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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi T-shirt Forum Members,

I just encountered a difficult and cheap customer and want to share with you my experience.

This customer wants a 6 pieces of shirts (2 Mens tee, 1 Ladies Tee, 1 Lady Tanks, 2 youth tees) and all of them are personalized order. It is 1 inch graphics that I have to create a 11 inches version for the shirt, and I did not charge an artwork fee. By the way this is a friend of a friend who is a good client, so I gave them a BIG discount and since I want to promote the quality of my products, I gave it to them with a tiny profit.

So I placed an order to the t-shirt vendor and it turned out that the color for the adult t-shirt is not available but they have the one closest to that shade. I looked at the color and it's very slight difference. So I told this client about the color availability. Then the client said, since we are not getting the color we want, can you give me a discount?

I told them that I did already give them a big discount in the beginning, and the availability of the t-shirt is beyond my control since the vendor will only tell me once I placed the order if it is in stock or not. That's why I am informing you that these are the only available colors and it's for you to decided if you want it or not.

Then they still insist that they deserve a discount!

So I just told them if they still want to continue with the order or not, and they did.

This is a good lesson for me and perhaps for other start-up businesses.

Thank you for reading my story. I will appreciate if you can give me comment or advice, or share your own story.
 

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My best advice would have been to not have given the big discount on such a small order. You don't have to giveaway your services for free to promote your quality. Part of your perceived quality can also be tied to the prices you charge for your services.
 

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I agree with Rodney. People will try to get everything for free if they can and I made up my mind I can sit and talk on the computer or watch tv for free with no work and no complaints rather than try to please a customer that is not able to be pleased. Charge what you are worth and remember what Jerry always said "Profit is NOT a dirty word" :)
 

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I agree with Rodney too. But congratulations on sticking to your guns when they wanted even more.
 

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I understand why you gave a discount to this customer. Sometimes, even when it's against our general policy to do that, we have reasons why we do it.

One thing I do, if I give a discount, is show it clearly on the invoice. I create the invoice at what the regular price would be, and then place the discounts at the bottom.

Usually for me, this will be waiving a rush charge, or an art-work charge.

I just like to make sure the customer knows I'm giving them a discount. I think it's important especially if you think this customer will be a repeat customer -- so than when they place their next order, and you charge your regular price, they don't think your prices have gone up. If they say for example, "I didn't have to pay a rush charge last time", I can respond with "that was an introductory offer, as stated on your invoice".
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you for all your input, it is good reinforcement. I followed Michele's advice for showing the regular price against discount, that is a great way to show that you gave a good deal and at the same time have control over the next purchase using regular price. I love this forum! Thanks to all!
 

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Michelle was right...and in a similar vein....I never, ever give discounts to schools, charities etc....but I tell them I will give 10% or 15%...depending on size of order...back to them in cash after payment... I can then take credit for contribution on tax return...this is according to my tax guy...and he has not got me in trouble yet!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Michelle was right...and in a similar vein....I never, ever give discounts to schools, charities etc....but I tell them I will give 10% or 15%...depending on size of order...back to them in cash after payment... I can then take credit for contribution on tax return...this is according to my tax guy...and he has not got me in trouble yet!
Thank you Charles, another bright idea! But how do you declare it in the tax? Can you site and example like if they purchase items worth $1,000 and you gave them a 10% discount cash after payment... then?
 

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For this to work you must get a reciept for charitable donations signed by a registered non profit. I just went thru this on an audit and if I did not have reciepts, and they were not a registered non profit, it was no go with the IRS. I found that my tax guy had given me some advice that was not accurate when doing an audit. So I would just make sure the paper trail for these deductions are covered.
 

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I have a very simple pricing policy Teresa. I have my prices openly displayed and stick rigidly to them. The prices are totally transparent and there for all to see. Nobody ends up paying more than anyone else does.

If someone wants a discount, they can shut the door behind them on the way out. I have no intention of being the busy fool that lets others dictate my prices, nor do I have any intention of slogging away for little money. That's not what I went into business for.

I get my repeat customers by offering quality goods and providing great customer service. I wouldn't want it any other way.
 

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Well said Will, it's always best to stick to your prices, let someone else deal with the discount customers, they are usually the worst to deal with, things are more likely to go wrong and they give the biggest headaches!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Well said Will, it's always best to stick to your prices, let someone else deal with the discount customers, they are usually the worst to deal with, things are more likely to go wrong and they give the biggest headaches!
I do agree! Another client I encounter is they want a 100 pcs personalized tote with front and back imprint, but using different designs so it's two screens. I gave them a good price, the standard price that other product promotions company give. They said those type of totes worth only $99 cents each at the grocery store! Then I have to explain that those big groceries like Vons, Albertsons, Walmart did a volume orders not just a hundred pieces.

