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clumpyedge

Are one man bands operations falling foul of their success?

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Noticed recently that a fair few one man band operations delivering niche products are falling foul of their success, not only this but also certain tech/specialists also suffer from this (offering guns/upgrades when they dont have products in stock which is also partly down to high demand for those products from buyers not purchasing complete packages). Either Comms seem to stop or they cant keep up with demand on their own, falling short of making their small operation an actual business and hiring people to cope with demand there's not much they can do right? or is it just that they don't have the right way of working to cope with prioritizing workload?

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I think I got it right.

What you're saying is that small companies (usually ran by 1/2 people tops) can't keep up with the increasing demand for their services, isn't it?

In this case, Yes, I noticed that too.

Thing is, every one man company should make it crystal clear to everyone that they aren't G&G and that everything takes time for both sourcing materials and doing the actual tech work.

They should also be honest with themselves and only take a small number of things to work onto at a time.

Or engineer a package of parts that are relatively quick and easy to install so you spend let's say 20 minutes on a single ASG instead of 3-4 hours. All of this before "entering" the market.

The smell of money attracts a lot of people, only to realize they can't pursue their "dreams" because they don't have the resources to make it happen.

 

Sorry for my terribad London, I still need my coffee..

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i think it's a problem endemic to a lot of hobbies, you get into that line of work because it's your passion, but that alone does not a successful businessman make and just like in regular employment where you get "promoted beyond your ability" a good one man band offering a good product will get swamped by demand.

 

i think in a lot of these cases it's the transition from passionate craftsman to businessman that stifles these people.

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Expectation management for the customer is the fix here.  Those who have been into PTWs will know that the only tech really worth his salt is Tackleberry, unfortunately as a result he's extremely busy.  When you place an order he'll give you a rough estimate on the amount of time before he starts work on your gun and you'll receive ZERO communication from then until your gun is on his workbench.  He's clear about this from the off and so most people are ok with it. 

 

People are ok with it sufficiently that he got enough business to buy a ferrari, so it can work for some! 

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It's typical of any business based on reputation where an individual is uniquely skilled.  It makes taking on extra staff almost impossible.

 

I'm a 1 man IT consultancy and would love to hire some help but it's not feasible.

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2 minutes ago, Adolf Hamster said:

i think it's a problem endemic to a lot of hobbies, you get into that line of work because it's your passion, but that alone does not a successful businessman make and just like in regular employment where you get "promoted beyond your ability" a good one man band offering a good product will get swamped by demand.

 

i think in a lot of these cases it's the transition from passionate craftsman to businessman that stifles these people.

 

But then you get the likes of certain techs/shops that are also small operations that don't have the staff/time to reply to mails or messages and demand you phone them....

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It's nothing unique to airsoft.  The thought of trying to run a small business or employ anyone in the UK horrifies me.

 

How to do it wrong: SWAT and their undisclosed, indefinite delays between taking payment and maybe making the thing that they implied was available from stock several months later.

 

How to do it right: HeroShark and their crystal clear explanation that it's a one man operation making to order.  Absolutely not a problem, just let people make an informed decision whether they want to pay and wait or not.

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36 minutes ago, jcheeseright said:

Expectation management for the customer is the fix here.  Those who have been into PTWs will know that the only tech really worth his salt is Tackleberry, unfortunately as a result he's extremely busy.  When you place an order he'll give you a rough estimate on the amount of time before he starts work on your gun and you'll receive ZERO communication from then until your gun is on his workbench.  He's clear about this from the off and so most people are ok with it. 

 

People are ok with it sufficiently that he got enough business to buy a ferrari, so it can work for some! 

 

2 minutes ago, Rogerborg said:

It's nothing unique to airsoft.  The thought of trying to run a small business or employ anyone in the UK horrifies me.

 

How to do it wrong: SWAT and their undisclosed, indefinite delays between taking payment and maybe making the thing that they implied was available from stock several months later.

 

How to do it right: HeroShark and their crystal clear explanation that it's a one man operation making to order.  Absolutely not a problem, just let people make an informed decision whether they want to pay and wait or not.

