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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just wondering do you ask the reason why you lost a bid and if so how do you word it?

I have been told a few times that they are going with different contractor. Pretty sure , no positive, its price. Is it acceptable to ask the other bid numbers just so you can see if your completely out of the ballpark or just got undercut by a bit. My numbers are what I need and what i'm worth. Just like clients price shop ,why can't we competition price shop to see how we stack up.
 

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Yes, by all means ask.

Simply ask them why they went with the other guy.

Take the conversation from there.

DO NOT BE ARGUMENTATIVE.....

Not likely you will get a $$ amount.
 

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Just wondering do you ask the reason why you lost a bid and if so how do you word it?

I have been told a few times that they are going with different contractor. Pretty sure , no positive, its price. Is it acceptable to ask the other bid numbers just so you can see if your completely out of the ballpark or just got undercut by a bit. My numbers are what I need and what i'm worth. Just like clients price shop ,why can't we competition price shop to see how we stack up.
If you know what your numbers need to be, then their other numbers are pointless.
 

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Agree, but it is nice to why you lost the bid.

It's not always the price.
Maybe it is different for other trades, or in commercial, but I don't think I have ever lost a bid for any reason other than price or schedule. If it is a scheduling issue, generally I find that out when the tell me I didn't get the job.
 

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For newer guys or a guys who just can't win one it can be valuable info.

Established guys with a good reputation, we know why we didn't get it.

Except the Commercial world....
 

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GC/carpenter
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I know what my numbers need to be, but my price has a high and low. The highest I will bid it for and the lowest price I will do it for. It would be nice to know if my competitor was within that price range or not. It may make me rethink my high price and bring it in a little. Sometimes I wonder if I'm just missing it by a little. I have room to reel it in some, but don't want to leave anything on the table. Pricing for decks is a skill. It takes a long time to sell your product at a premium. My customers tell me the other prices, once we are well into their project. They often tell me the other guys price was so low it scared them away. However I've never called a prospective customer and asked him the numbers. That would seem too awkward to me.
 

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Just wondering do you ask the reason why you lost a bid and if so how do you word it?

I have been told a few times that they are going with different contractor. Pretty sure , no positive, its price. Is it acceptable to ask the other bid numbers just so you can see if your completely out of the ballpark or just got undercut by a bit. My numbers are what I need and what i'm worth. Just like clients price shop ,why can't we competition price shop to see how we stack up.
You probably need to know where you are in the business, as in your rate compared to other contractors....now how you find that out will determine if you are out of line.....

The issue may be with your own line "what I need and what I'm worth"....so what you are worth may not be the market...or maybe you are worth it, but the customer doesn't agree yet, and until they do, you won't be working.

If you are relatively new in business, but good at what you do, you might need to come down significantly until you have clients who will tell others you are worth it. It takes time as well as experience to build a good reputation and be able to earn what a great reputation commands...not just what you think you are worth.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
"
If you are relatively new in business, but good at what you do, you might need to come down significantly until you have clients who will tell others you are worth it. It takes time as well as experience to build a good reputation and be able to earn what a great reputation commands...not just what you think you are worth."


I agree with this, I have been thinking the same thing that I need to come down untill I get a feel of what i can charge and still be profitable. I don't want to be so low as any little setback puts me in the red on a job. Yes being fairly new to my own business , the learning curve on the business side is steeper.
 

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Maker of Fine Sawdust
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Just ask them. Ask them numbers and if they won't give specifics ask ballpark or just higher lower. Just tell them you are trying to learn what it takes to make the sale. And ask them why they picked the other guy.

A lot of times you just never hear back from them.
 

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I'll make a point of asking the price of the contractor they went with if it's a new line for me - either a new type of customer or a new type of work. I usually don't win my first prospect in a new line - not knowing the risks I try to bid high. If I don't get the job I now have a basis to ask. If I get the job I start trying to figure out what I missed.
 

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On the other hand, I don't mince words when a customer balks on my on price....I tell some that I am not the cheapest guy, but we are experienced, insured, comp certs, and I own the equipment on the job site. Some rental yard won't be filing liens if they don't get paid. I usually end a conversation with a client by saying I would like their business, but for them to do their homework, check out any contractor by looking at the online court filings (available here in Oklahoma for free)...and see if they pay their bills, have been sued, or have judgements. I offer more then a higher price, I offer a file with all receipts marked "paid" and lien releases as well as all Insurance certificates.

