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Money Changer
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804 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was looking around here for guidance in responding to an e-mail from a customer about an addition I bid for him.

To back track, I made the initial visit and we discussed what he wanted done, 11 x 16 cathedral addition over a crawl with partial deck removal, large wall of windows (including round top) double french doors to the deck, basically complete except for flooring. It's an addition to the dining/kitchen area.

Now, there are some access issues with soil removal and getting concrete in there for the slab, but other than that, pretty straight forward.

I attempted to set a second meeting to go over the numbers I had come up with and the day of the meeting, he contacted me and asked if I could e-mail him what I had as he couldn't make the meeting time.

I figured at first this guy is turning out to be a tire kicker but I sent him what I had which was a detailed scope of work, my proposal number with a budget range AND some 2D sketches I did in Sketchup which I was hoping to show him in 3D walk around.

I hadn't heard from him for about a week so I sent a follow up e-mail to see where his thoughts were about it. He actually replied (which surprised me), until I read it:

I am still reviewnig details of your estimate...I will let you know if I have any questions...

One thing that I would like to mentioned thought is that your estimate seems to be much higher then any other estimates I have, even for a bigger addition (18X16) which includes all realetd work (deck, moving egrass window to the side of the house, removing existing kitchen wall, etc...).

Regards,
Now the egress window and larger size are factors he did not mention until I was already into the initial estimate. The egress window he is referring to is actually a standard basement vent window which would dissappear with the larger addition. He knows he needs an egress window (which this isn't) even though I have told him this window doesn't qualify.

I stated to him that I would have to rework everything for the larger addition as there are issues with existing windows in the house wall and headroom for the new windows he wants. He had stated at that time that what I had would be fine and to proceed to give him the number for the original size.

I won't (and can't) really reduce the numbers without reducing the scope. I want to keep this guy on the hook but am at a loss for how to respond in an e-mail. I do know I want to try to get face to face with him again before this goes away.
 

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Custom Stuff
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867 Posts
I would email him back thanking him for taking the time to thoroughly compare your estimate with others. Doing so, he should be able to clearly see that there are differences in the estimates and scope of work details and not all related to price. Somewhere, somehow, the lower priced companies are looking to cut corners and he may be the recipient of those cuts.

Tell him you price your work to allow you to maintain your business' viability and cannot speak to how another company views their long-term business strength. You will be around should any problems occur; will they? Wish him well and don't try to keep a lost cause going. Move on to the next client.
 

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"I am still reviewnig details of your estimate...I will let you know if I have any questions...

One thing that I would like to mentioned thought is that your estimate seems to be much higher then any other estimates I have, even for a bigger addition (18X16) which includes all realetd work (deck, moving egrass window to the side of the house, removing existing kitchen wall, etc...).

Regards,"
Customer,

You mention that my estimate "seems" to be higher..... "seems" is probably the right word. As you know, you are not comparing two brand new Fords, you are comparing differing levels of quality, professionalism, insurance to protect you and increase the value of your most valuable possession.

I would never want to be the lowest price. That means I would have to leave out some important aspect of the job, I won't build that way! Our reputation and repeat business is worth more to me than cutting corners to get one job.

I did provide my specifications and numbers on an 11' x 16' room. Naturally, it takes just about as much time to build the smaller room as it does the 18' x 16' you are talking about. You might be surprised to find out we'll be right in the ballpark when we have an opportunity to show you how we compare apples-to-apples. Let's sit down and look over both options to make sure you get everything you want included in the job.

Whether we build the smaller room for you, or we get together on the larger size, you can go ahead and feel really good because you know everything is included with no surprises, no extra charges, and with the professionalism we've shown xxx of our customers over the past xx years.

Will some morning this week work for our meeting, or is an afternoon better?.
 

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Mike, I think that's an excellent way to approach it!

I might also add an offer to sit down with him to go over the estimate in detail. That way any questions could be answered quickly and effectively. It seems like he's hiding behind his e-mail address. Get in front of him and see what he's really all about.

Regards,
Annette
 

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Ho do me a favor and send me the competing proposals so that I can make an appls to apples comparison for you. I find our pricing to be very much in line with our other legitimate competitors.

