So... this is been sort of an on-going pet-peeve of mine, and due to some recent people who literally are ruining it for everyone... if you want a custom item, from now on, I'm going to ask that you pay the first half up front.
This may not even be a lot of money. For the one lady recently, it literally would have been like $10. But... it will keep me from having items laying around when these people back out.
Case in point. Lady from the west coast, who has ordered a few times before but is notoriously hard to get ahold of (phone, email, text, it doesn't matter, she takes forever... and I mean weeks... to call back). She calls with an order for shelves, custom shelves... which I tend not to do much anymore, as we've switched over to standard shelf sizing, but she wanted different width shelves. For those, since I have to go out and purchase the different width boards... you can have it cut to whatever size you'd like. So, she said when I had the order done, and shipping figured out, to call her, and she'd give me the credit card number and pay.
So, maybe a day or two later, I picked up a 10" board of pine, and I believe the two shelves were 10 x 9 or something like that. I cut those, figured out shipping. If I was pricing out normal 9" shelves, they'd be $7 each, but since it's larger wood, they worked out to $8 each, so $16 total, plus shipping.
It was later at night when I had the order done, so I decided to wait until the next morning to give her a buzz. Well... I wake up to a call that, oh, forget the shelves, someone gifted her some shelves and now she doesn't need them.
Honest to god.
Not that $16 is a lot, and of course, the cost is less than that. But I had to go out and specially purchase the wood, then cut and sand the shelves, put in the bolts. Find a box that fits, pack up the shelves, seal up the box. Figure out shipping. Not that any of this takes all that long, but when some of you wonder why your order is taking so long, sometimes it's because of people like this, who waste the time that could be spent on your order... and then don't order anything after all that time anyways!
And of course, now I have random 9 x 10 shelves sitting around. Undoubtedly, they will probably get used in a cage that I set up with used shelves and sell as a cage with shelves, because not that many people ask for the larger width shelves (and I'm not about to add another section for them, because I only have room to store so much). And now I have the rest of that 10" board sitting around. For what? Eventually it'll get used, but that's not the point... only so much room, remember?
Other memorable times this has happened (not all that often, but enough to be an aggravation) involved a custom bridge and a custom house. She wanted them done, oh, yesterday, and then when I had them done... oh she'd pay the next time she got paid. Oh, hold on, the next time. Oh, well now there was a problem with the landlord. I already had the order boxed up, and this went on for 7 frickin months before I finally stopped emailing her (because she kept saying, oh, when I get paid next week, email me Monday... and then when I would... oh next week, try again next Monday). The house I was able to sell. Custom houses... when someone asks about a house, I can just pull it out and say, hey, what do you think about this one. But the bridge was for an exponentially large cage... I tried to put it in a ferret nation (36" long) and it looks like a U-shape. Not good. Not the nice sag you get with bridges. So... either I need someone to come along with a super wide cage, or I need to take the bridge and shorten it... as if making it didn't take long enough, right? Bridges (listed nowhere on my site, because of this) take forever to make, as all those little planks need to be cut, drilled, sanded, and so on... and cost $1 per inch, which... for people who've ever helped make one, would agree... it's not worth making one for less. So now I have a likely $45-50 item sitting around that I probably can't sell as is.
So, from here on out, if you want a custom order of wood items, I will be asking for a deposit. The deposit will go towards your total, and will secure your spot in my list of orders that I am working on. I feel this will help with people backing out and getting cold feet, and basically, taking time away from orders that are already paid for. Thank you for your understanding.