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Silence After Giving Quotes.

 
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Old 05-19-2015, 07:42 PM   #41
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Re: Silence After Giving Quotes.


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Originally Posted by BCConstruction View Post
I don't get how people have time to deliver quotes in person. I'm up at 6am and work till 6-7pm most nights and weekends I'm doing work on my own place and ain't using that time to run around.

I struggle to even find time to do the quotes let alone deliver them in person. This week I have priced 5 jobs and it's been hard enough just locking in time with customer to meet with them then try and meet again to give the quote.
I'm 100% with BCC on this one. This is my exact situation above. I BARELY have enough time to view the job, let alone sitting on my computer till midnight some nights figuring quotes.

I've also had great luck with emailed quotes because I'm very proactive about following up. I usually call within a day or two and again after a week or two depending on the initial follow up's results. The majority of my quotes are sub trade work(roof replacements, vinyl siding with a deck, etc.) If the jobs were full renovations or additions with far more moving parts, I would request a follow up meeting.
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Old 05-19-2015, 07:47 PM   #42
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Re: Silence After Giving Quotes.


Ya know..... I think that most of the discussion here has been on our concerns and less focus on understanding the client.

We all are somewhat different, and respond to different considerations.

It is somewhat wrong to say, think what you appreciate when you are the buyer, (as in buying sub-contractors)... because we are all a little different in what we respect and consider as a buyer.

We are not just selling a deck/addition/paint job.... we are selling a comfort level.... like it or not.

One party wants basic facts/and get it done. Another appreciates the technical aspects. Another wants a comfortable relationship and talk about fishing and similarties. Another appreciates back-slapping and boisterous camaradie.

For instance... I am sorta of a technical guy... I'm interested in my subs knowledge and feel comfortable when they explain their assembly and contract to it.

But, some people don't give a hoot about that, they want a price/time and you to carry all the ball and get it done.

Others are concerned with who will be on site, and want to talk and have friendly relations apart from job performance.

The more flexable you can be... the more you will sell... and the less down time selling you will incur.....( and can you hear my personal preferences in that statement).

We do busines with whom we are comfortable... but that confort level is differnt for all of us.

That is just my DF opinion... and there are alot of customers that I haven't made feel comfortabel and which I am not comfortable with... so walk away.

JMO

Best

(It's difficult to understand each customer... but as the OP was addressing, there are very few that you can submit a paper bid without establishing a confidence level with a follow up discussion...I honestly do not think that there are many customers trhat solely do a job on the lowest price... there may be customers double checking a providers pricing for whom they are allready comfortable)
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Old 05-19-2015, 07:48 PM   #43
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Re: Silence After Giving Quotes.


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So you have a price list for a vanity with 5 doors, 3 drawers that is 74 3/8" long and painted in "oh, we haven't decided yet" as a color?
You can't quote that on-site? Really? I guess I'm really surprised to hear that...

Not only would I give them a hand drawing right there for that (with computerized drawing after contract), but we know the pricing for the door/drawerfont sizes including species / finish, drawer material, glides, hinges, knobs/pulls, embellishments, tops, plumbing, electrical, etc...

What exactly would stop you from quoting that on-site right there and then? the color?

Most already have an idea of what color/species/finish (stain, paint, glaze) from mags or online, and it's part of the qualifying process anyway and if for some reason they are not sure, just like they can do if they ARE sure, they can change their mind, which would simply involve adjusting the price... pretty much every appointment we walk out of, the "color" is not an issue...

.

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Old 05-19-2015, 07:55 PM   #44
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Re: Silence After Giving Quotes.


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Originally Posted by EricBrancard View Post
Are you mostly doing kitchen/bath stuff or do you do large multiphase remodeling/renovation, additions, new construction, stuff that involves excavation, etc?
Mainly remodels... can be kitchen, bath, flooring, exterior, additions, revisions, custom furniture, tops, but we are also a manufacturer... we just don't make cabs so focus on price lists works all the way round... best practices, more efficient... our focus is the whole job...

Haven't tackled new construction as it relates to doing our own development... working in new construction as a cog in the wheel, yes...

