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How To Find Out "the Other Guys Price"

 
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Old 03-31-2015, 09:18 AM   #21
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Re: How To Find Out "the Other Guys Price"


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Originally Posted by 480sparky View Post
OK, so let's put this to a test. You bid a job for $25,000. Here's how you stack up:


Scenario 1:
Bid 1: 28,750
Bid 2: 26,200
Your bid: 25,000
Bid 4: 21,950
Bid 5: 19,500.

What do you do with these numbers? Explain your next step.


Scenario 2:
Your bid: 25,000
Bid 2: 21,950
Bid 3: 19,500.
Bid 4: 18,750
Bid 5: 16,200

What do you do with these numbers? Explain your next step.



Scenario 3:

Bid 1: 31,950
Bid 2: 29,500.
Bid 3: 28,750
Bid 4: 26,200
Your bid: 25,000

What do you do with these numbers? Explain your next step.
In #1, it confirms we probably all were bidding on the same scope (good to know). Win some, lose some. Move on.

In #2, I would say to myself "something's wrong" and now I need to find out what. I had that happen on a bath remodel and it went like this: I had an otherwise good relationship with that network of folks, so in a non-adversarial way I followed up with the client, "So what/who did you end up going with?...." They told me and the number. Then I asked "For the same work we mentioned, all the items?" They said "Yes, they believe so." I said "Hmm, that sounds terrific...I thought my figures were solid so I'm a bit curious......but all the best with it." (I felt I had to do this to defend what I perceived as their surprise at my "high" number) We left on good terms, and I did feel open to getting other work with them. 6 months later, it happened. I got to see the finished product. "Looks fine (somewhat, but there were a couple aesthetic issues). "Oh, what happened to the wainscoat paneling you wanted - I didn't think you were asking for beadboard panel, oh my mistake (I am certain she wanted the real deal). Oh, you decided against having linen closet doors...that would account..but looks great, etc."

#3: The best scenario. You find out that for busting your butt, you can get actually raise prices and still win the bid. This reminds me of when I was in another industry (professional staffing). Most important was finding out the results of sealed bids for next time.

(Lastly, if they really got 5 bids, I make a note of that, too!)

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Old 03-31-2015, 09:26 AM   #22
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Re: How To Find Out "the Other Guys Price"


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Originally Posted by KAP View Post
Mark, if the guy you want to know the bid for is HAPPY to make $30K/year (because it's usually the case with the lowballers), and you want to make $75-$100K, or if you own a shop and he works out of his garage or truck, or you have employees and he flies solo, of what benefit is it to know his price? These conditions have ALWAYS existed...

His number is USELESS to you unless you plan on dropping your pants in the only place you can... what you pay you and your company... there is no other place for it to come from...

And that is a very short-term strategy and actually HURTS you, because everyone ELSE in the chain (i.e. - suppliers, insurance, employees, etc.) STILL expect to be paid and are not going to take less once they got your business...

One of the biggest challenges IMHO we have as contractors is coming to the realization that not everyone is our customer, no matter how bad we want to be everything to all people... if they can't afford what you need to make, they are not your customer...

Knowing the OTHER guys prices isn't going to help or change that...

.
Maybe not to the dollar, but his number is fairly important to you. Tells you who you're competing with and whether it's worth it down the road. Helps you drill down on your market segmentation. Yes, not everyone is our customer. And not every skill we can perform is worth offering.

Yes, everybody's costs are not the same. Putting that aside, I like to know the top-end numbers I'm dealing with. If I see the truck that screams $9,999 bathroom!" anywhere near my client's house, that's helpful to me.
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Old 03-31-2015, 09:44 AM   #23
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Re: How To Find Out "the Other Guys Price"


One more thing to glean is HOW the competition structures their bid.

For example, there's a guy I bid against who didn't add the requested frameless shower glass to his bid. Instead, he excluded it and said "I'll just give you my guy's number to work with when it's ready". That did a couple things, of course. It makes the total seem more affordable, contractor less greedy and saved him time dealing with it.
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Old 03-31-2015, 09:45 AM   #24
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Re: How To Find Out "the Other Guys Price"


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Maybe not to the dollar, but his number is fairly important to you. Tells you who you're competing with and whether it's worth it down the road. Helps you drill down on your market segmentation. Yes, not everyone is our customer. And not every skill we can perform is worth offering.

