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I'll be darned...

3029 Views 12 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  NCMCarpentry
Went and looked at a bathroom remodel job with my partner 3-4 weeks ago. Guy said his budget was around 5 for the hall bath and 15 for the master bath. I was sure he meant 500 and 1500, but I kept my mouth shut and listened. After he talked a while longer I asked if he meant hundred or thousand, to which he laughed and said thousand. $5000 for hall bath and $15000 for master.

He wanted some nice things, and I went from thinking he had way overshot the budget to thinking he might be a little short. Anyway. We crunched the numbers and got back to him in a few days with this email:

Dear customer,

Some thoughts:

In going over your project we feel that just labor and materials, excluding fixtures (tubs, toilets, sinks, faucets, shower valves, lights, hardware) will run in the neighborhood of $$15,000.00 - 16,000.00.

Roughly that breaks down to $5400.00 for the hall bath, and $10,600.00 for the master.

This includes custom built and finished (painted or stained) cabinets supplied by us in your master bath. Going with custom over prefab will certainly be a significant upgrade in quality, with the benefit of configuring them exactly to your wants, needs, and layout options in the existing configuration. The cost difference would be negligible in your situation due to the higher cost of buying, delivering, fitting together, and installing prefab cabinets.

A prefab unit in the hall bath is more straightforward, and we think is a good option there.

Going with a sunken shower inset into the slab as opposed to building a curb and pan on top of the existing slab will be an additional $$$
If we can narrow down the exact fixtures to establish an exact cost, we can also adjust our quote accordingly. For example, a jetted tub with a motor will require additional electrical, or a wall mounted toilet will cost more to install than a floor mount.

This does not include city permits, which we would estimate to be around $$$
This does not include plans drawn to be submitted to the city if required. $$$

To sum up, we feel it's possible to get most of what you're wanting for your budget of $20,000.00, but to fit it all in may not be realistic.

Things to consider to reduce costs-

-Place master shower pan above existing floor instead of inset.
-Change frameless shower glass to framed.
-Leave existing tub in hall bath and only change tile and fixture.
-Install cultured marble tops instead of granite.
-Buying and delivering fixtures, lights, etc, before project starts.

We look forward to working with you further. Please advise.



I seriously never thought we'd hear from him again. He did email back that evening and ask a couple questions, and then he disappeared. We're very busy, and hadn't got back to following up with him.

Anyway. To the point... He texted this evening and said they had decided to go with us (over a cheaper quote, no less) and could we come by this week and finalize everything, since they had picked out all the fixtures...

I'll be darned.
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Congrats on the job...:thumbsup:

One can't win if you don't play the game...
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I hate it when they disappear like that. But it's nice when they show back up with a "yes". As long as you haven't filled up your current schedule with other work.
I never write anything off.... I have had people call a year later to go ahead with work.
I never write anything off.... I have had people call a year later to go ahead with work.
What he said! Sometimes folks just have to put things on the back burner. We're starting a job this week that we first designed and quoted going on 3 years ago!
I very much liked your letter back to him.... I think it showed your forthought to his considerations, your cost saving considerations, a spirit of cooperation and working together in that you have your fixtures in advance...

and that you are professionally fluent and taking the time to give him your professional opinion, tangibly with something in hand....

Bottom line, I think you showed common sense old time professionalism, and seems you found a very legit client.

Nice going


PS: You're the type of sub/contractor I would be hiring... if I wasn't doing it myself.
Way to go Clayton.:clap: You just never know. :no:
Thanks guys.

I posted this because it's the first time I've sent this type of email to a prospective client, and I just wanted to share my experience for others in similar situations.

I wasn't sure how it would come across or if it sounded professional. I knew he had a cheaper quote, and figured there was really no way we'd get the job, so I decided there was nothing to lose by sending it.

Lesson learned: Be professional and give realistic feedback, even if you think the client won't like what you're telling them. Also, the feedback I gave in the email showed him I had payed close attention to what he wanted, because I addressed specific things he had talked about.
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I never write anything off.... I have had people call a year later to go ahead with work.
I've learned to keep my bid in a folder with the home owner name and address. Just in case so I don't have to go back.
Anyone who tries to sell work by being the cheapest will never succeed. Instead sell quality, experience, customer care, and communication.

Never knock your competitors. Instead talk about the positive things you do above and beyond.

I once had a small one day siding repair job that I had to postpone due to morning thunder storms. I called the homeowner in the morning to tell them I would not be coming and would be out the next day. He was floored that I called and informed him of what was happening, even though he assumed I would not be coming. When I completed the job the next day he gave me a $200 dollar tip. On a job that already had good mark up.
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Good email. me some ideas for the future.
Very good, professional email... I'm sure that had a huge part in getting you the job.
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