Whether Or Not To Proceed On Job Estimate - General Discussion - Contractor Talk

Whether Or Not To Proceed On Job Estimate

 
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Old 09-08-2015, 09:24 PM   #1
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Whether Or Not To Proceed On Job Estimate


Looked at a good size interior paint job, 150 year old home, 12' ceilings very ornate plaster trim, a beautiful home. Complete repaint with a good bit of plaster repair. Right up my alley. Many weeks of winter work.

After I left some red flags from converstion with the lone 60+ female home owner kept nagging me. Issues she had with other contractors in the past. She had got my name from another paint contractor who didn't want to take on such a large amount of plaster repair work, I do not believe he knows anymore about her. She was not a customer referral.

So I called a two contractors I trust and while they had not worked for her, they knew of her. They suggested not to work for her, not so much a money / payment issue but just a very very difficult person to work for. Extremely hard to please and she can be a real time waster.

I have talked myself out of jobs before by simply telling callers that I dont do such and such type of work or I am very backed up etc.
But now I find myself in an odd situation of how to proceed. When I met with her I expressed I am more than willing to take on and estimate such a job, but now I am not so sure.

Do I tell her no thanks after reconsidering? and leave it at that.
Do I price it so high she says no thanks? what if she says fine?
Do I complete the estimate with PITA factor added and if she accepts then present a contract with deposits amounts etc to determine how serious she is?
Any suggestions are appreciated.
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Old 09-08-2015, 09:29 PM   #2
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Re: Whether Or Not To Proceed On Job Estimate


I also meant to add that I have no problem working for customers who have high standards and demand perfect work, this customer sounds like more than that.

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Old 09-08-2015, 10:16 PM   #3
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Re: Whether Or Not To Proceed On Job Estimate


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Originally Posted by Ohio painter View Post
I also meant to add that I have no problem working for customers who have high standards and demand perfect work, this customer sounds like more than that.
Same here. That type can be a bit frustrating to work with, but it's really rewarding when the job ends cordially.

Really tough to give good input from way over here. Bottom line I guess is to evaluate the judgement of the guys you talked to plus listening to your gut. The gut is right more often than not.
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Old 09-08-2015, 10:31 PM   #4
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Re: Whether Or Not To Proceed On Job Estimate


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohio painter View Post
Looked at a good size interior paint job, 150 year old home, 12' ceilings very ornate plaster trim, a beautiful home. Complete repaint with a good bit of plaster repair. Right up my alley. Many weeks of winter work.

After I left some red flags from converstion with the lone 60+ female home owner kept nagging me. Issues she had with other contractors in the past. She had got my name from another paint contractor who didn't want to take on such a large amount of plaster repair work, I do not believe he knows anymore about her. She was not a customer referral.

So I called a two contractors I trust and while they had not worked for her, they knew of her. They suggested not to work for her, not so much a money / payment issue but just a very very difficult person to work for. Extremely hard to please and she can be a real time waster.

I have talked myself out of jobs before by simply telling callers that I dont do such and such type of work or I am very backed up etc.
But now I find myself in an odd situation of how to proceed. When I met with her I expressed I am more than willing to take on and estimate such a job, but now I am not so sure.

Do I tell her no thanks after reconsidering? and leave it at that.
Do I price it so high she says no thanks? what if she says fine?
Do I complete the estimate with PITA factor added and if she accepts then present a contract with deposits amounts etc to determine how serious she is?
Any suggestions are appreciated.
I think its always good advice to trust your initial gut feeling if you have plenty of work in the pipeline but you seem to be mainly on the fence about this job because of what she says about other contractor's and what they say about her. They said it wasn't a cost/payment issue, so it must be about work quality/speed or other?. Do you know the quality the other contractor's are putting out?

If you decide to move ahead with it i like the "complete the estimate with PITA factor added" option. I'm unsure what you mean by giving an estimate and then coming back with a contract though. I would write up a proposal with the scope of work and materials listed, price, deposit, progress payments with corresponding milestones, start date, approximate timeline and a spot for you and her to sign to make it a contract.... Give her all the info she needs to make a decision at once.
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Old 09-08-2015, 10:38 PM   #5
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Re: Whether Or Not To Proceed On Job Estimate


Trust your gut. If you decide to go ahead, then get very detailed and protective in your contract, and structure the payment schedule so that you don't get more than a few bucks behind: it is very difficult for a customer to cause you trouble if they're all paid up.
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Old 09-08-2015, 11:41 PM   #6
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Re: Whether Or Not To Proceed On Job Estimate