 

I think in the exception of people like Tac when you are given clear instruction you wont get any news until the job is done that's fine but when you see certain people/companies spending time that could be otherwise spent within working hours working on the items you have paid for that's when you start to wonder why you went to them in the first place. it takes all of a few minutes to spend the time setting up auto mails or even mailing yourself to layout timelines of what is going on and how long it'll take and certainly if there is a delay too those timelines.

 

as you say crystal clear instructions of timelines is in my mind the best way to work as a one man operation but some seem to be falling foul not doing such a simple thing?

 

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6 minutes ago, clumpyedge said:

it takes all of a few minutes to spend the time setting up auto mails or even mailing yourself to layout timelines of what is going on and how long it'll take and certainly if there is a delay too those timelines.

 

as you say crystal clear instructions of timelines is in my mind the best way to work as a one man operation but some seem to be falling foul not doing such a simple thing?

 

 

Exactly this... Took an age for my belt to arrive from FRV tailoring. In all honesty I didnt know at the time it was a one man band and expected items to be available off the shelf, it was only the thread on here that highlighted this to me.

If I had got an automated email from the order stating these are made to order and the sale has obviously driven sales and I should expect a delay I would have been happy. Even a banner on the website  checkout, "Please be aware etc...." 

Instead my money was taken as any other online purchase and an email a day or so later saying thanks we will let you know when we dispatch.

 

WEEKS later an email saying its on its way, no tracking or anything!! Was annoying, but I had no games booked and no need for the item, but I would have been MUCH happier with some form of communication, even an auto mail saying, sorry bare with me!! I worked in retail and the trade industry for years, account and regular customers appreciate good communication as much as good pricing, no bullshit just be honest. 

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6 minutes ago, Albiscuit said:

 

Exactly this... Took an age for my belt to arrive from FRV tailoring. In all honesty I didnt know at the time it was a one man band and expected items to be available off the shelf, it was only the thread on here that highlighted this to me.

If I had got an automated email from the order stating these are made to order and the sale has obviously driven sales and I should expect a delay I would have been happy. Even a banner on the website  checkout, "Please be aware etc...." 

Instead my money was taken as any other online purchase and an email a day or so later saying thanks we will let you know when we dispatch.

 

WEEKS later an email saying its on its way, no tracking or anything!! Was annoying, but I had no games booked and no need for the item, but I would have been MUCH happier with some form of communication, even an auto mail saying, sorry bare with me!! I worked in retail and the trade industry for years, account and regular customers appreciate good communication as much as good pricing, no bullshit just be honest. 

 

Ive actually stopped using some places just because they don't offer customer service. I recently inquired about something through a well known TM seller and the replies I got to my questions were all one word answers to questions that could have sorted my question in one hit rather than multiple "no" "yes" responses. In what i still consider a niche market (that being airsoft) customer service goes a long way. Obviously fan boys will always stand behind their favorite retailers etc but I think for me and I may be wrong in my opinion and I'm open to criticism but if I've paid you money for something and you advertise work hours of say 9-5 you should have the time to reply to me as a paying customer even if its just to say "sorry we've got a lot on and I'm working as quick as I can to still meet the expectations of the work you've paid for" that goes for one man operations and small to big companies!

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Think your spot on Clumpy and everyone saying comm’s is the key .

i make fast draw kydex TRMR holsters and I also make pouches/slings/‘dabble’ with leather holsters and do alterations to kit  but it’s just a side line , as many know my job is an A&E nurse so sometimes it may take wks to make stuff due to real world pressures so if I do make anything for someone first thing I’ll do is tell them this , I’ll give you a ruff idea of timescale but no promises so for this very reason I only take your money when the jobs completed never at the start (I’ll send out a pic if it’s a ‘special’ order and if they change there mind and don’t pay ? I know I’ll sell it eventually even if I need to alter it a bit and I won’t take on any thing that’s going to cost more than £50 in materials) , basically your money pays for the next order of materials I make NOT the materials for your order ! Plus I do try to get weekly up dates out where I’m at .