Yeah, I know...I do bigger projects. But I would never hesitate to point out where I am different that some hack without insurance, no credit at the lumber yard, and illegals as employees.
 

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The Finisher
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I ask all my customers that I can get in contact with why they choose to go with another company.

What I've found out is there are 3 main reasons:

1. Price - My price did not meet their expectations. Most of the time I was too high, but I've also been told my price was too low (especially when I started out)

2. Timing - I couldn't start and complete the project within their designated time frame.

3. Product - They liked a product/material my competitor was offering more than mine.

IMO, it is extremely important to ask a customer this questions. You have every right to know why, you weren't awarded the job after spending time bidding their project, and in most cases for free.

Knowing this information can help you make smart business decisions.

How many of you, have called up your competitors and acted like a customer just to get their pricing? I know many around here that practice this.

I've never needed to do this, I know their pricing, and products because of this very practice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I'm definitely going to ask because the job I lost was a couple of kitchen tile installs and they have also asked me to bid on a bath reno. I don't want to jeopardize any chance I might have with that job.
 

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The Ultimate Wire Hider
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The way I see it is that if I couldn't close the deal, there wasn't anything extra that I could have said or done to change that. BUT if I found that I was losing deals left and right, I guess it would be appropriate to ask.

I think that nobody would have a problem with telling you why you lost the bid as long as you didn't sound like you were trying to make them change their mind or get into a heated argument over it. Sometimes when I sub work out, I wish that the losing bidders would ask me why they lost because at least that would keep them in the forefront of my mind for future projects and possibly help them succeed in the future.

I had one guy who did good work but I decided not to do business with him simply because he talked too much. He was the type of person who likes to over-talk you and start answering your questions before he even knows what you are really asking. I eventually got my questions answered but the fact that I had to fight to get a word in edgewise was indicative of how much of a headache this guy would be to deal with.

I had another guy who was constantly distracted by his phone. Every 30 to 45 seconds I heard a "Ding-dingaling-dong!" followed by his head being buried in the phone...... ....... ........ ...... ...... ....... "....um... hold on for a second......ok.. yeah.. Im listening..........."

This guy didn't exactly ask my why he didn't get the bid but he called me to find out if I made a decision. That's when I told him about his phone habits.

So I think that there is no harm in asking. If there is something that they want you to know, they'll tell you regardless of how you word it or approach the issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
So here is what i have so far in my response to the client, good /bad/needs work? let me know. As a small 1 man business trying to do right by myself and clients, any input is greatly appreciated.

I would like to thank you for the opportunity to submit a bid on the kitchen tile. To assist me in my business going forward would you mind letting me know the reason you went with another contractor? If it was a price issue, was i higher and if so was it a significant amount? If you do not want to disclose this I understand.

I am still working on a proposal for your bathroom project, and i will be sending that by this evening.

Again thank you for the opportunity and it was a pleasure talking with you on Saturday.
 

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kbelz67 said:
So here is what i have so far in my response to the client, good /bad/needs work? let me know. As a small 1 man business trying to do right by myself and clients, any input is greatly appreciated.

I would like to thank you for the opportunity to submit a bid on the kitchen tile. To assist me in my business going forward would you mind letting me know the reason you went with another contractor? If it was a price issue, was i higher and if so was it a significant amount? If you do not want to disclose this I understand.

I am still working on a proposal for your bathroom project, and i will be sending that by this evening.

Again thank you for the opportunity and it was a pleasure talking with you on Saturday.
That is a great follow up that I may unfortunately have to use tomorrow for a bathroom bid I am waiting on.

My potential customer has received 4 bids and told me I was the highest ( I asked her if she was close to a decision since my estimate was submitted one month ago).
I even asked about the other bids scope of work and materials. Cheapest was a hot mop shower, second was PVC liner and mine is Schluter. Told her to compare apples to apples. Since her boyfriend is paying half his advice is to always go with the cheapest bid.

I will not always ask why I did not get the job, sometimes I already know the answer. But feel it is valuable when analyzing your operation.
 

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If they have already decided that the competitor is a better choice, why are they trying to steal more of your time, and why are you letting them?

You may want to be more insistant regarding a justification from them, let them know that you will quote them the second project subject to their agreement to disclose the justification for their first decision, and a chance to compare proposal for the second project prior to thir decision.
 

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Drywall Slave
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In The drywall world ''after the fact'' Can be a real stinger!

God! I love It when It happens!:laughing:
 
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