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    Ultimatums: What, Why, When, & How

    An ultimatum is a message, usually over email, that tells the creator (henceforth referred to as 'artist') that they need to deliver something or the customer/commissioner (henceforth referred to as 'you') will retaliate. This retaliation is usually an unsatisfactory outcome for the artist.
    An example of a very simple ultimatum would be:
    Deliver my artwork by 2 May, or I will open up a dispute with PayPal for a full refund. For the purposes of this guide, an ultimatum must have the following components to be useful:
    A summary of the transaction so far At least one desired outcome (e.g. delivering art that is due) An undesirable outcome (i.e. a credible threat) A deadline for compliance A formal closing When you pay someone money for a service or product, that person should be delivering that service and/or product. It is a business transaction. Since many of these transactions do not utilize escrow payments, you are left to trust that things will work out and artists will deliver what they promised or a refund if they're unable to deliver.
    An unfortunately common problem is that artists fail to do either of these things, and commissioners like yourself are left with no recourse.
    An ultimatum is an actionable threat to an artist. You have power behind you, and when you use it correctly, you will be able to finish the business transaction instead of wondering if you will ever get your product, service, or refund.
    You should use an ultimatum when:
    You are WILLING and ABLE to carry out a threat if the desired outcome does not occur; You want to finish the transaction with the artist as quickly as possible; ALL OTHER ATTEMPTS TO FINISH THE TRANSACTION HAVE FAILED Ultimatums should ONLY be used as a LAST RESORT.
     
    Credible Threats Explained In order for an ultimatum to succeed, you need to have a credible threat. A PayPal claim is an action you can take that has actual, real consequences to an artist. A threat means nothing if you cannot back it up.
    An ultimatum that states:
    Deliver my art by 2 May or I will post a call-out journal about you! Is ultimately useless and non-threatening. It doesn't affect the artist's bottom-line: they still have your money. Even assuming your call-out journal has some power, it is inherently limited to who actually believes you and who sees it. In 99% of cases, that audience doesn't cross over with the artist's potential customers enough to damage their ability to make an income.
    Anything that has the potential to hurt an artist's income can be a credible threat. Below are some options:
    Filing a chargeback Filing in small claims court Using PayPal's Resolution Center If the transaction took place in a convention's artist's alley or dealer's den, informing the convention of the artist's behavior / lack of delivery. (this can lead to blacklisting of the artist from selling at the venue)  
    Using the PayPal Resolution Center to Your Advantage
    Most transactions utilize a payment processor. For this guide, we will assume you are using PayPal. PayPal has a window of 180 days (roughly 6 months) from the date the transaction takes place to file a dispute or claim against it. Most payment processors have a similar dispute process.
    With respect to PayPal, however, let us define these terms and what they do explicitly:
    A PayPal Dispute:
    You initiate the dispute in the resolution center PayPal emails the artist saying you opened a dispute on the transaction The artist is told to contact you through the resolution center PayPal is not involved in the dispute The dispute automatically closes in 20 days unless it is escalated to a claim Once closed, it cannot be re-opened Nothing actually happens if the artist doesn't want anything to happen A PayPal Claim:
    You initiate a PayPal dispute You escalate the dispute to a claim PayPal immediately freezes the transaction amount in the artist's account (which can put their account in the negative if the money is no longer there) PayPal emails the artist saying you've opened a dispute and a claim You must provide proof that your claim is warranted PayPal becomes officially involved and decides the outcome based on the proof provided The outcome usually occurs within 30 days or less The artist is powerless in this situation unless they can prove that the work/service has been delivered/rendered A very informal summation of this is that a dispute is a serious negotiation and a claim is a court case judged by PayPal.
    Typically, if you have reached the point of issuing an ultimatum, you will want to immediately escalate your dispute to a claim. But you do not have to do this. You have 20 days to decide if you'd like to escalate and force the artist to respond.
    However, one thing that is absolutely certain: NEVER CLOSE A DISPUTE JUST BECAUSE AN ARTIST ASKS YOU TO!!
    Once you close the dispute (and/or claim), you will NEVER be able to re-open it. If an artist promises to refund you, but needs more time than the PayPal window allows, DO NOT CLOSE THE DISPUTE unless you are 300% sure they will deliver. Once the dispute closes, you are powerless.
    This information about the PayPal dispute process is important to know, because it means that you have an easy way to be refunded if something goes wrong. It means you have power.
    It means you have 180 days to get your commission done.
    Money talks. An artist who is ignoring you will suddenly become super interested in solving your issue when their money is frozen.
    An artist needs income to survive, so will likely always keep their PayPal email current. If you have lost contact with an artist, a PayPal dispute can re-establish communications.
    Remember: this is a business transaction. This is your money.
    Ultimately it is up to you whether you want a refund or not, but don't refuse to pursue one because you're afraid of being mean.
    This is a business transaction.
     
