Turning Down Jobs - General Discussion - Contractor Talk

Turning Down Jobs

 
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Old 04-09-2019, 07:16 PM   #1
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Turning Down Jobs


Time and again over the last few years, as we have gotten busier and busier and hired more guys, scaled up, etc., the number one advantage that I see coming out of that increase in business is the ability to say to a potential customer, "This just doesn't sound like a good fit for us. Let me recommend someone I think can do this cheaper/better." Then just walk away....

What a pleasure to not need every single job. I spent the first ten years at least of being in business needing every job I could hustle up. Feast of famine, live or die by it. Devastating to lose a job, always hustling for more. The peace that comes from being able to afford to objectively look at a request, talk to the homeowner, and pass it (and all the hassles) up is a relief.
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Old 04-09-2019, 07:23 PM   #2
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Re: Turning Down Jobs


40 years ago when I started my painting business, I was in the same boat. Had to take every "junk job" that came along just to keep from starving. You attract every tight wad in the world when you're the low guy on the totem pole. As you get established, it is nice to pick and choose profitable jobs with work that is manageable. I still find it hard to say NO, but for my own physical well-being, I say it more often than not. Of course if you say NO too often, work can suddenly dry up.........

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Old 04-09-2019, 07:30 PM   #3
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Re: Turning Down Jobs


The longer I am in business the more I understand the saying “you never lose money on a job you don’t take”
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Old 04-09-2019, 09:55 PM   #4
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Re: Turning Down Jobs


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Originally Posted by onmywayup View Post
Time and again over the last few years, as we have gotten busier and busier and hired more guys, scaled up, etc., the number one advantage that I see coming out of that increase in business is the ability to say to a potential customer, "This just doesn't sound like a good fit for us. Let me recommend someone I think can do this cheaper/better." Then just walk away....

What a pleasure to not need every single job. I spent the first ten years at least of being in business needing every job I could hustle up. Feast of famine, live or die by it. Devastating to lose a job, always hustling for more. The peace that comes from being able to afford to objectively look at a request, talk to the homeowner, and pass it (and all the hassles) up is a relief.
We've all been there to varying extents and then you make the crossover... Real life example of someone running their business as opposed to their business running them (usually into the ground)...

Congrats on the transition and the peace it potentially brings...

For guys who are struggling with charging enough to be in business (as you think you're over-charging or "screwing people" if you charge more - you're not, you're building your business and it takes more money than a paycheck), consider companies that have employees with loaded costs, etc.

They ABSOLUTELY have to charge more than you to cover it, but it has advantages as well so don't leave money on the table... once you get out of the mindset that what's left over after everyone else is paid is what you pay yourself (it's not, that's the PROFIT that you pay to your business to feed the future, YOUR pay should already be calculated into the Labor or Overhead costs), you begin to open your eyes that it's not just TODAY you're charging for, but tomorrow that will bring you to a similar point...

Last edited by KAP; 04-09-2019 at 10:56 PM.
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Old 04-09-2019, 11:08 PM   #5
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Re: Turning Down Jobs


I live by the cherry picking model. It wasn't until I didn't need the work that I started making real money. Customers can smell desperation.

Tell a customer no and the whole dynamic changes. I've actually had them say "please, please, I'll pay more".


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Old 04-10-2019, 12:27 AM   #6
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Re: Turning Down Jobs


I haven't lost on a job in probably 35 years. It should only take one episode of hating yourself to wise up. If it takes more than that consider doing something else
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Old 04-10-2019, 02:53 PM   #7
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Re: Turning Down Jobs


That's awesome dude. Only position to be in from a money making standpoint

I refer a couple builders for new homes and 2 remodeled for remodels, and subs for appropriate work all the time. In fact one of our members is my go to referral for remodels

As far as turning away work it's a balance with multiple supervisors/overhead - still don't take projects not for us, even if have to eat some overhead. Not worth it.



