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Don't Get Materials Quotes On Saturday

 
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Old 11-12-2008, 07:56 PM   #1
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Don't Get Materials Quotes On Saturday


Well, chalk one up to lessons learned.

In mid Sept. I got a call from a gentleman who wanted a quote on trusses and a metal roof, soffit and fascia. I think 'cool, an easy job', so I arrange to meet him and measure up the job. After meeting the owner and measuring the building, I went home to figure my material list, all fine and dandy, got my list all ready to go and headed off to the lumber yard to get a price.

At the yard, I end up talking with a girl I usually try not to deal with, for experience reasons. Anyway, I give her my list and watch as she's typing it all into her computer, making sure to ask several times if what she was typing in was indeed what I wanted, she assured me that it was. Now, keep in mind I'm fairly new at this estimating thing, so I am not completely familiar with the codes they use at the lumber yard or the prices of all the materials.

Come today, I go to pick up my order, minus about $600 worth of materials I had already picked up (different story there), and it comes to $200 more than my original quote says. I inquired about the difference in price and pull out my original quote, which was conveniently in my back pocket, (and over 30 days old) and was told "well, you got a quote on this type of flashing, and then changed it to this type of flashing, the roofing was quoted as plain galvanized, you ordered coloured, ..." etc. not only that, (and I'm a little at fault on this one) but the ridge cap that was on my material list, was not even on my quote, another $200. I know what I wanted when I got the quote, which was NOT galvanized or type "x" flashing, I've never ordered that, and I've done a few metal roofs (on someone else's account, so I wasn't price checking). But, apparently, the inexperienced girl doesn't know that an eave flashing from the metal roof supplier isn't the same as 3x3 angle aluminum flashing.

In the end, I'm eating it, but I learned to never deal with what's her name again, and not get quotes on saturday when the smart people are at home.

Ok, ranting and raving over... time for a beer
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Last edited by shanekw1; 11-12-2008 at 08:02 PM.
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Old 11-12-2008, 08:13 PM   #2
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Re: Don't Get Materials Quotes On Saturday


Well it is good you own up a bit because a 30 day old quote is not worth a cocaroach cruiser in a swirled water bowl! But I understand what you mean about poeple who don't know st at the lumber yard or in my case ACE Hardware! I love standing in the checkout line while the employees text on their phone when I am in a hurry. Or talk to each other about how drunk they got the night before so they were 15 min late to work! BUNCH OF DUMBASSES!!:fu rious:

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Old 11-12-2008, 08:19 PM   #3
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Re: Don't Get Materials Quotes On Saturday


Bummer, but right attitude. Learning opportunity.

Next time, put in some "extra" for surprises.
Keep track of your time and expenses, and compare it to your notes. This is the best teacher...

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Old 11-12-2008, 08:29 PM   #4
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Re: Don't Get Materials Quotes On Saturday


If you give me an oral request for quote, and I give you a written estimate, then the following apply:

It ain't good for 30 days, unless it specifically says it is, and it will reflect that condition in the prices.

Any errors are YOUR responsibility to catch, not mine.


If you want a good quote, present it in writing, complete with exact quantities and specific item descriptions, along with a realistic time frame and allow at least 2 to 3 days for it be be generated and double checked on my end.
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Old 11-12-2008, 08:32 PM   #5
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Re: Don't Get Materials Quotes On Saturday


I did an estimate with prices a few months old. $30k job. Materials shoulg have been $8k, but were $11k. No big deal, we add 10% to all estimates, and the customer didn't negotiate so the 10% ended up going to the material difference.

Point being, pad your prices for margin of error. Stuff happens.
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Old 11-12-2008, 08:37 PM   #6
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Re: Don't Get Materials Quotes On Saturday


My list WAS in writing (actually I printed it off, including the numbers from the roofing suppliers book, "eave1 flashing", "GT3 flashing" etc.) but the numbers on the quote weren't the same, that's why I asked her if she was typing in the right code.

The code on my bill is yet another different one "CBF blah blah"....

Bottom line, get quotes from people who have a clue.
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Old 11-12-2008, 08:38 PM   #7
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Re: Don't Get Materials Quotes On Saturday


If you got a written quote that did not match your written request for quote, why would you use it?
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Old 11-12-2008, 08:44 PM   #8
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Re: Don't Get Materials Quotes On Saturday


Even if she typed in the right items, they still would have differed from what I had written down, I didn't know they used their own homemade code for items.

but now I do
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Old 11-12-2008, 08:52 PM   #9
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Re: Don't Get Materials Quotes On Saturday


Well each company generally uses unique product codes or SKU's, but the description should match what you want.

I ain't trying to bust your chops, but I run into the situation on a regular basis, and the bottom line is that it is YOUR responsibility to make sure the quote is accurate. The supplier can rely only on what you provide. The better your request, the more accurate the quote. Time is also a factor. On a Saturday, the workforce is reduced and the demands are increased. If you need a quote RIGHT NOW, you better make damn sure that it is accurate, both on your end and on the supplier's.

