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Thread: Holy train wreck

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    Default Re: Holy train wreck

    more unholy than holy atmo...

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    Default Re: Holy train wreck

    Didn't seem that over the top, but a couple of thoughts:

    1) The customer only tried to email the builder? I think picking up the phone would be called for. Too many variables outside of everyone's control...spam filters, misaddressed email, etc.
    2) 3 month turnaround on a custom frame? Customer should consider himself lucky...a handmade thing is a handmade thing, and a reasonable person would recognize that and adjust expectations accordingly.
    3) A better approach might have been "Looking for experiences with __________ builder" and an invitation to take discussion to email or PM. I think the customer jumped the gun a bit.

    On the internet, you're only as good as your last unhappy customer says you are.

    Pete

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    Default Re: Holy train wreck

    Unholy is correct...I think Kirk was bold and correct in saying the builder could be called out if they are particularly at fault. The email response to the customer refered to on page 4 or 5 is unreal...bringing down the image of framebuilders to that of back alley car repair outfits. What a cluster fcuk.

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    Default Re: Holy train wreck

    There's good advice for us wannabes in that thread.
    Eric Doswell, aka Edoz
    Summoner of Crickets
    http://edozbicycles.wordpress.com/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/edozbicycles/
    In Before the Lock

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    Default Re: Holy train wreck

    I have a related question for you guys.

    In my investment business there have been a few guys I have refused to do business with after meeting them or learning something about them. Do any of you ever steer framebuilding clients away for the same reason? Some clients you can just tell are difficult people to work with even when all expectations are met.
    Last edited by Jonathan; 04-27-2011 at 08:37 AM. Reason: damn eyephone

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    Default Re: Holy train wreck

    I like the post by 11.4, otherwise it just made me feel anxious.

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    Default Re: Holy train wreck

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan View Post
    I have a related question for you guys.

    In my investment business there have been a few guys I have refused to to business with after meeting them or learning something about them. Do any of you ever steer framebuilding clients away for the same reason? Some clients you can just tell are difficult people to work with even when all expectations are met.
    I would like to say that I think the linked thread seemed rather civil considered how bad some threads on the interweb can become. David was a voice of reason from one perspective and there where many voices of reason from a customer point of view. All in all I thought it was good.

    Here are 2 examples of how I have dealt with a "situation".

    1) I had a customer order a bicycle and was very excited (almost too excited). One week later after a week of constant e-mails and phone calls he ordered a 2nd because he could not have all the options packed into one so he ordered a 2nd. one week after this the e-mails and phone calls just kept coming and coming and coming. All the while it is still one year from time to make these bikes. I told him he needed to stop e-mailing me until 3 months before the build and if he sent me anything before then I would not reply. I hesitated to even say this but it was a last resort before returning the deposits. He did not like that reply and maybe 2 days later I told him we were done and the deposits would be returned that day. I did not regret that decision for even one second. Both of these bikes were upwards of $6000 bikes and I probably still saved money from the returns.

    2) There was a time when I would allow people to send me parts that would be used in the build (i.e. carbon fork to get painted). The customer told me he shipped a fork and I would receive it at the end of the week. Keep in mind this was 5 months before the bike is getting built. This was a week I was actually away and knew the fork should be at the shop the day I returned. Needless to say the fork never arrived and since I put the file on the back burner before receiving the fork I dropped the ball. Around the time of expected delivery I got a REALLY harsh e-mail saying I was a fraud and he wanted a return. I was instantly confused and searched through my e-mails to find the last e-mail him saying he shipped the fork and me saying ok I will tell you it arrived OK. That was 4 months earlier. Absolutely no contact from him saying, no fork, how is it going, is my bike getting done, etc, etc. I apologized over and over but not before sending a return of deposit without any hesitation. I knew it was a fault from both sides but the truth is I was the error and needed to make good. He still seemed to want to insult me and blame me but I felt I had done the right thing and honestly thought it might have been a sale that wanted a cancellation and return of deposit which is something I don't do. In the end I learned to not offer the option of someone sending me a fork.

