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I don't want to be mean!

I need advice on two things.

About a month ago, I opened for jacket commissions. I make special jackets; not only do I create the jacket from scratch, but I make a hood very much like one would make a fursuit head, then cover it in fleece, and you can wear it like a hood or a mask as it has large eyeholes to see out of. See icon for example.

This is the first time I've taken "real life" items on as commissions where I actually make a profit. Each time before that with tails and fursuit heads and even badges, they wound up barely covering the cost of materials, and more often than not I wound up losing money because of shipping. After this last fursuit head, I promised myself I would never take a loss again. So I'm finally charging enough where I'm making a profit.

Here's my problem. I said I'd only take five slots at a time so I don't get overwhelmed. Once all five slots were done and shipped out, I'd take five more. The five filled very quickly. So far, I've had one "I'll pay soon" and one that actually paid the $15 down payment. I haven't heard from the first "I'll pay soon" but they haven't had stable access that I know of, so I've let that one slide.

Then there are the ones that I don't know what to do about. The last slots can't pay me for another two to three months. I was hoping to use the profit money from the commissions to 1) pay for materials that I need for my jewelry and makeup class in college. 2) Make pre-made jackets to sell at a set price. 3) Go to Antheria. 4) Get a booth and room for FC so I could sell more of these jackets.

While four is unrealistic, I have high hopes. At this time, I can't even afford to pay for all the materials I need for my school. I NEED to have the people in the slots pay up. I don't know what to do. Should I notify them that because they can't pay me I'm going to give their slots to people that can, and better luck next time, or should I wait for them to pay me since they were the first to claim a spot?

Second piece of advice:

I'm looking over my TOS once more now that I'm doing jackets, and I realized I never put anything in about "adult" costumes. I will NOT make adult costumes, meaning no "strategically placed holes" or massive boobs. I also have a life-of-the-suit repair guarantee (with the catch of you have to pay shipping it to me, and I'll fix it free and pay shipping it back.) I want to include that this guarantee is voided if the suit shows signs of modification for sex, or was used in sex.

With how I build my suits, they WILL fall apart if you try to make a hole in it, so I'll be very able to tell. However, when I put this on my site, I don't want it to be a turn off for parents. If a parent is looking into getting their teenager a clean fursuit for some kind of gift, and they see the obvious sexual reference (though I'm saying I won't do them) it can be a serious turn off for them wanting their child in the fandom, let alone a suit. Or reaching outside the fandom, I was asked about making a rabbit suit for a dance studio, and I'd rather they didn't have the sexual bit that they read about.

How would you word the "I don't make sex suits" in a way that keeps potential non-furry buyers interested in a suit, without knowing what others have done in other suits? Trying to make my TOS "kid friendly" I guess you would say.

Edit: Thank you all for the help. I've never had to tell someone "no" in an instance other than what I will and will not draw before. "Can't say no" fits me perfectly, I'm afraid. They have been given a deadline, or a dismissal. I have others to fill the cue, which I'll notify once I hear back from those that were given a deadline. As for the TOS, a blanket of "modification" will work fine, and those asking for SPH's will be turned away. Thank you all very very much!
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Comments

( 28 comments — Leave a comment )
kayla_la
Sep. 12th, 2010 08:17 am (UTC)
If they can't pay within a week, they don't get a slot. I'm appalled they would think it okay to take up a slot for months on end. I require payment upfront with commissions and if they waffled like that, I'd simply move on.

Be polite, but solid in your wording. Open up all the slots for people that haven't paid, and tell them when they can pay, they can look to take slots in the future. But it's pretty rude of them to think it okay to hold onto slots for a long period of time. It doesn't make you 'mean'.

