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I'm just trying to get a little conversation going.
And......playing 'devil's advocate' a bit.
But is tipping a gunsmith something most of you might do? Of course I'm talking of deals with a one-man operation, not a large commercial shop.
Just consider......when else in life do you have a professional give you his full-attention and strive to fulfill YOUR personal preferences?
Perhaps by a waiter at an expensive restaurant or by the maitre'd at a first class hotel. But even in those cases, its just brief and fleeting.
It would not be unusual for a 'smith to spend 2 or 3 hours just talking to a customer, learning the customers needs, and
advising of feasability, cost or options.
As I said, just food for thought.
I'd like to see input from both sides of the counter!

Chuck
 

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Usually, a one-man operation is the owner of the shop. Just as you'd not tip the owner of the restaurant, typically you would probably not tip the gunsmith since his time is what your paying for in the first place -- but do what you'd like, I'm sure it would be appreciated!
 

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As a cabinetmaker (one-man shop), I find myself spending a great deal of time helping the customer get what he or she truly wants from me, and I generally don't get compensated (monetarily) for this. In fact, unless the job superintendent is good at his job, and most around here aren't, I wind up acting as a go-between for the general contractor, the architect, the customer, and the interior designer (if there is one for the job).

Usually, I end up explaining to the customer why I won't build the cabinets out of cherry and stain them purple (per the designer's suggestion). Then I'll spend some time trying to tell the architect that, although the placement of the cabinets looks very nice on the blueprints, in the real world you can't hang cabinets on a partition wall that doesn't exist. Later on, I'll go to the general contractor and try to convince him that "saving money" by using 1/2" shelving material on a 4 foot span ranks right up there with such good ideas as the McRib sandwich.
All of this to keep the job on target and the customer happy.

By this time, I'm so tired of doing the superintendent's job and not getting paid for it that, for a little fun and stress relief, I'll send him to the hardware store to ask for some left-hand threaded, round-drive screws. Or, I'll tell him that the lumberyard sent out some wood with the grain on the wrong side, and ask him to return it.


So my job, like that of a gunsmith, involves spending many "free" hours to please the customer.

Have I ever been tipped? Twice.
Do I expect to be tipped? No. But I like to think that a happy customer means referrals and repeat business.
Would I tip a gunsmith? Maybe not in cash, but if I'm happy with his work, he may wind up owning a new custom tool chest.
 

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I doubt I would tip a gunsmith. Not that I'm cheap, but his price should reflect a certain amount of communication time with a customer. I put communication with customers into the price I charge my customers and I would expect the same from him.

If he did the job to my satisfaction I would certainly recommend him and try to steer work in his direction. I think that goes along with it also.

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If it flies it dies, If it runs it's done.
 

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Frankly...it all depends on the overall job...I expect all artisans and contractors to do the best job they can do if they are taking money for a job. If I wind up "liking" someone or they do something above and beyond what is promised...you bet.

I try to find out ahead of time if the person I'm doing business with is someone I "want" to do business with. This just means I try to do my homework and look for what I want in advance.

I'm in the service business as well. You have to do work as it comes when you're starting out. Later, through experience and referrals, you wind up with the kind of customers that you'd pick if it were up to you in the first place.

Those are the ones that always get the best because they go out of the way to let you know they appreciate it and you of course are able to find out what they want because it's easier to communicate with them.

Whether it's money or as someone else suggested, a gift, it would happen given the situation described.

Hope that's somewhere close to the ballpark...


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Yankee, as cabinet maker/coordinator, I understand why you got tipped, and you deserved that. But for a general gunsmith who barely gets out of his line of business to help customer, tipping would make him think that you're weird!

I also agreed that if you really like his job performed on your guns, and he really goes out of his way to help you, a non monetary tip would definitely be appropriate.


[This message has been edited by Wit (edited 05-09-2001).]
 

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I would think such a transaction would be awkward - and have taken another approach. I buy accessories and services from him at his inflated prices. He deserves the markup. And I try to pay with cash.

I once bought two pair of Kim Ahrends grips for 80 bucks each from a smith who had done me so many favors I couldn't count 'em. So I spend 160 bucks for 80 bucks worth of grips. Big deal. He deserved the money, and it was a discrete way for me to even the score a bit. As far as I'm concerned I still owe him.

Just look for ways to compensate him indirectly - send him business, buy stuff from him that has some obvious markup, and tell him how much you like his work. He's not in business to get rich anyway. His skills could be sold for much more money elsewhere, without all the headaches. So let him know how much you appreciate his work, and pay him promptly and fairly. Pay with cash too. Visa cards cost him money. His margins are too thin to give 2-3% to Visa.
 