Maybe you could set up a payment schedule with Phase 1 as one room and a cancellation clause after Phase 1 by either of you. Have an advance large enough to pay for the cost that room. The final of Phase 1 could be the material markup and profit. If it goes terribly, you have a way out.
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Old 09-09-2015, 06:51 AM   #7
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Re: Whether Or Not To Proceed On Job Estimate


T&M..............If she doesn't like it, move on.
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Old 09-09-2015, 08:34 AM   #8
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Re: Whether Or Not To Proceed On Job Estimate


I like the T&M answer but she probably won't. Possibly for both your sakes you could offer to do one room on T&M and tell her it's an advantage to her so she isn't committed for the whole thing. Then if all goes well consider bidding the rest of the works. That way you both know what you're getting into.
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Old 09-09-2015, 09:16 AM   #9
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Re: Whether Or Not To Proceed On Job Estimate


Considering the age of the home and materials, offer to do a wall as a sample for $X dollars to make sure her expectations and what you provide are a match...

If that works, you have a standard to refer to... nothing wrong with exacting customers if you have an understanding of what that means, especially if it's work that's up your ally, and would keep you busy in the winter months...

I would just continue to build on each room... as each one is done, get her to sign-off on it and collect a progress payment...

Last edited by KAP; 09-09-2015 at 09:41 AM.
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Old 09-09-2015, 09:28 AM   #10
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Re: Whether Or Not To Proceed On Job Estimate


Looking forward to hearing how this plays out. One of the earliest, best bits of advice I got on the job was to "figure out what the customers' pain point was". (In other words, figure out what they really care about and take extra care of that detail.)

If it was me, I'd have lots of padding $$$ built in to cover the PITA factor. And never be very underwater with payments.
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Old 09-09-2015, 11:25 AM   #11
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Re: Whether Or Not To Proceed On Job Estimate


By all means,trust your gut. There just might be a way to resolve both of your concerns. Take one room bid that portion and upon completion you both can decide how to proceed from there. I think it is fair to both parties.
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Old 09-09-2015, 11:38 AM   #12
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Re: Whether Or Not To Proceed On Job Estimate


I'll add that sometimes "I've had problems with other contractors" is code for no advance and total on completion. That would be a tough option for you to agree to.
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Old 09-09-2015, 12:04 PM   #13
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Re: Whether Or Not To Proceed On Job Estimate


Advice given to me in a similar thread. If you do go ahead.

"Rock solid contract, and clear and upfront change order policy"

Be very specific about what the scope includes, and as specific, if not more about what it doesn't. Draw schedules like Bob said, so you don't have her holding money over your head, and signed and paid change orders before any new changes start.
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Old 09-09-2015, 12:10 PM   #14
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Re: Whether Or Not To Proceed On Job Estimate


I think you already know the answer . lot of wisdom given out , smart guys on here .
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Old 09-09-2015, 12:25 PM   #15
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Re: Whether Or Not To Proceed On Job Estimate


I just blew off a potential customer due to her being a pain before i even started the job. I anticipated this and made my bid higher. She said I was higher than her her other bids, asked if I gave discount for cash answer "No" will I use cheaper materials answer "No".

What pissed me off was her questioning how I was planning on doing the project compared to what the paint store told her. All my business is referrals. I had one customer years ago and I was warned that she was extremely picky turns out she has a sickness, She's so bad that she calls me if she knows a nail hole is behind a picture. But I got a ton of referrals due to the fact people knew how she was and if I was good enough for her I was good enough for them. I still work for her 25 years later.

If it were me either pass or give a very, very high bid.
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Old 09-09-2015, 12:36 PM   #16
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Re: Whether Or Not To Proceed On Job Estimate


It's not about staying busy once you get established , its picking the best projects and clients .
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Old 09-09-2015, 01:43 PM   #17
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Re: Whether Or Not To Proceed On Job Estimate


If you decide to do it, adjust bid for twice the amount of time you believe it would take to do. Weekly draws or lots of milestones (eg. each room). Very detailed SOW.
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Old 09-09-2015, 01:54 PM   #18
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Re: Whether Or Not To Proceed On Job Estimate


Perhaps another face to face meeting with the client to obtain a meeting of the minds on expectations. Price it 25% higher than usual. I turn down estimates all the time when I can hear on the phone they want that free estimate.

Last edited by on1sony; 09-09-2015 at 01:55 PM. Reason: adding to it
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Old 09-09-2015, 02:00 PM   #19
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Re: Whether Or Not To Proceed On Job Estimate


Nothing screams " I can't part with my money" like free estimate .
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Old 09-09-2015, 02:05 PM   #20
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Re: Whether Or Not To Proceed On Job Estimate


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Nothing screams " I can't part with my money" like free estimate .
Especially when they want it right away. I often will charge for the estimate upfront but apply a credit if i'm hired.

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