I am a 97 gunsmith. It is the only gun I sell or work on. I get calls and emails regarding my sales and services.
Point One: After some discussion with my potential customer I instruct them to go to the SASS wire and check my references. Some do and some probably do not. This forum is a good starting place to determine with who to send, purchase, barter, or whatever. Recommendations can be sent to person asking by P.M. or by not "piling on" on the forum request. Unfavorable recommendations can and should be made by P.M.
Point Two: For service work the question is usually how long before I get it back. The answer is difficult. I look at my repair rack and see the 97's there, maybe there are 6 of them and I estimate 2-5 days on each. When wood is refinished it goes to the 5th day easy. So I am looking at 12-30 days. I tell the customer if your gun arrived today it would be about 30 to 40 days before I can get to it. I also tell them that when the gun arrives it goes to the back of the rack and will be worked on in the order it was received. Sometimes I can get lucky and some of those 6 guns are not as time consuming to repair as estimated and I can get to the next gun(s) earlier than estimated. On the other hand some of those guns take longer and I have to notify my customer of the delay.
As said in the above replies, communication is key.
Point Three: Regardless of what it takes, and sometimes at a loss of revenue on my end, I will protect my reputation as a gunsmith and member of the CAS family.
I don't mean to sound like a prima dona but this method of dealing with my customers is a simple straight forward way to do business. It has served me well for 20 years and has kept me in the good graces with the CAS members, and hope it does for another 20. Hmm I guess that's dreaming.