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Old 05-19-2015, 07:58 PM   #45
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Re: Silence After Giving Quotes.


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Quote:
Originally Posted by EricBrancard View Post
Are you mostly doing kitchen/bath stuff or do you do large multiphase remodeling/renovation, additions, new construction, stuff that involves excavation, etc?
Mainly remodels... can be kitchen, bath, exterior, additions, revisions, custom furniture, tops, but we are also a manufacturer... we just don't make cabs so focus on price lists works all the way round... best practices, more efficient...

Haven't tackled new construction as it relates to doing our own development... working in new construction as a cog in the wheel, yes...

.
Manufacturer?
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Old 05-19-2015, 08:01 PM   #46
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Re: Silence After Giving Quotes.


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Originally Posted by thehockeydman View Post
Have you been reading Seth Godin books, or is your wording just a happy coincidence?
That'd be experience talkin' there. Maybe Seth got the message too.
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Old 05-19-2015, 08:05 PM   #47
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Re: Silence After Giving Quotes.


Quote:
Originally Posted by KAP View Post
You can't quote that on-site? Really? I guess I'm really surprised to hear that...

Not only would I give them a hand drawing right there for that (with computerized drawing after contract), but we know the pricing for the door/drawerfont sizes including species / finish, drawer material, glides, hinges, knobs/pulls, embellishments, tops, plumbing, electrical, etc...

What exactly would stop you from quoting that on-site right there and then? the color?

Most already have an idea of what color/species/finish (stain, paint, glaze) from mags or online, and it's part of the qualifying process anyway and if for some reason they are not sure, just like they can do if they ARE sure, they can change their mind, which would simply involve adjusting the price... pretty much every appointment we walk out of, the "color" is not an issue...

.
Most of my clients don't know what they want other than a vanity.
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Old 05-19-2015, 08:21 PM   #48
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Re: Silence After Giving Quotes.


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Originally Posted by Leo G View Post
Most of my clients don't know what they want other than a vanity.
You don't do any pre-qualifying?...

If they are going to leave it up to me to come up with the design... a little over 6' vanity will be made to their needs, but I'm going to zero in on what they want it to accomplish and draw to meet that... I'm not going to keep going out or emailing design after design until they find one they happen to like...

That's a complete waste of time IMHO... you use Ecabs right?...

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Old 05-19-2015, 08:30 PM   #49
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Re: Silence After Giving Quotes.


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I have never had one job where my fixed price didn't include everything the customer expected.
Now that's funny
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Old 05-19-2015, 08:49 PM   #50
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Re: Silence After Giving Quotes.


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Originally Posted by KAP View Post
You don't do any pre-qualifying?...

If they are going to leave it up to me to come up with the design... a little over 6' vanity will be made to their needs, but I'm going to zero in on what they want it to accomplish and draw to meet that... I'm not going to keep going out or emailing design after design until they find one they happen to like...

That's a complete waste of time IMHO... you use Ecabs right?...

.
90% of my jobs are referrals. Which means I am the only one bidding. I won't keep designing stuff for them, I'll tell them to visit my website, go look at Houzz and Pinterest and find a design you like. Choose one, two, three and we can mix and match. I am total custom. You get things no one else has and sometimes no one else will make.

Some of my clients know exactly what they want and others need hand holding and guidance.

And ya, I use eCabs, why do you ask?
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Old 05-19-2015, 08:51 PM   #51
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Re: Silence After Giving Quotes.


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Most of my clients don't know what they want other than a vanity.
That's a perfect example of why trying to get the contract signed, sealed, and delivered on the first meeting fails. I can turn that vanity/countertop/faucet install into a full bath remodel. It goes from a simple installation to a space they're proud to show their friends and talk about what a great job you did. "My! It's WONDEFUL" Cluck, cluck, cluck they go. You're building them a new space in their home, not just slapping up some product in their house. Big difference.

Every HO is different, so you have to adjust your approach to each one. Myself, I don't like the hard sell. I would never sign a contract for over $500 on the first visit. And I damn sure wouldn't on a $20K-30K remodel.
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Old 05-19-2015, 09:22 PM   #52
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Re: Silence After Giving Quotes.


