The Fine Print
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‘The Fine Print’
OK, no, it’s not really fine (small) print, but these are the fiddly details that I need to remember to mention when discussing projects with clients. I will point the attention of anyone I’m discussing a project with to this section of the website just in case I forget to bring up any of the topics below. Consider this as part of the agreement or contract we agree to. I’m happy to discuss any of these topics with prospective clients at any time.
Time schedule – Because we’re talking about commissioning artistic services, I have to operate on a first-come, first-served basis. That means whoever pays their initial installment first, gets their project started first. I have a rough idea of how long a project will take to complete, and as I get close to a finishing point I will let you know so you can prepare funds (and your storage area!) so you can get your new models. If you book a project with me and I’m still working on a different project, I’ll let you know when I expect to finish the project I’m doing and when I plan to finish your project.
This is not my day job (yet!) – Just to be clear 🙂 All this work is done outside of my day job, so although I’d like to spend all day building and painting things, the bulk of my work is done during evenings and weekends, so please don’t be distressed at time estimates or because huge chunks of your army are taking a while to finish.
Personal stuff (like real life!) – Following on from the above, real life does come up from time to time, and I may have unforeseen or completely unanticipated things happen that will prevent me from working for a short time. For example, if I have to go out of town to tend to family matters. If this happens, I will keep you informed of the situation and when I expect to get back to work.
Communication – You are spending your money with me, so you can expect quick responses from me. You can send an email to email@example.com at any time, post on the Facebook page or send me a message however you got hold of me in the first place. If you want my mobile number, you can have it, just ask. Communication is also a two-way street! If I have questions regarding model weapon choices, paint colours, etc., so I can carry on working on your models, a quick reply helps me carry on working.
Model options – Following on from the above, I’ll need information about the pose you want (standard or box pose, if you want an arm or leg this way or that, leave it up to me, etc.), if you want specific colours used (again, box artwork, specific Citadel/Vallejo/whoever colours on various parts), what style of base you want, etc. This saves time waiting for answers and lets me carry on with your models.
Estimate of costs – The initial costs I give you are strictly estimates. That means the final cost can go up or down, depending on if some part of the project is proving more difficult than originally envisioned. I will tell you of any changes to the estimate as soon as I’m aware that I’m heading towards exceeding my expected time allowance for your project.
Changes to what you want – As above, if you decide during the project that you don’t want something built or painted in the way that we previously agreed, or you want significant changes that will require extra work by me to change the models to your new specification (like adding magnetizing, reposing or repainting), I will have to charge you the extra cost for changing anything that I’ve already done. If you tell me before I’ve done the work, I will let you know if there will be any additional costs. The extra cost can be paid when the project is finished, it doesn’t have to paid right away.
Workflow – As much as possible, I work on one project all the way through until it’s finished. However, if you pay attention to the Tiny Plastic Spacemen social media stream (Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, etc.) you may notice pictures and videos of other models getting posted while you’re waiting for your models to arrive. Please don’t worry too much about those. Videos can be shot weeks before they are uploaded and while one group of models is waiting for glue or paint to dry it’s very easy to pick up another group of models to work on to keep the ‘hobby flow’ going.
Leftover parts – Unless you specify, any unused parts from the models, including boxes, instructions, decals, sprues and ‘bitz’ (model parts unused on your model) will remain my property.
Postage – Please note that postage is not included in our price estimate and should be factored into your budget. Tracked UPS or Parcel Force postage should be less than £10 for each box, it may be more for large models. If you want split shipments (some models finished & posted before others), there will be postage costs for each box.
Written brief – I will work to the brief (project description) that we agree to via email. If we meet in person or discuss things by Skype/Facebook, I will take notes and put the brief in writing for you to see by email, so we both agree on the type and amount of work I’ll be doing. This helps us both understand what to expect.
This is an example of a brief (this is a quite formal example!):
Payment – Like most commission painters, I require at least a 50% payment of the agreed cost before starting work. This will be on top of the cost of any models purchased and the shipping of those models to me. Once I’ve completed the models, I’ll send you pictures and post the models after receiving any remaining balance. I’m happy to accept payment by Paypal (most popular), bank transfer (note: no online buyer protection if you do this) or we can meet in person (at a club, shop or even my home) and you can pay cash. I’m also happy to work on your budgetary timeline, e.g. I can work on your stuff for a month or so, then finish them off when you’re ready.
Paypal – If you’re paying by Paypal, you should use the ‘goods and services’ option. This protects you and Paypal is famously protective of buyers that use its service. I will have to add the 3.4% that Paypal charges for the money transfer to the total cost. This link (opens in new tab) is how I calculate the Paypal fees.
Non-payment – Whoo boy…this is a toughie! I haven’t experienced this yet, luckily, however I must have a policy in place for ‘just in case’ scenarios. I generally have a good long chat (in person or by email) with a client before work starts, so we both have a good idea of who we are dealing with. If I’ve completed a project for you, I will have put many, many hours into the work, no matter what it is. If I send you pictures of a finished commission and inform you they’re ready to post, I hope to receive the final payment as soon as you’re able to pay. If I have to pick a deadline, let’s call it a month. So if I don’t receive the final payment for your models within a month, I’ll be forced to sell the project on to recoup my cost in time.
Non-delivery – As I have to protect myself with my non-payment policy, it’s only fair that you, the customer, have some protection as well. As I mention above, I generally have a good long chat (in person or by email) with a client before any money is sent, so we both have a good idea of who we are dealing with. Part of your protection is my good reputation with previous customers, fellow gamers, playing partners and friends, both on Facebook and elsewhere online. After that, our lengthy discussions should allay any fears you may have about your models and your money. I’m happy to meet with you at clubs nearby or even in my home. You’ll also get regular photo updates as I work, plus answers as quickly as possible to your questions and comments by email. Assuming you pay by Paypal, you’ll also have their buyer’s protection. You’ll get pictures of the model as they progress, pictures of the finished models, plus pictures of them wrapped up in the shipping box. Finally, you’ll be given a tracking number that will let you follow the shipment of your models from my door to yours. If all of this doesn’t convince you, I’d be happy to meet up with you at a local club or shop of your choice, near Burton-on-Trent or Derby.
Future orders – Assuming you want to add to your collection, I do keep track of all the colour options I use to do all the bits of the models so no colour matching from different brands is necessary.
YOUR satisfaction – OK, let’s end on a positive! Basically, I want you to be happy with the models you get back. That’s down to both of us being clear what you want and me finishing your models within a timeframe that you agreed upon. If you’re happy, great! If you’re not, let me know and I’ll do whatever I can to improve things for you – and I’ll also change things in the future so you and other clients are happy.