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Tipping is a great way to show you are happy with a service, but some times handing over cash is strange. I prefer to try to find something that would be useful as well as appreciated. For a gunsmith this might be a nice handmade wood case for his favorite gun. It just depends on the nature of the relationship.
 

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hi Chuck, the only tip i would really have for a pistolsmith would be..... "dont eat yellow snow.."


All kidding aside, i have a fair amount of pistol and rifle work done (its a nasty habit to fall into). Any how, i am almost ALWAYS broke and can barely manage to pay for the base price of the work im having done, so a tip is not even possible if i wanted to. HOWEVER, what i offer for a "thank you" is one of my knives at a way below retail price.



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Depends, if your like me and can't afford a "custom built gun", (unless you eat peanut butter sandwiches for a year) I couldn't even imagine tipping the builder for the $1500-2000 price tag.

But, if I had $3000 burning a hole in my pocket and the gun costs $1850, I may give the guy 2K if he showed genuine intrest in my needs while the gun is being built.
 

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If a number of factory parts have been exchanged for aftermarket ones, it is a usual "tip" to ask the gunsmith if he can use the now supernumerary parts.
Also, it is often the case that a client will say something like "Don't bother with the change." Some have been known to drop a $50 bill on the bench and say:"Take your wife out to dinner tonight."
But, don't forget to declare it as income.
And, we're not discussing a high maintenence shop here.
 

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Yes,more often than not.tom.

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[This message has been edited by deputy tom (edited 05-10-2001).]
 

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As a one man pistolsmith shop I can tell you from personal experience that the best tip a customer can give his 'smith is referrals and more of your business. If your 'smith does a good,great,perfect job, be sure to tell others. If he does a bad, incompetant, or butcher job, TELL HIM!!! Don't take the gun to someone else to fix until you give the first one a chance to make it right. If you get no satisfaction, then spread the word.

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KEEP SHOOTIN' PINMAN www.bcarmory.com
 

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Amen, Pinman. You put it into perspective. Jack London hit the nail on the head, too.

Now, I've got a question for my 'smithing brethren: What is your shop's policy regarding take off parts?

Do you give 'em back or keep 'em, or ask the customer?


John

[This message has been edited by Precision Gunworks (edited 05-10-2001).]
 

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I give those who do work for me with bottles of their favorite. Sometimes they are green, come in six packs and are from Holland. Sometimes they are in a brown bottle sealed with a cork and wax, and come from Sammy Hagar and his little joint in Cabo. This is assuming the work was done well and on time.

Being able to sit back at home or the shop and relax with a good drink and a cigar makes for a good relationship.

My former gunsmith got out of the biz, and we now get together and talk about the good old days and go plinking together.

That and I tell people about the quality of work, good and bad.

Tom
AF Shooting Team
 

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A transparent ziplock bag of parts always accompanies the finished pistol. Lifting it out of the box, you ask: "Do you want the takeoff parts?" If you ship the gun back to the owner, the parts are always included.
I have had customers walk by my dumpster and throw the bag of parts in when I did not ask them.
ANY repair service is required by state law to return the replaced parts. That's in my state, and probably in yours also. Check with the better business bureau in your area.
 

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The first work I had done by a gunsmith was some very basic stuff. While he had it I asked about some other stuff. That was done too. In that time I started doing a lot of business travel, that just happened to take me within an hours drive of where he was. So I went to see him. In this day of virtual communincation, it is possible to get to know someone without ever meeting them. To make a long story short, I got to know the man quite well, and what was a business relationship turned in to true friendship.

Being a professional, an engineer, I treat other professionals as I want to be treated. Fair and honest communication, payment upon predetermined amounts and completion percentages. I always sent enough funds to cover the purchase of all the parts, paid in cash upon delivery, and if I wanted something extra, I paid whatever he asked.

As far as I am concerned the best thing you can do for your smith is to keep using them. There are ways to take care of them that does not mean just giving them money.

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John

"And by the way, Mr. Speaker, The Second Amendment is not for killing ducks and leaving Huey and Dewey and Louie without an aunt and uncle. It is for hunting politicians like (in) Grozney and in 1776, when they take your independence away".
Robert K. Dornen, U.S. Congressman. 1995
 

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the best tip to give a smith -- is to tip off your friends and others about the quality of the smiths work, and maybe to let the smith know that you will HIGHLY reccomend him to others.

xmas time a box of candy might go well, if you know him well enough to call him a friend then invite on a fishing trip or something

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PRK -the crap may start here but does NOT End here --BP45
 

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Pinman and several others have hit it right on target no pun intended when it comes to tipping your smith. I think one of the best tips I get is when the customer picks up his gun tries that new trigger job that breaks like a glass rod and you see that gleam in his eye like a kid at Christmas time and he says, Bob that is sweet.
As for take off parts I always return them to the customer.
Regards,Bob Hunter www.huntercustoms.com
 
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