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Pricing, Estimating, And Success

 
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Old 03-05-2012, 05:26 PM   #561
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Re: Pricing, Estimating, And Success


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So, according to that book, if you want more money you just ask for it? Is that how it works in the States? You guys are lucky.

Over here we have to take account of what the market will bear, just because a book says we should put the price up in order to obtain X amount of profit doesn't always go down too well with the customers.
If you are not selling then you need to adjust or find higher paying customers. Using the formula does tell you how much you need to make to stay in business with a profit though. Many business owners don't really know how much they need to charge to profit.I've had plenty of people tell me I was too high priced. That's fine with me because I know what I need to profit. The price they had in mind was less than I need to profit. So if the market won't bare my prices I have the option of not working or lowering my price. Using the formula in the book I will know how low I can go and still make money. If I go below that amount I just don't work. So no the market or going rate doesn't affect my pricing.
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Old 03-05-2012, 05:51 PM   #562
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Re: Pricing, Estimating, And Success


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Originally Posted by john elliott

So, according to that book, if you want more money you just ask for it? Is that how it works in the States? You guys are lucky.

Over here we have to take account of what the market will bear, just because a book says we should put the price up in order to obtain X amount of profit doesn't always go down too well with the customers.
What the market will bear? Unfortunately the market is constantly depressed by contractors who don't bother to price their jobs according to their costs, and who instead price everything according to... what the market will bear.
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Old 03-05-2012, 05:57 PM   #563
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Re: Pricing, Estimating, And Success


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Originally Posted by john elliott View Post
So, according to that book, if you want more money you just ask for it? Is that how it works in the States? You guys are lucky.

Over here we have to take account of what the market will bear, just because a book says we should put the price up in order to obtain X amount of profit doesn't always go down too well with the customers.
What!? You can't just ask and then receive?

The book in question does not simply state that you raise your rates to point x and carry on. Although the truth is, if you don't ask you can't get higher rates. But I digress.........

The book instructs the avid reader how to arrive at the price that he really needs to conduct a profitable business. It has very little to do with the so called "going rate".

It interesting that as it works out, the market can bear what it's asked to if properly presented.

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Old 03-06-2012, 01:29 AM   #564
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Re: Pricing, Estimating, And Success


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So no the market or going rate doesn't affect my pricing.
That's impressive, to be able to operate outside the market like that. Your service must be especially unique. Unfortunately for me, I have competitors and I can't ignore what they are doing or I would be put of business soon.



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It interesting that as it works out, the market can bear what it's asked to if properly presented.
Right, so every time a contractor loses a job because he was 20% higher than the other contractors then he can console himself with the thought that his bid wasn't 'properly presented'.


I'm going to carry on taking a more intergrated approach to pricing, I will take account of the amont of money I need to make AND the amount of money I am likely to be able to get AND how badly I need that particular job at that particular time. That way, when the good jobs come along as they do from time to time, I wil still be in business and be able to benefit from them.

If I was in different circumstances where all I had to do was ask for whatever the book said in order to get it, or take the option of not working for an unspecified length of time, then I wouldn't need to concern myself with 'what the market will bear' and I could get down to the Mercedes dealers and place a couple of orders.
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Old 03-06-2012, 01:47 AM   #565
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Re: Pricing, Estimating, And Success


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That's impressive, to be able to operate outside the market like that. Your service must be especially unique. Unfortunately for me, I have competitors and I can't ignore what they are doing or I would be put of business soon.





Right, so every time a contractor loses a job because he was 20% higher than the other contractors then he can console himself with the thought that his bid wasn't 'properly presented'.


I'm going to carry on taking a more intergrated approach to pricing, I will take account of the amont of money I need to make AND the amount of money I am likely to be able to get AND how badly I need that particular job at that particular time. That way, when the good jobs come along as they do from time to time, I wil still be in business and be able to benefit from them.

If I was in different circumstances where all I had to do was ask for whatever the book said in order to get it, or take the option of not working for an unspecified length of time, then I wouldn't need to concern myself with 'what the market will bear' and I could get down to the Mercedes dealers and place a couple of orders.
Another way to look at it is like this. If I know the other guy bid 1000.00 to build a deck, and because I have used the L+M+O+P=price formula, I know that my costs to build that deck come to 1000.00 Then it really has nothing to do with the "market price". If I base my price off of what the other guy charges I'll go broke. Maybe the other guy gets a super deal on materials from his brother that owns the lumber yard. Maybe the other guy doesn't carry insurance. Maybe the other guy is happy working for 15/hr. I can't compete against that. The only thing I can do is to look at MY costs and what I need to profit and price based off of that. If the "going rate" is 50.00 per deck then I just don't build decks because I would go out of business.
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Old 03-06-2012, 03:28 AM   #566
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Re: Pricing, Estimating, And Success


