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Deck Designer/Builder
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2,430 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, let me preface the following email exchange by explaining that I got an email last week asking for an estimate for a deck. This one is outside the area I usually cover and the size of the job wasn't worth a site visit until I knew the person was serious - his location is about a 45 min. drive without rush hour traffic from me. So, I replied with a quick price just for sh!ts and giggles. The responses I got were quite entertaining so I thought I'd share them with my brethren here at CT.

I hope you get as good a laugh out of it as I did :laughing:

P.S. I've changed the names and removed email addresses for obvious reasons.

P.P.S. I've decided to take the high road and NOT respond to his idiotic remarks about my pricing - he obviously can't afford a reputable contractor in the first place :rolleyes:

----- Original Message -----
From: XXXXX
To: DECKS Etc.
Sent: Thursday, June 25, 2009 1:20 PM
Subject: deck quote


hi there,

I am interested in a deck that is 10' x 20' off the back of the house. i would like to use pressure treated wood.
what I am looking at in terms of price. could I get a proper estimate? I live in vaughan.

thanks
XXXXX


-----Original Message-----
From: DECKS Etc.
Sent: 6/30/2009 11:18:38 PM
To: LOWBALL LOUIE
Subject: Re: deck quote

Lowball Louie,

You are looking in the neighbourhood of $4,000 for the deck and skirting. If you want/need any railings then the added cost for that would depend on the amount and style of railing you wanted.

Regards,

Terry



From: Lowball Louie
Subject: RE: deck quote
To: "DECKS Etc. "
Received: Tuesday, June 30, 2009, 7:27 PM


Thanks terry. I just got a quote for 8.50 a square foot. All in using pressure treated wood.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Tue, 30 Jun 2009 20:19:15 -0700
From: DECKS Etc.
Subject: RE: deck quote
To: Lowball Louie

Lowball Louie,

I would advise you to really check their work and references. For me, $8.50 a sq. ft. doesn't cover the materials, insurance, fuel, wages, salary and profit. You should ask them what their warranty is as well. As an FYI for you, I offer a written 5 year workmanship warranty.

Regards,

Terry


Wednesday, July 1, 2009 9:48 AM
From: Lowball Louie
To: DECKS Etc.

thanks,I will ask for references and he does provide a workmanship warranty. i've priced out the materials at home depot, which is probably more expensive than where professionals go, pressure treated wood, screws, etc...come in at about $500, plus the 6 posts. I think he would make $1000 for 2 days work. that is pretty good in my opinion, more than i make at my job. i hope your $4000 quote was for composite decking material, otherwise you are ripping off your customers.
 

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Banned
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9,058 Posts
I've saved this email from 2007 to remind me it's better just to move on. Didn't gain anything by it...


This is the email I received after doing very detailed drawings for a large basement project:



Jay,
To be perfectly blunt, I about fell out of my chair when I saw this
email. That estimate is somewhere north of ridiculous. If you're in
the business of trying to gouge customers then I obviously picked the
wrong company. I've seen my share of people trying to take advantage of
homeowners in an aflunet area but this is a bit much. I have a friend
who worked for Hedgewood and now builds houses and he couldn't believe
it either. He said his cost on that plan would be around $50k tops so
even with a decent profit it shouldn't be anywhere past $65-75k.

Just send me my final drawings including the mechanicals and I'll look
for other options.



Dip****,

To be perfectly blunt with you as well, I take some serious offense with your comments. As soon as you and your friend can tell me what my job costs and overhead costs are, as well as my net profit goals are then you can tell me how to run my business.

As far as taking advantage of people living in "affluent" (your term, not mine) areas, please take a closer look at other neighborhoods in the metro area for your definition of affluent... everything is relative.

We have worked in homes that are both much lower and much higher on the price scale than your neighborhood. Our prices are determined by our costs...it doesn't matter where the home is located.

I have always thought of people living in "affluent" areas to be some of the better educated people, and especially those that have had other remodeling work done, and they have been some of our best clients

I would personlly suggest that you have your friend do your work for you, it sounds like he's got it figured out. Be aware, building homes and remodeling are often two very different animals.

Just because you (and your friend) think we are charging too much, doesn't make it fact. And it also does not make it acceptable to insinuate that we are in the business of "gouging" or "taking advantage" of our clients. As I mentioned above, our clients are highly educated, intelligent people. No one is forced to hire us, just as you are not

As far as final drawings go, you've already got them, good luck with your project. You've also never mentioned the fact that your kitchen design was never included in the cost of your drawings, as well as the numerous changes to the kitchen, so - you are welcome.

Also, please make sure to pull a permit and get inspections for your own safety, as there will be plenty of people who will tell you that you don't need a permit - and that is just wrong. It's the law and it's for your own safety.


:whistling
 

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Banned
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3,431 Posts
otherwise you are ripping off your customers.
:furious::laughing:Wow looks like you lost a really good customer there.:laughing::shifty::shifty:

Some people just dont get it and the fact he questioned your pay as an owner vs his as an employee :blink::blink::w00t:
 

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I'm a Mac
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5,487 Posts
I can't be bothered giving a long response, if it isn't going to work a simple - Thanks for the opportunity, good luck with your project - is all I do. I figure I am not going to waste good breath after bad or give them anymore advice once they feel you are ripping them off.
 

