I'm really sorry this order is taking longer than expected. I always feel bad when orders take longer than I feel like they should, but I do everything in my power to try to set orders up to be done as quickly as possible. Maybe I can help explain a few things...
Brass, Black Nickel and sometimes custom chrome jobs are all subject to longer waits - unless I have the stuff siting on the shelf, and I keep a TON of stuff on the shelves. This If that's the case I try to get it out the very same day it's ordered. With orders that are done and I can lay hands on, I ship that stuff as fast as possible, staying up most nights doing orders as long as it takes to get them out.
The deal with Brass and Black Nickel taking so much longer is there's only one guy that does it for the whole hobby. He is of course the guy that did it for Mike, and he does good work. These two coatings have to have a clear coat put on them which is completely messed up with the weather at times, especially rain. I help coach high school baseball and we've hardly had a season here this year due to the enormous amount of rain we've had. Those two platings have to be plated at a time when they can be cleared within the next 48 (24 preferably) hours before they tarnish/turn color. This means he has to watch the weather and have a clear time to even begin plating so it doesn't have to be redone. I would also guess that the amount of stuff that both Woody and I are both taking him dwarfs the amount of work Mike took him. Truth be told, Mike had started telling some he wasn't doing certain jobs anymore, because of the amount of time it takes now to get these types of jobs back, I've heard this from a few customers he told he wasn't doing black nickel anymore, and from his dad. The man that does this work is a great guy, but he also lost his dad a couple of years ago who was the one who ran the shop before. I believe in there are also some of the reasons it might be taking longer, but all we can do is be patient for the work to be done.
Clear coating is a whole other level of issues as well. Sometimes it just doesn't come out good and it has to be redone. Again, waiting longer. Then at times he does some parts out of order from when he gets them, which is frustrating too, but sometimes that has to do with he can do chrome when he can't do others, or there were issues with the clear on a job and it has to go back in and start all over, etc etc - basically it's messy.
Sometimes we have to send parts back that are just not up to par, I just had that on a Monster Bash chrome order, but I know no one wants half way done parts so we try to catch that stuff beforehand. But again, it make the order take that much longer. Custom work is what it is and just takes longer than we expect at times. We've even had a bit of a powder backlog lately where I have a few powder jobs - powder over chrome stuff - that we are waiting on getting done as the powder coating gun broke a couple of weeks ago backing up some jobs, we now have more than one gun so that won't slow that down again. Sometimes stuff just happens.
The main thing I know to do try to offer as many things as possible for exchange. There is where I need wireworm sets to games that people don't need or have on a spare play field. In the case of this this STTNG order, I would have 2 complete sets of wireworms - one for chrome and one for black nickel - but I'm missing one wireworm to each set and an apron guard to each set. I'm really trying to stock as much of this stuff as I can. Truth is, we are not making much on wireworms, it's really a service more than anything, as for the time spent on it and money spent on buying them it will be a long time before I see profit on them - BUT - I hate having people wait too and would rather help them get their stuff done more quickly.
I have more than one crew doing work for HRA where Mike only had the one guy, which helps with some of the other things, but the brass and black nickel will always be done by the same guy, and one day I'm sure he will not do it anymore.
Again, I'm really sorry it's taking a while on some orders including this one. I learned this would be the case from the minute I helped Mike's dad deal with the orders that were outstanding when Mike passed. There are some here that can tell you all about that from then. It stinks and I wish I could change it but all I can do is get stuff to people as soon as I can lay hands on it finished and to the quality we all expect.
Thanks to everyone for being patient with the process. I hope some of the above helps anyone with questions about some of this stuff. Thanks to everyone for your business, it's an amazing blessing to get to help so many of you!
Please sell me more stuff for exchange, this will help everyone more than folks would ever know. When I took over the biz Mike had about 12 titles of wireworms - we are currently up to almost 45 titles. We have also more than doubled the number of guns available for exchange too.
Please let me know if I can help any of you anytime.
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