Yes, everybody's costs are not the same. Putting that aside, I like to know the top-end numbers I'm dealing with. If I see the truck that screams $9,999 bathroom!" anywhere near my client's house, that's helpful to me.
How is it helpful to you, if you have to charge more?

Wasted time IMHO, as you have people entering and leaving the trades all the time, not to mention people with a different costs basis... if you base your pricing off of them, you are shooting yourself in the foot...

Look at the above three examples... I am sure you have more than three competitors in your area... how much time would be wasted ascertaining that info and to what real tangible benefit?

We don't talk about competitors to customers... they don't matter to the conversation... We do, however, talk about industry issues and why prices are different and what that translates in to regarding their job...

There's only so much time in the year, and IMHO, you are better off using that time on things that make you money than fishing through competitor pricing which has no relation to your company...

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Old 03-31-2015, 10:03 AM   #25
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Re: How To Find Out "the Other Guys Price"


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Originally Posted by KAP View Post
How is it helpful to you, if you have to charge more?

Wasted time IMHO, as you have people entering and leaving the trades all the time, not to mention people with a different costs basis... if you base your pricing off of them, you are shooting yourself in the foot...

Look at the above three examples... I am sure you have more than three competitors in your area... how much time would be wasted ascertaining that info and to what real tangible benefit?

We don't talk about competitors to customers... they don't matter to the conversation... We do, however, talk about industry issues and why prices are different and what that translates in to regarding their job...

There's only so much time in the year, and IMHO, you are better off using that time on things that make you money than fishing through competitor pricing which has no relation to your company...

.
Yes, you make good points. And I don't waste much time on this. But if the opportunity presents itself, yes, I like to know. More like taking the pulse, from time to time. It's probably not clear in my posts. I can't say that I'm not interested in numbers, etc. Also, it's different depending on how much time is invested in the client and their stated wishes, concerns, hopes, etc. If I feel that we were singing from the same sheet and then it goes south, I want to understand why.

I could be tainted by how clients react to handyman, punch list work and small upgrades that can quickly morph into bigger expenses. I can have a run where they think I'm great/great value, etc, but they can turn on a dime due to one small project. "How much?!!!" Folks have different perceptions and expectations for things.

For example, I had somebody who wanted to get a home ready for sale. In the master bath, they wanted 6' of vanity, double sinks, fixtures, get rid of the full mirror, new lighting (move the j-boxes, of course), stone top. When I said, you realize your already over your "couple thousand" number, they were shocked and dumbfounded. It saved me some time writing it up, anyway.

Last edited by MarkJames; 03-31-2015 at 10:18 AM.
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Old 03-31-2015, 10:44 AM   #26
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Re: How To Find Out "the Other Guys Price"


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Originally Posted by MarkJames View Post
In #1, it confirms we probably all were bidding on the same scope (good to know). Win some, lose some. Move on.

In #2, I would say to myself "something's wrong" and now I need to find out what. I had that happen on a bath remodel and it went like this: I had an otherwise good relationship with that network of folks, so in a non-adversarial way I followed up with the client, "So what/who did you end up going with?...." They told me and the number. Then I asked "For the same work we mentioned, all the items?" They said "Yes, they believe so." I said "Hmm, that sounds terrific...I thought my figures were solid so I'm a bit curious......but all the best with it." (I felt I had to do this to defend what I perceived as their surprise at my "high" number) We left on good terms, and I did feel open to getting other work with them. 6 months later, it happened. I got to see the finished product. "Looks fine (somewhat, but there were a couple aesthetic issues). "Oh, what happened to the wainscoat paneling you wanted - I didn't think you were asking for beadboard panel, oh my mistake (I am certain she wanted the real deal). Oh, you decided against having linen closet doors...that would account..but looks great, etc."

#3: The best scenario. You find out that for busting your butt, you can get actually raise prices and still win the bid. This reminds me of when I was in another industry (professional staffing). Most important was finding out the results of sealed bids for next time.

(Lastly, if they really got 5 bids, I make a note of that, too!)
Nothing here that can't be learned by keeping track of your closure rates.
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Old 03-31-2015, 12:02 PM   #27
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Re: How To Find Out "the Other Guys Price"


Who cares... This topic has been beat to death. Some people care about other peoples numbers others don't. I like to look at them on public bids, it has no affect on my price. All it really shows me is who is needed the work and who isn't.


