At the beginning of every commission project I feel it is important to gain the confidence of the client and, as much as possible, put them at ease about the process. Most of the people I deal with know little about ironwork or the commission process.
Most of the projects I contract can be completed for less that $1,000.00. I’m not really into the business of larger architectural work which would typically run a lot more and in those cases I would work out a step by step approval and partial payment arrangement.
A lot of my projects contain elements, particularly botanical elements, which could be used in other projects so they are not stringently dedicated to a particular work. Therefore, quite often, I can tell the clients if they aren’t pleased with the end result, they don’t have to buy it. I’ll start over and we’ll get it right. I believe I can sell their intended work in another venue or I can salvage components to use elsewhere even it it’s just for a studio illustration model. That gives them a “no risk” entry point.
My best advertising comes from word of mouth recommendations from clients so I want them satisfied. So far, I haven’t had a client reject a piece of commissioned work.
There is a flip side to the “no risk” notion which occurs to me. When I make a new style something or a new type something there is a learning process and it may take several tries to get a design which I find really appealing. Along the way there are those prototype pieces which are good enough to put out for sale but only time will tell if they are popular and will sell for what I think they are worth. From time to time I look over what has been shown a couple of times and hasn’t sold. I can’t really know if it’s just not appealing or the price is too high so to gain further insight into the issue I’ll donate the work to one of the community charity auctions and see what it brings. For me that makes the process of developing new work a “no risk” deal. Either I can sell the piece or I can help raise money for worthy causes and I learn more about the art ironwork business all at the same time. There is no way to lose if the end result must be income or charitable donation and always the entertainment and enjoyment of creative work.