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Asking Customer To See His Other Estimate?

 
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Old 12-17-2009, 11:24 AM   #1
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Asking Customer To See His Other Estimate?


when you come in with a price and a customer says ABC company can do the same thing with the same material for a much cheaper price,is it out of line to ask to see the other written estimate?
how do you guys handle such a situation?
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Old 12-17-2009, 11:36 AM   #2
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Re: Asking Customer To See His Other Estimate?


Its rare that a customer will do that, this has been my experience only. Should it happen, and if they are a new customer I would explain to them with conviction exactly what they are getting for their dollar.

None of my existing customers have ever done this to me...

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Old 12-17-2009, 11:40 AM   #3
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Re: Asking Customer To See His Other Estimate?


I believe it is unethical to ask to see other contractors bids and drawings.

I also believe that owners lie, a lot. Sometimes there is no XYZ contractor bid, sometimes it's for a different scope of work (this is just a guess because I never tried to pursue it).

The proper response: If you feel he will do the same job with the same quality of materials and labor, in a timely manner, and he has the proper licenses and insurance, I suggest you strongly consider hiring him instead of me. I know my costs for materials and labor, and I buy materials and labor in the same market he does. If he can somehow get materials or labor for free in a manner in which you won't later be held responsible through liens for unpaid materials or labor he might be a good choice.
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Old 12-17-2009, 11:41 AM   #4
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Re: Asking Customer To See His Other Estimate?


Their version of "the same thing" is usually much different from my version.

It's the nuances in what you do that make the difference. When I ask them specific questions like "do they do XYZ when they install install XYZ?", they usually say "no". Get three "no's" in a row and it's a slam dunk.
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Old 12-17-2009, 12:33 PM   #5
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Re: Asking Customer To See His Other Estimate?


Thom had a great reply for this situation.

Usually I just say, alright if you let me see it and I see that we are comparing apples to apples, including materials, certifications, and licenses then I will try to attempt to match his price.

So far NONE have been exact comparisons.
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Old 12-17-2009, 03:22 PM   #6
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Re: Asking Customer To See His Other Estimate?


I think if your prospect says "I have a lower quote" it's perfectly okay to ask to see it and compare. They initiated it, and I agree, many lie and it is NEVER the same. If it is, let them have the job if you don't want it at the cheaper price. Go to the next prospect.

There has been twice I have literally been double the other quote(s) and still got the job. In one case the couple liked the price on cabinets but said our labor was double the next highest quote. (One quote cheaper than that.) I didn't see or ask to see the quote, we just said sorry, we can't do it for that and give you the job you want. Happy to sell you the cabinets, but if you are happy with the other guy and feel confident in them I can't match or come close to their price.

They went out to the sidewalk, thought we had lost it, looked up and they came back in and said "we want you to do the whole job."

If they are floating "I have a lower price" then it MIGHT be true and you may not get it. Or, they MIGHT be saying "I have a lower price from someone I'm not 100% sold on. I'd like to do business with you, tell me why I should or get me close enough to justify a YES."

Good luck!
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Old 12-17-2009, 03:23 PM   #7
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Re: Asking Customer To See His Other Estimate?


One great question is how come if you have a lower price are you still looking for another contractor?
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Old 12-17-2009, 03:38 PM   #8
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Re: Asking Customer To See His Other Estimate?


It's called bid peddling. Technically customer shouldn't tell you what the other guys putting in for a price. You should not bite on the bait, but if you need the work, hell... bid peddling seems to be the way its done now. Too bad, it only drives prices lower for everyone.

I think the point of your post is "Is it ok to ask to see the quote when they bid peddle". I wonder if its the customer your afraid of offending. I think you should be more concerned on how your competition would feel.

If they initiate it, I'd probably ask to see the bid, partly to call their bluff. Also to compare the scope. I'd make it a point to put in a compliment on the other guys quote somehow. I'd try not to sink further down in the Ho's muck.

But then again, if I was starving I'd probably cut the other guys throat for a dime. Currently I'm not starving.

Last edited by NormW; 12-17-2009 at 03:40 PM.
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Old 12-17-2009, 06:23 PM   #9
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Re: Asking Customer To See His Other Estimate?


I have a bid comparison checklist as part of my presentation folder. It is there for them to use it privately, or if the subject comes up, I pull it out of the folder and show them how they can compare, sometimes they show the other estimate right then. I kind of play it by ear.
I try to focus on the differences in scope of work and qualifications rather than price.

Last edited by RCPainting; 12-17-2009 at 06:36 PM.
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Old 12-17-2009, 06:34 PM   #10
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Re: Asking Customer To See His Other Estimate?


I have asked them to see it. cover the price if you like I don't sell price. I would however like to make sure that everything we included is included in theirs. just so the owner can compare like proposals.
I rerely lose one when I have done this.
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Old 12-17-2009, 07:13 PM   #11
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Re: Asking Customer To See His Other Estimate?


