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Handling Customer and Third-Party Products

Valuing your time is especially true when personalizing a customer’s product and working with a third-party firm such as another personalization shop or marketing firm that has supplied the products. In the past, when my wife and I ran Eagle’s Mark Awards & Signs, we included unpackaging, removing labels, applying plates, cleanup, and repackaging in the markup of the product we were selling.

With a customer-supplied product, you have no markup to cover this cost. Let your third-party wholesale customer know this. They are marking up the product, and you are doing all the handling of the product.

You only have your personalization service fee, such as lasering, to recapture all your costs and make a profit. You may charge a separate fee for this work or have a higher personalization fee for any customer or third-party products.

Many other businesses have asked us to personalize their products and discount our services because they resell the product. Yet without a markup, my cost of servicing them would be higher without compensation for handling their products. Consider higher personalization fees or a handling fee rather than a discount.

On that note, offering free personalization is a bad idea, regardless of how you include this cost in your pricing. You tell your customers that there is little cost to this service, and the knowledge level needed is of little value. You also set yourself up to only charge minimal fees when you personalize their products again.

Build up the value of your products and services, not devalue them. Consider how you communicate your prices, products, and services to enhance the value of our industry.

Also, don’t forget to cover yourself with a contract or customer policy. A few items to cover regarding working with customers’ products are errors, breakage, and that engraving results may be unknown.

Make sure you inspect the condition of the product with your customer before you accept responsibility for it. Below is a written policy for working on customer’s products. You’d be smart to review this with them and provide them with a copy of the signed document.

Bob Hagel customer product policy

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Bob Hagel

Bob Hagel and his wife Dana offered a full line of personalized products using laser engraving, sandcarving, and full-color UV direct print on products for nearly 20 years. The pair sold their 17-year-business Eagle’s Mark Awards & Signs in September 2020. Bob remains an expert in the awards, recognition, and signage industries while he enjoys retirement.

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