So far everyone I’ve delt with have been happy with this .👍

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1 hour ago, clumpyedge said:

I recently inquired about something through a well known TM seller and the replies I got to my questions were all one word answers to questions that could have sorted my question in one hit rather than multiple "no" "yes" responses.

 

Ah yeah that's shit. Few sellers on here replied in the same way to my questions or cherry picked and I just gave up inquiring in the end. Funnily enough those listings are still uncompleted. Lack of communication grinds my gears as both a buyer and seller. 

 

 

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Yup, I try to avoid chasing people who aren't really interested in selling. If that's what they're like before they have your money, they're hardly likely to improve once your hard-earned is in their pocket.

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49 minutes ago, Druid799 said:

Think your spot on Clumpy and everyone saying comm’s is the key .

i make fast draw kydex TRMR holsters and I also make pouches/slings/‘dabble’ with leather holsters and do alterations to kit  but it’s just a side line , as many know my job is an A&E nurse so sometimes it may take wks to make stuff due to real world pressures so if I do make anything for someone first thing I’ll do is tell them this , I’ll give you a ruff idea of timescale but no promises so for this very reason I only take your money when the jobs completed never at the start (I’ll send out a pic if it’s a ‘special’ order and if they change there mind and don’t pay ? I know I’ll sell it eventually even if I need to alter it a bit and I won’t take on any thing that’s going to cost more than £50 in materials) , basically your money pays for the next order of materials I make NOT the materials for your order ! Plus I do try to get weekly up dates out where I’m at .

So far everyone I’ve delt with have been happy with this .👍

 

I completely get that you cant buy materials until you have money to do so but when some retailers are asking £1300+ for a gun with upgrades and have sold a fair amount at that cost plus shipping and labour I do wonder why they cant stock the items they know are popular. I work in pharmaceuticals/clinical trials so rule number one is having more stock than you need so you can complete orders when they are needed and have more to account for any instances or upscaled orders. Some retailers seem to only be ordering in parts for builds currently paid for which seems mental due to people wanting to buy stock at an individual item level.

 

I get that working with the parts we need involves sometimes waiting long periods of time because of the market were buying from but dont offer them for sale if you CANNOT even give an estimate of when they will be available.

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Sometimes we are all a cause of some retailers problems if you have a 1 man band who is good at tech work that also sells parts and rifs how does he scale the staff.?

Does the said tech get someone to manage the shop / comms etc to allow them to do tech work. Which inevitably has its advantages and disadvantages ie someone to answer calls emails etc deal with customers but then the owner has to now spend time sorting out their legal obligations as an employer so again the work on rifs has to take a back seat also the said tech now needs to train the staff member to try and cover most of the common airsoft related issues and questions otherwise they may as well to the comms and retail work themselves and not employ someone. If they employ a person then they need to ensure that they get value for money like you and me would from the retailer. 

As for stocking parts it's not that simple as these smaller companies are trying to remain competitive in the market and if they contact the supplier every day to order a small number parts to replace used parts the cost to you and me would have to increase as the tech would be paying more for shipping and not using the most cost efficient method and this along with the time taken to make the order would again mean the tech isn't working on rifs.

What we have to remember if you want a specialist part from the likes of laylax, prometheus etc there factories are in the far East and as such It takes time to get the items in stock so the tech could look at stock and decide to do an order that's good for him knowing that they have sold only 10 of x in 3 months and think I will be OK as it will take a month to arrive but the following week he sells out.

Then the next week someone is bad mouthing the tech on a forum like this as the part they want is not in stock. Maybe we need to try and understand the difference between the big names and the smaller companies. Because why do you use these smaller companies

1, is it a cost probably not as they tend to be more expensive

2, is it the fact that the part you want they have and no one else does probably 

3, is it convenient for you as they are local possibly 

 

So for what it's worth that's my view and before anyone asks no I don't work in the airsoft environment I do work for a company doing online sales and I see stock issues all the time. 

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10 minutes ago, mogaly674 said:

Sometimes we are all a cause of some retailers problems if you have a 1 man band who is good at tech work that also sells parts and rifs how does he scale the staff.?

