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Old 11-15-2019, 08:28 PM   #4461
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Whoa fancy....doesn’t surprise me one bit that they’d expect u to jump at the chance every time a light switch cover, stair tread, etc needed a finish. Celebrity really seems to lead to an inflated sense of entitlement.

When I could no longer deal w/ the anxiety caused by doing fast “sloppy” finishes I decided to start my own business & use my obsession w/ quality work that I was proud to put my name on as the thing that set me apart. It quickly became apparent this also meant a lot less work & more hustle to break into the high end market where no one even knew my name.

After offering free work in exchange for WOM, attending local events, & even teaching a 1-day class to interior design students for free to get myself out there n seen/heard for a year n half I finally get that exciting call...

Its a designer referral asking me to come to Orange county coastline to do a high end project bid.

I was BEYOND excited...all those months of hustle had FINALLY started paying off!

At the meeting It was stressed the homeowner was a “very well known name in the movie industry” & I’d have to sign a non disclosure, no photos were allowed to be taken of my work or the site, & I could not use their name at any time in the future as reference of my past work. Sure, no problem.

She wanted all the sconce bases to match the existing wall finishes & the hand railings + landing bench seat top to match the tone/depth of the newly hand scraped white oak flooring on the main level.

Sent the bid off the next afternoon & got an immediate reply. I excitedly opened it & my stomach hit the floor instantly.

The reply was so quick I doubt she even opened the bid- which was WAY below what anyone in their right mind would’ve charged for a 4-5hr daily commute...but I was new & star struck w/ thoughts of work in the EXACT market I’d been struggling so hard to break into.

Basically it said I should “consider doing the job pro bono since it could be very good for me as it was for a celebrity who frequently got requests for trade recommendations & my business was new.”

To say I was shocked & hurt is a massive understatement. Having said nothing during our meeting + the fact I couldn’t talk about it or even have photographic proof I’d completed the work...and she wanted me to do it for free?!

I (stupidly) offered to throw in the light base finish...a week later an email comes requesting start date w/ attached trade schedule’s & my deadline.

Confused, I requested a signed copy of the bid contract & a meeting date to sign off on sample boards.

Turns out I was only being contracted for the sconce base’s...FOR FREE!

“BUT...if all went well I’d be a primary finisher on call for the firms many future projects.”

She also let me know in so many words that there were plenty of people who would be happy to take the job if I didn’t want the “opportunity”.

I was so offended & knew better than to let a business relationship begin by being bullied into providing free finish work.

Was hard learned lesson that its often the ppl u assume will most appreciate your talent/skill that want u to jump through hoops at 0 cost on their end cuz they can.
Been there done that and I know how disappointing it can be.

My first attempt at getting myself out there in the high end market was by doing pro bono work on an international designer showcase. One of the designers’ spaces we did was a non-name assistant at the time by the name of Victoria Hagan & her side kick Simone Feldman. After the work we did there got the cover of the New York Magazine with a 10 page spread, her and her side kick landed Olympia Dukakis as a client, wanting that done pro bono too, promising the stars had it been done for free.

The lesson with my story is it’s best not to set a precedent like that by providing your services for free because you create the expectation that they can do it again, and most of them will given the opportunity. It’s really no way to start a business relationship.

On a contradictory note though, the pro bono work on the showcase did generate a lot of work, pretty much putting me on some top designers’ radar screens, the investment paying off. It was great advertising that no amount of money could buy, my pro bono labor going towards a good charity and not in some designer’s pocket.
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Old 11-15-2019, 10:09 PM   #4462
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Been there done that and I know how disappointing it can be.

My first attempt at getting myself out there in the high end market was by doing pro bono work on an international designer showcase. One of the designersí spaces we did was a non-name assistant at the time by the name of Victoria Hagan & her side kick Simone Feldman. After the work we did there got the cover of the New York Magazine with a 10 page spread, her and her side kick landed Olympia Dukakis as a client, wanting that done pro bono too, promising the stars had it been done for free.

The lesson with my story is itís best not to set a precedent like that by providing your services for free because you create the expectation that they can do it again, and most of them will given the opportunity. Itís really no way to start a business relationship.