Call his bluff, either he is bluffing or he has legitimate quotes for a different scope of work and can't see the differences.
 

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Money Changer
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well I took everyone's advice and formulated a reply that I sent to him Sunday. I won't go into details but it contained pretty much everything in the advice given here in my own words.

I did ask to sit down to compare quotes with him as was suggested.

It is now Wed and I have no reply yet.

Probably time to move on?

Would anything else now on my part come across as high pressure?
 

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Project Manager
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2,642 Posts
It is now Wed and I have no reply yet.

Probably time to move on?

Would anything else now on my part come across as high pressure?
What about giving him a call around Friday (lunch time or after work)? Just to see if he recieved your email and to ask him when a good time to sit down and compare bids would be. If you sound polite and interested, and not desperate and high-pressure, the least you will get is an answer as to what he is deciding to do. Just a thought...

On a personal note, I have been finding it harder and harder to actually be able to follow-up after potential proposals - h/o's don't want to return emails, phone calls, etc.
 

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solar guy
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time to move on
I would have the first time he blew me off
Never e mail a proposal unless it is to someone you have worked for before and trust.
Always insist on getting in front of them. E mailing the proposal just means he is getting a hundred bids and doesn't want to wast his time meeting with anyone. But he has no problem wasting your time.
 

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Interior Renovations
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Always insist on getting in front of them. E mailing the proposal just means he is getting a hundred bids and doesn't want to wast his time meeting with anyone. But he has no problem wasting your time.
My business is just starting out and Im finding it hard to tell which customers are worth visiting in person and which ones are just looking for a stack of bids emailed to them. A quick meeting in NYC involves traffic in and out of the city, crazy tolls, gas, time wasted looking for parking and then time figuring out the estimates... Its half a day right there. I always want to see the site before I give an estimate or accept a job but Im amazed at the number of people who just want to describe it over the phone to you and get a price.

I showed up for a meeting at a job site last week expecting to meet a home owner and found that it was a Landlord holding an open house and 3 other contractors there looking at the work...
 

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Never write off a job until you see a competitor installing it. I sent out over 200 emails today to people whom I have estimated a roofing job letting them know the price is going up on the 1st of October and if we finalize the deal by the 28th of September I can honor the current price.

I've had a little bit of response so far, mostly people saying they lost the propsoals or wanted revisions. One lady is coming into my office to pick a color and make the down payment Friday morning. Time well spent if you ask me. Some of these people I originally me tin January. I went all the way back to the start of 2009. I am now going to go back to 2008 and begin sending emails reminding people about their project and if they are still interested I can make a revision. No doubt I'll get a few more sales out of that batch of emails too.

Never "move on" just because the customer hesitates now. No doesn't mean no forever, it often means not right now.
 

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Project Manager
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I always want to see the site before I give an estimate or accept a job but Im amazed at the number of people who just want to describe it over the phone to you and get a price.
Big red flag goes up for me on that one - definitely not the type of people I want to work for.

I showed up for a meeting at a job site last week expecting to meet a home owner and found that it was a Landlord holding an open house and 3 other contractors there looking at the work...
:eek:
 

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Money Changer
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804 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
time to move on
I would have the first time he blew me off
That was my first reaction but didn't want to give up. Not much going on yet

Never e mail a proposal unless it is to someone you have worked for before and trust.
Always insist on getting in front of them.
I agree but I knew if I pushed a meeting that wouldhave been the end of it. We met in the first go round so I could see what the job was. He canceled the day of. I probably should have refused to e mail him anything. 20/20

E mailing the proposal just means he is getting a hundred bids and doesn't want to wast his time meeting with anyone. But he has no problem wasting your time.
Again hindsight. I guess lesson learned.
 

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Hi bert, I agree with Grumpy. Give him a call on Friday to make sure he received your e-mail (sometimes these things get stuck in spam filters, etc.). Don't let your fear of being high pressure override good business sense. Always follow up with potential customers both in writing and verbally.

I also agree with Grumpy that a lead is not dead until you've lost the job to another company (or the lead moves or dies). We send out a mailing usually twice a year to past leads that just fizzled out and we usually get one or two jobs out of it. Life happens and sometimes people just put us on the back burner. Don't take it personally. Keep in touch.

Regards,
Annette
 
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