Morning Coffee Blog: Hard Times

Part of the philosophy of Operation: Puppet is things can be more friendly and personal. I try to be open and transparent about what going on with me and the shop, etc, and that’s not always great news. Having a bit of a rough time in the ol’ puppet mines over the past week.

Looking over the financials, while things aren’t awful, I’m having to make some tough calls. Tax season is looming and that always hits hard. With materials and import fees skyrocketing, I’ve had to make the difficult decision to put a hold on all commission work until at least the Spring, when I should be recovered a bit. This could use some explaining:

Commission work is always far more time consuming than shop builds, and because they require specific materials, the initial cost to me is greater. With material and labour hours I rarely break even on a commission, and often take a bit of a loss; but I still do them because I want to connect with my clients and help them realize their visions.

I have a strict policy of never accepting money for a puppet that isn’t done, and that combined with my policy of keeping my prices reasonable (if not low) means that at times like this, it’s just not financially viable for me to do commission work. For shop builds I can use what materials I already have or can readily get and build to the time I have rather than a specific goal. As a result, I can often double or triple the number of shop puppets that get built in the same time as commissions. Normally I can just soak that cost but right now things are tight enough that it’s just not feasible.

There are a couple of folks that have been waiting for me to start their commissions that I’m going to have to let down, and that feels lousy. There are a lot of advantages to working at a small scale on a sole proprietorship, but this is a good example of when things can turn around and bite you.

Going to go hide and be grouchy for a bit. After coffee.

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