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Lack Of All Trades
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1,232 Posts
thanks,I will ask for references and he does provide a workmanship warranty. i've priced out the materials at home depot, which is probably more expensive than where professionals go, pressure treated wood, screws, etc...come in at about $500, plus the 6 posts. I think he would make $1000 for 2 days work. that is pretty good in my opinion, more than i make at my job. i hope your $4000 quote was for composite decking material, otherwise you are ripping off your customers.
Price shopper. Prolly wasn't gonna hire you anyway. Just wanted to get your price (from a pro), then use your price to find a cheaper price (from a hack).

Then this guy will go and hire the hack--no insurance, etc., then get burned by the guy when he collects prolly half down, starts the job but once this hack realises that he's not making money on the job, will just walk off of it.:whistling

Seen it happen too many times. Then the customer will be out his original deposit plus will have to call you (the pro) to fix the mess the hack caused. "But the guy gave me a great price". Wonder why?:sad:

Be great to find out the end result of this one ...:no::laughing:

Good Luck.
 

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Registered
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2,096 Posts
$500 for material? Well, sure as long as the deck doesn't have a frame.

Hmm, that gives me an idea.

You know what, I'll do it for his price. And I'll picture frame it! This would be my approach:

Deck 10' x 20'
All Pressure treated.
Decking attached to lawn with 3" screws.
Border around perimeter - (no charge, preferred client discount).
 

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John Hyatt
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3,658 Posts
Its the little things Guys...1200 sq ft pool deck the Wallet wants ipe/garapa very nice area they both drive new Tahoes and have a black older perfect looking Jag in its own garage.

He comes unglued with the price,major ganaded on me over the phone. I just smile and wave like a prom queen say thanks for the call or something like that. I always figure if I want to get into a fight I can always insult a Mongal.

A few mo later my local supplier,he rides an ol PanHead so we are buds, tells me he unloaded a whole unit of Pawluan, indo lumber, that has been laying around for 5 years or so to this same guy. This stuff looks great in the yard,one day exposed to the sun and it splits like crazy. Anyway he was going on and on about how I was ripping him off and he got the whole unit for $3200.

Last week the Guy calls me,not kidding, telling me how the stuff looks like hammered**** and how could he can fix it. Telling me how tough it is for him working for a Oil Co!!!! It Was Sooooooooooo Funny!!!! I laughed so hard over the phone the fool finaly hung up. JonMon
 

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Registered
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184 Posts
I bid on an addition and the HO questioned me on how I came up with my bid. He even had tallied the materials up and even had a lumber list complete with a total. I pulled out my list and went through it asking if he had this and that on his list. He was missing fascia, soffit, ceiling joists, insulation, decking material, roofing materials, and a number of other items. I got the job and he never questioned me again. I wonder if your potential deck client had all the joist hangers, nails, flashing, carriage bolts, saw blades, and other components needed. Can't get all the customers and you don't want all of them but sometimes pinning them down and educating them a little can do wonders.

Trust is really important in a business relationship. If you can prove that you're trustworthy you have half a chance. It's unfortunate that our line of work has been compromised by hacks and that we now have to go the extra mile to prove our integrity.
 

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The Deck Guy
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3,126 Posts
I recently had someone ask me to give them materials and labor broken out separately which I never do.

I asked them, "when you go to the car dealership, do you ask how much the tires cost or do you buy the car as a package?"

The reply was "Actually, we always ask how much the tires cost because sometimes, they charge you too much for the tires they put on the car."

I replied, "I don't even know what to say to that. You're not my type of client, so it's best we just end this relationship now because it's clear to me there will never be a marriage in our future." :laughing:
 

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Had it happen this morning. Guy wants a shelter for an outdoor fireplace painted. He's a trucker who goes to Steak N Shake every night before his shift and my g/f usually waits on him. I told him 200 bucks which was a little cheaper than I would normally quote it since he's always fair to my g/f with tips and all. He tells me he thought it'd be 100-150 bucks max and told me he wouldn't pay any more than 150. It's going to take me a full day to do this, and he's thinking "10 hours and at 15 an hour." I decided to go ahead and do it for the 150 but he's supplying every single thing needed. I basically just need my brush and cut pot. As soon as the economy is back to good I will be walking away from lowballers. I might haggle a bit, but that's it.
 

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Pro
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506 Posts
i get a lot of people playing the economy card this past year. typically the conversation goes like this...

"how much per foot to frame for so and so house?"
"bla bla bla per foot."
"oh but i can get it done for bla bla per foot!!"
"good for you."
"but the economy is bad!! you can't be doing too good, can you?"
"i'm doing just fine. goodbye"

i do work with some contractors that i try to accomodate. if there isn't money in the job i'll take a cut in pay (5-10 percent). but, when people i have no prior working relationship with lowball me, i just tell them to hire the scab that's going to do it for peanuts.
 

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Multi-tradesman defender
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390 Posts
If he is thinking 10 hours, and you are saying "all day" to do it, who is right?

I want to see what this "shelter" looks like, even with a paintbrush, it should not take all day, right.

Can we get a picture?
 
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