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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys,

I'm new to the board, and really happy that I found this website, looks lot's of useful info and knowledgeable people around.

Our business is focused on trim carpentry, mostly crown moulding, baseboards, etc.

Here is my problem, and I'm sure a lot of contractors run into the same issue.

After investing more money into seo and other online marketing, I started getting a lot of customers that say: hey we just found your company and want to get someone form your company to give us quote on trim work in our home. After I try to find out more about the customer and the job, they often say that we will be the first company out to bid and provide a consultation, and that they have no idea how this works and how much it costs.
I understand that this is due from my website ranking higher then competition, but it seems like a lot of times I'm just going to give them a lengthy educational session on what trim they should use and come up with a design and price for them. What upsetting is that a lot of times you end up spending 2 - 3 hours commuting and spending time with the customer and just to get a closing response of: hey we really like you and your service and the service that you will provide us, but will call in a few other contractors and then let you know. Most of the time it means not getting a job because:

1. by the time they interview contractor #3 they already forgot how nice of a presentation you did for them and how much they like you.
2. contractor #3 possibly came back with the lowest quote.
3. they just want to get it over with and sign with contractor #3 without spending time to review and consider others.

Now I've been that contractor #3 many times, and it's the easiest bid that you do since the customer is well educated, knows exactly what they want, you know how to bid to get it, and they usually anxious to start right away.

How do you guys deal with this issue? Let me know if any of my following ideas make any sense.

1. Schedule an estimate 2 - 3 weeks away and let others educate them, but sometimes risking customer calling you back and saying, please don't come we already got someone.
2. Charge for consultations on jobs that seem large in size or far away? Risking scaring some people away.
3. Ask if they would like to get somebody else in first. (last thing that I would probably do)
4. Leave them with an information package of some sort, like a z-fold, that has some info on the company and quote on the last page? Maybe mail it out to them a week later with a follow up call?


Anyways sorry for the lengthy post, that's the only way I could put this together.

Looking forward to your input.

Thanks
Senya
 

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Welcome.

It's great to be first. I'd prefer it that way. Responsiveness is key to maintaining turning those leads into sits or bids. Bids is a bad word for someone in your trade IMO. Think of it like this, bid to most homeowners (your customers) means price. Rarely are they requesting specific plans or drawings as a contractor may request as a bid working as a sub.

There are ways however to secure the last person they talk to, or at least 2 or three in. Do your meet and greet, walk the job whatever you think is the norm for your proposal. If they are not signing then set a second date preferably after they have met another contractor or contractors.

This does a couple things for you.

1- You are not the number they are negotiation with the following contractors.

2- Judging by their will to setting a second date reflects on your presentation and if they may or may not buy.

3- Finally, should they buy from #2 or #3 ect you never had to put your price out there.

In my experience second meetings are reserved for signing contracts and accepting checks.
 

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I'm with the sign on the first date team of forget it. My time is limited to buying customers. If I am well liked enough and within their mindset if budget they will sign.

You mentioned SEO is your lead generator. With that said, its logical to speculate they have done enough online investigating to have some clue to what it's going to cost.
 

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I always bring up " when do you need it done" and what my schedule looks like. Things like that get them deciding right away , gets them thinking . Sound busy but make it a point to keep scheduling in mind
 

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Work on your qualifying and sales.

Qualify the hell out of the customer before you agree to an appointment, set expectations that you will be ready to sign them up and and schedule their project and et them know what is required to do so such as sig and deposit then go out their and close the sale with your ever increasing sales skills.

It is vital to know if a customer is ready to commit if the numbers work for them.

Prospects that are shopping exclusively on price should be eliminated from your pool of projects to pursue. Focus on those that out more value on quality, service, professional integrity than price price price.

Having an abundance of leads give you the luxury of dispensing with those that are not the absolute best for your business goals.
 