I have been asked to look at competitors bid because he was 5k lower on a 13k basement bath remodel. He left out permits, vent fan, re doing all electrical, home run GFCI, re using handyman done plumbing, I do kerdi showers the other guy green drywall and mastic. Sometimes it helps to show the difference in price and why, we will finish that one in next couple weeks.
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Old 12-17-2009, 07:39 PM   #12
 
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Re: Asking Customer To See His Other Estimate?


No two estimates are ever the exact same. As contractors I think we have to try to refrain from under cutting other bids to get jobs. 1. you wont make much money (possibly lose) and 2. it drives prices down for everyone. It's hard to do in this I know, especially now. Ethicly, IMO it is not ok for HO's to be out there bid peddling, but the fact is alot of them do it, I think we have to take the high road when ever we can.
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Old 12-17-2009, 07:43 PM   #13
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Re: Asking Customer To See His Other Estimate?


If someone uses another estimate against me, i tell them "go get it!"
It's only fair if your going to use another companies numbers against me that you give me a chance to see the estimate and compare apples to apples.
Every time i have done this, i get the opportunity to pick the other companies contract apart! Most homeowners don't remeber all the little details and just think a roof is a roof.
So, everytime i have called them out and gotten the opportunity to look at the contract, it has actually worked to my advantage!
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Old 12-17-2009, 08:10 PM   #14
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Re: Asking Customer To See His Other Estimate?


I go on estimates these days, where the customers tell me that I'm the 4th or 5th estimate so far, and they dont want to give you any idea what the estimates are for. I called about a roofing job on CL and the guy told me that he already got 10 estimates and there were about another 5 coming in. Referrals these days are the only way to go, otherwise youre out there bidding apples for oranges.
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Old 12-17-2009, 08:37 PM   #15
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Re: Asking Customer To See His Other Estimate?


Quote:
Originally Posted by carpenter72 View Post
I called about a roofing job on CL and the guy told me that he already got 10 estimates and there were about another 5 coming in.


The end, right?
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Old 12-17-2009, 08:46 PM   #16
 
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Re: Asking Customer To See His Other Estimate?


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Originally Posted by Anti-wingnut View Post


The end, right?
10 estimates.... that would spell the end for me. That's just flat out ridiculous, shame on him for wasting so many people's time....come on man 10??
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Old 12-17-2009, 08:51 PM   #17
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Re: Asking Customer To See His Other Estimate?


Quote:
Originally Posted by grahaminteriors View Post
I think if your prospect says "I have a lower quote" it's perfectly okay to ask to see it and compare. They initiated it, and I agree, many lie and it is NEVER the same. If it is, let them have the job if you don't want it at the cheaper price. Go to the next prospect.

...

If they are floating "I have a lower price" then it MIGHT be true and you may not get it. Or, they MIGHT be saying "I have a lower price from someone I'm not 100% sold on. I'd like to do business with you, tell me why I should or get me close enough to justify a YES."
OMG, Graham and I agree!
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Old 12-17-2009, 08:55 PM   #18
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Re: Asking Customer To See His Other Estimate?


Quote:
Originally Posted by HomeElements View Post
10 estimates.... that would spell the end for me. That's just flat out ridiculous, shame on him for wasting so many people's time....come on man 10??
You count wrong, the total was 15!

There are people out there that have no respect for others time. Bid re bid, on and on. I worked as a Superintendent direct for an owner (really dumb mistake on my part), who would think nothing of getting a revised bid if the offices changed from 300 ft of carpet and 100 ft of vinyl to 250/150. I was at war with him all the time, fighting to use the original bids as ball parks and to go forward. Funny thing is that he thought he was the most respectful person in the world, because he called people sir, when in reality he treated people like crap
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Old 12-17-2009, 09:43 PM   #19
 
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Re: Asking Customer To See His Other Estimate?


I allways felt my estimate is what it is, I paid and still do, for the most advanced method of estimating that I can break down to how many nails will be used on the job. There is not 'pork' in there. Maybe we can go through and remove things but my labor and materials price never changed. It was all transparent, and the customer gets a warranty.

I could pick apart anyones estimate, as Im sure people could mine, thats the easy part. But when someone leads off by saying they got 10 (even worse 15!) estimates I wont go there, like I said before IMO this person is showing he has no respect for people's time. That amount of estimates is just plane crazy.
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Old 12-17-2009, 10:37 PM   #20
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Re: Asking Customer To See His Other Estimate?


Honestly, I havent estimated a job lately (in the last 6 months) that didnt atleast have 4 or more estimates. The homeowners havent been shy to tell me how many estimates they have, they just wont tell you how much they are for. Its just discouraging to get to a job, only to hear " Well see what kind of a price you can come up with, and we'll see if your price is right before we make our decision" or "We like your price, but we only think its fair to get the estimates from the other contractors before we make our decision". Fun times.

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