Catering to specific clients.
Motorsports clients, one of my personal favorites, present very intriguing opportunities. Granted, they’re not always profitable or favorable, but they’re definitely cool. I’ll admit that I’ve sometimes been guilty of pricing a job to the point where it wasn’t profitable just because I wanted that vehicle in our portfolio. And these projects can help you land profitable ones – plus it provides bragging rights.
Motorsports clients run the gamut in our shop; we service every type of vehicle and customer – from Formula 1 to the client whose 8-year-old son races go carts. You have to be mindful of these differences. There are good budgets for race haulers with huge sponsors, but the same is not necessarily true for the local guy with a dirt-track car. Think about where the money is coming from.
Speaking of money, make sure you’re firm on whatever terms you award. For instance, if you require a deposit, don’t start work without it. I’m not saying that motorsports clients don’t pay their bills, but many times you’ll be dealing with someone who’s far removed from the person who does pay the bills. The truck driver is not always the best communicator to the accounts-payable office that’s located 14 states away. So be clear and steadfast in your expectations for payment, and handle those details with the correct person in advance so there are no surprises for you or the client. Delaying the race team over some type of payment miscommunication will ensure you never get that job again.
Tip: Many times these motorsports projects are very short on turn-around time because, to these clients, the “decals” are not as important as getting the car “race ready” – tweaking the motor and suspension etc. We often get two days or less to complete these projects due to last-minute sponsor deals getting signed or the ridiculously tight testing schedule of the vehicle. The more accommodating you can be to their needs, the better chance you have at really hitting if off with motorsports clients. Know their race schedule, their team, the driver of the car, and the truck. This type of client feels much more comfortable having their work done with someone who understands their world. So get up to speed and tailor your approach for a custom fit.