    Don't Make Threats You Won't Follow Through With
    Many people are unsure if they want to sever ties with an artist due to a transaction gone bad. If you make an ultimatum that tells the artist to deliver art on a specific date or you will file a PayPal claim, and they don't deliver the art... Are you still willing to file the PayPal claim?
    If you are unwilling to, don't make the ultimatum.
    If you have come to the point of making an ultimatum, you have exhausted all other options. Be prepared to NOT get the product you wanted when you issue an ultimatum. Be warned: once the 180 day PayPal claim window has passed, you have no power. Whether you get the product or a refund is completely up to the whims of the artist when you have no ability to recoup your money.
    Should you make an ultimatum and let it pass without carrying out your threat, you have let the artist know you are not serious and you can safely be ignored. If you make another ultimatum in the future, it will not be listened to.
    Never make an ultimatum if you are unwilling to follow through on your threat.
     
    When a Transaction Calls for an Ultimatum An ultimatum should be used as a last resort. Ultimatums are for when something very wrong has occurred during the transaction. Typically this "something" is no communication and/or not delivering the product/service within the expected time frame, but other situations can also be deserving of ultimatums.

    Let's say you commission an artist, and they state the art will be delivered in 2 weeks. You have waited 2 months with no updates or WIPs, and asking for status updates from the artist has only gotten you empty promises. You are well past caring about the outcome of the situation, and now just want your art or the money back, whichever will get you out of this debacle faster.
    You have entered ultimatum territory.
     
    However, you should be exhausting other, more kind avenues, before getting to the point of issuing an ultimatum.
    Have you contacted the artist yourself?
    Have you asked for updates? Estimated completion dates? Your spot in the queue?
    Have you listened to what the artist has told you?
    Did the artist say your commission would take a certain amount of time? Have you waited for that time to pass yet?
    Is the artist experiencing a personal hardship (such as medical emergency)? Have you given them time to solve this hardship before expecting your product/service?
    Have you attempted to negotiate with the artist?
    Have you tried to set realistic time frames for product completion? Have you offered to change the commission so it is less stressful/time-consuming for the artist? Have you suggested a partial refund or a refund given to you in payments over time? Have you offered other compromises so both you and the artist can be accommodated?
    Many issues can be solved without the use of ultimatums.
    If you are having issues with an artist but you're not sure of what else to try before issuing an ultimatum, make a post asking for advice on the forum! Many of us are happy to help with the specific details of your situation. Just remember that forum posts must be anonymous, so don't name the artist in question.
     
    How To Write a Useful Ultimatum For the purposes of this guide, an ultimatum must have the following components to be useful:
    A summary of the transaction so far At least one desired outcome (e.g. delivering art that is due) An undesirable outcome (e.g. the PayPal claim) A deadline for compliance A formal closing
    Before getting started, determine what type of ultimatum you would like to make.  I will refer to them as "standard" and "expanded." These are by no means official ultimatum types, they are just useful descriptors.
    Standard Ultimatum
    A standard ultimatum has all the components listed above, displayed in the quickest and easiest way possible. It it used when you are 100% sure you have all the power and will win a PayPal claim if you choose to make one.
    Expanded Ultimatum
    An expanded ultimatum details all the information of a standard ultimatum through use of specific historic dates and sometimes links. It is useful for (1) when you think you may have a chance of losing your PayPal claim, (2) you may pursue legal action, (3) you believe the artist is unorganized or has lost your transaction information, (4) you want to sound as intimidating as possible, and/or (5) you just want to be as complete and safe as possible.
    This type of ultimatum will take a long time to write (especially depending on the length and complexity of your transaction), requires you to have kept at least decent organization of the transaction history/details up to this point, and will have all evidence of the entire situation so far in this single message.
    Of course, you can mix elements from each type and cater your ultimatum's details to your specific situation.
     
    An Example Situation
    January 1:
    You contact the artist FandomArtist with interest to commission them for a single headshot of your original character (OC), Bornes. You provide them with the character sheet for Bornes.
    According to FandomArtist's commission information, they have a standard turnaround time of 2 weeks.
    January 2:
    FandomArtist accepts your commission and sends you an invoice for 30 USD. The invoice number/transaction ID is #ABCDE.
    You pay the amount in full immediately.
    January 12:
    You contact FandomArtist asking when the art might be done and if you will recieve a WIP.
    January 13:
    FandomArtist sends you a link to a WIP sketch for approval. The sketch looks nothing like Bornes.
    January 14:
    You email FandomArtist with the reference for Bornes and ask if they could please redo the sketch so it looks more like your OC.
    January 24:
    You email FandomArtist asking if they have a new WIP for you and when you might be able to expect the commission.
    January 30:
    You leave a comment on FandomArtist's gallery page asking for them to check their email.
    You notice some time later it is deleted.
    February 1:
    You direct message FandomArtist on one of their social media pages asking them for an update on your commission.
    February 10:
    You have still received no communication from FandomArtist. You have decided you are ready to pursue an ultimatum.
    Optional: You open a dispute (not a claim) on PayPal immediately after you send the ultimatum.
     
