Q. Describe the most common types of jobs you do for your clients.
A. Doghouses are my most requested product. Maybe I should say pet houses, because quite often these structures are used for animals. So far I have made these structures for; dogs, cats, a pot bellied pig, kids play houses, and a pond pump house. I also make "coffin" shaped guitar cases and skateboard stands.
Q. What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A. Call around and talk to the person who actually does the construction of the house. Ask them if it is put together with screws or nails, screws are much better. Ask them if they will back up their product after you get it home, like what if a year from now the siding or roof start separating and just falling apart. Will they come out and fix or replace it ?
Q. If you were a customer, what do you wish you knew about your trade? Any inside secrets to share?
A. Sure, a person who is afraid to share in any trade secrets either has a lack of confidence, or an inferior product. They ask; How do you make such a quality product, and still sell it at that price ? Simple, I take my time, and don't count the man hours spent building the product. Just focus on building a product that you would be proud to own.
Q. What important information should buyers have thought through before seeking you out?
A. They should be able to tell me what kind of dog the house is for. How big (or small) is the dog. Does it have long or short hair. Does the dog have any special needs that may require it to have a heater or air conditioner.
Q. Why does your work stand out from others who do what you do?
A. My doghouses stand out from all other doghouses because of the attention to detail and pride that I put into everything that I make, whether it is a doghouse, a skateboard stand, one of my "coffin shaped guitar cases", or anything else that I am challenged to build, I get great satisfaction from a customer using something that I built and saying,"now that's cool" or "perfect, that's exactly how I pictured it. And I know it will last for years.
Q. What do you like most about your job?
A. That question cannot be pinned down to just one thing.I like upon completing a project, standing back and admiring the quality and craftsmanship of the "item" .I like knowing that someone else will be doing the same. And I especially like the fact that I'm making a better product while selling it to a consumer at amuch better price.
Q. What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A. How much are they ? Or how much for the air conditioning ? Well that depends on the size of your dog, which model that you like, and what extra amenities would you like ? Besides fans, air conditioning, and floor heating, I can probably customize it any way the customer would like it. And the air conditioning is $125.00 above the normal price of the doghouse.
Q. Do you have a favorite story from your work?
A. Yes, I do. One of my first doghouses that I built was to a gentleman from Utah. He ordered it "sight unseen" and drove down to pick it up. Upon arrival, he was very impressed, and that made me feel pretty darn good. I thought that was the end of it, and did not expect to see him again. Later that day he called me up and said, "dude, you're not gonna believe what happened, while I was driving down the bumpy dirt road to my house, kinda fast, the doghouse bounced out the back of my pick up. We got out, put it back in the truck, and you'ld never know the difference !
Q. What do you wish customers knew about you or your profession?
A. I wish they could see just how many hours it takes to build a quality doghouse. If I was a person who didn't take so much pride in everything I do, I could cut corners and throw these doghouses together in less than a day. But I do care,and instead it takes me several days, and I'm always looking for ways to improve my product.
Q. How did you decide to get in your line of work?
A. I am a creative person who gets much satisfaction out of building things with my hands. Especially if it is something of my own design. And wood is one of mediums that I am very familiar and good with. And after deciding what material I wanted to use, I had to find a product made of wood and is in demand, and will also give me the opportunity to be creative.
Q. Tell us about a recent job you did that you are particularly proud of.
A. My favorite project I would say is the house that ended up being used for "feral" cats. When I started designing it I had the pot bellied pig in mind. The pigs' owners were out of town and I didn't know all the requirements and limitations I might have. So I started building this huge structure, and when they returned, they said it was too big, because they move around a lot. Well, I didn't mind because I knew that someone else would come along and buy it. Sure enough, the following day the gentleman who was caring for these wild cats that lived near his business by Las Vegas Wash, and were getting eatin up by coyotes came by and bought it. I had to make a few changes and additions to it, and 2 days later I delivered it to him, and I had one happy customer (and a bunch of happy cats).
Q. Do you do any sort of continuing education to stay up on the latest developments in your field?
A. I don't take any official continued education classes like at a university or community college, but whenever I'm out, if I see a doghouse, or anything similar to any other project that I'm building. I'll stop and check it out to see if their is anything that I can learn from it.
Q. What are the latest developments in your field? Are there any exciting things coming in the next few years or decade that will change your line of business?
A. Presently, I can not think of any new developments nor can I see anything coming up in the future. Unless it's an innovation that comes from me. And I just now thought of one. Portable doghouses. A doghouse for someone who travels a lot, or for camping. It would have to be made of light weight material, go together and come apart easily and quickly, and be fairly sturdy. It would also have to break down and fit into some type of small carrying case. Hey thanks for inspiring me to come up with this idea.
Q. Describe your most recent project, what it involved, how much it cost, and how long it took.
A. Excluding the two projects that I am currently working on, one being another coffin shaped guitar case, and the other being another doghouse(both of which are new designs), It would be the feral cat house. I call it "catmandu". It is 4' wide, 5' tall, and 6' long. It has a front door, for people, and a small door in it for the cats Their is a side door that folds down, so you can reach the air conditioner and feed the cats without having to go inside. Like I said, it is air conditioned, a
shelf for the cats to sit on, and a scratching post with 400' of rope wrapped around it. Cost of materials alone are around $250.00.
Q. If you have a complicated pricing system for your service, please give all the details here.
A. My pricing system is not complicated at all. Pretty much I just consider the state of the economy, the budget of the clientele that I am targeting (which I know is probably not real big), the cost of materials, and then I put a fee for my labor. the "fee" for my labor is always way to low,I think I'm giving the customer a big break, especially if you compared the quality and all the extra emenities I put in it, to other doghouse builders. I guess it must be a "labor of love".
Q. If you were advising someone who wanted to get into your profession, what would you suggest?
A. I would advise them not to depend on this job to feed your family. Get another job and keep it until you see a consistent number of sales with a profit margin large enough to live on. If you are building a quality product, don't expect too many return customers because your doghouses should last many years. But if your lucky, those same customers will give you referrals when others are impressed by your work.
Q. Write your own question and answer it.
A. Where would you like your business to go from here? I would like to get a much bigger shop where I can train young people who are just entering the work force, and teach them the importance of doing good work, and the feeling you get from building something with your own 2 hands and being proud of it. And this is a work ethic that you should carry on to everything you do. About 30 years ago, my mentor in the audio engineering field told me "every client is your most important". And that has stuck with me ever since.