    I guess the answer is yes I often tell someone I am not the person to build your bike. It is just how it works. Both parties need to be on the same page (which is the builders page). Sounds harsh but they are calling you because they like your product. Any conversation that starts with a comparison of another builder I stop them and ask why they are not talking with that person.

    My $.02

    -Drew
    Drew Guldalian
    Engin Cycles
    www.engincycles.com

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    Default Re: Holy train wreck

    Good for you you Drew. I've never seen it said but I think we are at an advantage because we've run other businesses. I imagine it's hard for a lot of guys to resist a client when trying to start the order book.

    The thread is civil, and it looks like the builder in question is deserving of the treatment. The knife cuts both ways though and not everyone who posts on the forums as customers are so squeaky clean.

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    Default Re: Holy train wreck

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan View Post
    I have a related question for you guys.

    In my investment business there have been a few guys I have refused to do business with after meeting them or learning something about them. Do any of you ever steer framebuilding clients away for the same reason? Some clients you can just tell are difficult people to work with even when all expectations are met.
    I do, it's best if you can spot them before they ever make a deposit but that doesn't always happen. If I spot them in advance I refer them to Erik at Alliance :) if they get past my radar and things are going afoul I send back their money as fast as I can and apologize that it's not working out.
    Carl Strong
    Strong Frames Inc.
    www.strongframes.com

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    Default Re: Holy train wreck

    Like Drew, I have had similar experiences where what the customer ended up wanting just wasn't a good fit with what I do and I returned their deposit and/or recommended another builder. It's always tough to turn away work, but at the end of the day, you want to be happy and you want your customer to be happy and sometimes that means parting company.

    I have to say though that threads that complain about builders being late sometimes concern me a little. In the case the OP posted, the criticism seems perhaps understandable, however, I know from experience that it can sometimes be hard to stay on schedule. In my case, certain material suppliers have been WAY behind schedule, which puts me behind schedule...and its not possible to quickly "catch up" when the stuff finally does arrive. In addition, even small changes in an order can sometimes be big time sinks......stretching out that build and creating an accordion effect for those behind it. It's not uncommon for folks to add things like polished lugs, carvings, elaborate paint, or etc at the last minute, or after initially ordering a more "generic" bike and those types of details can add DAYS to the build time. I try to account for as much of this as I can when telling people what my approximate wait time is, but building custom stuff is not an exact science, especially when you offer one off stuff and time consuming details, and there needs to be some understanding and flexibility involved IMO.

    Dave
    Dave Anderson
    Anderson Custom Bicycles
    www.andersoncustombicycles.com
    ACB on Facebook
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    Default Re: Holy train wreck

    Quote Originally Posted by Carl S View Post
    If I spot them in advance I refer them to Erik at Alliance :)
    Not funny dude!!!!!!!!!







    Ok it was kinda funny, but now you owe me five beers. Real beers this time boyo!
    Erik Rolf
    Ketchum, ID
    Visit the website @ http://www.alliancebicycles.com

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    Default Re: Holy train wreck

    The outed builder is in Bozeman. That makes 3 so far, are there any more builders there? I'm wondering if Bozeman gives Portland a run for it's money on builders per capita. I think either Dave or Carl needs to get some tats and the other needs to start growing a ZZ Top beard. Skinny pants all around.
    Eric Doswell, aka Edoz
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    In Before the Lock

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    Default Re: Holy train wreck

    It looks like the thread is now closed. After many hostile comments it looks like the story could have been misconstructed by the client. I'd have liked to see the other side of the story come out. It's a shame the Serottta mods closed it down. The builder may have been railroaded.

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    Default Re: Holy train wreck

    all i could think while reading that thread was "i could be watching midgets wrestle on you tube and i'm looking at THIS?"

    what a waste of bandwidth - and it goes on for at least 15 pages
    Steve Hampsten
    www.hampsten.blogspot.com
    “These are my principles. If you don’t like them, I have others.”

