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It was not a hard estimate that I gave him. He asked if I had an idea what the cost would be and I said "Anywhere from $1,500 to $2,000 but I will have to run the numbers to know for sure. The actual amount came out to around $2,200. Would you have eaten a couple hundred dollars based on that answer in that scenario? I would not have thought that anyone would hold me exactly within those parameters but maybe that is something I should take into account next time.
When asked for a ballpark #, I always shoot to the high side. As you've learned here, people are more shocked when you come in over estimate than if you'd have came in under. If you'd come in $200 below the low end of your estimate, you'd have had no grief from the client.
 

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Intellectual Property. If something happens like an employee takes files with them and goes to a competitor, and you claim the information is confidential, you better not have released that type of information without at least a confidentiality notice, otherwise there's an argument that the whole class of information is not confidential, due to your established practices.

The implications go way beyond sending a few numbers to a client.
 

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Intellectual Property. If something happens like an employee takes files with them and goes to a competitor, and you claim the information is confidential, you better not have released that type of information without at least a confidentiality notice, otherwise there's an argument that the whole class of information is not confidential, due to your established practices.

The implications go way beyond sending a few numbers to a client.
So he's an employee releasing confidential information?

I do enough programming that I'm quite familiar with intellectual property.
 

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#1 dont give rough estimates.....i find they are always inaccurate....wait until you sit down and figure it out

#2 never separate out anything for a customer...it never helps, it always hurts you...they will use it against you to argue prices further


your explanation is waaaay to long...wow!

short and sweat

Sorry mr X, but when i gave you the rough estimate yesterday i hadnt sat down and thought the job out. it wasnt meant to be an accurate estimate, just a guess. $2,250 is the correct, exact price....

i would have ignored the request for the price break down. act like he never asked it.
 

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I wont do itemizations. once in awhile ill break the labor and materials down, but I have gotten away from that as well.

People seem to think that I pull up to the back door at Home Depot and the store restocks my truck for free.

remember, your a contracotr / small business owner. you are a rip off, your rich, and are out to screw over everybody.

wierd.. everyone bitches about the hacks, no one ever mentions that ******* customers we have to deal with
 

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I give rough estimates fairly regularly to weed out people who can't afford me but it's safer to say something will cost "at least XX" and only provide a minimum. Never limit your price before you've done the math.

Also, I agree that you shouldn't have apologized. If this happens again, address the overrun in your proposal so they don't need to ask you about it.
 

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Your email sales pitch was awful. You should have met the customer and showed them the upgraded flashings, took pictures of the back of the chimney, closeups of mortar joints etc. The part about how people are extorting you...well thats unnecessary. I think it is Silvertree here who has worked the camera angle so well with crawl spaces. You should read up on him and do the same with roof repairs.
You also admitted to your customer that you had spreadsheets for their job, sorry didn't understand that being in your email.
 

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So he's an employee releasing confidential information?

I do enough programming that I'm quite familiar with intellectual property.
The IP involved in programming is but a tiny slice. I should have made a broader statement, since trade secrets, customer lists, contracts, etc are broader than IP. The may or may not be covered by IP laws, but they are covered by additional laws as well.
 

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The IP involved in programming is but a tiny slice. I should have made a broader statement, since trade secrets, customer lists, contracts, etc are broader than IP. The may or may not be covered by IP laws, but they are covered by additional laws as well.
If it's his company he can disclose all he wants no?
 

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I wont do itemizations. once in awhile ill break the labor and materials down, but I have gotten away from that as well.

People seem to think that I pull up to the back door at Home Depot and the store restocks my truck for free.

remember, your a contracotr / small business owner. you are a rip off, your rich, and are out to screw over everybody.

wierd.. everyone bitches about the hacks, no one ever mentions that ******* customers we have to deal with
Ive had to explain to people that I don't get the materials for free, that I wish I did, and I would give them a hell of a price if I did. They think because you're a contractor you get the materials for less than half the cost. It's funny.

I give rough estimates fairly regularly to weed out people who can't afford me but it's safer to say something will cost "at least XX" and only provide a minimum. Never limit your price before you've done the math.

Also, I agree that you shouldn't have apologized. If this happens again, address the overrun in your proposal so they don't need to ask you about it.
I'll do the same. Saves me some time. I try to go high though and I explain that I can't be held to it because it's off the cuff. Eliminates some lookey Lous that have no idea. Nothing worse than giving someone a bid for 12k and the customer telling you they thought it'd be like 5k. What a waste of time. That 5k might cover the materials, but I don't work for free unless your immediate family.
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
He replied back about an hour after I got off the computer last night with a signed proposal and wanting to know when I could come by and pick up the deposit check.
I agree that my email may have been on the long side and I might have offered too much information:whistling

I also like the idea of only offering an "at least this amount" type of guestimating...

I still do not agree that I should have been held to the top of the $2,000 mark though.

Also, Shellbuilder, for larger jobs I go out of my way to make the sales pitch in person. We have custom displays built for flashing, samples, pictures.. the whole nine yards... This job, was not worth even bring this stuff out for. It's a 2k dollar job... that will take us maybe a full day if we run into problems.
 

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I see you're clueless about IP law.
The United States of America is clueless about IP. My favorite part of every movie is the Copyright notification at the beginning. :no::no::no:

That's a good one government....tell us another one :laughing::laughing::laughing:


___________
Mike
 

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I still do not agree that I should have been held to the top of the $2,000 mark .
Why?

If you give an estimate telling the potential customer that the project's cost could be as low as $1,500 or as high as $2,000, why do you think it's ok to go past that amount - WITHOUT - FIRST - NOTIFYING THEM OF UNFORESEEN CIRCUMSTANCES.

What if they simply didn't have the extra money?

I know it's so difficult to give accurate estimates, especially when we're referring to things sight-unseen. But, I usually explain that prior to.

I am about to replace some leaking windows tomorrow, water damage, etc. I explained that the price could be higher depending on what I find once I open the wall. I explained that to the customer during our initial meeting and I'll reiterate it again tomorrow prior to starting. I also explained that I will keep them informed throughout to avoid surprises.

I have given a customer an invoice which was higher than my estimate - without warning or prior authorization. But, I felt as if it was wrong. I wouldn't like it done to me. And, I can only remember doing it once. I have given invoices that were less than the estimate. The job just went smoother than anticipated or the materials were less.
 

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Why?

If you give an estimate telling the potential customer that the project's cost could be as low as $1,500 or as high as $2,000, why do you think it's ok to go past that amount - WITHOUT - FIRST - NOTIFYING THEM OF UNFORESEEN CIRCUMSTANCES.

What if they simply didn't have the extra money?

I know it's so difficult to give accurate estimates, especially when we're referring to things sight-unseen. But, I usually explain that prior to.

I am about to replace some leaking windows tomorrow, water damage, etc. I explained that the price could be higher depending on what I find once I open the wall. I explained that to the customer during our initial meeting and I'll reiterate it again tomorrow prior to starting. I also explained that I will keep them informed throughout to avoid surprises.

I have given a customer an invoice which was higher than my estimate - without warning or prior authorization. But, I felt as if it was wrong. I wouldn't like it done to me.
The way I read it is that Joseph gave them an on-site guesstimate, then came back with a final quote later, before doing any work, before any commitment was made. That's not the same as doing the work based on an estimate, then charging more than estimated.
 
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