Client Designs & NDA's

Discussion in 'General Fabrication' started by John1515, Dec 12, 2017.

  1. John1515

    John1515 New Member

    Dec 12, 2017
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    Perhaps not the most exciting thread, but it has to do with running a fabrication business or job shop.

    Our fabrication shop is trying to come up with a protocol for dealing with clients and how to share our build solutions and CAD drawings/design work.

    For example, a client wanted a quote for a fold-able piece of furniture for their bar. We came up with a build solution, drawings, and a quote. The client said that they liked our design, but that we were too expensive. And they asked if they would mind shopping our design out to other fabricators for a lower price than our own (we are a small-to-mid sized shop and the client had a buddy with a small shop).

    We said that it was okay, so long they paid us for the design, but we found ourselves in a position we hadn't before.

    So here's the question: What should be the protocol for working with clients when you are doing the drawings, design, and build solutions, and should that protocol include an NDA? For example:
    • Client RFQ
    • Estimate Given
    • Client requests drawings for clarity
    • Drawings submitted (?)
    • Client accepts or rejects quote.
    What are we missing? Should we not do any designing/drawings before a deposit is made?

    Also should we have our clients sign NDA's or licensing agreements so that after the project is completed, they cannot go to a competing fabricator with our design?

    I look forward to all the sage business advice from this great fabricating forum! Glad to have jumped on board!
    LECS-Chad likes this.
  2. Motobilt

    Motobilt Well-Known Member

    Apr 6, 2016
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    All of our drawings clearly state they are our intellectual property. If a client contracts us and pays for design work we release the drawings when the project is complete and they can do with them as they please as they have paid for the services rendered. You can have someone sign something acknowledging you are the owner of the design and intellectual property until they have paid for it in full.
    Torchmate likes this.
  3. Bo185

    Bo185 Active Member

    Aug 5, 2016
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    I charge for design time period. Customer signs an invoice stating the details of this, then pays a deposit, typically based on time I have in it $50-300 (guesstimate) before I even touching anything. Once they pay deposit, I design then submit to them with quote for complete job, for them to approve. If they say price is to high, I then let them have the designs and I keep the deposit to cover my time.

    But really depends on what it is which, for me is mainly full custom stuff that I don't normally do like biz logos etc that will convey to them anyway. If its a standard item I make to sell, with just their name in it I don't charge a fee and never give those away in a file just a rendering. If the quote customer wants me to actually make it, then the deposit goes toward cost of invoice lowing it. And I make them pay the balance in full before starting, if not they can go to the next guy. I have got burnt on making stuff before and either have no money or half money for an item I can't use or resale.

    Also if they want you to shop around for other shops to do work cheaper, you charge them! While your wasting your time calling or going places your not getting paid, your doing that for free. charge for it.
    Problem with that kinda of customer is if your prices are fare or even highish then let them walk if they paid a deposit for design give to them and they can do the shopping around. They are not worth dealing with IMO. Your prices are what they are if you let someone bargain with you then they tell a buddy and want same deal stick to your prices. If prices are competitive you will be fine. I get this all the time in my powder coat shop. Guy wants a deal. I tell him prices are what they are go anywhere else and they will be higher. Had a guy try this the other day wanting me to take less for doing a set of car rims. I told him price is started asking for less and this and that, I price is as stated. I don't go to your job and ask you for $5hr to do you job, why are you asking me?? So guy shut up after that and we did his rims.

    I had a few customers over the years call, send me ideas, I invoiced them for design they paid $50-100, I sent them a quote with simple picture, and never heard from them again. So had I not charged I would have completely wasted time for nothing vs actually making money.

    1. Client RFQ
    2. Give estimate of deposit required for design.
    3. Customer pays deposit. ( If they won't let them walk.)
    4. Design and give quote.
    5. Customer thinks to high.
    6. Tell them they can have the design less deposit and move on.
    7. Customer wants you to find a cheaper shop.
    8. Give customer a bill for time you think it you'll take
    9. customer pays it or doesn't if not let them walk.

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