For professional golf clubmakers out there, what is the worst situation you can end up with? It is inventorying items that cannot be easily sold as cash flow is an essential part of any business. For instance, you recently fit a short left-handed female golfer that requires a flatter lie and the shaft she hit best was a rather expensive custom shaft you normally wouldn’t stock in your shop. After spending the time to fit her, order all the parts and have them arrive, finally you completed the assembly to the best of your ability. You go to call the customer and she says “Sorry, I am not interesting in them anymore”. Now what recourse do you have?
One option you have is for the customer to pay a non-refundable deposit (such as 50% of the total bill). Be sure to explain to the customer that if he or she cancels the order after you had ordered the parts and started assembling them, the deposit would be forfeited. It never hurts to have all of it in writing with a signature to protect you from a customer refuting their credit card (if that is how they paid).
On one hand you want to provide good customer service and maintain a good word of mouth reputation within your area. But on the other hand you need to have firm policies in place. Just think of how many individuals are going to walk through your shop that is going to need those exact same set of specifications? Quite possibly no one. Do you make exceptions that are beyond your control? Those are things you need to think about.
Gary Johnson from Condor Golf gives a good example. “I had one father order a set for his kid (older teenager) and the teenager became injured in an accident. Nothing I could do but give him his deposit back…it was just one of those things that happen. The customer did come back about 6 months later and bought himself a driver and fairway woods. He stated that he felt bad about what happened with his son and that he was happy that he could trust that I would do the right thing. So I guess sometimes it does all work out.”
For you veteran golf clubmakers out there, I am sure you have come up against this at one time or another. What preventions have you put in place that can help fellow golf clubmakers from getting burnt with inventory that might not ever get sold?