Does the said tech get someone to manage the shop / comms etc to allow them to do tech work. Which inevitably has its advantages and disadvantages ie someone to answer calls emails etc deal with customers but then the owner has to now spend time sorting out their legal obligations as an employer so again the work on rifs has to take a back seat also the said tech now needs to train the staff member to try and cover most of the common airsoft related issues and questions otherwise they may as well to the comms and retail work themselves and not employ someone. If they employ a person then they need to ensure that they get value for money like you and me would from the retailer. 

As for stocking parts it's not that simple as these smaller companies are trying to remain competitive in the market and if they contact the supplier every day to order a small number parts to replace used parts the cost to you and me would have to increase as the tech would be paying more for shipping and not using the most cost efficient method and this along with the time taken to make the order would again mean the tech isn't working on rifs.

What we have to remember if you want a specialist part from the likes of laylax, prometheus etc there factories are in the far East and as such It takes time to get the items in stock so the tech could look at stock and decide to do an order that's good for him knowing that they have sold only 10 of x in 3 months and think I will be OK as it will take a month to arrive but the following week he sells out.

Then the next week someone is bad mouthing the tech on a forum like this as the part they want is not in stock. Maybe we need to try and understand the difference between the big names and the smaller companies. Because why do you use these smaller companies

1, is it a cost probably not as they tend to be more expensive

2, is it the fact that the part you want they have and no one else does probably 

3, is it convenient for you as they are local possibly 

 

So for what it's worth that's my view and before anyone asks no I don't work in the airsoft environment I do work for a company doing online sales and I see stock issues all the time. 

 

I understand what your saying and I specifically didn't name names or slam anyone directly (I leave that to shop/people reviews) as only they can say why they do and don't so things but as the consumer we have every right to question why things we have paid for arn't being supplied in due course. To either give no information or one word answers isn't acceptable when you are providing a service its also not acceptable to take money for work that you cant complete without giving time frames giving the closest "guesstimate" isn't a hard thing to do and like I and others have said a quick message to say "apologies for this/that and the other" isn't difficult.

 

 

1 minute ago, Immortal said:

If you can't manage your workflow then it's not professional.

If you can't keep Customers informed then it's not professional.

If you advertise and sell stock you don't have then it's not professional.

If you can't say No when you can't meet the demand then it's not professional.

 

Bullshit that we are the cause of the issues.

 

We are the purpose of their business. We are the Paying Customers.

If a company blames their customers then they shouldn't be in business.

 

Poor Management & Comms is THE cause of issues.

 

=== END OF TRANSMISSION ===

 

 

All which could be sorted with comms saying -  this is the issue, this is why it's like that, here's what I'm doing to sort it... please bare with me.

 

The above could be copy and pasted to probably a vast majority of inquires I would have thought specially around teching and waiting for parts for builds.

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The airsoft shopping experience is poor in the uk.

Lack of stock , especially the popular upgrade items (prommy/zci) is the most annoying thing.  Most shops that I have visited just want to sell you the cheap, high markup crap.

Quality items seem to be spread out across lots of small retailers, which means that an upgrade project might require purchases from several different places, some with crazy delivery charges.

 

Is there really such a shortage of stock, or are retailers delaying restocks hoping to get rid of the alternative items that aren't selling?

 

At some points I've been so frustrated that I've contemplated the idea of dropping some money into stock and setting up as a small item retailer.

The little voice in my head however tells me it's probably a waste of time. 

Also thought about setting up at uk price/stock tracking site, but so many retailers lie about their stock levels it probably wouldn't work.

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4 minutes ago, lukeB said:

The airsoft shopping experience is poor in the uk.

Lack of stock , especially the popular upgrade items (prommy/zci) is the most annoying thing.  Most shops that I have visited just want to sell you the cheap, high markup crap.

Quality items seem to be spread out across lots of small retailers, which means that an upgrade project might require purchases from several different places, some with crazy delivery charges.

 

Is there really such a shortage of stock, or are retailers delaying restocks hoping to get rid of the alternative items that aren't selling?

 

At some points I've been so frustrated that I've contemplated the idea of dropping some money into stock and setting up as a small item retailer.

The little voice in my head however tells me it's probably a waste of time. 