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    Default Re: Holy train wreck

    hampco hit it on the head.
    I mean really, it has been like 16 pages of " if I were you", " dude that deserves an outing" and everyone else telling him what to do Not much more than Monday morning quaterbacks....
    Lets look at it this way: first off, it is on that forum. And after a few years of observation and PERSONAL experience ,I find it to be mostly a bully pulpit.
    Second: do we really know all the "facts" ? All we know is what the OP posted. We are going on that.
    Third: the framebuilder in question has not responded. We have no idea what those two relationship is. This is all speculation.
    I take an issue with people running onto forums and talking smack. It can make someones good reputation fall faster than a free fall building.
    Now this guy has more than just one upset customer, but a shitload of people who thinks he is not a good person, a scam artist, a poor communicator, and so on....
    It seems like in this industry, in this internet world, you can make a 100 awesome bikes, but nothing but the "bad" or "controversial " ones are discussed. That, my friends, is the shame in this thread.
    I know all it takes is a quick or fast e-mail or phone call, but really, realistically, not all of us can do that. I try, but I can still fall short. I already work all day, most of the time nine to nine... I get a lot of visitors, emails, phone calls, walk ins, I fix things for the building I rent in,and sometimes the kids in the hood need a bolt tightend.... I veiw this as more of a service, but the right thing to do, and makes our PROFESSION look better all around.
    And Please, I dont need to hear about locking my doors, turning off my phone or any of that. Thank you.
    Now, they really dont know what is going on, I just hope it all works out.
    noren

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    Default Re: Holy train wreck

    Quote Originally Posted by liberacefanboy View Post
    hampco hit it on the head.
    I mean really, it has been like 16 pages of " if I were you", " dude that deserves an outing" and everyone else telling him what to do Not much more than Monday morning quaterbacks....
    Lets look at it this way: first off, it is on that forum. And after a few years of observation and PERSONAL experience ,I find it to be mostly a bully pulpit.
    Second: do we really know all the "facts" ? All we know is what the OP posted. We are going on that.
    Third: the framebuilder in question has not responded. We have no idea what those two relationship is. This is all speculation.
    I take an issue with people running onto forums and talking smack. It can make someones good reputation fall faster than a free fall building.
    Now this guy has more than just one upset customer, but a shitload of people who thinks he is not a good person, a scam artist, a poor communicator, and so on....
    It seems like in this industry, in this internet world, you can make a 100 awesome bikes, but nothing but the "bad" or "controversial " ones are discussed. That, my friends, is the shame in this thread.
    I know all it takes is a quick or fast e-mail or phone call, but really, realistically, not all of us can do that. I try, but I can still fall short. I already work all day, most of the time nine to nine... I get a lot of visitors, emails, phone calls, walk ins, I fix things for the building I rent in,and sometimes the kids in the hood need a bolt tightend.... I veiw this as more of a service, but the right thing to do, and makes our PROFESSION look better all around.
    And Please, I dont need to hear about locking my doors, turning off my phone or any of that. Thank you.
    Now, they really dont know what is going on, I just hope it all works out.
    noren
    (insert man-hug)

    well said, noren
    Steve Hampsten
    www.hampsten.blogspot.com
    “These are my principles. If you don’t like them, I have others.”

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    Default Re: Holy train wreck

    EN nails it down. Judge-Jury-Executioner all rolled together over there.
    Anybody know that guy? Is he OK? Any big calamities or did he just over promise?
    You never know what will happen, since I have been building I've been run over, poisened by bee pollen {flatlined, yo.} had emergency surgery, the flu ??? times, lost friends, family, had several family members get cancer - holy shit!
    Can any one out there plese crystal ball their next few years for me, please? Accuracy a must, down to the week..........

    NOW - this is no excuse for not calling people back. That is very important. How else would you make a living?
    You can get in over your head, fast - a big lesson for newbies.