Edited at 2010-09-12 08:19 am (UTC)
msmanuscript
Sep. 12th, 2010 08:42 am (UTC)
Thank you. I've never had to tell someone "Sorry no" before when it wasn't related to what I will and will not draw. Thank you for the help!
cissa
Sep. 16th, 2010 01:50 am (UTC)
Yes, this. People ONLY have a slot after they've PAID. Until then, their expressions of interest do not count.
antoj
Sep. 12th, 2010 08:20 am (UTC)
Maybe you could just put in your TOS you won't repair suits if they look like they were altered by the buyer (without being specific about how it was altered)? I mean that kind of covers it, right? o:
msmanuscript
Sep. 12th, 2010 08:42 am (UTC)
That should cover it. I was thinking specific, when general would work nicely. Thank you kindly!
pariahsdream
Sep. 12th, 2010 08:21 am (UTC)
For the first part, let them know you can't wait and tell them that they'll have first 'dibs' for the next round when they have the monies? Generally when I think of 'first come, first serve' it means the buyer has the money in hand to pay otherwise they get skipped.

As for two- maybe just a general clause that if the suit has been modified for any reason it makes the repair contract null and void? Don't mention the sex part, just the fact it's been modified by someone other than yourself.
msmanuscript
Sep. 12th, 2010 08:44 am (UTC)
I'm going to have to for the first part. I feel horrible because they seemed REALLY interested. But last second pull up with "I'll pay in two months." Thank you for the encouragement.

And that is a REALLY good idea. Because if someone else modifies it, we run into other problems as well, not just the sex kind. Thank you very much!
bladespark
Sep. 12th, 2010 08:23 am (UTC)
I don't usually count a slot as filled until AFTER I get a down payment. It's not first come first served, it's first paid first served. Put everybody else on a waiting list, and contact them once you have room for slots again, and move them up if they can pay, otherwise leave 'em on the list until they do.

As for the sex suit thing... I don't mention it at all on my site, anywhere. I don't see any reason why I need to. People who do make sex suits are very much in the minority, and most people in the fandom know this, so it's a matter of needing to let people know if you're the rare exception who does, rather than letting them know you're the normal person who doesn't.

I have occasionally had somebody contact me wanting one, in which case I simply say "I'm sorry, I don't do that" and that's the end of that.
msmanuscript
Sep. 12th, 2010 08:45 am (UTC)
My biggest concern was someone trying to modify it. Leaving out that I don't make them, that's fine. I can see your point in that. It was more the modification that had me unsure. But a nice umbrella "modified in ANY way" should do the trick, thank you.
bladespark
Sep. 12th, 2010 09:54 am (UTC)
Glad you got the answers you were looking for.

Also I gotta say, your hoodies are AWESOME. :)
msmanuscript
Sep. 12th, 2010 08:38 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
gargoylekitty
Sep. 12th, 2010 08:28 am (UTC)
Just send them a message and give them a deadline(and perhaps in the future include a deadline for payment from slots).

As for the TOS, perhaps keep it to 'modifications void the warranty' and 'no bodily fluids' or something like that.
msmanuscript
Sep. 12th, 2010 08:46 am (UTC)
Deadlines. I'm so bad at setting those, I need to though. I'll be sure to do that from now on. Thank you.
fatkraken
Sep. 12th, 2010 08:46 am (UTC)
don't got money? move 'em down the queue into the "maybe" pile. Remake the commission offer post but this time say "downpayment within a week or you don't got a slot, first paid first served".
cissa
Sep. 16th, 2010 01:54 am (UTC)
"You will be added to the queue when I get your deposit/payment."

No money = no place in the line.

Edited at 2010-09-16 01:55 am (UTC)
zombieandgrits
Sep. 12th, 2010 09:23 am (UTC)
OT but those jackets sound like they would be kick ass. On topic, I agree with "I will not repair a suit if it looks like it has been altered in anyway." wording.
msmanuscript
Sep. 12th, 2010 08:39 pm (UTC)
Thank you! And thank you for agreeing, I hate the idea of "they have outlandish commission rules."
leahtaur
Sep. 12th, 2010 09:51 am (UTC)
My brand new TOS states that I need payment within 24 hours of my reaching their slot in the queue to preserve it (and you think YOU'RE mean? XD), or they can choose to pay at least half upfront at the time of slots being given out to preserve their slot. Even with three or four full colour, full sized commissions ahead of them, I still have a few people preferring to do this so that they don't risk getting passed over when I actually get to them and email them -- I guess in case they were going to be away from their email that day.