As far as how to find out the price from others, why don't you just ask the customer? be the last one to turn in the numbers and ask if you can go over them with him, either you will look like a hero helping the person figure out why someone is xx amount and you are *** amount, or you will come off as the shady pond scum you portray your self to be.
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Old 03-31-2015, 12:22 PM   #28
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Re: How To Find Out "the Other Guys Price"


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Originally Posted by 480sparky View Post
Sure, the new guy goes out of business. But so what? There's plenty of other know-nothings who merrily take their places. They're like drug dealers. As soon as you take one off the street, 20 fight to assume control of the territory.

My point is that yes they will go out of business but if they base their numbers off a more experienced bidder at least they don't drive prices down and lowball in the meantime.
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Old 03-31-2015, 12:24 PM   #29
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Re: How To Find Out "the Other Guys Price"


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Who cares... This topic has been beat to death. Some people care about other peoples numbers others don't. I like to look at them on public bids, it has no affect on my price. All it really shows me is who is needed the work and who isn't.


As far as how to find out the price from others, why don't you just ask the customer? be the last one to turn in the numbers and ask if you can go over them with him, either you will look like a hero helping the person figure out why someone is xx amount and you are *** amount, or you will come off as the shady pond scum you portray your self to be.

Pond scum? Really? Because you are interested in your competitors numbers ? Little strong don't you think?
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Old 03-31-2015, 12:59 PM   #30
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Re: How To Find Out "the Other Guys Price"


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My point is that yes they will go out of business but if they base their numbers off a more experienced bidder at least they don't drive prices down and lowball in the meantime.
Problem is, they never get that far. Their business plan is "Do work, cheap!" and they don't last long.
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Old 03-31-2015, 01:01 PM   #31
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Re: How To Find Out "the Other Guys Price"


The main reason I want the others guys #s is so I can remain competitive and get more jobs.
Can I match them... hell no.
Some cabinets guys do whole kitchens for 800 bucks labour.
Some tile guys only charge $5 a sqft for labour. (ive tried matching this price bad idea)

My man problem is a losing streak for quotes, I do just about everything except roofing, plumbing, and electrical . If i specialized I could see quoting be much easier.

After sending a email quote how do you guys follow up? call them and ask if they had any questions about the quote.

I realize I shouldn't match the other guys but it can help me stay competitive.
One stair case a customer told me this guy can it for $350. Me "well that's less than I was going to spend in materiel. So yes that a very good "deal". I got the job in the end,
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Old 03-31-2015, 01:06 PM   #32
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Re: How To Find Out "the Other Guys Price"


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Pond scum? Really? Because you are interested in your competitors numbers ? Little strong don't you think?
Not really, the guy has 4 posts. So one of his first posts was trying to find ways to get other peoples numbers.

Even as a new business there is better ways then coming on a public forum and looking for ways to bid jobs.

You know real ways. Like figuring up what it actually costs for you to do business.

Look at it this way. If I was to ask you what you charged to do something say painting a wall. While your numbers maybe great for you, they probably are not the best for me. I bet our overhead, and profit goals are different. Our supplies/materials probably aren't the same.

If the OP would have come in asking for help, this would be a similar yet different story.


Personally I don't care if people go looking for numbers, as there is little I can do about it. I'm not ashamed of my/our price, it is what it is.

What I do care about is people using the numbers for underbidding projects and driving all of our trade prices down.

So no, I don't think that was harsh. Using them to compare pricing is one thing, using them to gain an advantage is a lot of what is wrong with the industry.
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Old 03-31-2015, 01:13 PM   #33
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Re: How To Find Out "the Other Guys Price"


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The main reason I want the others guys #s is so I can remain competitive and get more jobs.
Can I match them... hell no.
Some cabinets guys do whole kitchens for 800 bucks labour.
Some tile guys only charge $5 a sqft for labour. (ive tried matching this price bad idea)

My man problem is a losing streak for quotes, I do just about everything except roofing, plumbing, and electrical . If i specialized I could see quoting be much easier.

After sending a email quote how do you guys follow up? call them and ask if they had any questions about the quote.

I realize I shouldn't match the other guys but it can help me stay competitive.
One stair case a customer told me this guy can it for $350. Me "well that's less than I was going to spend in materiel. So yes that a very good "deal". I got the job in the end,

You are pricing the wrong projects and/or not selling your self. There is some projects/homeowners who only look for the bottom line. These are the customers to steer clear of.

Using other peoples numbers or trying to get close to them will put you out of business at some point. Learn your own pricing, maybe these other guys are faster/better at somethings then you, or most likely they are working off the books. No insurance ect.