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I agree with you 100%....when im bid #1 I never get the job when its a stranger on a larger job....when im bid #3 my chances are very high

It is common for me to be bid #1 due to my advertising ...so I get screwed too much on this issue

one of my contractors I work for refuses to be #1...he says to the homeowner to call him after all the bids are in...and he will sit down with them and bring his bid...this way he sees all the bids and he's last....this technique turns off many homeowners, but works well on the ones that say OK

I try to be word of mouth.....95% of my jobs are mine before I pickup the phone.... that's the best way to handle it

I find that most new customers are unrealistic about prices...their budget is 1/2 of what it needs to be....bid #1 is all out, bid #3 is down to earth with different parameters after the homeowner realizes they cant afford the project they want...I don't think bid #1 and bid #3 are ever apples to apples

ive never had follow up work at all...I think it annoys people....I never call back anymore and never had 1 situation where it worked

I often give people a rough # over the phone for a type of project...many times I hear silence...that's never a good sign....I ask if that price is in their budget

if its a rehab I don't bid unless they pay me....I never win rehabs

I believe the customer comes into a project with a budget...they never change that budget...if your 50% more (which is very common) they keep searching until they find someone who is 50% less.....eventually they go to craigs list or find someone on a bar stool who lives under a bridge......

I used to win 1 out of 10 jobs....now I win 80-90%.....its all about making yourself look expensive to turn off the price shoppers and getting referrals/doing an awesome job every day that changed that %
 

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I tell people how the other bids will be coming in. For antique repointing lets say, I tell people you will probably get all your bids stating just repointing without specifying the appropriate mortar to match your building. Then I go on about what the problems with this is.

There are dozens of different ways I do this, it sometimes works, sometimes they just hire someone else. We like to say it is due to price but it may not be. Someone else may have had blue eyes, wore a brown shirt...who knows. I try to plant that seed to let them have a warning sign when they get some info that I warned them about. Like putting a bond break between an exterior wall on a chimney. People dont even think like that, but it puts a warning bell in people's head. Its important, they should know.

I saw a trim job on a million dollar reno project that had rust coming out of all the nail holes. It was apparent they were gun nails. I said to the guy, looks like they used a nail that would rust, like a finish gun. Of coarse he wasnt in the trades, a DIY home remodeler.....welcome to the lowest bid bucko.

then when I was on the chimney there was roof tar dabbing where the roofer had their roof brackets. I assume it was the roofer anyhow, it was a hip roof with nothing else up there.

Plant land minds in their heads and when they hear something it will hopefully trigger an explosion.

I like to run this stuff by them when im just shooting the crap with the people. Like I am here and if I dont get the job let me at least help you out. Give the info away (but limit it in the bid), act like you dont even depend on this job , you have another 20 to look at this week.

The more you need it the less you will get it.

I wouldnt tell people to call me after they get a few bids. That is weird to me. Most projects under 5k I can land without much dicking around. Stuff over 5k usually people think about it, no big deal. You might be up against a referral which is a tough battle, you never know.

My parents had their roof redone in S.C. and hired the first company who was 1k higher then the others. The guy told them he will do it in a day, will not leave a nail on the ground with they are done and charge more to make people happy. Or something like that. basically said he runs a good crew and he knows it, pay me. He had 30 reviews on Angies list as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the input guys.

Right now my closing rate is 70% average for past 2 years, and it always stays the same.
What I notice a lot is that new customers (not referrals) end up really praising my work and say how nice and reliable and truth worthy you look, but in the end it all comes down to price, and I don't really feel like matching prices from guys that are scavenging on craigslist and Kijiji.
I think I do need to increase my leads and filter out all price shoppers instead of trying to close all leads that I have. This is tough during slow times, when I even have some of my competitors call my office and ask for work.

Here is another idea that I had, if I find out that they are having a few contractors showing up the same week, I wouldn't send them my quote until let's say few days after appointment, and just blame it on being swarmed with other quotes or being out of town on business trip for couple of days. Then I can actually call them and discuss in more detail or even meet with them a 2nd time to finalize all the details as Roofcheck suggested.

Here is a question that I have: How do you find flyers work for you? I was thinking to do targeted campaign trough Canada Post and send flyers or brochures only to higher end homes or new subdivisions. I know that this works great if timed properly. Here is where it gets hard with my business, I can only guess when people would need this work as it's not really season dependent, besides we are more busy in spring and fall than any other time.
 

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We use a fancy price match guarantee. If they sign with us and find a lower price we will match it. No one has been able to. Products and job scope must be apples to apples. They must be licensed and insured A rated with bbb and have a physical business location and phone number

Ive also as a last resort used a cancellation/ recision close. By law they have 3 days to cancel. I have written in 7 days to cancel that would be plenty of time for johhny truck and ladder to get back to you with his price written on a napkin right? I dont use it often but of the maybe 30 times ive done it i can only think of two that canceled. Far better than the odds of getting called back had they not signed
 

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The longer you sell the better you will understand who will buy YOU and who you will work for. I personally hate high pressure in your face salesman. If I wanted to sell cars Id go do that. I just answer the phone, return calls and show up on time. Eventually integrity will win with reviews relationships and reputation.