    Clients: We {full time F'builders} spend waaaaayyyyyyy too much time doing bench work - part of the deal.
    I can't awnser - or even hear - the phone.
    My clients know right away that to get ahold of me either call before 10am or send me an e-mail because I'm bunkering in to metalwork.
    ........Not that hard of an idea to get across to clients. Office hours are ******* shop hours are ****** and I will not be around the phone, nor will I be chained to the bench or the computer or a phone outside of what would be considered "normal buisness hours" or weekends or holidays - which usually find me..........working.

    It's been a quick ride from stapled flyers to the internet. - Garro.
    Steve Garro, Coconino Cycles.
    Frames & Bicycles built to measure and Custom wheels
    Hecho en Flagstaff, Arizona desde 2003
    www.coconinocycles.com
    www.coconinocycles.blogspot.com

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    Default Re: Holy train wreck

    I don't know the particular dates but as I recall -

    * The client was told the bike was built and ready to be shipped and he needed to send the balance due before it could ship.
    * The client sent payment in full and was told the bike would be shipped right away.
    * A few weeks passed and the bike didn't show up and the builder did not return calls or emails.
    * The builder doesn't ship the bike as promised but instead brings it to the San Diego show to exhibit without the clients knowledge or permission.
    * The client finally gets the builder on the phone after the SD show and was told the bike just shipped and that the builder will email the tracking number later.
    * The email and tracking number never show arrive and the client once again gets the builder on the phone and the builder cops to not having actually shipped it like he said he had and tells the client he'll get it right out.
    * Bike never arrives and client asks for refund and builder refuses. The builder is rude and swears at the client and calls him names and finally threatens bodily harm and a lawsuit if he goes online and talks in a disrespectful way of the builder.
    * The client had paid for the frameset in full over 2 months ago and still no bike.

    At this point the builder may have shipped the bike but there is no way for me to know. If I am wrong in any of the above I apologize as I'm working off memory of what I read in the thread. I have met the client on one occasion but have never done business with him. He seems like a straight up guy. I do not know the builder and have never met him. Because the client has met me he sent me some of what the builder wrote to him without telling me who the builder was and he was wanting my feedback. Frankly the tone and words used were shocking for a 'professional' relationship. I did not ask to be included in this and did not know the emails were coming and did not ask for them to be sent to me.

    What is clear to me is that the builder told the client that he'd sent the bike and he did not and that it's been two months since he sent payment in full. The client is then threatened by the builder in a way that is at best unprofessional and at worst illegal.

    The whole deal sucks for all involved anyway one cuts it. I hope the two of them work something out but at this point it seems unlikely.

    If either the client or the builder has issue with what I've written here and wants to correct me I'm more than open to that. This is just what I've read and been told. I would be very pleased to be shown I'm wrong and hope that the builder will speak his piece and give his side. There are always two sides.

    dave
    D. Kirk
    Kirk Frameworks Co.
    www.kirkframeworks.com


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    Default Re: Holy train wreck

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Kirk View Post
    If I am wrong in any of the above I apologize as I'm working off memory of what I read in the thread.
    i got a PM from the client, and i also spoke with the builder.
    i posted my POV on the thread, a good two days after it began -

    Serotta Competition Bicycle Forums - Taylor Made Commuter

    you liked frame number one that you started a thread in november 2010? then you ordered another one in january 2011 - one that was completed and used at paul's display in san diego earlier this month (with your permission, i assume), and now it's not even may and you want advice? data point: i am not defending anyone or calling anyone out. but the frame, at this point, is hardly four weeks overdue. what is the rub? the follow up treatment might be a sidebar and have a life of its own. what's the back story with this such that a frame, ready for you in late february, and maybe not even usable in a montana winter (that's speculation from the peanut gallery) - the entire cycle from order to delivery can still be consummated in a three month turnaround. is there more to this?
    but - yeah.
    as of today, all the pictures of frame number one and the nice words attached to the gallery thread are edited out by the client. sometimes, or maybe even just once, the tables should be turned atmo.

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