Contractor Talk - Professional Construction and Remodeling Forum banner

1 - 20 of 22 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
69 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I gave a bid on a job for a customer for a garage conversion.Prior to this I did some small jobs for them. I never heard from them. Then months later they call me to come over and give an estimate on a bathroom remodel.. When I arrive I see the garage conversion was done . I felt like walking out because I felt like I was being used just to get a price they can compare against others.
Maybe I am over reacting.? I find out later my price was within a few hundred of the other guy.
How do you handle something like that ? If you give a quote and don't hear do you go back and give a quote for another job ?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
386 Posts
IMO-
These days a free estimate will be a ball park figure over the phone. I get calls all the time from people that are hunting for the lowest price. You know how that goes.
In the situation as you described, I would not respond to their requests unless it was determined you will get the job regardless of cost because they know you and trust you from the start, unless you are a willing participant in bid wars since you have nothing better to do with your time.
Even "Free Estimates" have a cost factor. Your time and knowledge are valuable.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
3,292 Posts
Charge for estimates. If the customer use's your services deduct estimation charge from the job. In boom time make price checkers pay. In slow times give "free" estimates. Nature of the beast.
If it were me I wouldn't put them high on the priority list either. I use this for people that want my work regardless.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
190 Posts
Sounds like they didn't know the difference between you and the competition. If they went with the other guy, and the difference in price was only a couple hundred dollars, you didn't sell yourself and your work, you just quoted a price.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
14,078 Posts
bellerose said:
How do you handle something like that ? If you give a quote and don't hear do you go back and give a quote for another job ?
No. No way, no how, never.

I just went through this last month. The guy had me look at two different jobs. I quoted him on the smaller one and we discussed the bigger one.

About 4 weeks later he called me and wanted to know if I would now come out and quote him on the bigger one.

I asked him "What happened on the smaller job that I quoted you on already, I never heard back from you on that one." He answered, "We ended up going with somebody else because he was cheaper."

So I told him "I don't think it is in my companies best interest to spend any time quoting your second job." He stuttered a few times and asked why? I told him, "If you didn't see the value of us doing the first job there is no reason for me to believe you will suddenly see the value of us doing the second one. Thanks anyways." At that of course he had to repair his now damaged ego and started stuttering and stammering about how it must be nice to be so busy you don't need to talk to people ready to have you work on a project for them...

That's when I cut him off 1/2 way through his sentence and told him again much firmer. "Thanks but no thanks, have a good day. Good-bye." click.

The answer to why you shouldn't bother with this customer is quite clear:
If he didn't see the value of you doing the first job there is no reason for you to believe he will suddenly see the value of you doing the second one.

But if you have a lot of time on your hands go for it, I'm sure one in a million of these guys actually gets his head out of his butt.


The flip side to all this could be that maybe you really do suck at selling your companies services since both quotes were within a few hundred dollars. If that's the case, you need to do some soul searching and figure out your weakness.

Regardless the answer is still No to wasting anymore time. He already has an establish rapport and relationship with the guy who got your first job, chances are now all he is doing is using your quote to keep the other guy honest.

Of course you could be a real jerk and come back with a ridiculously low quote just to jack with the other guy, then drag your feet for months and months about starting it, of course you never start it and just muck up the homeowners life for as long as you can. But that would be a pretty nasty trick to pull.
 

·
Painting Contractor
Joined
·
1,176 Posts
Hold-on hold-on...

You act as if these people are beholden to you in some way. They are not. It is a buyers market. What makes you think that since you did one job or bid one job for them that you are now their contractor for life?

Yea so their price shoppers... they are ALL price shoppers!

Mike,
The only thing you have done IMO is create a person who now has a negative atitude to you and the NAME of your company. I don't know about you but I cannot afford to have even one person spreading negative information about me in the markets I work in, the competition is just too steap! Word of mouth works both ways. These people who jerk us around, pitting us against our competitors, Believe they are doing the right thing for THEMSELVES. Who can blame them.

Yea they make us jump through hoops, and they are PITA's, whether it lands me the job or not I jump through their hoops.

Maybe it is because my company is so young, but I feel like generating a good reputation is more important than the hassle I have to go through to please potential customers.