On a contradictory note though, the pro bono work on the showcase did generate a lot of work, pretty much putting me on some top designersí radar screens, the investment paying off. It was great advertising that no amount of money could buy, my pro bono labor going towards a good charity and not in some designerís pocket.


Heck ya Iíd do a designer showcase house any day of the week- but thats also cuz I know that all the companies products being put inside are donated, the designers arenít getting paid, and its MASSIVE free advertising (& a high honor).

Did some piece finishes for the palm springs show house last year (having been asked by a designer whoíd only seen my work on a friends house)-
but couldnít commit to going out for any house finishing due to a contracted job.

Lost a lot of sleep wondering if I was making a huge mistake turning down such an amazing opportunity....but I tell clients they get 100% of my time and attention cuz I only book 1 job at a time (meaning they sometimes have to be patient) but if thereís one thing my midwestern family taught me its in business, your only as good as your word.

Was majorly bummed but anytime Iíve broken my principals its never turns out well.
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Old 11-16-2019, 12:06 PM   #4463
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Heck ya I’d do a designer showcase house any day of the week- but thats also cuz I know that all the companies products being put inside are donated, the designers aren’t getting paid, and its MASSIVE free advertising (& a high honor).

Did some piece finishes for the palm springs show house last year (having been asked by a designer who’d only seen my work on a friends house)-
but couldn’t commit to going out for any house finishing due to a contracted job.

Lost a lot of sleep wondering if I was making a huge mistake turning down such an amazing opportunity....but I tell clients they get 100% of my time and attention cuz I only book 1 job at a time (meaning they sometimes have to be patient) but if there’s one thing my midwestern family taught me its in business, your only as good as your word.

Was majorly bummed but anytime I’ve broken my principals its never turns out well.
One way to break into the high end finishing market is to attend design talks. The design professionals and moderators are often well knowns in the industry. Most major metropolitan area and even smaller upscale community arts & cultural centers serve as a venue for the events. The receptions that follow provide a good opportunity to make an informal introduction, getting you’re name out there.

Trade shows and design fairs geared towards industry professionals as well as laypersons serve as another way to pick up higher end clients and work in general, the fairs providing the finisher with a unique product or service a venue to display his/her wares. One local finisher I’ve worked with on a couple of occasions recently flew out to CA and set up a booth displaying his wood/finishing wares out at Santa Monica’s WestEdge Design Fair, picking up a ton of work (even though his work falls well below par). Although booths can get a little pricey at times, the cost is often recovered from just one project generated at the fairs/shows.
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Old 11-16-2019, 04:01 PM   #4464
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I think I could work for Bono. Not really a big U2 fan but, seems like a nice fella. I guess I'd be pro Bono work.
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Old 11-16-2019, 05:47 PM   #4465
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Be careful if you go bike riding with him.
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Old 11-21-2019, 11:06 AM   #4466
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I am painting the crown molding on a job I hope to have 80% done today and I see what appears to be a small hole on the ceiling I inspect and this happens. Luckily I had picked up my heat gun in the morning or this would have been a much longer delay.

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Old 11-22-2019, 09:58 AM   #4467
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I hate when someone yanks my helmet off and beats me with it. Oh wait that's mason Rudolph. Next time maybe he won't be starting 5hit with a defensive lineman that's twice his size.
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Old 11-22-2019, 10:16 AM   #4468
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I am painting the crown molding on a job I hope to have 80% done today and I see what appears to be a small hole on the ceiling I inspect and this happens. Luckily I had picked up my heat gun in the morning or this would have been a much longer delay.

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I had something like that happen shortly after finishing a ceiling, noticing a mysterious hole in the drywall which suddenly appeared only days after finishing the ceiling. As it turned out there was a bee’s nest in the attic and the bees chewed through the drywall.

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Old 11-22-2019, 10:42 AM   #4469
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I had something like that happen shortly after finishing a ceiling, noticing a mysterious hole in the drywall which suddenly appeared only days after finishing the ceiling. As it turned out there was a beeís nest in the attic and the bees chewed through the drywall.
Wow! I would not have enjoyed dealing with that if the bees were still active.

