(This is part 5 of a 5 part series originally published on Artists Beware)
This guide is part of a series. Please consider reading the following guides before this one:
- What is a Fursuit: Types, Styles, & Padding
- Buying a Fursuit: Is a Fursuit Right For You?
- Choosing the Right Maker for Your Fursuit
- Buying a Fursuit: Pre-mades vs. Commissions, & Finding Maker Contacts
A disclaimer before we begin:
Every maker is different, and this guide only covers the most common methods. These steps may not apply to all makers.
Before You Commission: You Should Know
Commissioning a fursuit is a business transaction.
Fursuit makers provide a service in return for money. They will guide you through the process in order to produce a fursuit for you. This process involves lots of communication between themselves and you, and this communication should be courteous and pleasant. This is not a friendship. This is an aspect of customer service.
You must have the money required to proceed.
If you say you can pay upfront, you need to be able to produce the full amount when you receive the invoice. If the maker allows payment plans, you need to be able to afford those plans at the deadlines specified within the plans. Do not request a quote if you do not have the money at the time you contact the maker.
You must have the time and ability required to proceed.
Fursuits require measurements and often require duct tape dummies and/or additional items like shoes. You will be required to pay for these extra items and the shipping of these items to the maker before your project can begin. These costs are often not included on your invoice for the fursuit.
A duct tape dummy (DTD) takes you and at least one other person to make. If you do not have someone to help you make a DTD, your maker may not be able to complete your commission.
Makers generally have queues or waitlists. It is not uncommon to wait several months in this list before any work is done on your fursuit.
If you cannot wait at least 1 year for a fullsuit, do not commission one. (Individual items such as paws have much shorter wait times.)
Requesting a quote or commission does not guarantee your project will be accepted.
Most fursuit makers do not work on a “first come, first served” basis. There is a possibility you will miss commission openings, or your project will not be chosen. There is a possibility this can happen to you multiple times. Be prepared for this.
Know exactly what you want before requesting a quote.
Have a character sheet ready to give to a maker. If you don’t have a character sheet, you can make your own using a variety of free resources. If you can’t make your own, have a short description of your project ready for the quote. You should not be changing any details about your project in the middle of the commission process. Make sure you are comfortable with your design and you are sure you want it as a fursuit.
Turnaround time, or an estimated completion date, is not absolute.
The maker’s estimated completion date (ETA) is not rigid. It is an estimation, and therefore it can be wrong. Many makers do not work with deadlines, so do not be alarmed immediately if your project is not completed within the original given time frame. Likewise, if you expect your project to be completed by a very specific date or event, be prepared to pay a high fee.
If this information displeases you, I encourage you to read the following guides before continuing:
Familiarizing Yourself With Service Terms
Before commissioning a maker, you need to locate and read the following things, which are usually linked right around the Open/Closed status:
- “TOS” or “Terms of Service.”
The maker’s rules of doing business – this will usually also tell you exactly how to contact them for a quote.
- “Trello” or “Queue.” Sometimes called a “waitlist.”
View this to get a sense of how long you will have to wait for your project to be started. It lists all the people ahead of you who are waiting for their projects to be completed.
- If the above things aren’t specified, the information is usually under a link called something like “Commission Information” or “How to Commission.”
Once you’ve read everything, you should know how that specific maker wishes to be contacted (email, twitter, FA notes, etc.). The next step, if they are open for commissions, is to request a quote.
Identifying a Maker’s Commission Status
Before a maker can be contacted for commissions, you must identify if they are “OPEN FOR COMMISSIONS”. (Many makers alternatively word this as “OPEN FOR QUOTES”.)
This is generally at the top of the user information on whatever page you are looking at. It will read “Open” or “Closed” for commissions or projects.
If they are closed, you will NOT be able to commission the maker OR get on their waiting list. Fursuits take a long time to complete, and many makers only open commissions a few times a year.
Luckily, there is a website that attempts to collect maker commission statuses all in one place – getfursu.it. It displays a list of makers, some information about them, and whether they are open or closed. Getfursu.it is still new and it may not have every maker listed. The commission status of the maker may not be displayed or correct in all instances. However, it is incredibly convenient to use as a quick reference if you don’t happen to know a maker’s social media or personal website off-hand!
When a maker is open for commissions, you can contact the maker for a quote and possible project. If you are accepted, that does not mean your commission will begin immediately. It is not uncommon to be in the queue for many months before your project is actually started.
You should attempt to identify what the “turnaround time” for that maker is – that is, the time it takes from payment to having the item(s) in your hands for your project (including the queue) so you know what to expect.
