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Thursday, July 3, 2014

Next Time, Allow Yourself some Wiggle Room!

"Twitters and Twigs" 11 x 14 Oil on canvas / framed
When I ask a salesperson if they have any wiggle room, I’m really saying “Are you willing to make a deal?” I’m hoping he or she has the authority and the willingness to give me the best price possible and at a much lower cost than the current offer.

The tables are turned, of course, when I’m on the selling end and a client is paying me for a product or service. Wiggle room can be anything from extending a deadline to outlining expectations. The more information I can get about what is wanted, what is expected and when, the better I’ll be able to fulfill my obligations.

"Brown Thrasher in Sunlight" 16 x 20 mixed media
Having adequate time and space to complete a project is essential. Rushing either the execution or the required drying time may be hazardous if not fatal to the final outcome. Just because a customer demands something on a given date doesn’t mean it has to happen. Helping them adjust to realistic goals and objectives is part of your job as artist and director.

(Work in progress:  Florida Panther on woody palm frond; a mask when completed.)
I must conform the head to fit the constraints of the mask.
The porous wood drinks up paint like a sieve! It will require layers, and layers
of paint. The final coat will be varnish; inside and out.
Many businesses get into trouble when they over promise and under deliver. Explaining why things may take longer in the beginning saves a lot of hassle and stress. Clearly understanding a client’s vision and what they hope to achieve may alleviate unnecessary delays or revisions. It’s not just your reputation that’s on the line, but everyone else who has a part in the planning and decision making.

Honesty goes without saying. Integrity is the backbone of any company’s success. Positive feedback and repeat business are the lifeblood which ebbs and flows between capital expenditures and profits. It’s a balancing act between the needs of both owner and client.

(One of my mask models)
As I used to tell my children when I roped them into helping me stuff envelopes for my pet projects; “You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.” They soon learned that it was in their best interests to humor me now if they wanted a favor later. Reciprocal agreements make everybody happy.

The outcome of any negotiation should be a give and take of mutual need. If I don’t have to sacrifice profits and my standing as an artist, I’m more willing to work harder to provide you with the finished piece in time for your special anniversary or birthday. 

The customer, in turn, must plan far enough ahead to provide you with adequate time for completion. If the artist is always on the losing end, the final product suffers.

(Another one of my mask models)
Angry Florida panther. Golden eyes with green reflections.