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Using Homewyse.com And Charging For Estimates/bids

 
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Old 05-11-2017, 08:04 PM   #1
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Using Homewyse.com And Charging For Estimates/bids


I am trying to speed up my estimate/bid time and will no longer be doing "free" bids. Screw that chit.

What you do guys ( and gals) think of Homewyse.com. ? It seems pretty detailed and allows you to fine tune things for the bigger remodel jobs. They also list a low end and high end and it seems pretty nice overall. It also has a material costs section as well. Thoughts ?

Also, how do you guys (and gals) handle charging for bids. Not only do I want to reduce my bid-time but I want to charge a fee for my time with HO's and for my time punching out numbers. I've also considered waving the bid price should they accept my estimate. My thinking is along the lines of quoting a more generalized bid with some buffers (price-wise) of course and once they agree I would then sit down with them and discuss it in more details.

My train of thought is of such: To give the HO a ballpark figure with some decent parameters on the overall project cost. I am trying to weed out the dreamers. If they then decide that the costs are within their limits I'd then sit down with and hash out the details.

Thoughts ?

Last edited by kirkdc; 05-11-2017 at 08:08 PM.
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Old 05-12-2017, 07:57 AM   #2
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Re: Using Homewyse.com And Charging For Estimates/bids


As far as Homewyse; I do not trust any programs to figure out my costs. All jobs get estimated by me using a spreadsheet I've developed in excel. Any item whether by vendor or subcontractor that is in excess of $500 gets quoted by the vendor/subcontractor and entered into the spreadsheet.

As far as charging for estimates; After the client is prequalified, I offer a free initial consultation. Depending on the scope of the project I then either offer an estimate or an agreement to do the upfront work in preparing an estimate. I may or may not throw out a range of budget numbers during our initial consult, again depending on the scope of the project.

I also offer design services, and that is usually a good way to get paid to estimate while the project is being designed.

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Old 05-12-2017, 08:41 AM   #3
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Re: Using Homewyse.com And Charging For Estimates/bids


I like the idea of "pre-qualification." This pretty much reveals to see if they are tire-kickers or seriously interested. How do you go about it ? I would just ask the HO how they will finance it ( cash, credit card, loan etc). Do you have them fill out a form ?

I've heard there's lots of estimating/bid software programs and custom spread sheets out there. And I am reading as many posts as I can from the forum here to try and simplify the process. I've been doing remodeling most of my life but fairly new to running my own biz.
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Old 05-12-2017, 01:26 PM   #4
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Re: Using Homewyse.com And Charging For Estimates/bids


Quote:
Originally Posted by kirkdc View Post
I like the idea of "pre-qualification." This pretty much reveals to see if they are tire-kickers or seriously interested. How do you go about it ? I would just ask the HO how they will finance it ( cash, credit card, loan etc). Do you have them fill out a form ?

I've heard there's lots of estimating/bid software programs and custom spread sheets out there. And I am reading as many posts as I can from the forum here to try and simplify the process. I've been doing remodeling most of my life but fairly new to running my own biz.
I get them on the phone as quickly as possible to feel them out and I ask them a series of questions, for instance; How did you hear about us? What type of project are you considering? How long have you lived in your home and how long do you plan on staying there? How long have you been considering this project? Have you remodeled before?*Are you trying to stay within an investment amount? What is your ideal start date? Where are you in the process of remodeling? Do you have plans/design?

Since we all have different labor costs, overhead and desired profit amounts, there is no one size fits all estimating program. In my opinion, it is best to create your own spreadsheet and update it with your own costs. If you don't get your estimating right you won't last in this business. There are plenty of books available on estimating out there.
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Old 01-24-2018, 01:55 PM   #5
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Re: Using Homewyse.com And Charging For Estimates/bids


its just another expense when it comes down to it.

My crews figure entire homes in minutes the old fashion way.... square footage by the price you are comfortable with. Then factor in your misc items as needed...
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Old 01-24-2018, 04:29 PM   #6
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Re: Using Homewyse.com And Charging For Estimates/bids


Hah, funny thread. I've grown quite a bit in a year. Thanks to the knowedge from forum members.
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Old 01-25-2018, 09:59 PM   #7
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Re: Using Homewyse.com And Charging For Estimates/bids


I use spread sheets for keeping track of my costs and update them as prices fluctuate. I utilize buildertrend for almost everything in my business. It was a game changer for me.

I had the mentality to charge for estimates before as well but came to the conclusion it may be a turn off for the ideal customers I was trying to obtain. I figured out the type of remodeling I specialized in then built a customer profile and adjusted it as I learned more and more about people. That profile has helped me prescreen customers and build trust by not asking for money right away.
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Old 01-27-2018, 09:58 AM   #8
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Re: Using Homewyse.com And Charging For Estimates/bids


Quote:
Originally Posted by NJ Contractor View Post
As far as Homewyse; I do not trust any programs to figure out my costs. All jobs get estimated by me using a spreadsheet I've developed in excel. Any item whether by vendor or subcontractor that is in excess of $500 gets quoted by the vendor/subcontractor and entered into the spreadsheet.

.
I want to charge for estimates. Been dying too. But it just isn't going to happen, because no one else does, so the potential to loose a good client by asking for money up front isn't worth it.

Like NJ contractor, I developed a spread sheet and do alot of cut and pasting fill in the blanks. A standard bath remodel takes me less than an hour to crank out.

