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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a question for all you custom builders out there. When you give a customer a time estimate for a frame, how hard do you try to stick to that timeline? Does a customer have a legitimate right to be annoyed if a frame takes twice as long is you told him it would? And does that same customer have a right to be even further annoyed if they find out you've been working other projects while their order is 90% complete? :mad:

Obviously I have a custom frame on order and it is way behind schedule. I've been told "it will be finished and shipped this week" three times now. Emails have been mostly ignored. I called and was told that he had been busy with other orders - ones I know came in after mine. :madman:

So tell me, what do I say to this builder? And as a builder what would your response be? :confused:
 

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I try to underpromise/overdeliver... when I can

First off, your situation sucks, and on behalf of framebuilders everywhere, I apologize.

That said, at this point there is probably nothing you can do except be patient and keep contacting the builder. Getting angry on the phone or via email probably won't speed the process as much as politeness and calling every day to check up (email is easy to ignore). Try to be reasonable, likable, and yet still annoying enough that your bike gets shifted to the front of the line.

Personally, I try to be very transparent about my wait times. I post a waitlist that I update a couple of times a week, I explain the situation if I have something delayed for whatever reason, and most importantly, I generally add 20% to the time I quote compared to how long I think it will actually take. I have certainly had projects take longer than I quoted, it happens, but I try to stay in communication and make sure the customer understands that I'm trying to get their frame done, but I bent my last chainstay wrong, or their fork is on backorder, or I got the flu. People are very understanding if you just tell them what's going on, I find.

I could probably get a few more customers by promising impossible things, but I'd really rather not go down that road.

-Walt

Rideroftrails said:
I have a question for all you custom builders out there. When you give a customer a time estimate for a frame, how hard do you try to stick to that timeline? Does a customer have a legitimate right to be annoyed if a frame takes twice as long is you told him it would? And does that same customer have a right to be even further annoyed if they find out you've been working other projects while their order is 90% complete? :mad:

Obviously I have a custom frame on order and it is way behind schedule. I've been told "it will be finished and shipped this week" three times now. Emails have been mostly ignored. I called and was told that he had been busy with other orders - ones I know came in after mine. :madman:

So tell me, what do I say to this builder? And as a builder what would your response be? :confused:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the response Walt. A friend of mine has one of your frames and had zero complaints about the process. His experience is what led me to order a custom frame myself. (Would have ordered through you but I was looking for ti.)

Yesterday was supposed to be the third deadline for shipping the frame. not sure if it when out because the builder absolutely sucks at communication. Going to be calling him later today to see what's going on. I'm just afraid of annoying him and dealing with a rushed job or further delays out of spite. Sort of like pissing off a waitress - you're gonna end up with spit on your burger.
 

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Rideroftrails said:
I have a question for all you custom builders out there. When you give a customer a time estimate for a frame, how hard do you try to stick to that timeline? Does a customer have a legitimate right to be annoyed if a frame takes twice as long is you told him it would? And does that same customer have a right to be even further annoyed if they find out you've been working other projects while their order is 90% complete? :mad:

Obviously I have a custom frame on order and it is way behind schedule. I've been told "it will be finished and shipped this week" three times now. Emails have been mostly ignored. I called and was told that he had been busy with other orders - ones I know came in after mine. :madman:

So tell me, what do I say to this builder? And as a builder what would your response be? :confused:
Fabricating is a business. Bicycles just happen t be built for fun which is why most here are passionate about them. If the builder is delaying delivery ask what is the hold up. Perhaps they do not have all the components or tubes finishing the build but that is just speculation. Regardless what ever the reasoning builder should be honest and up front about any delays. Leading one on is just not good business. At some point and time you will need to call the builder out and have the frame by X date or you will require a refund. Some would argue that this is unfair and they already bought material. I agree that it sucks, however you had a contract for a delivery date with a frame ordered. If the schedule slips to the right and they are honest with you then OK fine give them more time. If they keep telling you just another week you need to draw the line.

I had one guy wait for 3 years for a frame promised inside of 10 months. That was just bad business there.

Hopefully I will not have to deal with this Walt guy. From what I heard he seems to deliver on time or ahead of schedule and does great work from a few of the frames I've seen. I would not know what to do in such a situation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I think you misread the thread Crux. Walt is not the guy building my frame. The troubles I am having are with another builder.