    Ultimatums for the Example Situation
    Remember that an ultimatum must have the following components to be useful:
    A summary of the transaction so far At least one desired outcome (e.g. delivering art that is due) An undesirable outcome (e.g. the PayPal claim) A deadline for compliance (at least 5 days in the future) A formal closing  
    Also remember:
    Avoid fandom-specific acronyms and abbreviations Be as professional as possible (take your emotions out of it) Keep it as short as possible (leave out the personal details) Standard Ultimatum Example
    FandomArtist,
    I commissioned you on 1 January for a headshot of my character Bornes. I paid you 30 USD the next day. When I received the WIP sketch later, I asked it to be reworked since it did not look like Bornes. It has been a month since then without any communication from you. At this point, if I don't receive the art by 28 February, I will be be forced to file a claim with PayPal for a refund.
    Thank you,
    [Your main screenname] / [the legal name on your PayPal account]
    Expanded Ultimatum Example
    FandomArtist,
    On 1 January, I commissioned you for a 30 USD headshot of my original character, Bornes [link to character reference]. I paid the invoice (Transaction ID #ABCDE) on 2 January. According to your page, the expected turnaround time for this type of commission is 2 weeks:
    [link to page stating this, or link to a screenshot showing this]
    I received a WIP on the 13th, which did not look like my character [link to bad WIP or screenshot of bad WIP]. I re-submitted the reference for my character and asked the sketch be fixed, but have not heard from you since.
    I've attempted to contact you through email with no response on the 24th, again on your gallery page on the 30th, and again through direct message on [social media site] on 1 February. It is now 10 February. If I do not receive the art by the 28th, I will be pursuing a refund through PayPal.
    Regards,
    [Your main screenname] / [the legal name on your PayPal account]
     
    Ideally, your ultimatum should only be one paragraph (with extra line breaks to accommodate unformatted links). You want to convey the most information possible in the smallest amount of text as possible. Remember that if you file a PayPal claim, an outside party, who knows absolutely nothing about your transaction except the details on the invoice and the proof you provide, will be reading this.
    Expanded ultimatums are great for this purpose as you can simply submit your ultimatum as evidence, and frequently it is the only proof you need. This reduces the mediator (PayPal)'s work time and they are not only more willing to side in your favor, but are able to do so much more quickly than if you had provided them 5+ emails they had to sift through and make sense of.
     
    Ultimatums When You Don't Have Power
    Previously, it was stated that affecting an artist's income was likely the only credible threat you could use in an ultimatum. This unfortunately means that if you have passed the PayPal window for a claim, you are powerless.
    This is only partially true.
    There is another threat you can make: An Artist Beware.
    A Beware is not foolproof or guaranteed to damage an artist; ultimately how a Beware affects an artist is highly situational. But the Artists Beware community is extremely large and its archive is very credible. Artists can live and die by their reputation, so if you are outside the PayPal window, you can fall back on the threat of a beware. Sometimes this works.
    But sometimes it does not.
    If you are writing an ultimatum where the undesirable outcome is a Beware posting on the artist, you should be writing the Beware post at the same time as your ultimatum. Many of the components of a beware and an ultimatum are the same, and writing both at the same time ensures you only need to sift through your records for links, screenshots, and dates once. It saves time.
    So let us assume that February 10 is outside the PayPal window and instead of threatening a claim, we must fallback on a beware.
    Here are some example ultimatums for that situation.
    Standard Ultimatum (Beware)
    FandomArtist,
    I commissioned you on 1 January for a headshot of my OC Bornes. I paid you 30 USD the next day. When I received the WIP sketch later, I asked it to be reworked since it did not look like Bornes. It has been a month since then without any communication from you. At this point, if I don't receive the art by 28 February, I will be be forced to submit a Beware on Artists Beware.
    Thank you,
    [Your main screenname]
    Expanded Ultimatum (Beware)
    FandomArtist,
    On 1 January, I commissioned you for a 30 USD headshot of my original character, Bornes [link to character reference]. I paid the invoice (Transaction ID #ABCDE - [link to screenshot of invoice]) on 2 January. According to your page, the expected turnaround time for this type of commission is 2 weeks:
    [link to page stating this, or link to a screenshot showing this]
    I received a WIP on the 13th, which did not look like my character [link to bad WIP or screenshot of bad WIP]. I re-submitted the reference for my character and asked the sketch be fixed, but have not heard from you since.
    I've attempted to contact you through email with no response on the 24th, again on your gallery page on the 30th, and again through direct message on [social media site] on 1 February. It is now 10 February. If I do not receive the art by the 28th, I will be posting a Beware on you on Artists Beware.
    Regards,
    [Your main screenname]

    If you use the expanded ultimatum, you can reuse all the same links/screencaps for the beware. You can use the entire ultimatum with minimal rewording as the beware itself. However, keep in mind that the Beware will not be accepted until the date you specified in your ultimatum has passed.
     