I for the most part only email quote commercial projects. To homeowners I deliver the bid and talk to them. That is where you make the sale IMO. You have to let them know why you cost more and why they should use you.

Trying to match or come close to other peoples numbers will possibly make your down fall slow and uncomfortable.

There is nothing you can do about the low ballers, but what you can do is focus on pricing projects for what you need to make money and then some, then focus on selling your self.

Competing with low ballers only makes you a low baller.
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Old 03-31-2015, 01:21 PM   #34
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Re: How To Find Out "the Other Guys Price"


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You are pricing the wrong projects and/or not selling your self. There is some projects/homeowners who only look for the bottom line. These are the customers to steer clear of.

Using other peoples numbers or trying to get close to them will put you out of business at some point. Learn your own pricing, maybe these other guys are faster/better at somethings then you, or most likely they are working off the books. No insurance ect.


I for the most part only email quote commercial projects. To homeowners I deliver the bid and talk to them. That is where you make the sale IMO. You have to let them know why you cost more and why they should use you.

Trying to match or come close to other peoples numbers will possibly make your down fall slow and uncomfortable.

There is nothing you can do about the low ballers, but what you can do is focus on pricing projects for what you need to make money and then some, then focus on selling your self.

Competing with low ballers only makes you a low baller.
I might start hand delivering quotes to explain everything...
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Old 03-31-2015, 01:27 PM   #35
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Re: How To Find Out "the Other Guys Price"


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I might start hand delivering quotes to explain everything...
It really does help, a long with samples ect.
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Old 03-31-2015, 01:46 PM   #36
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Re: How To Find Out "the Other Guys Price"


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It really does help, a long with samples ect.
i think ive gotten to many odd or fubar job leads. and i priced high for it.
One was an oak rail with those premade bends some costing 120 bucks for a block of wood. material for 12 foot rail $800 even i was shocked.
Another job skim coating a ceiling in a 8 story condo lobby with walls that have fresh paint (wtf did you guys paint before doing the ceiling), lobby has no windows, only way to vent the dust out is thru the front door (cant leave lobby door open with out a door man), poly wall in the middle of the room to do half the room at a time when sanding. A nightmare job really. they called back saying the price is a little high......
what ever get the other guy and have fun with the dust.

i guess its over to the advertising forum to get more ideas and do more quotes.
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Old 03-31-2015, 04:04 PM   #37
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Re: How To Find Out "the Other Guys Price"


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If I feel that we were singing from the same sheet and then it goes south, I want to understand why.
This pretty much sums up why it is a waste of time... even if you both use IDENTICAL products, and you guess the same amount of labor hours, it will STILL be off... One company might think profit is what is left over at the end of a job and what they pay themselves with (it's not), and the other knows profit is ON TOP OF what you pay yourself which is already calculated in...

I think part of what a lot in our industry forgets is SALES is part of the job...

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Old 03-31-2015, 04:37 PM   #38
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Re: How To Find Out "the Other Guys Price"


I cannot conceive of running a business by throwing a number in a stack and hoping for the best. This is a race to the bottom and there's nothing at the bottom for me.
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Old 03-31-2015, 04:43 PM   #39
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Re: How To Find Out "the Other Guys Price"


I don't like to see other bids before I bid but I love to see them after. I can't bid a single job based on what someone else did but I sure need to know where I am at for the bigger picture.

I can bid as the low guy if I know that is who I am. I can also bid as the high bid. Knowing where you are at should change your pitch. How can you properly educate your customer if you are blind to where you fall.

We get used to thinking about our cut. $5,000 and $10,000 differences are a lot of money. If I went to a car dealership and a similar car was priced that different I would want to know why. I don't want to buy a lemon or overpay.

So to sum up my view. Knowing where you stand is part of being a well informed expert and respecting your customers $. You don't changer your price because of it (unless you need to change your price) but you should still know.

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Old 03-31-2015, 04:50 PM   #40
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Re: How To Find Out "the Other Guys Price"


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Problem is, they never get that far. Their business plan is "Do work, cheap!" and they don't last long.
So if the lowballer uses the formula L+M+O+P and his price comes to 1000.00 he shouldn't think about others pricing? Even if the average price for that particular job is 4000.00?

Wouldn't it be better for him, and his competitors, if he charged closer to the 4000.00 price?

There could be many reasons his price is lower. Maybe he doesn't know how to price. Maybe he has a great source of materials. Maybe very low labor or overhead costs.

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