I am way past the point of demanding a refund. The last pictures I saw of the frame (3 weeks ago) show that it was mostly complete. Starting over with another builder isn't really an option because I would be at the back of the line again. I just want this dude to finish what he started before he spends time on other projects. a little honesty and communication would be nice as well. makes me worried about what will happen if i ever need to send the frame back for repairs or modifications.
 

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Rideroftrails said:
I think you misread the thread Crux. Walt is not the guy building my frame. The troubles I am having are with another builder.
Nope I understood correctly. Last few lines was just another failed attempt at humor on the forums through the keyboard. If you re-read what I said Walt delivers on time or ahead of schedule. If your builder was doing this we would have a ride thread of you enjoying your new bike rather than a "What would you do" thread.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
got you. my was response was written halfway through my first coffee. not sure my builder is even on MTBR.

I'm trying not to let these delays bother me too much. Most of the trails in my area aren't even ride-able anyway. It's just the principle of the whole thing. at this point i would take a clumsy excuse over a complete lack of communication.
 

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At this point you no longer feel good about things with this build. I recommend you try to get your money back and walk away. Life is too short to deal with BS. If you are not satisfied at this point it is best to walk away as early as possible.

Did you pay the full amount ahead of time?
Did you use a credit card?

If you put down a deposit with your credit card simply call your card company and tell them you want out of the deal.

Next time around go with someone else.
 

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Of course, it's a bummer when these kinds of things happen, and it's unfortunate of his lack of communication.

However, at this point, the delays are speculation. The delay could simply be that he's waiting for some small parts (brake line holders, special head tube badge, dropout components, etc.) from a vendor. That's why he's able to work on other projects while yours just sits. I think it's doubtful that he's intentionally putting your frame on hold while he works on others.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I would be fine with those delays if he would inform me about them. Instead I get half-answer questions or no response at all. "It will ship by the end of this week" has been said to me three times now. If i lived closer I would show up with a pizza and 6-pack and sit in this driveway until I got some answers.

Sorry for the long series of rants and venting on my part. Needed an outlet. It will arrive eventually - and probably before the snow melts. I'm just impatient i guess.
 

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Rideroftrails said:
Thanks for the response Walt. A friend of mine has one of your frames and had zero complaints about the process. His experience is what led me to order a custom frame myself. (Would have ordered through you but I was looking for ti.)

Yesterday was supposed to be the third deadline for shipping the frame. not sure if it when out because the builder absolutely sucks at communication. Going to be calling him later today to see what's going on. I'm just afraid of annoying him and dealing with a rushed job or further delays out of spite. Sort of like pissing off a waitress - you're gonna end up with spit on your burger.
Unless he is shipping via USPS it will not have gone out on a Saturday.

And many builders have learned not to answer the phone outside of business hours (right, Walt?), so probably better to wait until tomorrow morning to call.
 

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Ha!

Yes, I did learn something about answering the phone late at night to answer questions about water bottle bosses!

What a strange, strange day that was.

-Walt

shiggy said:
Unless he is shipping via USPS it will not have gone out on a Saturday.

And many builders have learned not to answer the phone outside of business hours (right, Walt?), so probably better to wait until tomorrow morning to call.
 

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shiggy said:
Unless he is shipping via USPS it will not have gone out on a Saturday.

And many builders have learned not to answer the phone outside of business hours (right, Walt?), so probably better to wait until tomorrow morning to call.
Doh! I just realized today is Saturday, not Sunday
 

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Rideroftrails said:
I would be fine with those delays if he would inform me about them. Instead I get half-answer questions or no response at all. "It will ship by the end of this week" has been said to me three times now. If i lived closer I would show up with a pizza and 6-pack and sit in this driveway until I got some answers.

Sorry for the long series of rants and venting on my part. Needed an outlet. It will arrive eventually - and probably before the snow melts. I'm just impatient i guess.
No worries it seems as if all of have been in your shoes at some point and time in our lives. I'm waiting on X and it is X days late. Venting is fine, but I think that you also deserve a little communication in the process. Without communication then your left with limited choices. The 3 year wait on a recent frame for a friend of mine was way out of line, it was not until we asked for a refund that the frame started moving forward.
 
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