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I disagree with charging your customer more than the maximum price of $2,000 that you quoted. When customers request an estimate they expect that you are experienced and experienced contractors are supposed to know the cost for a project, the problems they run into and the experienced contractors factor in these unforeseen costs.

It is unprofessional and shows a lack of experience when you quoted a price of $1500 to $2000 and then admit that you have a set of your own personal rules where you can increase your price mid-stream without notifying nor requesting the difference from your customer. If that is the case then you should have not told the customer $1500 to $2000. You should have told the customer $1500 to $2000, but not limited to that price, or you should have quoted $1500 to $2500.

Personally, I get very upset when someone quotes me a maximum price and then charges higher than their maximum. That way of doing business make me feel like the contractor think I was an easy catch and a chump he can squeeze a few extra dollars out of.

Changing your price mid-stream definitely causes a credibility gap and I would never trust your judgment in the future.

When you quoted $1500 to $2000 the customer may have had another bid at $2000 and you end up costing the customer $200 more than he would have paid another contractor and the quality service you say you provide is not relevant to this subject because you don't have the right to make the decision on behalf of your customer regarding the quality the customer wants and the final price that he will pay. You don't have the right to do this mid-stream without consulting with the customer, first.

People just don't do business this way. That is the same as a cabinet contractor telling me that he will install new cabinets for $4600 to $5,000 and when I get the bill it is for $5500. I would absolutely refuse to pay one extra penny for any reason and regardless of his opinions.

It is obvious that you don't think $200 means a lot to your customer. Then, the same should be true for yourself. Give your customer a $200 credit and for the next bid be accurate, honest and when you say $1500 to $2000 then stick with what you say, or tell your customer an amount that is accurate and true based on a professional's experiences.
 

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Overall you did a good job explaining things. But if i missed up on figuring it by only a few hundred I would have eaten it. lesson learned to pay more attention next time.
If I was the customer I would probably pay the extra although not happy about it and would be hard press to pass your name on . Not having a better reason for the extra cost then messing up is a poor excuse in my books.
I can't believe you said he did a good job of explaining.

This contractor quoted a price of $1500 to $2000 and increases his price to $2200 (I think). Then, when the customer gets upset he writes a long email and tells his customer that he is getting a deal at $2200 because he charges all his other customers an average price of $2600. If he charges an average of $2600 then I would ask why he didn't tell me that when he quoted a maximum price of $2000. It sounds like double-talk to me.

Another bad thing about the email is the way he tries to justify his price increase by stating the costs for materials. First, the costs appear to be very inflated and again if this contractor knew the cost for the materials was as high as he states then again I would say the contractor should have factored these costs into the bid and increased the price on the quote to $2200, or higher. Otherwise, this contractor is admitting in his email that he made a mistake because the cost for the materials is one of the reasons he increased his price and I would say the contractor made the mistake and should eat the $200.

I'm calling this as I see it because if every contractor can get away with quoting prices ranges and submit a bill that is above the price range then all contractors will suffer with credibility problems.

I always tell customers that I never made a mistake in my entire life when quoting a job because I am a professional contractor and professional contractors know how to bid a job for the right price. At least, I never admitted making a mistake because I never once in my life told a customer I made a mistake regarding the prices I quoted because I never increased a job by one penny once the bid was accepted.


If you quoted a maximum price of $2000 then you should stick with that price and don't put the burden of your error on the customer.
 

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New York City
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I agree that the explanation email was way too long , too apologetic, and too detailed.

Still- I'm amazed how many posters have jumped in chastising the OP for what he did.

He gave a rough quote, or guesstimate to a prospective client, and then came back with a firm proposal that ended up being 10% higher.

He did NOT perform the job, and then come back and ask for more money.

His $1,500-2,000 guesstimate was not written in stone, was not indicating an absolute maximum price, and the client was not obligated in anyway to that or the later higher quote.

I just don't see that as a problem.
 

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I agree that the explanation email was way too long , too apologetic, and too detailed.

Still- I'm amazed how many posters have jumped in chastising the OP for what he did.

He gave a rough quote, or guesstimate to a prospective client, and then came back with a firm proposal that ended up being 10% higher.