    Outcomes You Can Expect Give the artist time to process the ultimatum.
    Don't contact them to make sure they got the message. Wait for them to contact you.
    Make sure the date of compliance is at least 5 days in the future (ideally 7). This gives the artist time to receive your message if they are busy outside of the internet, and it gives them time to think of a response.
    You can open a dispute (not a claim) at the time of your ultimatum, but you do not have to.
    In fact, I would advise you not to open a dispute unless you would much rather just have the refund.
    The Artist may deliver your art.
    The artist might have finished your art and just not delivered it. It happens.
    The artist may have your art mostly finished, and after the ultimatum is received, they will finish it. This also is not uncommon.
    The artist may quietly refund you.
    Sometimes the artist just doesn't want to deal with you, and will refund you to get it over with without actually talking to you. This is okay. Let it go.
    Don't contact them again. Your transaction has been concluded.
    The artist may attack you.
    They might email you directly or talk about you on social media. If this happens, don't engage with them. Wait until your stated date (in our example, it was 28 February). If you still don't have the art or a refund, open a dispute, escalate it to a claim immediately, and get your refund that way. Once you have the money in hand, write a beware about the artist showing how they harassed you.
    The artist may give you excuses or plead with you.
    If you opened a dispute, they may ask you to close it. NEVER CLOSE THE DISPUTE. ONCE A DISPUTE IS CLOSED, IT CAN NEVER BE RE-OPENED AND YOU WILL LOSE POWER.
    You have 20 days until a dispute automatically closes. Give the artist 18 days to figure out what they want to do. If there is still no resolution, escalate the dispute to a claim on day 19.
    You can work with an artist in this time frame. If they are amicable, you can be too. You can compromise, ask for a simpler commission with a partial refund, etc. Just do not close the dispute.
    The artist may attempt to legitimately work with you.
    They may ask for more time, some other compromise, a better work schedule, guaranteed WIPs, etc. Remain as impartial as possible, and try to work with them.
    You can come to an agreement, like "OK, I will give you one more month IF you give me a WIP every 2 weeks" or something like that. Try to work with them.
    Especially if you would prefer the art, it is best to not file a dispute with the sending of your ultimatum. Without a dispute, the artist has more time to comply.
    However, do not let the PayPal window for a dispute close. These means, no matter how many extensions you give the artist, make sure the art is in your hands before the 180th day. Outside 180 days, you will not be able to initiate a PayPal claim.
    If you have filed a dispute or claim, the artist may deliver art of terrible quality.
    If you open a dispute, the artist has 20 days to respond. When you escalate to a claim, artists have less time to respond. Some artists may deliver art that is obviously not up to the expected quality of your commission during this time, and PayPal will determine that the artist has delivered the art and close the claim in the artist's favor.
    This is fairly uncommon, but it can happen. In this case, you should dispute the claim on PayPal if you are able, and write a beware on the artist.
    The artist will likely blacklist you from working with them in the future.
    Accept that this will probably happen to you regardless of the result of the ultimatum, and be prepared to not be able to commission this artist again.
    If you are thinking of issuing an ultimatum, something has gone very wrong in the commission process. In most cases, you should not want to do business with this person again anyway.
    Remember to use ultimatums responsibly.

    Only use them when you can make a credible threat and you are WILLING and ABLE to carry out that threat.
    Only use an ultimatum when all other options have failed!
    ALWAYS FOLLOW-UP ON YOUR THREAT THE DAY OF OR THE DAY AFTER YOU STATED IN YOUR ULTIMATUM!  
     

    Buying a Fursuit: The Commission Process

    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:
    Buying a Fursuit: Is a Fursuit Right For You? Buying a Fursuit: Pre-mades vs. Commissions, & Finding Maker Contacts  
    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. Prices “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:
    “Hi, I’m interested in a fursuit quote! This is my character: [either link to a piece of character concept art or BRIEFLY describe your idea for a fursuit]
    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,
    Bornes  
    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.
    I can pay in full up front. Please send the invoice to mypaypal@email.com.  
    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:
    Instructions from Golden Maw Tutorial from Sew Mama Sew 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 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!
     

    Buying a Fursuit: Pre-mades vs. Commissions, & Finding Maker Contacts

    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  
    Two Ways to Buy:
    Pre-Mades vs. Commissions
    Pre-made fursuits are just what the name implies: pre-made. It’s important to note that when you are reading reviews on FursuitReview.com, that “pre-made” refers to fursuits bought directly from the maker, and not for previously used fursuits. It is common for makers to make what they want in a general size and then sell this.
    This guide uses the same definition of pre-made as FursuitReview, but used fursuits are perfectly okay to buy and you can find them in many of the same places you can find pre-mades!
    Commissioning is the process of ordering a custom-made fursuit directly from the maker.
    Generally, the process involves:
    Contacting the maker directly with your idea/character design and getting a quote for it Submitting a duct tape dummy (DTD) to the maker Waiting Receiving your finished product You should buy a pre-made if you don’t have a particular idea for a fursuit in mind, you have a lower budget, and/or you want the fursuit in less than three months.
    Commissioning is ideal for people who have a very specific idea in mind for their fursuit and/or they are okay with waiting a long time to receive their costume.
    Where to Buy Pre-Mades

