My shop is a "one man operation" with each piece of furniture being individually crafted. I build items from pre-existing plans or from pictures provided by clients from magazines or books. If I'm working from a picture, I create the design myself and present a sketch to the client with the quote for the item to be built. Packaging and shipping charges are included in the quote.
Because each item is custom-built, I do require a deposit at the time the order is placed with the balance due at the time of completion. I usually have two or three projects in progress at any time. When I receive a deposit, I place that project "next in line" to be started. This is my method for prioritizing my work for the shop.