How long will the restoration last?

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How long will the restoration last?

Postby dblther » Sat Jul 07, 2018 12:10 pm

I have a lot of my customers ask “ How long can my restoration or color change last” . Granted that I’ve prepared he surface properly and apply the color and top coat properly, and also that the client is annually cleaning and conditioning the treated surfaces...... how long should I be telling them the restoration last??
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Re: How long will the restoration last?

Postby jmurray2112 » Sat Jul 07, 2018 8:46 pm

I think this is a smart question, because customer education isn’t just about explaining what they can expect at the end the transaction, but what they can expect going forward into the future.
Given your assertion that due diligence has been observed in the prep and refinishing process, in the end it’s all about traffic patterns. If the usage is a constant with no changes, then provided it’s a like-for-like restoration (applied a new finish to a previously finished leather), the customer should be able to expect a similar life-span, unless you are correcting some tannery defect. If usage is increased, then life expectancy is shorter, and the inverse is true.
If the leather has been converted from a nubuck, unfinished aniline, or semi-aniline to a finished leather, then the customer should be able to expect a longer aesthetic life expectancy. Finished leather by nature is much more light-fast, and provides much more stain and wear resistance, so in these features will be an improvement over the original.
The way I approach this with customers is to let them know what we are using to accomplish the job. Our finishes are the same as a tannery would use to finish a hide used in furniture upholstery applications. The same goes for our top-coats. This means they will perform at least as well, if not better than the original materials.
But that is where the similarities end between what we do, and what a tannery would do. A tannery or leather finishing house applies these coatings to leather that is brand new, and is also tanned to accept them. We have to take these same leathers years down the road, the intervening time adding wear, age, damage, and a multitude of other impacts, and then try to return them to the same condition as they were when they were new. We also have to convert other types of leather to a type of leather that they were never intended to be, and all of the prep and priming materials that we’ve engineered or adapted over the last thirty years serve this purpose.
So much of life is anecdotal, so I tell customers stories based on my 30 years of experience. Feel free to incorporate them into your sales pitch if it helps.
I have refinished many sets of furniture 10-25 years after their first refinish. I have restored the same furniture in high-traffic situations (lobbies, conference rooms, waiting rooms, etc.) many, many times. I have done cleanings many years after refinish work. All of this is concrete evidence that the materials and processes work, and they work for the long haul.
If your customer is looking for specific numbers, I give them a range based on what I know of the furniture, previous usage, and projected usage. Worst case is 5 years, unless I know some part is specifically compromised, and they don’t want to spend the money to correct it. Typically, I’ll give 10-25 years, because this is a typical life-span for good leather furniture under normal circumstances.
I give a blanket one year guarantee, unless it’s obviously my fault, or customer abuse. After that, I will still evaluate failure, and if it’s me, I’ll take care of it. Once I hit three years, then I consider my obligations fulfilled, except in extreme circumstances.
Hope this helps. Let me know if I can clarify anything.
"Tens of thousands of cat scratch repairs later, I still have two cats. I'm not very smart, evidently."

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