As a rule, on the weekends I work, I will not provide a quote, I will only take the information to provide later. For a quote of substance, I need to contact the manufacturer, and they are not working on the weekends.
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Old 11-12-2008, 08:58 PM   #10
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Re: Don't Get Materials Quotes On Saturday


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tscarborough View Post
As a rule, on the weekends I work, I will not provide a quote, I will only take the information to provide later. For a quote of substance, I need to contact the manufacturer, and they are not working on the weekends.
Plus who wants to bust their butt on a Saturday?


I think the above described errors are mutual, both yours and the suppliers. You are right, there are a few people I avoid at some of the suppliers. When I call if they answer, I ask for someone else.
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Old 11-12-2008, 09:03 PM   #11
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Re: Don't Get Materials Quotes On Saturday


yea, all this time of avoiding her and I give her a chance... DOH!

Ah well, I'm still making money, just not quite as much as yesterday.......and the beer helps it feel good
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Old 11-13-2008, 08:32 AM   #12
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Re: Don't Get Materials Quotes On Saturday


I get different prices from different salespeople at the same supplier, so yes, I pick who I talk to. As a habit you should always check a supplier quote for accuracy & quantity. After 30 days you should requote.
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Old 11-13-2008, 10:46 AM   #13
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Re: Don't Get Materials Quotes On Saturday


I just can't imagine NOT double checking quotes, quantities and prices from anyone. Isn't that just plain basic procedure? Trusting anyone else to make sure my material costs are correct can only lead to what the OP had happen.

What I have observed from some lazy contractors, is that they drop off a set of plans at the lumber yard for their people to do a takeoff and quote. They then only look at the bottom line and use that number without checking it. WTF??????
What they get back is guaranteed to be a pile of errors and omissions.

Take full responsibility for your own estimates and double check price quotes from suppliers, which must always be in writing. 10 minutes and a cup of coffee with the item lists could have made you an extra $1000. Thats the easiest money to make and way too many contractors just can't seem to do it.
That $1000 is true net profit, lost.

I once worked for a friend of mine who is a home repair contractor, specializing in insurance work. He would have these things happen constantly. He would loose $500 here and $200 there of true net profit, all because of not double checking the material costs. These losses were before the job was even started.

So I asked him what his actual true net profit was on each dollar grossed annually. He said one in ten. So he had to have gross sales of $2000 to make a true net profit of $200. As he was loosing well over $2000 in true net profit per month due to shoddy estimates from suppliers, he was eating monthly sales of over $20,000 for nothing! I asked him if he was working for the sake of working, or working to make money?


That woke him up.
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Old 11-14-2008, 04:50 PM   #14
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Re: Don't Get Materials Quotes On Saturday


Quote:
Originally Posted by Grumpy View Post
I did an estimate with prices a few months old. $30k job. Materials shoulg have been $8k, but were $11k. No big deal, we add 10% to all estimates, and the customer didn't negotiate so the 10% ended up going to the material difference.

Point being, pad your prices for margin of error. Stuff happens.
Good point. I generally add 10% to 20% also to the final materials calculations. It is to cover "over-age", for any miscalculations, or any materials missed, etc.
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Old 11-14-2008, 04:54 PM   #15
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Re: Don't Get Materials Quotes On Saturday


Quote:
Originally Posted by MBS View Post
I just can't imagine NOT double checking quotes, quantities and prices from anyone. Isn't that just plain basic procedure? Trusting anyone else to make sure my material costs are correct can only lead to what the OP had happen.

What I have observed from some lazy contractors, is that they drop off a set of plans at the lumber yard for their people to do a takeoff and quote. They then only look at the bottom line and use that number without checking it. WTF??????
What they get back is guaranteed to be a pile of errors and omissions.

Take full responsibility for your own estimates and double check price quotes from suppliers, which must always be in writing. 10 minutes and a cup of coffee with the item lists could have made you an extra $1000. Thats the easiest money to make and way too many contractors just can't seem to do it.
That $1000 is true net profit, lost.

I once worked for a friend of mine who is a home repair contractor, specializing in insurance work. He would have these things happen constantly. He would loose $500 here and $200 there of true net profit, all because of not double checking the material costs. These losses were before the job was even started.

So I asked him what his actual true net profit was on each dollar grossed annually. He said one in ten. So he had to have gross sales of $2000 to make a true net profit of $200. As he was loosing well over $2000 in true net profit per month due to shoddy estimates from suppliers, he was eating monthly sales of over $20,000 for nothing! I asked him if he was working for the sake of working, or working to make money?


That woke him up.
How large is the screen
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Old 11-14-2008, 05:36 PM   #16
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Re: Don't Get Materials Quotes On Saturday


Quote:
Originally Posted by neolitic View Post
How large is the screen
on your monitor?
That font is hurting my eyes, head and train of thought. and none of the three listed worked well to begin with
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Old 11-14-2008, 09:38 PM   #17
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Re: Don't Get Materials Quotes On Saturday


Quote:
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Its huge! Just like my smile!

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