    Pre-made fursuits can be found in various places. Depending on the maker, you can buy from an auction site or get them directly from a maker’s social media page (such as their Twitter, Tumblr, FaceBook, Instagram, etc.) or independent store. You can also find them at furry conventions in the dealer's dens, if you happen to attend one.
    The two most common places to find pre-mades are the auction sites FurBuy and The Dealers Den. Both of these sites can be summarized as “furry version of eBay” and each has their own fursuit section. If you’re looking for a pre-made or used fursuit, and you do not have a particular maker in mind, you should look here first.
    If you like, you can follow each site's account on Twitter, which commonly retweets fursuit sales ( Dealer's Den | FurBuy).
    While not as common, some fursuit makers sell pre-mades on platforms such as Etsy, Storenvy, and ebay. You can search here if the other sites don’t have what you want and you don’t know where else to look.
    Where to Find Makers

    In most cases, you must contact makers directly to buy from them. FursuitReview and getfursu.it list the main social media platforms of makers on the maker pages in order to make it easier for you to do this.
    Now, we will briefly describe the most common platforms makers post their work on and how you can use these avenues to contact a maker or buy from them.
    FurAffinity, or FA, is the most common platform makers use. It can be described as a “furry version of DeviantArt,” but it is used more like a social platform. If you plan on commissioning work, you should probably create an account on FA.
    FurAffinity is a website that accepts all kinds of art. It is not specialized, so you will have to do some searching to find your first fursuit makers there. Once you find the first few, the rest get easier to find.
    You can search for “fursuit” and favorite submissions of costumes you like, watch the makers that made the fursuits, and stay up to date with a maker’s journals, which are often used for announcements about commission openings and sales.
    Makers list their main methods of contact in their user profiles, such as how to commission them, their emails, what their prices are, etc. FA is useful for keeping track of all this, even if the particular maker doesn’t take commissions through FA’s note system or is not as active as compared to other social platforms.
    Makers will announce pre-mades for sale through their art submissions and/or journals. You can also search “for sale” on FA and get a fair few results this way.
    As a starter tip, if you check out FursuitReview’s FA page, a lot of makers are in the “watched by” list!
    Twitter is the next most common platform to find and contact makers. Twitter is a micro-blogging site for general content. Makers commonly conduct business either through Twitter or in conjunction with FA or another social page. If you search “fursuit” on Twitter you’ll likely find a fair few of them immediately. As a starter tip, if you look at FusuitReview’s twitter followers, you will find many fursuit makers on the list. Some other common terms you might like to search are:
    fursuit4sale fursuitforsale fursuitauction SmallMakerSunday Facebook is not as common as the top two to conduct business over, but many makers have pages there with their contact information. Search “Fursuit Makers” on Facebook and look through the Pages and Groups.
    You can also find makers through Tumblr, Instagram, DeviantArt, and Weasyl, but actually doing business through these platforms is not as common.
    Can't figure out which maker you want  to buy from? Check out the Choosing the Right Maker for Your Fursuit Guide.
    Not up for buying a pre-made? Learn how to commission a maker instead by reading "Buying a Fursuit: The Commission Process".

    Alternatively, here's the list of all the guides in this series:
    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 (you are here) Buying a Fursuit: The Commission Process

    Choosing the Right Maker for Your Fursuit

    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? Buying a Fursuit: Pre-mades vs. Commissions, & Finding Maker Contacts  
    Start With a Character Concept Do you have a concept you'd like to see as a fursuit? What is it?
    It can be detailed, like a fursona or original character. Or it can be vague, like just colors or a species. But it's important to at least have an idea so you can find a maker that can best express that idea.
     
    Detailed Concepts
    If you have a detailed concept of what you want, then you should invest in a character sheet. A character sheet has at least a front and back view of your character. For fursuits, it is best to have 3 views: front, back, and a side view. You can commission an artist to make a character sheet for you, or you can draw one yourself. If you are not an artist, there are many free references available that you can color in. Here are some from the FurAffinity account Free2use, but this is not the only place that offers such resources.

    Take note, that if you have a specific character or detailed concept, you will not be able to buy any pre-made suits, and must commission one. The more colors and complex a design is, the more expensive the fursuit will be. Also, a minority of fursuit makers require a character reference sheet from a specific artist before accepting a commission from you. Double check this before requesting a quote.
     
    Vague Concepts
    Vague concepts are best if you do not want to commission a custom fursuit. Meaning, you would like an artistic liberty suit (the maker creates what they feel like given your vague outline) or you would like to buy a used or pre-made suit. You can always check FurBuy and Dealers Den for fursuits for sale, but if you choose a preferred maker beforehand, you can follow when that specific maker sells pre-mades instead.
    Buying a used, pre-made, or artistic liberty suit is often more affordable than commissioning a custom one, so in this way, a vague concept or design can be advantageous.
     