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90% of my jobs are referrals. Which means I am the only one bidding. I won't keep designing stuff for them, I'll tell them to visit my website, go look at Houzz and Pinterest and find a design you like. Choose one, two, three and we can mix and match. I am total custom. You get things no one else has and sometimes no one else will make.

Some of my clients know exactly what they want and others need hand holding and guidance.
We are total custom as well... right down to the components in the cabs...

Everybody's got their way of doing things... on a little over 6' vanity, once you dial into what they are looking to accomplish with it, that's half the work done right there on design... the rest is hand holding, but we try to end the hand holding with shaking the hands of a new customer...

Referrals are also a huge part of our business... untapped market for most...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Leo G View Post
And ya, I use eCabs, why do you ask?
Because if you do, libraries can give you quite a head start instead a reinventing the wheel to start with... much easier to modify then start from scratch on ECabs in the same way you'd modify the vanity from one choice to the next...

.
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Old 05-19-2015, 09:36 PM   #53
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Re: Silence After Giving Quotes.


Quote:
Originally Posted by KAP View Post
You can't quote that on-site? Really? I guess I'm really surprised to hear that...

Not only would I give them a hand drawing right there for that (with computerized drawing after contract), but we know the pricing for the door/drawerfont sizes including species / finish, drawer material, glides, hinges, knobs/pulls, embellishments, tops, plumbing, electrical, etc...

What exactly would stop you from quoting that on-site right there and then? the color?

Most already have an idea of what color/species/finish (stain, paint, glaze) from mags or online, and it's part of the qualifying process anyway and if for some reason they are not sure, just like they can do if they ARE sure, they can change their mind, which would simply involve adjusting the price... pretty much every appointment we walk out of, the "color" is not an issue...

.
It takes my cabinet shop at least a day to build a quote for a bathroom, two for a kitchen. I have the levels of cabinets to choose from. Then there is a thousand options and combinations (drawers, inserts, overlay, extended stiles, raised panel, stain, glaze, painted, custom paint....). Unless you only offer a static list there is no way you are designing and quoting a kitchen in one sit down.

I also need my plumber and electrician to complete walk throughs. No way there is standardized pricing for custom remodels.
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Old 05-19-2015, 09:38 PM   #54
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Re: Silence After Giving Quotes.


Great topic. I always do an initial walk thru, go over the job, and then sell myself. I give a number and ask if that is acceptable. If the homeowner likes the number they get the full contract emailed to them so the can sign/proxy and send back. I have never had a customer say yes at a walk thru and back out when they got the contract. I am also super picky about the jobs I take.

Obviously we all have different strategies. It's good to hear everyone's so we can all learn and steal each other best tactics
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Old 05-19-2015, 10:06 PM   #55
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Re: Silence After Giving Quotes.


Quote:
Originally Posted by KAP View Post
You don't do any pre-qualifying?...

If they are going to leave it up to me to come up with the design... a little over 6' vanity will be made to their needs, but I'm going to zero in on what they want it to accomplish and draw to meet that... I'm not going to keep going out or emailing design after design until they find one they happen to like...

That's a complete waste of time IMHO... you use Ecabs right?...

.
You may have a template for this type of vanity


But what about this?



Or this?



Seems simple enough until you have to deal with plumbing
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Old 05-20-2015, 02:48 AM   #56
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Re: Silence After Giving Quotes.


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Price lists allow you to do exactly that and it's all in how you structure things... All a price list does is take what you use to calculate your proposal in the first place and standardize it...

As an example, I'll take a kitchen I just sold... When we met to do the pricing, she talked about doing recessed lighting but hadn't made a decision on whether she wanted that or not, but we knew everything else and she was happy with the price. There's no reason to delay that close simply because she hadn't made a decision on the recessed lights... our structure is setup so no matter if she makes the decision now or later, she is still going to get a better price through us for electrical than if she decided to use someone else, because our subs pricing is built into our price list... Unless it's something outside of the price list, and that can of course happen, there's no reason to NOT close the deal because of an indecision like that... and a Change Order from the original scope is appropriate...