Screening people, I rarely do that. Don't know why, most people who contact me have money.

Ball parking numbers, I hate doing that, I'm always off big time so I try not too. Working with an architect on a project they asked me to ballpark some numbers. Well like a dumb idiot I did, I blew the their numbers out of the park. Then I sat down to do the actual estimate and I was twice what I told them.
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Old 01-27-2018, 10:49 AM   #9
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Re: Using Homewyse.com And Charging For Estimates/bids


I now do free bids and don't spend much time on them, an hour at the home, tops. I get a basic idea what the HO wants and toss a ballpark number at them to see how their react. Thats my pre-screen. I''ll say something like, "Well, Mister Smith, an average mid-grade bathroom remodel is going to run you $8-12k." And we can dial those numbes in or out to fit you budget plans...Oh and BTW do you have a fixed number on what you want to spend?" Then I tell them if they are truly interested I collect a down payment and then we sit down and have a in-depth pow-wow on the specfics of the remodel. And after that we can add or modify the contract as needed. Before I leave I let them know I most likely won't be their cheapest bid and encourage them to get other bids as well.I let them know I'm insured and have a lage portfolio of my work and have many references. I keep it professional and let them know I'm busy as all heck (even if I'm not) I get their email address, let them know I'll be sending them a estimate in 2-3 days and then give them my business card and boogie out. Done.

I go home and punch roundabout numbers. It's pretty basic, I tweek my contract template a bit and send it to them via email. When they put money on the table then I get specific. So far it's worked well for me and I'm stacked up with work with 3 bathroom remods and one kitchen remodel scheduled.

Again, the CT Forum had really helped me out in this aspect. I've got the experience but was never good at the estimate/pricing stuff. Lots of members gave advice and I used things that I felt would help me along. So far so good.

Last edited by kirkdc; 01-27-2018 at 10:53 AM.
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Old 01-27-2018, 11:19 AM   #10
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Re: Using Homewyse.com And Charging For Estimates/bids


As far as homewyse goes? I tend to think it's good fo some things, others not so good. Overall, it appears to be on the low side of my pricing. But some hit it.
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Old 01-29-2018, 07:39 PM   #11
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Re: Using Homewyse.com And Charging For Estimates/bids


Quote:
Originally Posted by kirkdc View Post
I now do free bids and don't spend much time on them, an hour at the home, tops. I get a basic idea what the HO wants and toss a ballpark number at them to see how their react. Thats my pre-screen. I''ll say something like, "Well, Mister Smith, an average mid-grade bathroom remodel is going to run you $8-12k." And we can dial those numbes in or out to fit you budget plans...Oh and BTW do you have a fixed number on what you want to spend?" Then I tell them if they are truly interested I collect a down payment and then we sit down and have a in-depth pow-wow on the specfics of the remodel. And after that we can add or modify the contract as needed. Before I leave I let them know I most likely won't be their cheapest bid and encourage them to get other bids as well.I let them know I'm insured and have a lage portfolio of my work and have many references. I keep it professional and let them know I'm busy as all heck (even if I'm not) I get their email address, let them know I'll be sending them a estimate in 2-3 days and then give them my business card and boogie out. Done.

I go home and punch roundabout numbers. It's pretty basic, I tweek my contract template a bit and send it to them via email. When they put money on the table then I get specific. So far it's worked well for me and I'm stacked up with work with 3 bathroom remods and one kitchen remodel scheduled.

Again, the CT Forum had really helped me out in this aspect. I've got the experience but was never good at the estimate/pricing stuff. Lots of members gave advice and I used things that I felt would help me along. So far so good.


What you are doing is an estimate. Not a bid.


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Old 01-29-2018, 07:47 PM   #12
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Re: Using Homewyse.com And Charging For Estimates/bids


I started charging for bids, about 2 years ago. Iíve never had a customer even blink. As far as I know, Iím the only one around, that charges.
I do estimates for free. My estimates are pretty basic. I find that most customers go with my estimate and never ask for a bid.
An example. We will start a kitchen in about 5 weeks. I met with them, they gave me a basic idea of what they wanted. My estimate is $20,000 to 25,000.
They thought it over, contacted me and said they were good with it.
We picked out cabinets, countertops, flooring, electrical, and wall finishes.
At the end they asked if we were still under $25,000. I said yes and they were happy.
I also let them know, if they change the scope of work, they will know exactly what it will cost or save, before we do any of the work.

As far as Honeywise, I have no idea.


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Old 01-29-2018, 08:04 PM   #13
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Re: Using Homewyse.com And Charging For Estimates/bids


Quote:
Originally Posted by NJ Contractor View Post
As far as Homewyse; I do not trust any programs to figure out my costs. All jobs get estimated by me using a spreadsheet I've developed in excel. Any item whether by vendor or subcontractor that is in excess of $500 gets quoted by the vendor/subcontractor and entered into the spreadsheet.

As far as charging for estimates; After the client is prequalified, I offer a free initial consultation. Depending on the scope of the project I then either offer an estimate or an agreement to do the upfront work in preparing an estimate. I may or may not throw out a range of budget numbers during our initial consult, again depending on the scope of the project.

I also offer design services, and that is usually a good way to get paid to estimate while the project is being designed.
Offering design services is very interesting indeed. How many of us have ended up doing it anyway? Worth pondering, and it comes off as a "plus" from the client perspective.

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