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Another way to look at it is like this. If I know the other guy bid 1000.00 to build a deck, and because I have used the L+M+O+P=price formula, I know that my costs to build that deck come to 1000.00 Then it really has nothing to do with the "market price". If I base my price off of what the other guy charges I'll go broke. Maybe the other guy gets a super deal on materials from his brother that owns the lumber yard. Maybe the other guy doesn't carry insurance. Maybe the other guy is happy working for 15/hr. I can't compete against that. The only thing I can do is to look at MY costs and what I need to profit and price based off of that. If the "going rate" is 50.00 per deck then I just don't build decks because I would go out of business.
And in a situation where everybody else is asking 2000 to build that deck, what are you going to do then? Are you still going to bid 1000?


And the point you make about going out of business if you don't charge enough- well of course that is true, but you can also go out of business by charging too much. Ignoring the market is a sure-fire recipe for failure. There's plenty of US car makers that could tell you all about that.



The real point I want to make is that it's all very well knowng your costs and knowing what you need to make in order to stay in business, but that very attitude can also lead to going out of business. If I found that my competition was able to undersell me I wouldn't just shrug my shoulders and walk away, saying "I can't work for that", I would look into it and find out what they were doing right and I was doing wrong. If my costs were higher than the competition's then that's where I would be focussing my efforts, getting my costs down so that I could compete in the market that I work in.
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Old 03-06-2012, 04:24 AM   #567
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Re: Pricing, Estimating, And Success


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And in a situation where everybody else is asking 2000 to build that deck, what are you going to do then? Are you still going to bid 1000?


And the point you make about going out of business if you don't charge enough- well of course that is true, but you can also go out of business by charging too much. Ignoring the market is a sure-fire recipe for failure. There's plenty of US car makers that could tell you all about that.



The real point I want to make is that it's all very well knowng your costs and knowing what you need to make in order to stay in business, but that very attitude can also lead to going out of business. If I found that my competition was able to undersell me I wouldn't just shrug my shoulders and walk away, saying "I can't work for that", I would look into it and find out what they were doing right and I was doing wrong. If my costs were higher than the competition's then that's where I would be focussing my efforts, getting my costs down so that I could compete in the market that I work in.
If I can make the profit I need and sell myself for half of my competition yeah I'd sell the deck at 1000.00 and hire more guys so I could do 10 a week while my competition sits not working.

I really think we are saying the same thing, just in a different way. I agree I should be aware of my competition but my prices are based on what I need not my competitors prices. I also would take a good look at my prices if I was consistantly not selling. Same deck. My competition sells for 1000.00 I sell it for 2,000.00. As long as I'm selling why do I care about the guy gettin a 1000.00? I agree with what you are saying about knowing the market and the competition. I just disagree about setting my prices based on the going rate or what the market will bare. I would rather charge more, work less, and make the same amount of profit.
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Old 03-06-2012, 04:57 AM   #568
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Same deck. My competition sells for 1000.00 I sell it for 2,000.00. As long as I'm selling why do I care about the guy gettin a 1000.00? I agree with what you are saying about knowing the market and the competition. I just disagree about setting my prices based on the going rate or what the market will bare. I would rather charge more, work less, and make the same amount of profit.


As long as you are selling. That's fine. The problem comes when yoiu are not selling. If you can sell something for twice the market rate and still get sales that that's great for you, but most people find that if you ask twice the market rate you don't sell. I think there are more people in that position than there are in your position.
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Old 03-06-2012, 06:53 AM   #569
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Re: Pricing, Estimating, And Success


I have no idea what my competition charges. I bid so many different types of jobs with different scopes that it would be a full time job trying to figure out what the other guys are bidding. I do hear, however, that I'm usually the highest.

What I need to know is my numbers. I have to know what my overhead is and how much I need to bring in to survive. If I can't get those numbers, then there's no sense in me doing the job.

Just remember, if you don't ask for your price, you won't get it.

Also, if times are tough and I'm doing less work, I actually need to raise my rates to make up for the lack of sales.

John, surely there was a time in the past where you were able to sell your jobs for what you wanted. Look back at those clients and look at every aspect of them. What kind of car? House? Married? Kids? Dogs? What type of jobs? Did the wife work? You've got to figure out who your ideal client is and market towards those people. In essence, you create your own market. And when you create your own market, you can charge what you want.
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Old 03-06-2012, 07:04 AM   #570
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Re: Pricing, Estimating, And Success


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I have no idea what my competition charges. I bid so many different types of jobs with different scopes that it would be a full time job trying to figure out what the other guys are bidding. I do hear, however, that I'm usually the highest.

What I need to know is my numbers. I have to know what my overhead is and how much I need to bring in to survive. If I can't get those numbers, then there's no sense in me doing the job.