Been doing one call close (average 33-42% close ratio first night) using price lists for years... and the nationals do it also... there is no one-call close without it... all a price list is what you use to develop your quote...

It doesn't behoove you to keep looking up the price for individual products you use on a consistent basis...

We adjust our pricing for materials quarterly... whether we go there the first time or have to go back for another visit, it's to remove them from the marketplace...

We've removed the traditional obstacles that stop them from making a decision and focus on Company, Product, Service and Price... we measure and price right there and use to our advantage that others don't have a price list... the analogy we use is you going into a car dealership and whether you are buying the compact, mid-level or sedan what would you think of the dealership if they told you "let me get back to you with a proposal"... you mean, this is your industry and you don't KNOW what the costs are?

There are of course limits.... A full-scale remodel would be hard to close on the first night, but most trades a pricing list is a no-brainer... it's just filling in the data...

We tell them upfront...
"Folks, before we start, I'd like to put your mind at ease about something, we're not here to "sell" you anything... you won't feel any pressure tonight... As you'll see, we've been doing this a long time and we're prepared to measure, provide samples and go over all the things necessary for you to feel comfortable to make your own decision, and this will either makes sense or it doesn't... you don't have to worry about bogus sales techniques like "manager's discounts" or "specials" or raising the price artificially to lower it again to pressure you into a "sale"... Instead we practice pricing integrity and you will know tonight what's involved, who's doing the work, how we back it up and what it will cost... you won't have to negotiate the "best" price because we're going to give it you today... "
(this also sets up that if they want to pay less, they have to give up something)...
If we don't close it the first night, there aren't too many calls where it goes past 2 visits...

But whatever works for you and your company is what's most important...

.
This type of salesmanship doesn't work in my area. My work is mostly referrals and repeat customers. I prefer to go in as my self, for better or worse. I prefer to sell me, not a company. I think most folks around here, at least my customers prefer that also.

I have had more than a few customers choose me precisely because I didn't show up with a big folder and a bunch of samples. They trust my judgment on materials and products for the most part. Sure they have the option to choose the products they want, but my customers usually want a quality but affordable job.

I usually go to a first meeting and find out what they are needing and wanting. Then I go home and take a few days to work up a quote. Many folks are fine with email, and take a week or so to get back to me. Some folks I just call on the phone and give them a price, then meet up in a few days to sign contracts and such. I don't get too bent if they don't get a hold of me right away as I realize they are busy as well. Some of my best jobs have taken a month or two to get locked in.
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Old 05-20-2015, 03:07 AM   #57
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Re: Silence After Giving Quotes.


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It takes my cabinet shop at least a day to build a quote for a bathroom, two for a kitchen. I have the levels of cabinets to choose from. Then there is a thousand options and combinations (drawers, inserts, overlay, extended stiles, raised panel, stain, glaze, painted, custom paint....). Unless you only offer a static list there is no way you are designing and quoting a kitchen in one sit down.

I also need my plumber and electrician to complete walk throughs. No way there is standardized pricing for custom remodels.
So you are literally telling me I am not doing what I have been doing for years?... OK... what do you want me to say to that exactly?...

TNT, since you used kitchens, we'll use that example... I've been doing it for DECADES... when I walk into a kitchen, I don't even see the existing layout but walls that I make match what they have been anticipating and their lifestyle based on a needs assessment... our customers can literally choose whatever color, style, finish they want... we have a price list for it all...

As I said, our subs pricing is built into our price list... unless there is something off the wall, which would be spec'd separately, they don't even have to come to the site. The customer can literally gut it and start from scratch, moving all mechanicals and we can quote it... we have contracts for pricing with our subs and don't have to wait for anything... it's DESIGNED that way... as I said earlier, we've REMOVED the obstacles to make it easy for the customer to make a decision and put them at ease... we have the added benefit of being referred so they know already what to expect and that it's a smooth process...

An example of subs... The kitchen I just sold included adding a separate circuit for a microhood, undercab lighting, new outlets, replacing existing outlets with new GFCI's, new lighting, going from single bowl 7" deep sink to 60/40 double-bowl 9" deep farmhouse sink, dishwasher, water line for frig, table top stove (which cab had to be configured for) the list goes on... but that's the point, it is a LIST... reinventing the wheel with a whole new proposal is WASTED TIME for everyone...

