Hey… I just got out of the whole realm of shaping boards for people I surf with or just people I call my friends and have shaped a couple boards for people I have never really met before. They have all been good experiences, yet I’m not naive enough to realize that there can be an ugly side to shaping for people you don’t know that well. Along the lines of people backing out mid-order or after you have already bought the materials/began shaping the board, how is the best way to go about protecting myself? Do any of you guys have contracts that you have the buyer sign when putting money down, or is it just his word? So far I have just been having the guy give me around $150 up front, and the rest once the board is completely done. Yet, it has never been clear whether or not that $150 was non-refundable or not. Thanks! -Casey

wow! i usually only charge 80$ as a non-refundable deposit- 150 is better to cover costs of materials and still make your margins. try to set up an order form that the customer can sign after the deposit is made to you- there will be no crying once you have a signiture.

Yeah, what shaper said. I’ve found that a little common sense goes a long way. Order forms are good. The customer can review/confirm and fill in any extra info, then get it back to you. I think a deposit that covers the initial materials is fair. Make sure checks clear before you purchase materials. Use good business practice to ensure it’s a positive experience. Like many, I have also learned the hard way.