Just remember, if you don't ask for your price, you won't get it.

Also, if times are tough and I'm doing less work, I actually need to raise my rates to make up for the lack of sales.

John, surely there was a time in the past where you were able to sell your jobs for what you wanted. Look back at those clients and look at every aspect of them. What kind of car? House? Married? Kids? Dogs? What type of jobs? Did the wife work? You've got to figure out who your ideal client is and market towards those people. In essence, you create your own market. And when you create your own market, you can charge what you want.


Same...the way I look at it,you just bid what you think is fair and what is enough for you to stay operating in market/make profit and not worry about other guy...

Somebody may be underchopping ten times doesnt mean I will.
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Old 03-06-2012, 08:03 AM   #571
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Re: Pricing, Estimating, And Success


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Right, so every time a contractor loses a job because he was 20% higher than the other contractors then he can console himself with the thought that his bid wasn't 'properly presented'.
You may be getting stuck on a single idea here. The topic is how to arrive at your right price. And that is what the "book" illustrates. Once you have arrived at the price you figure you need to operate your business properly it is ludicrous to try and operate at lower numbers because "the market demands it".

Along with learning your numbers, many of us do need to learn proper presentation of those numbers. I went from selling on price to selling my price. As it turns out, it's not that much different.

If you need 1,000 to build a deck and I need 2,000, it would only make sense that my presentation needs to be different than yours or I won't get it. Otherwise, price is the only difference to the client.

But if I decide that the market only will bear 1,000 because that's what you sell for I am on the way to broke.

Good Luck
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Old 03-06-2012, 08:21 AM   #572
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Re: Pricing, Estimating, And Success


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The real point I want to make is that it's all very well knowng your costs and knowing what you need to make in order to stay in business, but that very attitude can also lead to going out of business. If I found that my competition was able to undersell me I wouldn't just shrug my shoulders and walk away, saying "I can't work for that", I would look into it and find out what they were doing right and I was doing wrong. If my costs were higher than the competition's then that's where I would be focussing my efforts, getting my costs down so that I could compete in the market that I work in.
John,

There is ALWAYS someone else more expensive AND cheaper than you in ANY market.

If you are going to waste time chasing after competitors pricing, I would encourage you to instead of looking at your "competition" prices and trying to imitate them (i.e. - race to the bottom), find out which of your competition are charging the most and still in business and emulate that... Someone's paying them and they are NOT all rich people...

Point is, you have absolutely NO CONTROL over what others charge so it is folly to try and pretend that you do. A guy working out of his garage making cabinets has a much different cost basis than a guy who owns a 10,000sf shop. Their prices will NEVER be analogous, so it is WASTE of time and effort for the 10,000sf shop owner to try and compete with the guy out of his garage.

That's where charging what you need to charge to stay in business and meet your personal and business goals come into play, as well as, ways to set yourself apart and develop a name for yourself.

What the market will bear is another way of saying everyone is my customer... they aren't, and that is one of the hardest things for alot of small business owners to come to grips with... instead of chasing after what your competitors are doing, use that energy to find customers that match what your business needs... THAT is your customer. Use online tools such as this one to find out ways to reduce costs, instill better process, etc... but don't then LOWER your price, but instead INCREASE the ROI in your business and perhaps in the process develop capital reserves, an emergency fund, a retirement fund or perhaps even PAY YOURSELF MORE...

Woodmode doesn't waste time and effort trying to sell to the apartment or low-end market because they can't make their business run with that market. They recognize that they are NOT their customer, no matter how much they wish they were.
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Old 03-06-2012, 08:29 AM   #573
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Re: Pricing, Estimating, And Success


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You may be getting stuck on a single idea here. The topic is how to arrive at your right price. And that is what the "book" illustrates. Once you have arrived at the price you figure you need to operate your business properly it is ludicrous to try and operate at lower numbers because "the market demands it".
I'm not saying that. I'm saying that unless people are particularly fortunate and are able to operate outside the market (as many people here seem to be), then they should not ignore the market.

It works both ways. If a contractor finds he can do a job profitably at 1000, and everybody else is on 2,000, then he should think about raising his price to at least 1,800. It's not about fair, it's about business. Some jobs are more profitable than others, and when something good comes along that helps to make up for the times when things are not so good.

On the other hand, if he needs 2000 and everybody else is on 1000, then he's going to need some very special sales techniques to keep gong for any length of time. Assuming he doesn't have those techniques he should be looking at his operation and those of his competitors seeing what they are doing different and where he can save money, and failing that he should be looking for a different line of work.