Adopting best practices is from A to Z, not let's spend all our time on the back end... Demming, LEAN, Sigma-Six, etc... it all starts before you meet the customer but becomes real to you from the moment you come in contact with the customer...

In fact, while you are waiting for your cabinet guy to take "at least a day to build a quote for a bathroom, two for a kitchen" (like - are you kidding me? how the heck does he make any money taking THAT long? another guy reinventing the wheel each time... ), we've most likely already closed it and removed them from the marketplace. They've already been provided a hand-drawing of their kitchen that night, and a computerized version is provided a week later while we are collecting the next draw... revisions are on the clock...

You seem to think EVERY decision has to be made that night... it doesn't... there are ways to get around that, remove pressure for the client and still provide accurate pricing...

As an example, we have CATALOGS of knobs/pulls they can choose from... they don't have to decide that night on the first night as it's one of the last things to go on... they get a credit up to a certain amount retail, and anything above that, they pay the difference... we provide 5 samples free of charge so they can see it in their home, and it helps them zero in on what they really want, and we also have a supplier with WALLS of them...

Another example is our granite or Corian or Laminate, etc. tops all have tiered pricing based on color/finish... edging, cut-outs, templates, backsplashes, etc. are already priced out for each and all that is needed is the measurement... Once you determine the TYPE of top they want, you provide them with the colors from the tiers and zero in on color selection. You provide pricing based on the tier not the final color... BTW, they are playing with the sample doors, colors chips for the cabinets, tops, etc. and looking through our book to see what style they gravitate to if they don't already know (i.e. - inset, 1/2-inch overlay, full overlay, etc.) while I am measuring and drawing the kitchen based on our conversation of needs assessment so they STAY in the PURCHASING and decision making mode and don't cool down.

Because we are certified Corian fabricators and do all our own tops beside stone, our stone sub's pricing is built into our price list and he knows we can quote it just as he can without reservation...

Backsplash? Figure your labor, profit and let them decide the tile LATER at their convenience when they are provided a door/drawerfront sample with their custom colors, styles, countertop sample they can look at in their own lighting. We used to build a retail price for tile into it as well and they pay the difference, but we found it more productive to forward them to our tile house, and let them choose, and we split our contractor discount...

It's a matter of knowing how to zero in on what they've been thinking about for a long time... People don't just say "ooh, let's replace the kitchen, tell me what I want Mr. Contractor"... they have ideas, they've watched the home improvement shows and think it can be done yesterday, they've been referred by a friend because of something they saw that they liked, they look at mags and more often than not, the internet... their existing decor plays into their palette as well...

When we meet with the customer a couple of weeks later, it's not to stroke our ego to hear them tell us "nice job" (always nice to hear), but to FARM their WARM market and collect a survey we provide them...

But it's simply silly for you to say that "it can't be done" when not only do we do it, but the nationals do as well... next-level thinking always has you looking to do it better...

It's why we go from hand-nailing trim to using a nail-gun... Both can be done, but one is more efficient and INCREASES your productivity and profit...

But guys who hand-nail it had to be convinced also... so you can choose to wait a day or two to get cabinet quotes or find a better way... you have to want it yourself...

Nothing I say is of any value if you've already bought into the concept that it can't be done... Others are already and have been for a long-time... in the same way there are guys who are charging MORE than you for the same services in your area.... and are GETTING it...

For those that have ears...

Best of luck... 8^)

.

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Old 05-20-2015, 03:14 AM   #58
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Re: Silence After Giving Quotes.


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Originally Posted by VinylHanger View Post
This type of salesmanship doesn't work in my area. My work is mostly referrals and repeat customers. I prefer to go in as my self, for better or worse. I prefer to sell me, not a company. I think most folks around here, at least my customers prefer that also.

I have had more than a few customers choose me precisely because I didn't show up with a big folder and a bunch of samples. They trust my judgment on materials and products for the most part. Sure they have the option to choose the products they want, but my customers usually want a quality but affordable job.

