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#242269 - 02/06/12 10:36 AM Buying Products for Clients
Lea Schneider Offline

Platinum (100+ Posts)

Registered: 10/10/03
Posts: 5383
Today I'm wishing someone has found a magic solution for finding all the products needed for an organizing job. We can't share web addresses on this forum but even if we could, I wouldn't be able to post one because there isn't one out there that carries everything you need. (And no, don't point me to the famous store that everyone makes a fuss over because they don't have everything either! I'd be willing to buy everything online in one big purchase if I could do it at one spot.)

I'm just venting... but I sure hate that it takes so long to find what I need. I realize that if my client was doing this herself, it would take her even longer. Still, I can't help but think that there has to be a better way.

To handle a kitchen organizing job this week, after doing a planning session that included inventory and measuring of the cabinets, I set out to get products.

I first headed to a national home improvement store to buy easy-to-install slide out baskets for lower cabinets. I've been using these for 8 years and buying them from the same retail chain all 8 years. I was shocked that they suddenly no longer carried them.

At that store, I did buy 2 of the 8 expandable shelf racks I needed.

I then went to a discount department store to buy seagrass baskets. I tried to find them online but realized I couldn't tell the quality online- flimsy basket weave is only told when you handle the baskets. I was able to buy 5 of the 12 I needed.

Then I headed home to find the baskets on tracks for the lower cabinets online. I shopped on a major site and when I went to pay, they only had 1 in stock and the rest back ordered. Then I went to another site with the same story. On about the 8th site, I found 3 in stock and ordered them.

BUT that site did not carry the 18-inch round turntables I needed, which are not sold in any store locally, so I had to go back to another website to order those.

Then I headed out to a different location of the same chain of discount departments stores for more seagrass baskets. They had none in stock.

Then I headed to a second location of the home improvement warehouse and bought the 4 other expandable racks. (That left them only 1 broken one in stock so they didn't have enough for me if I had gone there first.)

Then to a third location for the seagrass baskets and they had none in stock.

Then to another store for giant zipper-closed plastic bags to store big silver trays in so they won't tarnish.

Finally, I had to leave town completely and drive to two towns away to yet another location of the discount store and finally found the seagrass baskets so that I had enough- I actually bought all they had- maybe too many- to just be on the safe side.

I still need to go to the office supply store for the labels for the job and the fabric store for the ribbon to attach the labels to the baskets with.

Oh, and cross my fingers and toes that the things ordered online arrive in time for the job.

So the question... when you find that your product shopping has taken an excessive amount of time, do you bill out ALL of it? It certainly isn't your fault the stores didn't have the items and you had to try so many things. On the other hand, it isn't your client's fault either.

And...does anyone else have the product-run-around on occasion like this? (Maybe it is a smaller-town thing- but I'm shopping at national chain stores not local mom and pops!)
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Lea Schneider
Organizing advice seen in Women's Day, Family Circle, Better Homes and Gardens Publications and more...

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#242272 - 02/06/12 11:57 AM Re: Buying Products for Clients [Re: Lea Schneider]
Diane D Online   content
Platinum (100+ Posts)

Registered: 01/18/07
Posts: 1502
One way to look at it is.... if your client was shopping for the same items, they would have run into the same issues!

I have a similar (sort of) issue with a bookkeeping client. I need to log into her machine to work. She had it off for 3 days and ignored my emails. I did try numerous times to log in. I have to bill her something since I had slated that time for her and it really messed up my end of week and weekend. To add insult to injury, twice last night when I was working on it, she started to use it! So yes I am charging her for that too.

Even if you don't feel right charging for all your time (I feel that way often!) you should get something.

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#242293 - 02/07/12 04:56 AM Re: Buying Products for Clients [Re: Diane D]
Cyd Online   content
Platinum (100+ Posts)

Registered: 01/23/03
Posts: 2742
Loc: W. Canada
Are there supplier catalogs for the products you prefer to use? I enjoy their catalog but never go to IKEA without verifying the product I seek is in stock as it's an hour drive each way + frustration of their circuitous route through the store for product and cashier.

If there is a particular brand of baskets you like, the number or product description might tell you dimensions, weight and material used. Would it be practical to E-mail the manufacturer for a list of retailers who carry their products in your area?
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The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that does come their way.

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#242297 - 02/07/12 08:55 AM Re: Buying Products for Clients [Re: Cyd]
Lea Schneider Offline

Platinum (100+ Posts)

Registered: 10/10/03
Posts: 5383
I actually spoke to the manufacturer yesterday who told me the products were in a certain store but I visited four locations and none carry it.

Dimensions are certainly listed on a website or catalog but for woven baskets of straw, seagrass, bamboo and so forth, you can't tell if they are sturdy from a picture. How they are wired together has a great deal to do with it.

I wish I could find a catalog that had all the organizing things I need.

You are right, I do like to call ahead when I can. Of course, I have to know what to ask for and with something like the seagrass style baskets, I have to feel and see them before I know if I want them! Such a circle.
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Lea Schneider
Organizing advice seen in Women's Day, Family Circle, Better Homes and Gardens Publications and more...

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#242554 - 02/14/12 08:12 AM Re: Buying Products for Clients [Re: Lea Schneider]
Lea Schneider Offline

Platinum (100+ Posts)

Registered: 10/10/03
Posts: 5383
I just wanted to say that I finished this big kitchen organizing job and the client loved it. I do love to do kitchens!
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Lea Schneider
Organizing advice seen in Women's Day, Family Circle, Better Homes and Gardens Publications and more...

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#242654 - 02/16/12 11:17 AM Re: Buying Products for Clients [Re: Lea Schneider]
BonnieJoy Offline
Platinum (100+ Posts)

Registered: 09/18/06
Posts: 848
Loc: Fairfield County, CT
Despite living outside NYC, I have to run around for products all the time. And it makes me crazy. The big organization store is on one direction, the other stores I shop at are in another. Shipping costs are high. Its tough to find everything and its time consuming. I wish there was an easier solution, but I will say that products are a heck of a lot easier to find than when I first started six years ago!

I try to keep track of who is selling what and if I'm int a store for a personal errand I will run down the organization aisle so I can know what's in stock. Of course surprises still happen!
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Bonnie Joy Dewkett CPO~The Joyful Organizer
Bonnie@thejoyfulorganizer.com
www.thejoyfulorganizer.com
http://blog.thejoyfulorganizer.com
http://radioshow.thejoyfulorganizer.com

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#242972 - 02/26/12 01:28 PM Re: Buying Products for Clients [Re: BonnieJoy]
Organized-Forever Offline
Platinum (100+ Posts)

Registered: 08/19/06
Posts: 1112
Loc: BC, Canada
I try to use what the client has on hand, they usually have quite a few organizing items they haven't used at all! I also try to re-purpose what they have, like using small dressers and bookshelves in other rooms of the house (including the kitchen if there is room.)

I have never done a lot of shopping for clients. I do have discounts in some stores like a big office store and a few others. I take the catalogues along and if something is needed I get the client to order it (use my discount card number to get the discount) and have it delivered to the client home or office.

When I go on a first interview at the home. We determine what extra items may be needed to get things organized, like pegboard, hooks, shelving etc. things that are available anywhere a client shops. We measure out what we need etc and I ask them to have those items on hand and ready when our first session occurs.

It is at this session that if I see there is a lot of cleaning needed that I ask them to have that done before we start. If they want to hire a cleaner to work with us I have contacts for that or for them to go without me.
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Cheers!
Judy
http://organizedforever.com[
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