If I fail to land 1 job and am given the oppurtunity to bid another for the same person, that's where I see my oppurtunity to go back and polish my sales pitch. "Mr. Customer I realize that we didn't meet your needs the last time you needed our services, what can I do this time to make sure that we are meeting your needs?"

Just my 2cents.

-Joe
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
386 Posts
Mike Finley said:
No. No way, no how, never.

I just went through this last month. The guy had me look at two different jobs. I quoted him on the smaller one and we discussed the bigger one.

About 4 weeks later he called me and wanted to know if I would now come out and quote him on the bigger one.

I asked him "What happened on the smaller job that I quoted you on already, I never heard back from you on that one." He answered, "We ended up going with somebody else because he was cheaper."

The flip side to all this could be that maybe you really do suck at selling your companies services since both quotes were within a few hundred dollars. If that's the case, you need to do some soul searching and figure out your weakness.

Regardless the answer is still No to wasting anymore time. He already has an establish rapport and relationship with the guy who got your first job, chances are now all he is doing is using your quote to keep the other guy honest.

Of course you could be a real jerk and come back with a ridiculously low quote just to jack with the other guy, then drag your feet for months and months about starting it, of course you never start it and just muck up the homeowners life for as long as you can. But that would be a pretty nasty trick to pull.

So I told him "I don't think it is in my companies best interest to spend any time quoting your second job." He stuttered a few times and asked why? I told him, "If you didn't see the value of us doing the first job there is no reason for me to believe you will suddenly see the value of us doing the second one. Thanks anyways." At that of course he had to repair his now damaged ego and started stuttering and stammering about how it must be nice to be so busy you don't need to talk to people ready to have you work on a project for them...

That's when I cut him off 1/2 way through his sentence and told him again much firmer. "Thanks but no thanks, have a good day. Good-bye." click.

The answer to why you shouldn't bother with this customer is quite clear:
If he didn't see the value of you doing the first job there is no reason for you to believe he will suddenly see the value of you doing the second one.

But if you have a lot of time on your hands go for it, I'm sure one in a million of these guys actually gets his head out of his butt.
I Strongly Agree with Mr Finley. Very well said Mr Finley, Very Well Said.
Thank You for Your Support.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
295 Posts
Humble Abode said:
Hold-on hold-on...

You act as if these people are beholden to you in some way. They are not. It is a buyers market. What makes you think that since you did one job or bid one job for them that you are now their contractor for life?

Yea so their price shoppers... they are ALL price shoppers!

Mike,
The only thing you have done IMO is create a person who now has a negative atitude to you and the NAME of your company. I don't know about you but I cannot afford to have even one person spreading negative information about me in the markets I work in, the competition is just too steap! Word of mouth works both ways. These people who jerk us around, pitting us against our competitors, Believe they are doing the right thing for THEMSELVES. Who can blame them.

Yea they make us jump through hoops, and they are PITA's, whether it lands me the job or not I jump through their hoops.

Maybe it is because my company is so young, but I feel like generating a good reputation is more important than the hassle I have to go through to please potential customers.

If I fail to land 1 job and am given the oppurtunity to bid another for the same person, that's where I see my oppurtunity to go back and polish my sales pitch. "Mr. Customer I realize that we didn't meet your needs the last time you needed our services, what can I do this time to make sure that we are meeting your needs?"

Just my 2cents.