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Old 04-10-2019, 02:55 PM   #8
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Re: Turning Down Jobs


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Originally Posted by Bull Trout View Post
The longer I am in business the more I understand the saying “you never lose money on a job you don’t take”
I can think of two I didn't take I lost a lot of money on - from the referrals from those clients and repeat work from a commercial client. I was too busy to want to take them on and lost out on future work. Is still do it but i consider that losing out a little

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Old 04-10-2019, 02:57 PM   #9
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Re: Turning Down Jobs


I pursue about 1 in 10 and they are almost all great money makers once I am on board. Its a strange dynamic. It puts the customer in the position of trying to secure the deal. I spend a lot more time talking people out of work and almost no time talking them into work. It also seems that the more you try not to line up work the more people want you.
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Old 04-10-2019, 05:54 PM   #10
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Re: Turning Down Jobs


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I pursue about 1 in 10 and they are almost all great money makers once I am on board. Its a strange dynamic. It puts the customer in the position of trying to secure the deal. I spend a lot more time talking people out of work and almost no time talking them into work. It also seems that the more you try not to line up work the more people want you.


People don't like to be told no. It kick starts their inner chase mechanisms. Sorta like the girl in high school saying no to you.


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Old Yesterday, 08:44 PM   #11
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Re: Turning Down Jobs


I recently gave a potential customer a price on a sink reinforcement rod repair. (The granite guys do everything wrong and a bomb goes off 5 years after their check clears: https://ihatemysink.com/curing-countertop-cancer/).

The guy was balking at my prices. As I went back to my truck, he had a Cobra roadster in his garage:https://classiccars.com/listings/find/1965/shelby/cobra

I'm not following up on this lead.
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Old Today, 12:37 PM   #12
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Re: Turning Down Jobs


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I recently gave a potential customer a price on a sink reinforcement rod repair. (The granite guys do everything wrong and a bomb goes off 5 years after their check clears: https://ihatemysink.com/curing-countertop-cancer/).



The guy was balking at my prices. As I went back to my truck, he had a Cobra roadster in his garage:https://classiccars.com/listings/find/1965/shelby/cobra



I'm not following up on this lead.
Having money does that mean you want to pay more than something is worth. Not to say whatever you were saying the price was was not worth it.

Like for instance I would not pay more for a set of tires because I bought the limited version instead of the base version of a vehicle. Period.

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Old Today, 03:16 PM   #13
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Re: Turning Down Jobs


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Originally Posted by Calidecks View Post
I live by the cherry picking model. It wasn't until I didn't need the work that I started making real money. Customers can smell desperation.

Tell a customer no and the whole dynamic changes. I've actually had them say "please, please, I'll pay more".


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I don't think it's them smelling your desperation, it's because your outlook on things changed, you don't need the work, you are confident, you have the working capital etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kowboy View Post
I recently gave a potential customer a price on a sink reinforcement rod repair. (The granite guys do everything wrong and a bomb goes off 5 years after their check clears: https://ihatemysink.com/curing-countertop-cancer/).

The guy was balking at my prices. As I went back to my truck, he had a Cobra roadster in his garage:https://classiccars.com/listings/find/1965/shelby/cobra

I'm not following up on this lead.
Having money doesn't have a significant effect on price sensitivity.
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Old Today, 05:46 PM   #14
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Re: Turning Down Jobs


Most customers can sense desperation that's a true statement.


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Old Today, 05:50 PM   #15
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Re: Turning Down Jobs


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Most customers can sense desperation that's a true statement.


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I agree, but I agree with inner too. I have not sold a job from a place of true desperation since Maybe a year after we started business. I also think that having the working capital, the experience, the awards, the reputation brings a new light of confidence that I did not have even when I did not have to sell to keep the lights on, simply because I did not have the experience I have now.

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Old Today, 05:52 PM   #16
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Re: Turning Down Jobs


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Most customers can sense desperation that's a true statement.


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Could be, I dunno, I don't really negotiate these days, I give out a take it or leave it price. For commercial work I submit my bid and see if it gets accepted.

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Old Today, 05:54 PM   #17
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Re: Turning Down Jobs


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I agree, but I agree with inner too. I have not sold a job from a place of true desperation since Maybe a year after we started business. I also think that having the working capital, the experience, the awards, the reputation brings a new light of confidence that I did not have even when I did not have to sell to keep the lights on, simply because I did not have the experience I have now.

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It's my view that confidence is the opposite end of the spectrum. They can smell an un-confident contractor as well. Most of my customers are highly successful business people. Sniffing out the bad comes with the territory.


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