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Deposits For Custom Knives: Yes, No, Maybe? Part 1

Les Robertson Sep 9, 2018

  1. Les Robertson

    Les Robertson Guru of Steel Knife Maker or Craftsman

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    Deposits for Custom Knives: Yes, No, Maybe?

    The subject of whether to pay a custom knife maker or a custom knife dealer a deposit or not, comes up on a regular basis. What I have learned (sometimes the hard way) over the last 34 years comes down to these categories.

    COMMUNICATION

    I cannot over emphasize that when ordering a custom knife, communication is key. It is imperative that both the maker and the collector are on the same page as to the knife, the materials, estimated (note I wrote estimated) delivery time, price and when payment will be required. There needs to be clear communication when it comes to a deposit. Some makers will require one and some won’t. Often those who require one do so because they have been burned by a client in the past. The main reason for this is poor or no communication. My recommendation to both makers and collectors with regards to orders are pretty straight forward. The maker should contact the collector PRIOR TO STARTING the knife (not after it is built.) This allows both the maker and collector to discuss the knife one more time, especially if several months or years have passed. This lets the collector know the knife will be ready in a few weeks and payment will be do upon completion. This allows the maker to insure the email or phone number is still working and the shipping address is still accurate. This communication allows both parties to know exactly which knife is being built, when it will be completed and when payment will be due. While this sounds simple enough, you would be amazed at how many knives are built not knowing if the client still wants the knife, the email still works, etc.

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    blackmetal1181 likes this.
  2. crogers

    crogers Magnus advocatus diaboli Brigade Member

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    I don't want to put a deposit on a knife with a delivery date 2 or 3 years down the road. I don't mind a deposit before work begins, but not some ridiculous period of time.

    How about you add my name to your books, and when you're about ready to start work on MY knife, you request a deposit before you start the work. If I don't put up the deposit, drop my name and request a deposit from the next customer.

    That way, I'm not out of a deposit for a long time and you're not investing anything without a deposit. If you're that busy, your books should allow for a few customers that back out before the work starts.
     

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