    Fursuit-Specific Qualities
    Along with your character concept, you should have at least a vague idea of what type of fursuit you would like. Do you want a toony, semi-toony, or realistic suit? Do you want digi or planti padding? Do you only want a head, tail, or other single piece? If you don't know what any of these terms mean, take a look at the "What is a Fursuit: Types, Styles, & Padding" guide.
    Some additional considerations are:
    Resin or foam base?
    This is the construction of the head - resin is hard with some padding on the inside for comfort and is typically used for realistic suits. Foam heads are constructed from foam and typically have a balaclava sewn into the inside. What type of eyes?
    Mesh - vision through the eye itself, typically used in toony suits
    Resin - a hard eyeball similar to taxidermy eyes. Vision is typically through the tear ducts.
    Follow Me - a 3D effect in any type of eye that allows for the eyes to "follow you," meaning the pupils will always point toward the camera/viewer, instead of directly in front of you. Electronics?
    EL Wire, LEDs, in-head fans, etc. Machine-washable heads?
    This is rare, but offered by some makers. Without this, a fursuit head is typically spot-washing only.  
    Gather a List of Makers The next step is to gather a list of makers which fit your specifications for a character.
    You can start by searching for photos of fursuits that are similar to your character. This is especially helpful if you have an uncommon species. You can search for fursuit photos through any social media, but the easiest would likely be through FurAffinity.net and Twitter. FurAffinity has a "fursuiting" category, or you can simply search for "fursuit."
    You can also search for "fursuit" on Twitter, but other tags to consider are "FursuitFriday," which is used to share fursuit photos on fridays, and "SmallMakerSunday," which is used to promote newer fursuit makers. Most of these postings should have the fursuit maker right in the descriptions, but if not, some research may be necessary. Yyou can always contact whoever submitted a photo and ask if they know the maker of the fursuit if the maker isn't credited.

    The Makers Database on Tumblr can be used to look through examples of Makers' work and search through some tags, as well. However, this resource has not been updated in quite some time, unfortunately.

    More pictures and makers can be had on FursuitReview.com, but we will talk more about this website later. Getfursu.it is another site we will expand on shortly. It does not have pictures, but it does have feature lists you can search through and filter.
     
    Review Your List of Makers Hopefully, you've found lots of makers in the last step! Now you should figure out your disqualifying factors - that is, who you absolutely cannot buy from.
    Some things to consider:
    Your budget
    Are the makers you like within your budget? Will you have to save for them or can you afford them currently? Your eligibility
    Are the makers you're interested in even offering the type of fursuit you want? Will they make your species? Do they take commissions or only sell pre-mades, etc.? Your time frame
    Can the makers you're interested in realistically deliver a fursuit in the time frame you want it? Maker Reliability
    Is the maker reliable? Do they have any bewares on them? Is their queue a mile long? Are their reviews overwhelmingly negative?  
    Research Your Potential Fursuit Makers
    Use Getfursu.it to determine if the makers you are interested in:
    Are open for quotes/commissions Offer the type of fursuit you want Is in a country you are willing to buy from Has reviews on FursuitReview.com You can also use Getfursu.it for links to the makers' social media or webpages. Follow the makers on social media. Look through their past posts, their past projects, their current WIPs and queue. Do you like what you see? If the maker you are interested in does not have any reviews on FursuitReview, find some past customers and contact them! Ask them about their experience with this maker and let them know you are interested in potentially commissioning them. See what they have to say. And if they answer you - do you like their answer? Do you still want to do business with this maker?
    Use FursuitReview.com to see:
    What time frame makers usually deliver in (completion time) The price range the maker has operated in Whether past customers recommend this maker to others (YES / OK / NO ratings) What exactly these past customers say about their experience in the reviews - context is very important! Getfursu.it should link to a maker's reviews. But if the maker you're interested in isn't on Getfursu.it, or if you just want to see the list of all makers with reviews, you can go here.
    Additionally, you can work backwards from this site - Let's say your first priority is price. You can filter reviews by price to see what makers operate in this range and what results are typical for that range. If you prefer to work this way, here's a list of useful pages to consider:
    Commission type (fullsuit, partial, etc.) Pricing Completion time Style & Padding Species Year Made (to get an idea for how long a fursuit holds up over time, or how long a maker has been making fursuits) If you find a fursuit maker on FursuitReview, clicking the maker's name in the "About The Maker" section of a review will take you to that maker's information, such as their social media. Getfursu.it is just a little more intuitive with this, however.
     
    Repeat These Steps as Necessary You don't have to narrow it down to one or two makers. In fact, it is best if you still have a group of makers to choose from at the end! This allows you multiple opportunities to buy from the makers through pre-made sales, auctions, or commission openings. But do keep in mind what you'd like to see in your fursuit, and if the makers you are interested in can actually deliver those features.
    Remember, new makers enter the community all the time, so you can always add or revise your list of potential fursuit makers!
     
    Interested in buying a fursuit? Check out the other guides in this "Buying a Fursuit" series:
    What is a Fursuit: Types, Styles, & Padding Buying a Fursuit: Is a Fursuit Right For You? Choosing the Right Maker for Your Fursuit (you are here) Buying a Fursuit: Pre-mades vs. Commissions, & Finding Maker Contacts Buying a Fursuit: The Commission Process

    What Is a Fursuit: Types, Styles, & Padding

    A fursuit is an animal-themed costume that partially or wholly covers the body. The headpiece (mask), completely covers the entire face, with few exceptions. Often, fursuits are "real life" representations of a person's fursona or animal-themed (furry) original character. They can be any non-human species. Fursuits are the most visible part of the furry fandom, but they are not required to own - or even be liked - to participate in the furry community.
    This guide lists the most common types, styles, and padding used in fursuits. It is not a comprehensive list.
    Types of Fursuits Fullsuit
    A "fullsuit" is short for "full-body fursuit" and is used to identify fursuits which cover the entire body. There is no human skin showing while wearing a fullsuit.
     
