be helped, others not, but that is NO excuse for poor communication. I hope it works out for you. Right now I am waiting for a gun that I sent of to be refinished. I was told during a phone call early last month that "he was getting ready to start your gun". I sent it in in the middle of December and they said up to 12 weeks, so I will be patient until that 12 week mark, then I will start being a "pest". Anyone who performs any service should be able to stay on a schedule that they themselves set. If they say 12 weeks, then they should have it done in 12 weeks. They know their workload, their supply issues, their abilities, so they should sure as heck know how to quote a time frame and stick with it. I do understand that certain issues come up, but then again, communicate. As many of you well know, there is a certain highly regarded restorer that even when he knew that there was no way he could continue, he kept taking money and guns from people. Now those clients are out thousands and thousands of dollars and some of them are missing valuable parts. There were a lot of people who defended this person on various forums, but in my opinion he is nothing more than a common thief. All he needed to do was communicate and stop taking work he knew he could never get to. There may be other services that have the same issues, but I have never run across service providers as bad as some gunsmiths are. Imagine if you took your car into the dealership and they quoted you a time frame of 2 days. 3 months later you still don't have your car back. I don't know about you, but I bet most people would have a real problem with that, yet when it comes to gunsmiths that doesn't seem to be an issue.
 

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Had a similar experience with Perkins. When they were a few weeks late from the promised date I called and asked for an "actual" delivery date on the phone, I got a lecture. Mind you I am use to stuff being late so not a big deal. But IMO paying in full up front and being late is annoying. My gun and a Perkins check came back the next week with no notice. And that was prior to Perkins becoming a full blown "pistolsmith". Surprised but not at all unhappy at that result. Had those those particular grips done else where. They delivered weeks before promised. Any number of reputable grip makes out there that do fine work.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks guys,

Probably going to email him today and nice him to death. Maybe I will get it within the next 2 weeks, no it wasn't Ivory. It was African Ebony. I did not email him every day, I tried to let time pass before another email. I do have a problem with him placing another guys gun before mine, but SaxonPig is right, who knows why mine is taking so long, could be a lot of things, but Rigby made a good point, Its all about communication. Heck all it takes is an email, and I could be patient, I'm a patient man. But there again, not much in emails from him, just got it. Yours is next. Should ship this week.......Don't know if I could live with that lack of communication the next time.
Thanks again.

Cole
 

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Had this happen to me once. Just before deer season and the gun was to be finished weeks before the season began only I didn't hear from him when he said I would . . . so, I waited til I felt I had given him enough time to complete the job and dropped in to his shop a week before opening day. Was not sure how to approach hoim but when I handed him the work order receipt, he went to get the gun from the back room. Come to find out, he had finished the job a week after I had brought it in but he had transcribed my phone number incorrectly by one digit. Good think I stopped by.

Gr8rtst
 

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...am I being too impatient here?
To be blunt, yes, you are. You're not ordering a mass-produced widget from Walmart that someone has to just pick off a shelf and throw in a box with a shipping label. Most gunsmiths and gripmakers are one man shops and I know from experience, it can be difficult to accurately estimate lead time and answer emails. I've had several custom revolvers built, dealt with several gripmakers on dozens of custom grips, refinishers, engravers and leathermakers. Sometimes their estimates are accurate, sometimes they are not. ALL delivered what was asked and there are none I would not use again. Be patient and let him do his job. Every minute he spends on the phone or answering emails is a minute he's not doing the actual work.
 

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To be blunt, yes, you are. You're not ordering a mass-produced widget from Walmart that someone has to just pick off a shelf and throw in a box with a shipping label. Most gunsmiths and gripmakers are one man shops and I know from experience, it can be difficult to accurately estimate lead time and answer emails. I've had several custom revolvers built, dealt with several gripmakers on dozens of custom grips, refinishers, engravers and leathermakers. Sometimes their estimates are accurate, sometimes they are not. ALL delivered what was asked and there are none I would not use again. Be patient and let him do his job. Every minute he spends on the phone or answering emails is a minute he's not doing the actual work.
Hey Craig!
How about I give you a cost and timeframe on a custom paint job on your beloved Harley you`re planning on riding to Daytona Bike Week and I hold you off for a few weeks without giving a heads up on what the delay is?
Wouldn`t fly with me and I bet you might have a problem with it. I honor my commitments and schedule. That`s why they call it a schedule.
Someone doesn`t give me the respect that a customer requires and I`m done doing business with them. My customers recommend my work, communication and ethics.