Im more blue collar than white. Because of this I close about twice the leads on the east side of town than the west side. I generally find middle class people far less demanding with fewer tricks up their sleeve and that suits me just fine. I sell a commodity and the price is the same on either side of town. So for me it comes down to just being myself and working for people I like.
 

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I agree with the above poster, you need to raise your price & lower your closing %. I like to stay around 30-40% closing ratio. If it goes up time to raise the price, if it goes down time to think about lowering price. Work less, get paid more.
 

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I agree with the above poster, you need to raise your price & lower your closing %. I like to stay around 30-40% closing ratio. If it goes up time to raise the price, if it goes down time to think about lowering price. Work less, get paid more.
How about if I want to work more and get paid more?
 

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with a 70% closing rate I don't think you will ever do much better.....I actually think you may want to raise your prices some and lower that %...seems too high..you may be leaving $$ on the table

congrats on the 70%
Not necessarily, if that's from web traffic or print adds it's a crazy high closing rate, if that's referrals only I'd say it's kinda low.
 

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Work on your qualifying and sales.

Qualify the hell out of the customer before you agree to an appointment, set expectations that you will be ready to sign them up and and schedule their project and et them know what is required to do so such as sig and deposit then go out their and close the sale with your ever increasing sales skills.

It is vital to know if a customer is ready to commit if the numbers work for them.

Prospects that are shopping exclusively on price should be eliminated from your pool of projects to pursue. Focus on those that out more value on quality, service, professional integrity than price price price.

Having an abundance of leads give you the luxury of dispensing with those that are not the absolute best for your business goals.

The PERFECT advice. You get TWO :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
 

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I tell people how the other bids will be coming in. For antique repointing lets say, I tell people you will probably get all your bids stating just repointing without specifying the appropriate mortar to match your building. Then I go on about what the problems with this is.

There are dozens of different ways I do this, it sometimes works, sometimes they just hire someone else. We like to say it is due to price but it may not be. Someone else may have had blue eyes, wore a brown shirt...who knows. I try to plant that seed to let them have a warning sign when they get some info that I warned them about. Like putting a bond break between an exterior wall on a chimney. People dont even think like that, but it puts a warning bell in people's head. Its important, they should know.

I saw a trim job on a million dollar reno project that had rust coming out of all the nail holes. It was apparent they were gun nails. I said to the guy, looks like they used a nail that would rust, like a finish gun. Of coarse he wasnt in the trades, a DIY home remodeler.....welcome to the lowest bid bucko.

then when I was on the chimney there was roof tar dabbing where the roofer had their roof brackets. I assume it was the roofer anyhow, it was a hip roof with nothing else up there.

Plant land minds in their heads and when they hear something it will hopefully trigger an explosion.

I like to run this stuff by them when im just shooting the crap with the people. Like I am here and if I dont get the job let me at least help you out. Give the info away (but limit it in the bid), act like you dont even depend on this job , you have another 20 to look at this week.

The more you need it the less you will get it.

I wouldnt tell people to call me after they get a few bids. That is weird to me. Most projects under 5k I can land without much dicking around. Stuff over 5k usually people think about it, no big deal. You might be up against a referral which is a tough battle, you never know.

My parents had their roof redone in S.C. and hired the first company who was 1k higher then the others. The guy told them he will do it in a day, will not leave a nail on the ground with they are done and charge more to make people happy. Or something like that. basically said he runs a good crew and he knows it, pay me. He had 30 reviews on Angies list as well.
This is great advise! When I was just a stupid kid starting out doing landscaping work a client asked for an estimate for a RR tie wall. When I arrived one of the questions the homeowner asked was "how do you cut the RR ties"? Being green and naïve I thought he was just making conversation, so I answered "with a chain saw". Months later when I realized the most accurate way to cut a tie would obviously be with a chop saw I also realized that someone smart had planted a mine for me.
Obviously I didn't get the job but learned a lesson.
I'd also like to add (I can hear the laughter) this was a long time ago before miter saws were so common and cheap.
 

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Gaster:
When they call back with the$200 lower, I know:
1. I have the job.
2. They are going to be a major pain because
3. They are going to nick pick everything to death and
4. Want freebies for everything from a speck of dust to bad weather.
At this point, I have to determine if I need their job enough to put up with this crap, and what rates to charge them for the upcoming extras.
 
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