Also thought about setting up at uk price/stock tracking site, but so many retailers lie about their stock levels it probably wouldn't work.

 

I've also thought of doing similar with things like speed loaders, mags etc

 

Mark up certainly winds me up as well, I've ordered straight from HK or wherever and paid customs for still less that UK stockists are selling for by a long shot. I understand people need to make a profit and do so, so we can have the ease of access to materials but some of the mark up's within the UK airsoft retail market are insane.

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Immortal , nail , head spot on good sir !

couple of yrs ago I had a busted TM recoil needed a specific part that really are made of rocking horse poop took the tech it was with near 11ths to get it .

it ran like this ;

lcont act him describe the fault he replies he ‘thinks’ he knows what it could be but also to be aware he is a one man show and repairs can over run .

I send gun off.

he confirms arrival

Few days later he notifies me of the fault and what’s need and it could take mths to get the part , I reply I’m good with that .

mth to the day mail from him letting me know no joy in finding the part .

Then over the next 7-8ths basically same email every mth letting me know what the score was .

As a side note during this period he even try fabricating the part him self .

Then he finally found one half way round the world and I had the gun back within 3wks of him letting me know he’d found the part .

Even though it took near a yr to get my gun back I wasn’t at all concerned due to his comms .

So one man shows can work very well when the comms are good . 

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It does seem communication is key in these instances!!  

People really do appreciate a heads up, in any field not just retail. 

 

Be open and honest and 90% of customers/end users will be the most reasonable people in the world and understand and not cause an issue.

 

 

The other issue mentioned above regarding stock also pisses me off. I have lost count of the amount of times I have not bought stuff or started projects because I couldnt order everything from one place and needed to pay £6+ postage for a item worth a few quid. When you have a long list and need to pay over £50 to various people for delivery charges for items not worth double that it becomes more of a matter of principle to not buy them!

 

it really is off putting!

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Communication is key as everyone else has said. Not only because silence leads to uncertainty, but also because you may have sent a shop a gun that cost you a small fortune. I want to be very sure of who I send mine to as some of them cost over £1k

 

As for FRV.. I messaged him first to ask questions and he answered, explaining the multicam material was on order and was I okay with a few week wait before I ordered. I was happy to wait so I ordered it.

 

 

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£6 postage would be a dream here. Most retailers go for €10 up to 3kg, which sucks when you have to order from 3 different shops at once. Some don't even accept orders with less than €40/50 worth of material -.-

 

Retailers not having anything in stock also piss me off. But that's based on what the ignorant mass asks for. 99% of the bb warriors here want the cheapest crap they can get and pretend to perform. So retailers stock hugely on cheap stuff and charge you a lot for "rare" items like laylax/pdi/aa upgrades..

Come on I had to order a valken goggle from the UK because most Italian retailers don't even know valken exists -.-

 

Next order will be from France, because it's the only place where I can get my striker parts all from the same shop..

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1 hour ago, Skara said:

£6 postage would be a dream here. Most retailers go for €10 up to 3kg, which sucks when you have to order from 3 different shops at once. Some don't even accept orders with less than €40/50 worth of material -.-

 

Retailers not having anything in stock also piss me off. But that's based on what the ignorant mass asks for. 99% of the bb warriors here want the cheapest crap they can get and pretend to perform. So retailers stock hugely on cheap stuff and charge you a lot for "rare" items like laylax/pdi/aa upgrades..

Come on I had to order a valken goggle from the UK because most Italian retailers don't even know valken exists -.-

 

Next order will be from France, because it's the only place where I can get my striker parts all from the same shop..

 

Not just like that over here then....

 

Totally sucks.

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On 11/01/2019 at 11:43, Albiscuit said:

 

Not just like that over here then....

 

Totally sucks.

 

I just recently had a conversation via social media with the guy that runs WhoShotFirst, he sells through Etsy and his postage costs were hiked up by his carrier to the point where postage costs almost double the product - in this case £10 to post a PVC patch to the UK. OK I thought, I'll get a couple to make the postage worthwhile but for every extra item I added the postage went up by about £1.50. So in many cases you need to be aware that the seller isn't always directly in control of shipping costs!

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