The point is, stuff happens even to the most dedicated artists and craftsmen and that is unavoidable but to leave someone in the dark is inexcusable.

I can`t see any reason to accept that behavior.

Bill
 

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Had a similar experience with Perkins. When they were a few weeks late from the promised date I called and asked for an "actual" delivery date on the phone, I got a lecture. Mind you I am use to stuff being late so not a big deal. But IMO paying in full up front and being late is annoying. My gun and a Perkins check came back the next week with no notice. And that was prior to Perkins becoming a full blown "pistolsmith". Surprised but not at all unhappy at that result. Had those those particular grips done else where. They delivered weeks before promised. Any number of reputable grip makes out there that do fine work.
That's just ridiculous. It irritates me when a vendor treats the customer as a "bother". Some people have very little concept of what customer service is, and they forget who pays their bills.

am I being too impatient here?
I don't think so. Part of running a good business is being able to reasonably predict lead times.
 

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I once sent a 1957 SAA and a 1962 New Frontier to a well known "gunsmith" to have a trigger job done to each gun. He stated they would be completed in 3 weeks. Well, 3 weeks came and went with no guns, but I'm patient. I finally called approximately 2 months later and was told the guns would ship at the end of the week. I kept checking with my FFL and no guns. Long story short I finally received the guns 6 months later. Adding insult to injury the work was TERRIBLE!!! BE CAREFUL WHO YOU ALLOW TO WORK ON YOUR GUNS !!!
 

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Hey Craig!
How about I give you a cost and timeframe on a custom paint job on your beloved Harley you`re planning on riding to Daytona Bike Week and I hold you off for a few weeks without giving a heads up on what the delay is?
Wouldn`t fly with me and I bet you might have a problem with it. I honor my commitments and schedule. That`s why they call it a schedule.
Someone doesn`t give me the respect that a customer requires and I`m done doing business with them. My customers recommend my work, communication and ethics.

The point is, stuff happens even to the most dedicated artists and craftsmen and that is unavoidable but to leave someone in the dark is inexcusable.

I can`t see any reason to accept that behavior.

Bill
It's custom work. If you need it done by a certain time, you're taking a chance. Especially if you don't communicate that in the beginning. I'm sorry but if you get quoted 4 weeks and you're go ballistic at 5, you're going to get an ulcer 99% of the time. I'm not saying it's right but it is reality.



I honor my commitments and schedule. That`s why they call it a schedule.
That's great when everything goes according to plan. Then life happens, as it always does.
 

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You are doing what you can, you are relating your experience. I would tell your story on every site that is relevant to custom stocks. You're being jerked around and you are the customer. If you are promised a delivery time, then that's when you should expect it.
 

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Craig.
You missed my point entirely. Guess I shouldn`t have given the scenario to lighten the mood.

Communication. That was all that was needed. The OP did nothing wrong other than wanting a bit of communication. I wouldn`t go as far as to call his actions ballistic.

I run a large collision shop and I call my customers twice a week. If I don`t then they stop liking me. That is for fairly quick turnaround work.
Customers are always welcome in my shop during repairs and I establish a repore for future work that way. Nothing secretive.
Nothing should be different for longer spans of time. I treat my customers as I would want to be treated.
I`m certain you would be pleased doing business with my company.

Bill
 

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I agree with both sides of this discussion. I think if you've been around this game for a while you know that the bigger name guys simply take longer than promised. For many reasons I suspect. I wish they'd be more realistic in their estimates but at the same time agree with the idea that if you are in a rush (for a special occasion or simply anxious) then you will be disappointed 95% of the time. If the smiths won't start setting more realistic expectations the customer needs to set their own if they are going to avoid ulcers as CraigC wisely stated above.
 

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I was in business for several decades and keeping your clients informed is critical.Stuff happens,materials get delayed,you have more work than you can handle,etc.Stalling and lying to them is just dumb.
 

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I run a large collision shop.....
Are you the only one working in your "large collision shop"? Do you have people to answer phone calls? Emails? Do you have a receptionist to take payments, pay the bills and order supplies? Do you have a bunch of guys working on cars while you're making calls?

Now imagine you're the only one running the shop, who has to order supplies, process payments, process orders, talk to customers on the phone (while you're trying to get someone else's order done!), answer emails AND do the actual work. Can you type emails while you're doing body work? Talk on the phone while you're pounding out a dent? Do you think you'd ever get your head above water? If you were going to cut yourself some slack somewhere, where do you think you'd start?