    Partial
    "Partial" is short for "partial fursuit," and is the most common type of fursuit. It has many variations, which each have their own specific names that fall under the umbrella term "partial." If a fursuit is anything less than a fullsuit, then it can be called a partial.
    The most common type of partial is one consisting of a head (mask), paws, and a tail. But partials can also consist of the following:
    Only a head, or A head and a tail, or A head and only handpaws (gloves), or A head and only feetpaws (boots), or A head, and both sets of paws, or any combination thereof  
    Full Partial (also called a 3/4 suit) A full partial is typically a partial with a head, a tail, and both sets of paws, with sleeves. This type of partial does not cover the torso and typically does not cover the thighs. It is used as a way to wear less clothes while still not wearing a fullsuit.
    It is especially useful for the wearer to be able to wear shorts and short-sleeved shirts without showing human skin. It rarely has padding.     Half Partial (also called a halfsuit) A half partial is a fullsuit without the torso area. Or, thought of in another way, it is a halfsuit with the full legs. It typically gives the appearance of a fullsuit that is wearing a shirt. It is usually, but not always, used for digitigrade characters instead of a full partial.  
    Kigurumi (also called Kigu)
    "Kigurumi" (着ぐるみ) is a Japanese term referring to a costumed character, but often refers specifically to a type of one-piece pajama with an animal theme. These adult-sized "onesies" gained popularity outside of Japan and the idea has been co-opted by fursuit makers as an alternative for heavier, hotter, more movement-restricting, and expensive fursuits. Today, there are some makers who make only custom kigurumi, and furries can commission a kigu of their own design. Some people wear them as they are, others pair kigus with other fursuit items, as a fursuit body stand-in or additional costume piece.  
    Kigurumi are technically not fursuits and are in their own category of furry fashion. But since they are so closely related to fursuits, somewhat common, and the process of purchasing one is very similar to that of a fursuit commission, they are also covered by this guide.
     
    Quadsuit
    "Quadsuit" is a short-hand term for "quadraped fursuit."
    While traditional fursuits always depict an anthropomorphized character who usually walks on two legs, the quadsuit is meant to completely mask the human wearer and depict a "feral" four-legged animal instead. Quadsuits are extremely rare to commission, and are frequently made by the person intending to wear them.
     
    Styles and Padding of Fursuits
    Listed below are the most well-known and most sought-after styles of fursuits at the time this guide was written.
    Styles
    Toony
    Toony costumes are meant to look like walking cartoon characters. They usually have large eyes, animated expressions, and bright fur colors. Toony costumes are meant to look like walking cartoon characters. They usually have large eyes, animated expressions, and bright fur colors. Realistic
    Realistic costumes are meant to look like real-life living and breathing animals. They usually have resin eyes with vision through the tear ducts and natural fur colors.
    Semi-Toony / Semi-Realistic
    This style combines features of realistic and toony costumes to give its own unique look. It is referred to as "Real/Toon Hybrid" on the FurusitReview website.
    Kemono / Kemo
    A very distinct toony style modeled after the anime and manga of Japan. Costumes in this style usually have large dome eyes, tiny mouths, and small bodies with large paws.
    Padding
    Digitigrade
    Digitigrade padding, often shortened to "digi," refers to costumes with legs and/or feet that have been padded to give the appearance that the wearer is walking on their toes, similar to how many animals' legs are formed. Plantigrade
    Plantigrade, or "planti" is a lack of padding in the legs/feet of a costume. Since humans are plantigrade (walk on the flats of our feet), there is usually no need to add anything to create the illusion of plantigrade locomotion.
    Muscle
    Muscle padding is a specific stylistic choice made in order to bulk out a costume, giving the wearer the appearance of large muscles, much like if they were to wear a muscle suit.
    Plush
    Plush padding is done with the intent to create the illusion that the costume is a large stuffed toy. These costumes are generally rotund with shortened limbs and large hands and/or feet. Often, a costume with this padding also contains visible stitching, seams, and/or zippers as stylistic choices to complete the "toy" illusion.
    Interested in buying a fursuit? Check out the other guides in this "Buying a Fursuit" series:
    What is a Fursuit: Types, Styles, & Padding (you are here) 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 Buying a Fursuit: The Commission Process

    Buying a Fursuit: Is a Fursuit Right For You?

