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Allan Senefelder
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Location: Upstate NY
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PostPosted: Sun 10 Jul, 2011 6:57 am    Post subject: New Delivery Times         Reply with quote

The last time we were able/it was possible to raise our prices was back in January 2007 the better part of 5 years ago. Since then the economy has crapped out and stayed that way. We've endevored to roll with the punches and keep things together. We switched from an instock to a build to order model to make our reduced supply dollars work harder for us. This made for longer delivery times, so we offered customized sizing free of charge as compensation. Later we added a second part timer to keep things moving along. In the interviening 5 years the price of every single thing we use from boxes, to tape, to rivets, to electricity, to steel has gone up substantially. Additionally we now sell almost nothing at full price, almost everything requiring a perpetual state of sale to get it to move at all. We have no vehicle to recoup any of this. I've done some math of late and come to the realization that our work is valued at just over 40% less than it was 5 years ago. Something's got to change. Sacrificing quality is certainly not a possibility. Getting rid of my guys is not an option, I have a responsibility to them and they are needed to keep things moving along. When we last were able to adjust our prices it was a complete price package that reflected all costs including working 7 days a week 12-14 hour days as much as was necessary which is and has been pretty much all the time. The current pricing structure with its 40% slide in value over the last 5 years no longer covers this and is the only place where there is any real room to accomodate for the undervaluation of work.

Effective today I will not be working 7 days a week and the number of times days will be 14 hours long will be backed off slightly. I will no longer check out on my daughter when she is in the hospital to keep working as I did last month after she attempted suicide nor as I was planning to do in August when she has surgery. I will be cutting the odd day and hour or two short to leave the house ( something that literally does not happen unless work related and has not for some time ) on occasion. The highlights of my day have become what I eat and what I drink and the ensuant funcional alchoholism hasn't worked well with the ulcer i've developed and there is certainly no longer financial compensation for treating myself this way to get the job done. Maybe if we ever have an economy again there will be the ability to restructure prices to allow for the longer schedual I have worked for years but until such time I will be scaling back to make up the reduction in the only place it can be.

What this will mean for delivery timelines is they'll be a bit longer. How much? I don't know i'd always conceptualized hitting the bag this hard all the time and was proud to do it so i'd never envisioned working this way. We've never ripped anyone off in 14 years in business and won't be starting now but the best I can guess at this point is things will be done when they're done. Until I have a better feel for how the slight reduction in time will play to building I won't know more than that myself.

This is in no way an indictment of the consumer, the economy is what it is, you guys didn't make it this way nor did we. things simply are as they are.

I hope this does no move us into the " bad bsuiness " catagory expressed in this thread http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=23378 but at our current income/ value level with no room to change it somethings got to and is going to be done a bit different.
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Joe Fults




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PostPosted: Sun 10 Jul, 2011 12:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Good luck and I hope that somehow, some way, things go better for you, your family, and all of the people that rely on you.
"Our life is what our thoughts make it"
-Marcus Aurelius

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
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Michael B.
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Location: Chugiak, AK
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PostPosted: Sun 10 Jul, 2011 12:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for being up front with what's happening. Speaking from experience, going full throttle all the time is a sure way to burn out. I don't know how you've kept up the break neck speed these last couple years.

I admire the fact that you will not let quality slip, and the fact that you will not let your help go, decency goes far further than a sale in my book.

I can speak for my self here. I don't mind waiting for good things, and you have good things. In my mind, it's the customer's responsibility to find out from the maker how long the order would take on average, and calculate that in to their plan, and not complain when it goes slightly longer than told. This is life, and we're not getting something rolling off an assembly line, but rather a hand crafted item, made with a rare skill by someone who is passionate about what they do.

Please, enjoy your new free time, everyone needs it, and I'm glad you've found it.

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Michael Bergstrom
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Roger Hooper




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PostPosted: Sun 10 Jul, 2011 2:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It sounds like you were working yourself into an early grave. It's good that you took a step back and evaluated the situation and are taking some time to just live and relax a little.
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Jean Thibodeau




PostPosted: Sun 10 Jul, 2011 3:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If the stomach ulcers are more than just a figure of speech I would get it checked out because it's been know for a while that stomach ulcers are caused by a specific bacteria and a course of antibiotics can cure them.

As to longer wait times, I think that this is fine as long as you give realistic estimates or avoid making specific promises past a general ballpark figure. ( But you already know this and been just about the most conscientious maker out there that I know about treating the buyer the way you would want to be treated ).

Since you intend to maintain quality I don't think most of us mind a longer wait time and maybe since your business model has already shifted to " make to order " versus " an " off the shelf model " you might consider getting closer to true custom work at justifiably higher prices depending on what the client wants.

Glad you are still hanging on but also glad you are going to take care of yourself and family.

Will get back to you about that order I want to put in later this month after my creditcard billing period.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Ian S LaSpina




PostPosted: Sun 10 Jul, 2011 3:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Allan, I hope things reach a turning point in the near future for you. You know you have the support of a great deal of us here in the myArmoury community. You're in my thoughts.

Jean Thibodeau wrote:

Since you intend to maintain quality I don't think most of us mind a longer wait time and maybe since your business model has already shifted to " make to order " versus " an " off the shelf model " you might consider getting closer to true custom work at justifiably higher prices depending on what the client wants.


^^ This... I think considering a shift to a true custom armor workshop would be awesome. I have no idea how feasible it is, but upping the game there would really enable you to charge a great deal more for truly custom work. Perhaps working in media like spring steel (while upping production costs, also allows you to pull in more on the back end)? Offering high-end work might be worth considering. I'm confident many folks on here would be interested! The high-end custom armor market seems to be pretty exclusive right now.