He did NOT perform the job, and then come back and ask for more money.

His $1,500-2,000 guesstimate was not written in stone, was not indicating an absolute maximum price, and the client was not obligated in anyway to that or the later higher quote.

I just don't see that as a problem.

Stupid me! I must apologize for being so dumb and now my posts are locked so I can' change them.

I admit that there are many time I quoted a ballpark price before signing a contract and then had to increase the price.

I am very sorry!
 

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Head Light Bulb Changer
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A verbal estimate is just that - A verbal estimate. A guess. So the OP going 10% over the high end is that bad? 30% over, yeah you look unprofessional.

IMO, the email was waaaay to long and apologetic. Should have been short and sweet. "Upon further review and careful consideration of blah blah blah, the price is now $XX, due to blah blah blah".
 

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On a side note, today I had a prospect "ball-parking out loud" that a basic 100 sf kitchen remodel (gut & redo) would run them about $8,000 (!) total if I were to do it. I laughed, and they replied, "Well then how much...10K?". I chuckled again, gave a quick math tutorial (appliance + cabinets + countertops + floors...etc., etc.).....and concluded by saying "And don't forget about the labor!" I was asked 4 times to ballpark and I just wasn't in the mood. They were just tire-kicking, anyway, since I was there for other work.
 

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Head Light Bulb Changer
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And another thing - Isn't our JOB to sucker the clients into a low, low, price and then jack it up 200% at the final bill?? :laughing:

That's what I hear when I write change-orders :laughing:

Sorry, I just couldn't resist. I'm doing a bid on a kitchen right now and the HO keeps adding things, expecting them to be materials only. "Well, you'll already be here". Yeah, but I ain't replacing the shower valve upstairs for free when the kitchen is downstairs :mad:. I'm glad I'm charging for the bid as a 'Consulting Fee', by the hour. Keep on making changes. I'll probably make more money doing the bid than the guy from CL (who will probably get the job) will charge you to F it up :laughing:. And then I'll get a call from them, but I'll be waaaay to busy to come by and 'help you out' because you haven't heard from your 'contractor' in 3 weeks.
 

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Stupid me! I must apologize for being so dumb and now my posts are locked so I can' change them.

I admit that there are many time I quoted a ballpark price before signing a contract and then had to increase the price.

I am very sorry!
I know how you feel. lmao
 

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Home Repairs
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I do not use the word estimate with potential customers. I use a "scope of work" write up giving a brief description of work details, basic products and total cost. 95% of homeowners, and some contractors, have no idea what the word "estimate" really means.
 

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Every homeowner now thinks that they are Mike Homes.
To their credit , good for them for being on top of things but the truth is that they now have this opinion that everyone is out to do a hack job and overcharge.

Nice letter. More effort than a lot of people I know would have committed to.
 

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Too long, too much information, too apologetic. The prospective customer doesn't care what you think or how you arrived at your number; he wants a breakdown either to shop your bid to some guy who couldn't do the takeoff or to find a point of argument with you about the price.

My last written response to one of those requests: "Thanks for asking about my costs, but I don't provide that information to customers. My contract prices are agreed values - for a specified price, I complete a specified scope of work."

If they ask me in person or on the phone, the only thing I say is, "No, I don't do that." Perfectly politely, but clearly. Once in a blue moon someone insists, and in writing or in person, I'll only ask, "Why would I do that?" No one has ever come back for more, because they know perfectly well that it's against my interest to provide the information.

I'm fairly sure that I've never lost a job because of my refusal to provide a breakdown. I'm also fairly sure that I let some jobs slip away in the past by providing the breakdown.

Don't ever apologize for a high price. If the firm proposal is more expensive than your guestimate, lead with that, loud and proud: "The price is higher than my informal estimate...." Try not to have that be the case too often - you'll make more sales if your final price is the same or lower than your initial guesstimate.

Agreed
 

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Never give on the site off the cuff estimates. They are not accurate. Sit down type out your estimate and send it via email for them to read at their convenience. Likely you'll get a "Thanks for coming out we're looking forward to having you to do the project" Or "Sounds great let's move forward with the project!"
 
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