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Okay. I gotta' ask, as it's never really been addressed in the discussions I've searched through...

How does one find out what the competitors' prices are?

I'd really like my husband to have a better notion of where his estimates stand (for painting mostly).

OH PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE RESPOND!

-Christine
 

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A. Do it the sneaky way, and call some guys to get estimates at your own pad.

B. Forget about what they are charging. Know your numbers, and charge what you need to cover costs, make a profit, and stay in business.

Your husband shouldn't be shy at estimates. If the customer tells you they are getting other bids, ask to see them. If they ask why, say you just want to make sure that the bids can be compared apples to apples. Are you getting everything I offer for this price, from others as well?

Also, always do follow-up calls to bids submitted. Don't quit calling until the job is awarded. If its not to you, then ask them why. Was our price too high/low? Didn't fit your schedule? Etc etc. This way you can track your sales performance. If you keep losing them because your price is too high, then something needs to be adjusted; higher production or lower pay, etc.
I used to be uncomfortable about doing this, pride or something didnt want me to hear what went wrong. But I decided what the heck, I lost the job anyways, who cares if I piss them or or inconvenience them. If you are nice, polite, and sincere, most people will gladly tell you why you didnt get the job.

If you keep winning all your bids, you are too low. When Im busy, I keep upping my rate until I can visibly watch a customer flinch, then back it down enough to get jobs, but retain high profit margin.

BTW, after you get B. down pat, A. is a great way too see your competition. Price is not important here. You need to know if they are looking/acting/appearing more professional than you, are they using a good sales presentation, are they trying to close the customer. As compared to a SWB scrawling a price on a napkin, and walking out. If you see another contrator doing something, whether in pricing, estimating, marketing, or technique, you should ask yourself should I do that too, and how/why could I benefit from it. Why are they doing it.

I ramble..........
 

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Wether we win a bid or not I always ask the customer what the other bids were if they got any. They are not always truthful. I have also considered finding out the names of the people I bid against and calling them and asking what they bid compared to me.

Other painters have also asked me to come out and bid there projects, of course I didn't realize they were painters until after I did the bid...
 

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And while I'm in the frame of mind to play dirty pool, if I ask to see other bids and they are lower, or they just tell me they are lower, I will shake my head, and exclaim soemthing to the effect of "geez, I'd be scared to bid that low, I wouldnt be able to pay my liability policy like that. Better make sure he has good insurance."

That'll get them thinking. :cool:
Guaranteed they will ask to see his insurance if he does a follow-up.
 

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Let's keep our ethics here and not waste our peers time and hopefully they will do the same for us.

In the middle of your next job simply ask the customer if they got any other quotes for this job, if they did just ask them if you can see them. Tell them you always like to see what your competitors are doing. You may not get to see your competitors prices with your next customer or the next, but sooner or later you will.

That's honest and ethical and it gets you what you want to see. I've done this many times, it works.
 

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Christine said:
Okay. I gotta' ask, as it's never really been addressed in the discussions I've searched through...

How does one find out what the competitors' prices are?

I'd really like my husband to have a better notion of where his estimates stand (for painting mostly).

OH PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE RESPOND!

-Christine

Some of my competitors post their suggested rates or specials on the internet. For example, 3 bedroom for $375 assuming 1 gallon of paint. That's a pretty small room. But they go on to itemize things like: doors $25; ceilings $39, baseboard $25, windows $25 etc, etc. What I am trying to say is you can get a lot of your information from the internet and compare to your price. This way you don't really waste anyone's time. Cheers!

Zeebo Painting
 

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Christine said:
Okay. I gotta' ask, as it's never really been addressed in the discussions I've searched through...

How does one find out what the competitors' prices are?

I'd really like my husband to have a better notion of where his estimates stand (for painting mostly).

OH PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE RESPOND!

-Christine
I just went through the process of wondering if my price is too high. Guy has a cape cod house, 2 story. On one side remove the soffit and fascia, install new with 1X, install vents in soffit, paint. I asked $650.
He found a guy to do it for $275. I don't see how that guy can make a living. If anyone thinks I was too high tell me and tell me what is reasonable.
 

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bellerose said:
I just went through the process of wondering if my price is too high. Guy has a cape cod house, 2 story. On one side remove the soffit and fascia, install new with 1X, install vents in soffit, paint. I asked $650.
He found a guy to do it for $275. I don't see how that guy can make a living. If anyone thinks I was too high tell me and tell me what is reasonable.
Doesn't sound high to me. How many L.F.?.. You're going to have to prime the bare wood..what type of soffit& fascia are you installing?..gotta caulk it..how high off the ground?..what surprises to do expect to find under the old stuff? Why does it need to be replaced? The $275. guy may be mildly retarded..but not so's you'd notice right off.
 

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Dale said:
Doesn't sound high to me. How many L.F.?.. You're going to have to prime the bare wood..what type of soffit& fascia are you installing?..gotta caulk it..how high off the ground?..what surprises to do expect to find under the old stuff? Why does it need to be replaced? The $275. guy may be mildly retarded..but not so's you'd notice right off.
I would say 60 LF. Peak is 20 feet off ground. Soffit and fascia made of 1 by pine.
Squirrels chewed the hell out of it. I would put in some round vents. Underneath should be Ok.
 

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I like Mike's advice.

Plus you want your prices to fit YOUR quality.
not to compete with a hack. Or someone with lower overhead.
 

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Zeebo said:
Some of my competitors post their suggested rates or specials on the internet. For example, 3 bedroom for $375 assuming 1 gallon of paint. That's a pretty small room. But they go on to itemize things like: doors $25; ceilings $39, baseboard $25, windows $25 etc, etc. What I am trying to say is you can get a lot of your information from the internet and compare to your price. This way you don't really waste anyone's time. Cheers!

Zeebo Painting
I know that competitor.
He came to work for us once, he lasted three scary hours!
He also said he doesn't have a company and he only takes cash!
That better not be your competition or you are in the wrong game.
 

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George Z said:
That better not be your competition or you are in the wrong game.
That's a very good point. Don't try to compete with these guys, the market will run them out eventually. As has been said before charge for your quality and stand by it. The low ballers will come and go...


EDIT: I just realized Florcraft already said this... sorry
 

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I guess i should make clear that what I wrote above, I don't do. It is sneaky, underhanded, and a waste of ones time. I was writing it pretty much tongue-in-cheek, and was aiming to show that my method B. was the preferred way.

I did work for a guy way back who set me up in his house, and scheduled 6 appointments with other paint contractors to get their prices/presentations. Only 2 showed up. 1 other called to reschedule, and then never showed up.
 

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Christine said:
Okay. I gotta' ask, as it's never really been addressed in the discussions I've searched through...

How does one find out what the competitors' prices are?

I'd really like my husband to have a better notion of where his estimates stand (for painting mostly).

OH PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE RESPOND!

-Christine
I used to wonder this years ago,and I went thru the yellow pages and called Plumbers(in my case). I could'nt believe the fluctuation in service (hourly) rates. It ended up being a waste of time, knowing what the guy down the street charges does'nt help my company or pay my bills. Everybody's cost of business is different. You're competition might be struggling week by week,doesn't have health ins,liability, etc.etc. Don't worry about what they are doing because it might not be the right thing!!


You should buy a program or book on number crunching and find out what it cost you to be in business and that will help you determine your'e rates.

A good book to start with is "where did the money go" by Ellen Rohr.
 
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