Besides, people typically need their car back yesterday. Revolver work is usually a little less urgent.

Case in point. In 2013, I had a customer place what was for me a relatively large order. A cartridge belt, two cartridge slides and four holsters. After a bit, I realized I was spending as much time responding to emails, answering his questions, doing research and helping him make up his mind than it was going to take to actually make the stuff. Which basically cuts my already dismal hourly rate in half, or less. I had to just stop answering his emails until I could get his rig done. No way around it. This is a part-time, after-hours venture for me anyway, so it's not like I'm cranking out several holsters a day. Couple weeks go by, his rig is 75% completed and he cancels the order. Not only was I out the many hours spent communicating but the hours spent at the work bench, materials and the cost of several ugly conchos he wanted. All while I was right smack in the middle of a home construction project that took way more of my time than I expected. Sometimes supplies come into short supply without warning. Sometimes folks like my cartridge conversion guy have unforeseen health problems. So yeah, you might understand how difficult it is to estimate lead time and answer every email from every impatient customer AND get the job done.

My advice to the OP, leave him alone and let him do his job. I assure you, he doesn't want to keep your gun any longer than he has to and I'm sure he doesn't need a daily reminder of what is yet on his plate. You're going to do what I did with one of my custom Rugers. I got so worked up because the gripmaker took way more time than he estimated and it ruined the whole thing for me. Hindsight, I should've taken the advice I'm giving you here. Relax, be patient, you'll have a more harmonious outcome.
 

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Ha, ha I have to laugh. I have spent several decades on both sides of this fence. Much, much longer and under pressure to deliver than ever asking to get my chit back.

Couple of thoughts...if you want something now, as in NOW. Got to ebay, the gun forums or else where and just buy it. If you want something special, find a maker who's work you like and wait. Sometimes for years...

I've had very few people ever cancel projects. Forget about them sure...even die while waiting on delivery, but seldom cancel. If a guy making it can't be bothered communicating with me and ALL MY desires then I either learn to work with him or find someone else I can. Case in point I can imagine the conversation similar to the one posted previous. But the project was $12K total. Some of it got screwed up which the communication several times over was exactly so it wouldn't get screwed up! I could have easily raised some hell but eventually decided it wasn't worth the effort. Took some real soul searching to get there how ever. This from a guy who might well have flown cross country and given you a beat down for fooking up a 12K$ project and telling me to pound sand even just a few years ago.

I like the end result but it is only 80% of what the project could have been. At some point I fix the rest of it....at my cost and to the tune of several $1000 more dollars.

Anyway...all it takes is some communication on both sides. Even real explanations/excuses get old it you are the one waiting. I finally gave up taking deposits just for that reason. You got in my queue by having a project here in the shop. I fronted the parts and labor. You paid when the project was finished. Solved some but not all the problems. Frankly most of the "problems" were me simply being human.

Bottom line for me on custom stuff? And almost everything I own is "custom" in one way or another now, custom cars, custom boots, hand made saddles and guns. If it is "custom" you really don't NEED it, you just want it. No amount of money is gonna get you what you want "right now". Likely not worth having if you can IMO. Sit your ass down and wait. But then I also have no problem asking "are we there yet" with the guys I find a little flakey or just an unproven track record. The guys I trust? No need to ask then anything and they get paid prior to delivery if I can. As said previous, no one wants to keep your chit longer than required to get the job done. And no one wants to have a project finished that the new owner detests because of the soured relationship with the maker. Not good for the customer and not good for the maker long term.
 

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No Craig. I have nine employees. Have to watch every one of them like a hawk.

I come in at 5:30 AM, never take lunch and leave around 6 PM. I paint big model airplanes and Harleys for a hobby and still make time to restore an old prewar Ford each year. I`m 61 years old and it`s getting tougher to keep the pace.Haven`t taken a week of vacation in 20 years.
Still have to keep the wife happy too.

Know why I spend that much time at my workplace?
Because that is what it takes to do everything necessary for the success of this business I`ve CHOSEN.
If a business owner can`t perform the work, including the steps required to keep customers informed of delays or issues, then they should quit.
Obviously the work/job isn`t important enough to devote the time necessary to make it viable. I`ve yet to figure out how to have a check sent to my house without performing a service for someone else.

I have no pity for someone that lets a customer down just because they don`t have time for that person.
Interacting with each customer, no matter how difficult, is part of the job. I`ve had the tough ones. I just accept them as a challenge I can overcome.

Any questions? Otherwise I`m done.
 
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