I usually go to a first meeting and find out what they are needing and wanting. Then I go home and take a few days to work up a quote. Many folks are fine with email, and take a week or so to get back to me. Some folks I just call on the phone and give them a price, then meet up in a few days to sign contracts and such. I don't get too bent if they don't get a hold of me right away as I realize they are busy as well. Some of my best jobs have taken a month or two to get locked in.
I think you are missing that was the OPPOSITE of salesmanship... there is no pressure, but a process... it either makes sense or it doesn't... that doesn't change by adding another meeting...

As I mentioned, it's Company (i.e. - YOU), Product (i.e. - they trust your judgement on materials), Service (i.e. - how are you going to get it done and back it up) and Pricing (i.e. - pricing)...

Something to consider... Operative words in your description above... days, weeks, months to make a decision... can make a HUGE difference in profitability and paying the bills compounded by multiple prospects to turn them into clients unless you have an extremely high close ratio, and if so, you most likely aren't charging enough...

At a minimum, I'd encourage you to look at ways to reduce those times to INCREASE cash-flow, efficiency and profitability...

.

Last edited by KAP; 05-20-2015 at 04:10 AM.
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Old 05-20-2015, 03:29 AM   #59
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Re: Silence After Giving Quotes.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Leo G View Post
You may have a template for this type of vanity


But what about this?



Or this?



Seems simple enough until you have to deal with plumbing
Leo, I simply don't see how you couldn't price those two units the first night... they are nice but not something that a price list couldn't address... but if you have to get a plumber to price it out, and don't know how to anticipate the plumbing involved in conjunction with what's going on in the interior, I could see how that would delay you...

I know that floating cab isn't yours, because of looking at the out of square fab or installation on the left where the cab meets the sink... you do custom as I do and know that wouldn't fly...

Something similar to that design is not all that uncommon...




And in fact, you can buy them retail... but there's nothing like making it yourself... ...

Consider, the above similar pic has a Blum drawer that ANTICIPATES plumbing... and there are drawer manufacturers that do the same... so I don't see how it should be a big deal for you to know how to price that...

Of course, you have to determine the actual sink you are going to use and faucet...

For those who don't make their own custom doors/drawerfronts, etc. how do you think custom door/drawerfront, drawer, face-frame, moldings, etc. manufacturers (ie. - Conestoga, Walzcraft, Elias) do it and can quote the same day on all off-the-wall sizes and do it day in and day out?... PRICE LISTS...

How does a guy they dragged from the lumber department at the big box store be able to quote out a kitchen using semi-custom cabs in under an hour? PRICE LISTS...

But you couldn't quote something like the above or this the same day?...




If you can't, no biggie, everyone works differently and not trying to imply anything in asking...

.

Last edited by KAP; 05-20-2015 at 04:14 AM.
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Old 05-20-2015, 05:29 AM   #60
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Re: Silence After Giving Quotes.


I have seen the paper catalogue version of just one kitchen brand I have used. It's 2" thick with options. There's another one 1" thick just for accessories. That don't include the hundreds of thousands of tile combinations, faucets, paint, lighting, trim. Materials, vanitys, counters toilets, showers systems, glass doors, toilets, heat mats, shower valves, grab bars, doors, blinds, tile profiles, floor systems etc etc

You understand why it's impossible to have a price list for all that. You would have a folder 1000ft thick.

Now if you were offering a bathroom like rebath or bath fitter where you use 3 vanitys, 2 toilets, 3 wall panel styles, 3 bath over lay styles etc etc then yeah damn that would be simple and Prob fit it all on one A4 sheet with room to draw a floor plan.

As an example I send my customers to my kitchen/flooring supplier. There has not been one time when they could have designed and picked a kitchen and paid for it in one sitting. They have a dedicated designer who draws the kitchen up as they pick it out. On avg I would say it takes most customers 2-3trips totaling 6hrs to pick their floor tile, cabinets and counters and this is with everything in the show room to view so no going back and forth with sample boards.

Then I get with them on everything else and then I can figure a price. Overall I would say from the time they call me to signing a contract is 2 weeks as it takes them that long to figure everything out.

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