Before now I used to just do commissions as I got them, but now I have a sudden influx (kind of sounds like you have the same "problem", eh?). Could mean you need to raise your prices even further in order to thin out the demand a bit, but not so much that you no longer have any takers.

Also, you could in reality be the nicest artist around, but unless you're making 100% of your art for free, you'll still get people calling you mean. :P
stormslegacy
Sep. 12th, 2010 11:06 pm (UTC)
People find excuses to complain even if things are free. It's insane, and why i stopped doing requests! o.o
mandyseley
Sep. 12th, 2010 04:25 pm (UTC)
Seconding the above suggestions to deny repairing any suit that's been altered by the user.

You might also add to it that you will deny repairing any suit that's not clean. Make a note that you do not cover damage from stains and will not repair a suit with significant stains or grime, and that it's your discretion what is "significant" and what's not.

That's "unspecific" but still covers a suit that's been "used for sex." It's reasonable to make the owner responsible for keeping their suit clean, and it's a legitimate health concern for you to not accept returns/repairs on stained items - that's the reason most clothing/costume/mattress/etc. places won't accept returns on items that aren't clean.

Just a thought. :)
pandemic_panic
Sep. 12th, 2010 06:34 pm (UTC)
When I take commissions for kigurumis you don't even get onto my queue without paying the deposit.

I give out commission quotes all the time through my website, and when I open for commissions I just mail out a notice to anyone who requested a quote how many slots are open and what they must do to get on my list (That being e-mailing me and sending me the deposit within three business days). That way I don't get screwed by people not paying or changing their minds.

Also, I wish I had money because your hoodies rock. XD

springmoone
Sep. 12th, 2010 08:36 pm (UTC)
When someone doesn't pay up yet, just move them down your queue. For me, the people who want to pay first and I have all the materials on hand, go to the top of the queue, and the people who are interested but haven't paid yet go down to the bottom. I don't ignore anyone, but I make people who have paid a priority.

Also... your hoodies look badass! Do you have a journal/post/etc with commission information?
msmanuscript
Sep. 12th, 2010 08:41 pm (UTC)
Good advice. A waiting list in a way. And I do!
http://community.livejournal.com/fursuitauctions/1491332.html
misteroffense
Sep. 13th, 2010 05:20 am (UTC)
All I could think of my entire time reading that was how much my gf would love a poke-mon based jacket like the one in the icon, haha!

Now I'm curious as to how much you charge for them.
msmanuscript
Sep. 13th, 2010 06:16 am (UTC)
They start at $60. Info can be found here if you're interested:
http://community.livejournal.com/fursuitauctions/1491332.html

And thank you! I'm in love with this jacket, it's so warm!
glowstickk
Sep. 13th, 2010 05:32 am (UTC)
I agree with most if not all these comments. I feel bad cause I was one of those on the list and had some things come up that were unplanned to postpone my payment, buts it been corrected now.

Deadline suggestions are a good suggestion for future sales...

Thank you again for your patience and understanding on my end (at least I think there was some understanding)
msmanuscript
Sep. 13th, 2010 06:17 am (UTC)
There is very much so an understanding from me. I remember you saying that you were off and on, so I wasn't too concerned that you were trying to rip me off or anything. I did just want to try to keep some kind of contact with you.
frazzled_niya
Sep. 13th, 2010 07:16 am (UTC)
I do agree with what has been said first come first served (payments wise anyways.) Especially for something like what you are doing (which is totally awesome btw; lovin' the icon.) So something like this NEEDS at least half payment so you can get materials to start etc.

so yeah bump them off the list and tell them to come back when they have the money.
( 28 comments — Leave a comment )

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