Rick Beauregard wrote: ↑
Tue Feb 12, 2019 7:50 pm
I haven’t read through all the threads to see if this is covered, but let me ask you Steve: if one commissions a guitar are they generally obligated to buy it, or can they back out if they don’t like it? Is there a deposit required? Do they get it back? What’s the risk exactly?
Secondly, if someone commissions a guitar as long as its not too far out there, are there financial benefits to the buyer and seller? I.e. reduced marketing costs to the builder passed on as a lower price?
Depending on these answers, it may be well worth it, n’est pas?
Too many questions to answer intelligently. So I'll ramble a bit and hope it's helpful for someone.
If you could exactly identify the risk, it would not be a risk. It is a leap of faith for someone to order a guitar for the first time. It's quite exciting to think about them asking for their musical voice to be made for them by a luthier.
Here is what I would advise someone who orders a guitar.
They trust the luthier. That is important, and it has to work in the opposite direction as well.
The price is agreed upon in advance, along with the features.
Payment(s) for the guitar are scheduled and agreed upon.
Delivery arrangements are specified.
I've never had anyone ask for a deposit back. If they did, there would need to be a good reason, and I would need to address that. The realm of the unknown. I am obligated to do my best work no matter the circumstances. I expect the guitar to be loved or at least appreciated.
In my experience, no one has asked to return a commissioned guitar because it did not meet expectations. I don't have a firm policy on trial periods. Trust and intuition are my guides. If the guitar is not what they asked for, I would be obligated to give what they asked for. Customers were always taken by the instruments they commissioned. Now, I don't want customers to hide issues from me. I want the customer to be beyond happy. In cases where some issue crop up later, I do my best to understand and accommodate. If a guitar gets to the stage of being delivered, and something is not right as far as they are concerned, then I would fix the issue.
The buyer might not bond with the guitar. The buyer might, and then want more and have to work it out with their spouse. A different type of danger.
Nowadays, it seems that most of my commissions come from someone who has a guitar I built, and they get an idea for something different, or want to explore something about a new guitar. It's my passion to make what they want (and I want) in that case and it starts with discussion. That is low risk for everyone, unless they want something unusual that would be hard to sell. An 11 string guitar, a 10 string short scale guitar, a baritone... Those would be hard for me to eat and I get enough up front to cover my costs. They ordered it, they bought it. If it was substandard, I would not deliver it. 6 string classicals with normal scale length and spacing come with a warranty.
Risks are unpredictable, that is why they they are risks. There are rewards - musical.