-Ian

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Michael R. Black




PostPosted: Sun 10 Jul, 2011 8:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hope it is still okay to send a few things to you for a bit of refitting. I have been communicating with you for a few months about this but just have not gotten around to sending it to you. You had offered to do a little resizing for free, but maybe you could start charging a little for this service? It is something I would not mind paying a bit for.

As far as increased wait times-I agree with others who have already posted on the thread that as long as you are up front with customers about the wait time, it should not be a problem.

Maybe you could up the prices a bit on some of the items? I love the sales and contests you have done to perk business, but would probably still buy on a semi-regular basis even without this.

Michael
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Stephen Curtin




PostPosted: Mon 11 Jul, 2011 2:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm very sorry to hear of the professional and personal troubles you've been having Allan, and I hope that things will pick up soon. Seems to me as though a price increase has been a long coming, and if you decide to move wholely into commitioned custom work then I'll look forward to see what comes out of your shop in the future.
Éirinn go Brách
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Christopher Finneman




Location: Sartell Minnesota
Joined: 20 Mar 2006

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PostPosted: Mon 11 Jul, 2011 1:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I can say without a doubt and probably can speak on others half that I doubt you'll go into bad buisness catagory.
We all know your reputation is beyond excellent and your quality of your armor is that as well.
If you need to take a breather or just some time we will all understand. A human body can handle so much till its time to rest for a bit. Hell even if you did this part time Im sure alot of us will still do business with you. Your one of the rare armorers who have always stood by answered questions helped us all out and stayed well beyond what we all think as honorable and loyal.
You have alot of devoted fans here Allan and if you want to slow down go right ahead.
Yur a great armourer and great friend. But remeber family and personal things come first.

Proudly it stands until the worlds end. The victorious banner of love.
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Allan Senefelder
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Location: Upstate NY
Joined: 18 Oct 2003

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PostPosted: Mon 11 Jul, 2011 1:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I appreciate the sentiments expressed very much. I will still be working 6 days a week and more often than not 12-14 hours a day, just not always, as financially its no longer viable with our current 5 year old pricing. When/if we ever have an economy again and the possibility arises to move prices to a realm to reflect the half a decade of increased costs and labor demands I would happily return to the old work schedual i've worked for years. I'm working right now, my part timers will be here for thier regular work hours this week, but I will be taking a day a week and a few hours here and there as the only viable method to align what our work is now worth verse what its actually costing to do.
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Jean Thibodeau




PostPosted: Mon 11 Jul, 2011 5:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Christopher Finneman wrote:
I can say without a doubt and probably can speak on others half that I doubt you'll go into bad buisness catagory.
We all know your reputation is beyond excellent and your quality of your armor is that as well.
If you need to take a breather or just some time we will all understand. A human body can handle so much till its time to rest for a bit. Hell even if you did this part time Im sure alot of us will still do business with you. Your one of the rare armorers who have always stood by answered questions helped us all out and stayed well beyond what we all think as honorable and loyal.
You have alot of devoted fans here Allan and if you want to slow down go right ahead.
Yur a great armourer and great friend. But remeber family and personal things come first.


I couldn't agree more and any longer delivery times wouldn't be a problem for me since what is most important is reliability in service and quality rather than speed.

Won't embarrass Allan telling details but there are numerous times where Allan went way above and beyond great customer service to fix a problem the rare times something went wrong, even if very minor, his fix was generously much more than expected but always appreciated.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Allan Senefelder
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Location: Upstate NY
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PostPosted: Wed 13 Jul, 2011 9:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As i've reviewed materials reciepts for the last 5 years this week i've come to realize my culpability in where we've gotten. The costs on literally every single thing has gone up in the last 5 years for us, by way of example, boxes have gone up .50c to $1.90 per box depending on size and I now have to go 3 times as far to get them as the supplier closed. Brass buckles have gone from .37c to .44c, brass rivets from $5 for 150 to $8.66 for 50, leather costs between .75c and $1.75 more a square foot depending on the type of hide, steel is $1.50 more a square foot. Gas was under $3 a gallon the last time we recalculated and raised our prices 5 years back and the list goes on and on, abrasives up, drill bits up, even the packing paper we use ( the cheapest packing material you can use ) has gone up and due to the economy we've no way to recoup that. But I was to busy trying to live up to the promise of 2007 prices to notice this. As ordering supplies went from " we'll be out soon, better order more " to " we've run out, better order more " to " we've run out, we'll order more when somebody orders something" as there was less and less value to what we're doing I was only subconsciously aware that it was getting hard to keep up on supplies, distracted by trying to live up to 2007. I should have been keeping an eye on the backwards trend and backing off the promise to keep pace with the current consumer value to alieviate stress and have a working model that better dealt with the progressive " rationing " economy of the shoppe and at large. I am working on this creating a model that maintains quality, delivery and customer service at a level that is reflected by current value to make for a better working enviorment and hopefully travels the economic trevails of current times in a smooth fashion.
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Wed 13 Jul, 2011 10:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm really happy to read that last post, Allan. It's excellent to see a business owner taking stock of their business with a willingness to push forward and adapt for success. Awesome.

This is something I've been doing for the last two years in my own business, too. It's an ongoing effort and one I don't expect to cease. Each day all the factors that affect my business change and adapt and so we have to continue to innovate and adapt along with it to stay viable. Business as usual doesn't work anymore.

Cheers, man.

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