Ethics question

I am a small time surfboard maker, mostly for friends, but sometimes I get outside business. Again, I don’t do this for the money but mostly for the fun of it. I just finish building a board for a client and it didn’t come out as good as I wanted it to and I am disappointed in the finished product. Here is my question: Because the board is not up to my standards and it is not the quality product that I am use to what do I do, and I feel like my client paid for a quality product what do I do? Do I give the guy an option of a discount? Do I see if he complains? Or do I just save the board for a rider and build him another one? The board isn’t trashed it just has quite a few bubbles in the lam job. My thought was to just give him the board for cost but I don’t know. Any ideas?

I was just doing an outline on a board for a customer a few months back when I templated the board it looked fine but when I cut out the outline I did not like the shape it was fine,just not what I wanted. So what to do? I pulled another blank and shaped the new blank. I explained the delay to the customer and he commended me on my professionalism,ethics, and honesty. It is your call,but I suggest you talk to your customer and explain the situation and if he/she wants another one give them a good deal. It is your rep at stake.

I’m in the same spot as yourself. the first thing I tell interested parties is that I’m no pro and though my boards may have a few aesthetic flaws they will be functional and I’m getting better with every board. at the price they are paying (not much over cost)they have been ok with that and very well should be. they have all been stoked with the results. I usually point out the flaws which they may have never seen if I hadn’t (I should stop doing that) and I guarantee I can go to the surf shops around here and find the same flaws in 80% of the boards that 90% of the people don’t notice. the way I see it they are helping me out by letting me practice and I’m help them out by giving them a good price. only problem is I’m getting better and people are wanting the price the other guy got. a friend warned me about that, maybe I can blame the cost of petro. products and up the price.

Gregg, Whether or not you did the glass work yourself doesn’t matter. If the product is clearly inferior I feel you should give the customer the option of accepting the board at a discounted price. I haven’t seen the board but I would say a 10 or 20 percent discount might be appropriate. If someone else did the glass job for you, then you might tell them that you can’t sell the board the way it is in good conscious and say you are considering building another one. Also see if you can strick a deal with him so you don’t have to sacrifice your integrity or all the time in shaping this board and another one. Utilmately, being honest and letting you customer decide what will make him/her happy first will make the things better for everyone. I’m sure that some of the swaylockiens with have some other helpful ideas for you. Mahalo, Rich

In my humble opinion: If you ever feel uncertain about a question of ethics, responsibility or what is the “Right” thing to do then you already have your answer. You are questioning a desire to do something ‘easy’ as opposed to doing what you know will be more challenging, difficult, expensive etc… Look at yourself in the mirror and think about the result of your actions. Will the client feel taken advantage of if s/he finds out about the flaw? Are you being harder on yourself than your client would be? Would you be proud to relate the story to your peers or mentors? Would your grandparents approve about the way you treated your client? Doing the right thing sometimes pushes the envelope and causes people to go outside of their comfort zone. This is a good thing. It builds character. Bottom-line your actions will cause ripples in the pond. What kind of ripples do you want to come back to you? Do the right thing. Explain the flaws you discovered to your client. Your client probably won’t care but he may come away from the exchange truly respecting you. Of course you may end up building another stick – but that is also a learning experience. Magoo Magoo

“If you have a choice of things to do, the right thing is usually the hardest one” -Dear Abby

Selling the board to him at cost sounds like a good choice. It doesnt sound like the flaws are that bad and if he likes the way the board rides, he’ll be back.

Didn’t you answer your own question when you said “Again, I don’t do this for the money but mostly for the fun of it.”?

Magoo said it best. Just do what is right and even if you don’t make the same $$ you’ll feel better. If this is going to be, or is, a source of income for you, you are better off in the long run staying ethical with any and all customers. Word of Mouth is (by far) the best advertising. Eric J

Yes definetly 'DO THE RIGHT THING". But, air bubbles, are fixable, if your tenacious enough, I’ve salvaged many a sloppy overlap over the past years and mainly because everyone at the beach checks out my customized personal boards. The area around the tail bottom is the worst from bending glass over a sharp edge. Take a small carbide cutting bit and and/or dremel kit, grind out to open up the worst ones, fill with hotcoat resin and some fine chopped up glass. Exacto knife will help also. This is extremely easy and doesn’t compromise form, fit, or function. Also pinlines, artwork, cover with laminates, colored resin panels!!! Don’t give up! And don’t polish a substandard glassjob, sanded finish only.

My first instinct would be not to sell it at all if it’s not up to your standards. Consider it a practice board.

I haven’t seen a perfect board. I see so many airbubbles. But if those buubles aren’t to your standards then work out above referenced deals, be honest but don’t be too hard on yourself. The scary thing is that I can see many flaws of boards posted on the site. I agree, don’t polish a sub standard glass job. Keep shaping. Perhaps you should sub out the glassing–it sounds like you are a pretty good shaper but have problems with a totally clean lam job, etc. Hey, how many of us vets don’t get finger prints all over the laps because we can’t keep our hands off our boards until they are all done.

If you ever think that you have built a perfect board,you might as well retire.I have been trying on and off for 40 years. R.B.

my favorite is when its coming out soooo perfect and you go to check the gloss coat and a bug landed in it. SON-OF-A!!!

I don’t know how many airbubbles you have but you can get rid of small ones by zapping them with a dremel tool. I use a bit that looks similar to a dentist drill. Pop them with the dremel add a little sun cure with a slight touch of white pigment(If you are doing a clear board) sand it down and no more bubble.If you have a painted board just use clesr resin. Quite simple. I do it and i’ve seen it done in other factories. Ethicly, I see nothing wrong with this process. Especially if you are low budget