    A fursuit is a large animal costume that can partially or wholly cover the body. However, the head piece (mask) completely covers the face.
    Vision is limited – you will only be able to see directly in front of you in most cases.
    Ventilation is not great – you will be hot and sweating within seconds of putting most fursuit pieces on.
    They can be incredibly claustrophobic, and many heads do not allow room for glasses.
    Fursuits should be avoided if you are prone to overheating or you have issues with any of the above listed problems.
    Fursuits are expensive.
    Generally, good quality fursuits starts around 800 USD. The really great fursuits that win costume competitions and have viral photos passed around the internet usually start at $3000 but can commonly go above $5000. You can use FursuitReview’s price sorting options to get a feel for what you can expect in the price range you are willing to pay. However, many reviews are old, and the maker has likely raised their prices since it was posted (so take note of the “Year Made” and “Review Date” listed in the reviews).
    Additionally, the most well-known and expensive makers tend to not have many (if any) reviews submitted. Many owners of these “luxury” fursuits feel the reputation of the maker speaks for itself and there is no need to submit a review. (Of course, FursuitReview would eagerly accept reviews for these makers! If you own one, please submit a review.)
    Fursuits involve a large time investment from you.
    If you buy a pre-made, you can have your fursuit in less than three months. Otherwise, you need to contact a maker directly for your fursuit project, and it is common to wait a year or more (waiting in the queue + actual time to complete your project) to get a fullsuit.
    This is assuming you actually get a spot to begin with- many makers only accept commissions a few times a year, and those slots are limited. A substantial amount of time can be spent simply waiting for the maker you want to open commissions, and then hoping you are selected. Makers rarely work on a “first come, first served” basis.
    You must be eighteen (18) or older.
    Many fursuits are one-of-a-kind and made to your size. Generally, your measurements will change as you grow, until you are about 18 years old. There is no sense in buying such an expensive item that likely won’t fit in a year or two. The vast majority of makers will not allow minors (people under 18) to commission them due to this and legalities involving contracts with minors.
    There is little resale value for used fursuits.
    If you have a fursuit and decide to sell it later, you will not get anywhere near what you paid in the vast majority of cases. This is true even if you didn’t actually use the fursuit. Once it has left the maker, most people do not want to buy it and/or are unwilling to pay what it is worth.
    While it is possible to get what you paid for it, it is very, very difficult and time-consuming. As an example, it took Bornes (the owner of FursuitReview and the author of this guide) an entire year to sell a barely used fursuit head from Mordrude’s Monsters (now known as Kitsune Illusions) for $500. Other fursuit heads and partials bought for $800 were sold at $300 and below. Re-selling fursuits is generally difficult and depressing.
    Often, if you see a story of someone selling their fursuit at or above its original cost, it is because the owner of that fursuit is extremely popular and/or they are offering more than just the fursuit (e.g. selling the character and including lots of character art).
    Buying a custom fursuit carries a substantial risk.
    While it is sad, it must be noted that most fursuit makers are simply people doing this as a hobby. Finding a maker that is actually registered as a business is rare (and those that are have higher prices to reflect this status).
    Because most makers are hobbyists, there is an unfortunately high risk that your project won’t be completed in time, won’t be completed to your satisfaction, or simply won’t be finished at all. The stories of makers who ran with the money are sadly too common, as are the stories of people who had to wait over two years, or received their fursuit in unwearable condition.
    Fursuit makers often live and die by their reputation alone, and this is partly why several “big name” makers have been recommended over and over again, but even these makers can still fail to deliver. People who are victims of these makers are often too afraid to come forward due to the backlash. FursuitReview submitters have requested their reviews be removed due to the maker abusing them in private over the posting more than once.
    FursuitReview tries to persuade everyone to keep their reviews up so the community can be aware, but the possibility of a negative review backfiring is there, and it causes many people to fear coming forward with their bad experience. This makes finding negative information incredibly difficult, thus decreasing your defense against the possibility of a maker taking advantage of you.
    Because FursuitReview does not allow reviews for fursuits that were never received, you should always check a maker on Artist Beware as well before committing yourself to buying from them. But be aware that abusive makers can often change their names and start a “new” business. FursuitReview and Artists Beware try to stay on top of this, but it is not fail-proof.
    Proper maintenance can be time-consuming, sometimes difficult, and expensive.
    Despite how much you pay for a fursuit, mishaps do occur and it is beneficial to learn proper sewing technique. Otherwise, you will have to rely on makers to fix your fursuit. Shipping back and forth can be costly, assuming the maker also doesn't charge you for their time. There is also the additional time commitment as you wait for the repairs to be completed and the item(s) to be sent back.
    This is not to mention proper storage and washing of a fursuit - washing in particular, even if some parts can be put in a machine - can be a multi-day exercise. Many people buy additional products to help keep their fursuits clean - expenses that pile on over time.
    Of course, there are plenty of trustworthy makers out there, too! Buying a fursuit is not all doom and gloom, but it’s important that you protect yourself and be warned of the risk before you start.
    As a final note:
    Fursuits are NOT required to be a part of the furry fandom!
    Fursuits are the most visible part of the furry community, but they are not mandatory to participate. It is easy to become pressured into feeling like you have to have a fursuit to have fun at cons or to be yourself. This is not the case. Do not buy a fursuit out of peer pressure or fear of missing out!
    Still want to buy a fursuit? Check out the other guides in this "Buying a Fursuit" series:
    What is a Fursuit: Types, Styles, & Padding Buying a Fursuit: Is a Fursuit Right For You? (you are here) Choosing the Right Maker for Your Fursuit Buying a Fursuit: Pre-mades vs. Commissions, & Finding Maker Contacts Buying a Fursuit: The Commission Process
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