Do not request a commission if you are not prepared to wait! You can get an idea of how long a maker’s turnaround time is based on the completion time listings on FursuitReview.
It is common to wait up to a year for a fullsuit commission to be completed.
Requesting A Quote or Commission From a Maker
Many makers have a form you need to fill out and send, but for those who don’t, your general request should look something like this:
I’d like a: [partial, fullsuit, single item?] with [particular colors of fur? type of padding?] in a [toony? realistic? Semi-realistic?] style.
I was wondering how much this would cost, and when it might be completed?
Also: [do you take payment plans? / I can pay in full up front.]
[what measurements should I send you?] ”
Here is an example quote request for a fullsuit:
Hi, I’m interested in a fullsuit quote!
This is my character: http://www.furaffinity.net/view/12438977/
He’s a generic canine based on a wolf.
I’m looking for a realistic digitigrade fullsuit with all the marking sewn in and a slightly dropped crotch.
I was wondering how much this would cost and when it might be completed? Just so I have a general idea.I can put down $800 right away, but what are my options for payment plans otherwise, if you take them?Also, what measurements do I need to give you, and do you have a guide on how to make a Duct Tape Dummy for you?Thank you for your time and consideration,
If you’re confident you can wait and can afford the fursuit even before you get confirmation on the cost (you should already know approximately how much it will cost based on the maker’s price list), also include your paypal email in your initial form so they can email you an invoice.
At this point, it’s up to the maker to respond to your request.
A request for a quote DOES NOT guarantee that they will take your commission. Makers rarely work on a “first come, first served” basis. If your project is accepted, the maker will contact you confirming that you have a slot and clear up any questions. They will then usually ask for you to provide your measurements if you haven’t done so already.
If you have never measured yourself, please search for a guide on how to do so – sometimes the maker can provide one. The maker may also ask for a Duct Tape Dummy (DTD) at this time.
After that, you wait. How long you wait depends on their queue and turnaround time, but it is not uncommon to wait more than a month before your project even begins. (Single piece items other than heads often start immediately and/or have much faster completion times.)
After Your Project Has Been Accepted
Collecting Measurements, DTDs, & More
Once your quote has been accepted, the maker will require additional information and/or materials from you, depending on the type of project you have commissioned. If you have never measured yourself, ask the maker for guides they recommend you use. Incorrect measurements can lead to huge problems with your fursuit. Read the resources given to you (or the ones you’ve found yourself), use the right materials, take your time, and never assume you did it correctly without verifying the information you’ve recorded.
How to measure yourself:
Eventually, the maker will request a Duct Tape Dummy (DTD) from you, if they haven’t already.
A DTD is essentially a home-made mannequin of yourself. You cover yourself in duct tape, cut yourself out of the duct tape, and ship the resulting pattern to the maker.
You will need at least one other person to help you make the DTD. Expect to pay at least 30 USD for the rolls of duct tape and shipping, as this is not provided by the maker.
There are many guides on how to make a DTD, but makers often have their own preferences. Ask if they have a guide they prefer you to use. If the maker doesn’t have their own recommended DTD guide, this one from Golden Maw is extremely helpful.
Depending on the maker and the type of item you’re commissioning, the maker may ask you to buy other things and ship them, such as a pair of shoes, gloves, or hand traces. The maker should provide you with the requirements for these items. These are usually added costs not covered by the original price quoted to you, so keep this in mind.
Reaching Your Spot in the Queue
Once the maker has everything they need from you, and it is your turn in the queue, your project will begin. Some makers provide work in progress (WIP) photos, others do not. You should get an idea of how your maker works based on their TOS, Trello posts (if they have one), and/or past social media usage/updates, if they post WIPs publicly.
Usually, the wait before your project starts is longer than what it takes to actually make your fursuit, but there are always exceptions.
You should keep in mind that waiting a year for a fursuit (queue wait + actual work) is not uncommon.
It is okay to contact the maker for updates on progress, but doing so more than once a month is burdensome to the maker. However, if it is your turn in the queue and your project has not had any progress after 3 months, you should be concerned.
If you think you are being scammed or you would like advice on your specific situation, you can post in the “Advice for Commissioners” forum on Artists Beware asking for help (don’t mention the maker’s name). And if you really did feel you got scammed, post a beware on the maker.
But we hope everything goes okay and you receive your fursuit in short order! After you’ve owned your new fursuit for 3 months, or worn it for 30 hours (whichever comes first), submit a review for it on FursuitReview! We’d love to hear how your project went!
We hope this guide was helpful and your commission experience goes flawlessly!