-Joe

Good points and well taken! However, I think they are to personal for the business world! Read #5 again and then read it again!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
69 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
plumguy said:
Good points and well taken! However, I think they are to personal for the business world! Read #5 again and then read it again!!
Good points. Selling myself needs work. There are a lot of handyman companies that do bath and kitchen remodels and they charge by the hour.
Mr. Handyman gets $90 an hour and of 4 others I called the cheapest was $70/hour.
These guys waste no time driving to the house to give an estimate. The one Mr.Handyman guy has 4 trucks on the road so how do they do it ? Some people will go for an hour rate and others will not.
If you think about it the $90/hr. rate might come in as a cheaper price than a quoted price. Example: How much would you charge for a small bathroom remodel ? New toilet, vanity, shower surround, floor. No tile on the wall. Ready for paint. How long would it take one guy ? 3 days(24 hours)
How much for materials ? $1500 ?
24 hours times $90 = $2160 + $1500= $3660. That is the going rate here and higher.
So maybe they convince the person over the phone that it might come in cheaper than a quote. Their hourly rate covers unforseen problems which one would try to charge extra for anyway.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
295 Posts
bellerose said:
Good points. Selling myself needs work. There are a lot of handyman companies that do bath and kitchen remodels and they charge by the hour.
Mr. Handyman gets $90 an hour and of 4 others I called the cheapest was $70/hour.
These guys waste no time driving to the house to give an estimate. The one Mr.Handyman guy has 4 trucks on the road so how do they do it ? Some people will go for an hour rate and others will not.
If you think about it the $90/hr. rate might come in as a cheaper price than a quoted price. Example: How much would you charge for a small bathroom remodel ? New toilet, vanity, shower surround, floor. No tile on the wall. Ready for paint. How long would it take one guy ? 3 days(24 hours)
How much for materials ? $1500 ?
24 hours times $90 = $2160 + $1500= $3660. That is the going rate here and higher.
So maybe they convince the person over the phone that it might come in cheaper than a quote. Their hourly rate covers unforseen problems which one would try to charge extra for anyway.

I don't believe there is a "going rate" for companies or trades. I think you need to purchase books or programs on number crunching and find out what it costs you to be in business!! Just because the XYZ company down the street is charging ABC per hour does not mean that they know what they are doing or even if they are making any money!! You need to establish you're own prices and guidelines for YOU'RE business and you will see that you will soon fit in to the market you desire, what ever that may be!!
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
14,078 Posts
bellerose said:
So maybe they convince the person over the phone that it might come in cheaper than a quote. Their hourly rate covers unforseen problems which one would try to charge extra for anyway.
In business : Perception is more powerful than reality.

Consider that phrase in connection to a customer deciding on doing business with you or not.
 

·
Painting Contractor
Joined
·
1,176 Posts
plumguy said:
Good points and well taken! However, I think they are to personal for the business world! Read #5 again and then read it again!!
I don't think it has anything to do with personel or not. I have some empathy for my customers. For the most part they are in the same boat as us. They work their a$$ of and the government takes all their money and they get nothing in return. I can see their point of veiw.

If you have not convinced them that an extra couple hundred dollars is in their best interest, you have not done your job as a salesman. That's why I don't see it as a hassle to go back for the chance to talk to them again.

To a certain extent I agree with Mike, our customers and potentials are a hassle sometimes. But never in a million years would I want someone out there saying that I told them off on the phone. We understand the fact that they are sh$theads and don't have much credibility, but their friends don't.

I see doing estimates and jumping through hoops for people that may or may not give me 1000's of dollars as a nesissary business expense.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
14,078 Posts
Humble Abode said:
Hold-on hold-on...

You act as if these people are beholden to you in some way. They are not. It is a buyers market. What makes you think that since you did one job or bid one job for them that you are now their contractor for life?

Yea so their price shoppers... they are ALL price shoppers!

Mike,
The only thing you have done IMO is create a person who now has a negative atitude to you and the NAME of your company. I don't know about you but I cannot afford to have even one person spreading negative information about me in the markets I work in, the competition is just too steap! Word of mouth works both ways. These people who jerk us around, pitting us against our competitors, Believe they are doing the right thing for THEMSELVES. Who can blame them.

Yea they make us jump through hoops, and they are PITA's, whether it lands me the job or not I jump through their hoops.

Maybe it is because my company is so young, but I feel like generating a good reputation is more important than the hassle I have to go through to please potential customers.

If I fail to land 1 job and am given the oppurtunity to bid another for the same person, that's where I see my oppurtunity to go back and polish my sales pitch. "Mr. Customer I realize that we didn't meet your needs the last time you needed our services, what can I do this time to make sure that we are meeting your needs?"

Just my 2cents.

-Joe

Yes, for certain it is a buyers market, but I like every business on the planet has a right to pick and choose who I do business with. No shirt, no shoes you can't get a Big Mac sold to you. A customer who has already demonstrated his lack of ability to choose value over a low price had demonstrated that he is not a potential customer of mine. He is out of my potential customer base, he might as well not even exist anymore.

Was I as politically correct as I should have been if I was being judged in a strict good business test? I can answer honestly, no. I let my emotions get in the way. But damn it felt good after wasting my gas and my time with a customer who if I had a crystal ball I would have known would never be my customer because of his value system and mine are not compatible.