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Old 11-22-2019, 07:42 PM   #4470
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Be careful if you go bike riding with him.
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Probably get lost! You know him- he goes where the streets have no names.
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Old 11-29-2019, 01:48 PM   #4471
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I hate when you've got a relatively big job on the go and show up on a Friday morning to find out the building's heating system ran out of propane shortly after you left yesterday. 6:30 in the morning today and the damn place was so cold you could see your breath. Had to pack up all the paint and evacuate. The counter balance to this situation was that I got to come home and curl up in bed with my little Rottweiler.


Wife won't be happy to find out our laundry room is gonna be full of paint cans for the weekend.
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Old 11-29-2019, 03:07 PM   #4472
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The counter balance to this situation was that I got to come home and curl up in bed with my little Rottweiler.

Wife won't be happy to find out our laundry room is gonna be full of paint cans for the weekend.
Nothing could be better than curling up with the Rotti!

For just a weekend, I'm sure the wife will be tolerant.
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Old 11-29-2019, 10:25 PM   #4473
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I hate when you've got a relatively big job on the go and show up on a Friday morning to find out the building's heating system ran out of propane shortly after you left yesterday. 6:30 in the morning today and the damn place was so cold you could see your breath. Had to pack up all the paint and evacuate. The counter balance to this situation was that I got to come home and curl up in bed with my little Rottweiler.


Wife won't be happy to find out our laundry room is gonna be full of paint cans for the weekend.
Not to mention that she may find you in bed with a bitch.
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Old 11-29-2019, 11:27 PM   #4474
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I really do not understand this human/ dog relationship.
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Old 11-30-2019, 01:05 AM   #4475
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I really do not understand this human/ dog relationship.
Ah, Ha! You must be a cat person.
When one comes to know dogs what they find is the dogs know them better than anyone else. A dog is always overjoyed to see you every time you come through the door, love you and never pass judgement, will be aware of every mood, know you are ill before you do, stay loyal and fiercely protect you even at the risk of their own life , provide quiet comfort and warmth, be a private comedian, have no life style demands and are grateful for any little thing. Even if everyone else on earth turns their back on you a dog will still be lovingly at your side. This is far better companionship than any person I have ever known could provide! Yes, we love our dogs and science has proven they love us too. Yup, I speak as a dog person who has always had dogs in my life.
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Old 11-30-2019, 09:16 AM   #4476
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I can totally understand how a person who doesn't own dogs wouldn't understand the relationship. Humans have been using dogs as tools and companions for many thousands of years though, so there's something to it. I can't even remember what it's like to not own a dog and I spent the first half of my life without one.
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Old 11-30-2019, 09:33 AM   #4477
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I dislike cats more than dogs. Not a pet person. My wife has a dog that I tolerate.
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Old 11-30-2019, 09:48 AM   #4478
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I dislike cats more than dogs. Not a pet person. My wife has a dog that I tolerate.
I kind of feel the same way about humans under the age of 20. I can tolerate the ones from the age of 20-30, but try and avoid the ones from 0-20. My wife brings our 9yr old nephew to stay with us for a few days every now and again. I love the kid, but cringe every time she says it's gonna happen. Disruptive to my routine, he takes over the house, he's loud, he throws tantrums, etc.
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Old 11-30-2019, 03:54 PM   #4479
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I kind of feel the same way about humans under the age of 20. I can tolerate the ones from the age of 20-30, but try and avoid the ones from 0-20. My wife brings our 9yr old nephew to stay with us for a few days every now and again. I love the kid, but cringe every time she says it's gonna happen. Disruptive to my routine, he takes over the house, he's loud, he throws tantrums, etc.
My 12 year old dog feels exactly as you do. Puppies and small kids try her patience.
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Old 11-30-2019, 04:03 PM   #4480
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P.S. Dogs don't care what you look like, we are beautiful in there eyes and they don't care how rich or poor we are; any house is good enough as long as a person is there to scratch their ears and rub their bellies.
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