The world of commerce is littered with defunct companies that thought they could ignore the market.
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Old 03-06-2012, 08:44 AM   #574
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It works both ways. If a contractor finds he can do a job profitably at 1000, and everybody else is on 2,000, then he should think about raising his price to at least 1,800. It's not about fair, it's about business. Some jobs are more profitable than others, and when something good comes along that helps to make up for the times when things are not so good.
John,

What you describe is THE formula for getting stuck in robbing Peter to pay Paul cycles...

BTW, I have absolutely NO clue what my competitors charge in my market... I can tell you from a macro-POV, but what individual companies charge... no...

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Old 03-06-2012, 08:53 AM   #575
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John,

What you describe is THE formula for getting stuck in robbing Peter to pay Paul cycles...
That comes across as nonsense, I'm afraid. If you think there is something wrong with what I am saying them I think you need to go into a bit more detail. As it is, I can't see how you arrived at that statement starting from anything that I have posted on the subject.
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Old 03-06-2012, 09:13 AM   #576
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There simply is a difference between knowing your market and basing your pricing on what anyone else is doing.

I do know that I have sold on price in the past. I also know that those prices where what I determined to be the going rate, what people would pay around here or what the market demands. Take your pick because they are all wolves in sheep's clothing. In the end the real sheep bleeds.

I also know that I was able to change by making an adjustment, tweaking the controls if you will, to the connection between my keyboard and chair. This has improved my lot as my pricing became based on what my business truly needed.

I still can't pay cash for Trump Towers or anything like that. But I can expect to remain in business and turn a profit when I work.

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Old 03-06-2012, 09:20 AM   #577
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John,

What you describe is THE formula for getting stuck in robbing Peter to pay Paul cycles...

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That comes across as nonsense, I'm afraid. If you think there is something wrong with what I am saying them I think you need to go into a bit more detail. As it is, I can't see how you arrived at that statement starting from anything that I have posted on the subject.
If you are basing your pricing on what the market will bear and competitor pricing, instead of charging what you need to operate your business to attain your personal and business goals, and focusing on your customer base that will support that, you will ALWAYS be stuck in robbing Peter to pay Paul cycles, as you will always be in the mode of finding the jobs to "make up for the times when things are not so good"... hope that clears it up for you...

If you are operating at a profit, that means your company is getting paid as well as you (i.e. - capital reserves, emergency fund, retirement, etc.). This is not the case for most small business. They equate what they personally pay themselves as Profit... it is not.

As a cabinetmaker (as is also part of our business), what demographic are you targeting?

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Old 03-06-2012, 10:08 AM   #578
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That's impressive, to be able to operate outside the market like that. Your service must be especially unique. Unfortunately for me, I have competitors and I can't ignore what they are doing or I would be put of business soon.





Right, so every time a contractor loses a job because he was 20% higher than the other contractors then he can console himself with the thought that his bid wasn't 'properly presented'.


I'm going to carry on taking a more intergrated approach to pricing, I will take account of the amont of money I need to make AND the amount of money I am likely to be able to get AND how badly I need that particular job at that particular time. That way, when the good jobs come along as they do from time to time, I wil still be in business and be able to benefit from them.

If I was in different circumstances where all I had to do was ask for whatever the book said in order to get it, or take the option of not working for an unspecified length of time, then I wouldn't need to concern myself with 'what the market will bear' and I could get down to the Mercedes dealers and place a couple of orders.
Presentation of the estimate is very important. Reputation and abilities that set you apart, and a bad ass team are more important.

Our company is small, much like David Cs, myself, my dad and mom are partners, my brother is a lead and we have 4 other employees. No high price sales people or absentee contractors here.

We consistently win Jobs we are considerably higher on, and more importantly, even in a heavily competitive market our referrals often have us as the only bidder. We are not alone in our ability to do this I am sure.

Was it all sunshine and roses as that book may make it seem? No. We made peanuts charging our rates, because we didn't get as much work as now. Structural repairs and window and door replacements were our main money makers. We didn't take any profits from the company until last year, and paid our selves low salaries. We paid cash for work vehicles and equipment. I networked 20+ hours a week. This is not to mention the 20 years previous my dad spent becoming a superb builder and craftsman ( still far superior to my own skills) making our last name known for honesty and workmanship.

The #1 most important thing past becoming a master of your professional, building a team, and practicing better practices, is networking. My dad never did, and he never made the money he should have. My last name was already known in the community, I just had to make the first mean something. So it was easier, but not much. Takes a large investment of time. But, when I am refered by a friend or client, they already know before they call I'm not cheap.

I'm no expert, I only know my own experience. I do know we do a lot of jobs where our price is far above "market will bear prices" and we are by no means an "elite " company with trophy offices. If we can do it, anyone can.
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Old 03-06-2012, 11:09 AM   #579
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I bid my projects at the going rate minus 50%. I'm swamped with work!
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Old 03-06-2012, 05:24 PM   #580
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I bid my projects at the going rate minus 50%. I'm swamped with work!

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