He salted my wound by having the nerve to ask for me to kindly bend over so he could kick me for a second time. I took one for the team buddy, for contractor good world wide, he got a tiny, probably fraction glimps that not every contractor is a yes man and going to come running when he dangles a few dollars in front of us getting off on making us look like hungry dogs jumping and snapping at a table scrap.

Joe, you are right. But dammit man, you owe me, I took one for the team man! :cheesygri
 

·
Painting Contractor
Joined
·
1,176 Posts
Mike Finley said:
Yes, for certain it is a buyers market, but I like every business on the planet has a right to pick and choose who I do business with. No shirt, no shoes you can't get a Big Mac sold to you. A customer who has already demonstrated his lack of ability to choose value over a low price had demonstrated that he is not a potential customer of mine. He is out of my potential customer base, he might as well not even exist anymore.

Was I as politically correct as I should have been if I was being judged in a strict good business test? I can answer honestly, no. I let my emotions get in the way. But damn it felt good after wasting my gas and my time with a customer who if I had a crystal ball I would have known would never be my customer because of his value system and mine are not compatible.

He salted my wound by having the nerve to ask for me to kindly bend over so he could kick me for a second time. I took one for the team buddy, for contractor good world wide, he got a tiny, probably fraction glimps that not every contractor is a yes man and going to come running when he dangles a few dollars in front of us getting off on making us look like hungry dogs jumping and snapping at a table scrap.

Joe, you are right. But dammit man, you owe me, I took one for the team man! :cheesygri
You know... I did say a little "hell yea! good for you" when I read it. You said to him what I would have liked to say to a lot of our customers...

"just pick the f*%#ing color already, I'm charging you $100's of dolars to stand in your driveway and look at your house!"

"no I'm not going to itemize your damn estimate for you because your not going to hire me anyway you cheapskate"

etc.

But I would never say anything like that to any of them, even politely. Who knows... when/if we get a little bigger maybe I will...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
295 Posts
Humble Abode said:
That's why I don't see it as a hassle to go back for the chance to talk to them again.

To a certain extent I agree with Mike, our customers and potentials are a hassle sometimes. But never in a million years would I want someone out there saying that I told them off on the phone. We understand the fact that they are sh$theads and don't have much credibility, but their friends don't.

I see doing estimates and jumping through hoops for people that may or may not give me 1000's of dollars as a nesissary business expense.
Humble, I'm not sure where you are coming from because you are jumping all around on us!!

First of all, I don't consider my customers "sh$theads" that don't have much "credibility" and to be honest I'm not sure about their friends! :cheesygri

Customers and potential customers today are more credibile and educated than ever before!! Their access to the big box stores and internet make them as prepared as you!! If you choose to run around town and jump thru hoops for the difference of a couple of hundred dollars to land a job...then all the power to you. But, chances are that customer (well informed) is playing you!!

As we all know reputation is important but just remember that when their friend calls and you are running around town for the same tactics, you will know who taught them !! Hopefully, they were a paying friend(customer)!!!
 

·
Flooring Guru
Joined
·
2,794 Posts
Their access to the big box stores and internet make them as prepared as you!
I can be bad too.
I find myself "deprogramming" clients after big box and internet searches.
they definately know a bit more, but not enough to be as big headed as some seem.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
295 Posts
Florcraft said:
I can be bad too.
I find myself "deprogramming" clients after big box and internet searches.
they definately know a bit more, but not enough to be as big headed as some seem.
I don't know if it would make you bad! But, " deprogramming" someone is not an easy thing to do! Especially when their checkbook is involved! You must be a proven salesman and .....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
262 Posts
au contraire

Humble Abode said:
I have some empathy for my customers. For the most part they are in the same boat as us. They work their a$$ of and the government takes all their money and they get nothing in return.

Either you or I are working in the wrong neck of the woods....I WISH I was in the same Yacht as the customers I do work for...They do indeed work their a$$ off...staying hoime and watching the progress of the job...same boat...lol
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Ok i have read all of this bellerose you need to charge 2hrs for an estimate. This has happend to me too and no i would not do the work for the people. When they went with someone else, no free estimates.
 
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
Top