After 1 week they called me again if I can give it to them for 99 cents each no setup fee, 2 locations, 2 different designs for 100 pcs. and they want the tote to come in assorted colors like 10 blue, 10 red, 10 white, etc.

So what will be my response for this my fellow t-shirt forum members?
 

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I do agree! Another client I encounter is they want a 100 pcs personalized tote with front and back imprint, but using different designs so it's two screens. I gave them a good price, the standard price that other product promotions company give. They said those type of totes worth only $99 cents each at the grocery store! Then I have to explain that those big groceries like Vons, Albertsons, Walmart did a volume orders not just a hundred pieces.

After 1 week they called me again if I can give it to them for 99 cents each no setup fee, 2 locations, 2 different designs for 100 pcs. and they want the tote to come in assorted colors like 10 blue, 10 red, 10 white, etc.

So what will be my response for this my fellow t-shirt forum members?
"yes of course, if you order 100k pieces."

Don't fall for those type of customers. Your competitors won't do it (which the customer already knows and is pushing you around), why should you?
 

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Tell them you are too busy to fit in a small order that won't make any profit and there is no point doing it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Any tips on a civil way to tell your customers that will create an impact on them to realize that their demands are impossible?

Do you have a famous line to your customers that challenges them and made them buy your product on the price you set? Car dealers are good at these, but with regards to t-shirt printing entrepreneurs, what do you say to them?
 

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What a great Question!

I would love to hear what works. I do sublimation which makes selling shirts for $13.00 sometimes impossible. I just sold 16 shirts to a hockey team the other day that took over a month for them to finally come back. My strengths were no screen fees and no extra charge for extra colors but it wasn't until he shopped all over that he came back to me. They love the shirts and now are ordering long sleeves and water bottles. I wish I had the skills to have sold him the first time around.
 

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I do agree! Another client I encounter is they want a 100 pcs personalized tote with front and back imprint, but using different designs so it's two screens. I gave them a good price, the standard price that other product promotions company give. They said those type of totes worth only $99 cents each at the grocery store! Then I have to explain that those big groceries like Vons, Albertsons, Walmart did a volume orders not just a hundred pieces.

After 1 week they called me again if I can give it to them for 99 cents each no setup fee, 2 locations, 2 different designs for 100 pcs. and they want the tote to come in assorted colors like 10 blue, 10 red, 10 white, etc.

So what will be my response for this my fellow t-shirt forum members?
I would simply tell them no. It's not incumbent upon me to explain or apoligize for my pricing. The price is the price, and the customer can choose to purchase from me or not. When a customer tells me that they can get it a X price someplace else, I usually say "well, that's a really great price...if I were you, I would go there".

Acutally, I would not want this customer to order from me. Customers who want something for nothing will usually find fault no matter what.
 

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What a great Question!

I would love to hear what works. I do sublimation which makes selling shirts for $13.00 sometimes impossible. I just sold 16 shirts to a hockey team the other day that took over a month for them to finally come back. My strengths were no screen fees and no extra charge for extra colors but it wasn't until he shopped all over that he came back to me. They love the shirts and now are ordering long sleeves and water bottles. I wish I had the skills to have sold him the first time around.
Those are exactly the kinds of situations that will help you develop those skills, so be patient with yourself. The fact that you realized that you had an opportunity to upsell says that you will be more aware of that next time.
 

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Any tips on a civil way to tell your customers that will create an impact on them to realize that their demands are impossible?

Do you have a famous line to your customers that challenges them and made them buy your product on the price you set? Car dealers are good at these, but with regards to t-shirt printing entrepreneurs, what do you say to them?
You could leave a baseball bat on your counter, with the words 'don't ask for a discount' printed on it. :) A more sedate approach would be a big banner saying 'the price you see, is the price you pay - no hidden extras'.

Once you get a repuation as a 'soft touch' Teresa, you'll find everyone will come in demanding a discount. You only charged my friend $8.00 and you're trying to charge me $10.00 is the endless dialogue you would get. People will tell their friends not to pay the prices you ask, as you'll always go cheaper. Go down that route and you eventually wouldn't have a business to worry about.
 
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