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Designing YourImagination
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265 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I recently met a client through my material supplier. She lives in a ritzy country club neighborhood. I am in no way ever trying to make a living on any 1 project. I feel being fair to each and every customer is the only way to be. My dad started the business when I was 13 and I feel to stand behind what he has done for many years. So with that said, here is what has happened.

I recieved the plans for the job, from my material supplier and was only supposed to price the framing on the job and that is it.

The lady arranged a meeting with me in which she asked if I could contract the entire job. The only thing that doesnt have to be installed is the foundation as she has already had it installed per engineered drawings. So I decide that I will work on the figures for the 22'x28' Pool House....keep in mind this thing gets a 8x14' swim spa that costs $38k

Some specs on the job are as follows:
-Framing of 2x6 walls, with r-19 faced batts
-Roof framing 2x10's 2' oc
-Overhangs framed from 1st rafter in w/ ladders for full support
-3 skylights that are touchpad controlled to open when humidity rises and automatically shut when they detect rain
-40yr Architectural Shingles
-16' Front Gable all roofs 7/12
-Brick Veneer installed by her mason but material figured by me
-Pella Designer Series alum Clad French Door w/ Grilles and Blinds btwn glass
-2 sets Slider Pella Designer Series Alum Clad Doors w/ same grilles & blinds
-Hardi-Panel Finished Interior Walls, Ceilings
-Full Bathroom w/ Shower using Delta Fixtures and Fiberglass Shower
-Bamboo Flooring in The entire project
-16x22 2 Level Deck w/ 2x6 decking boards
-13x16 Vinyl Pergola on 8x8's
-The front Porch of the pool house will have beaded ceiling and Fypon Dentil Crown 2 3/4"
- All doorways get 13" Fypon Crossheads, Keystones and 5" Pilasters
-All Fypon Gable Vents and Front Gable Vent
-Pre Finished Hardi panel on the vaulted ceilings, exterior where the porch leaves the brick veneer structure as well as on front gable
-primed hardi panel on the walls to be painted and battens
-The job will require 9 - 14" Fiberglass Split Round Columns finished smooth

-HVAC is a high end 3 ton Carrier Heat Pump using the Infinity Thermostat w/ ductwork to be ran from the basement through the floor and then exposed spiral overhead painted white to blend in with the ceiling and will run 12'

-Electrical will have a new 200 amp service, and run the swimspa, 3 ceiling fans, bathroom light, all receptacles to be GFI and many others

-Plumbing is for the entire bathroom, water heater, 2 hose bibs, as well as many other things involved

Im sure there are many things I didnt mention here that are also included.

So I meet with her on a wednesday.....on friday I get an email asking me if I can have the entire estimate ready the following friday???

So I will do my best. I get an extension to the following wednesday. So I pick subcontractors that I know will get the job done right to bid the projects plumbing, hvac, and electrical.

I meet with her and here is a break down of what I came up with:

Materials: 59,261.60 $
Labor: 27,316.14 $
Sub-Contract Work: 25,798.40 $
with a total of 112,376.14 $

She tells me that she had 3 other estimates and that she didnt give anyone else a second chance and that they came in between 85k - 95k

She tells me since they are much bigger companies I should be able to come in around 75k....all the while her father was a home builder until he passed away.

She keeps throwing a magazine article in my face as to how it will be featured in a magazine when finished and that will be free advertising for me with high end clientele. She also tells me she has a lot of other work she wants done as well.

She went through and told me where I should be able to cut costs....like make pella give you the absolute lowest prices and also that I needed to get my materials down to 50k, and my sub work to 14k and my labor to around 20k.

So I just let her talk and dont try to tell her it isnt rational. My father and I do all the carpentry and framing most of the time to ensure quality!

I decided to try and price subbing everything. Well even after re-calling in the week i was given to re-estimate the job. Here I am up @ 3am getting things together before my noon appt.

I have gotten 4 estimates on everything and every single company is pretty close together and I called each company to tell them how they faired and some lowered their prices by a few hundred $$ but not by thousands!!

So here are my new figures after 1 week of trying to re estimate

Material: 55,206.70
Labor: 23,605.58
Sub Work 24,710
Total being 103,522.28

Clearly it isnt 20k lower.
I dont see how in any way possible it could be. I have hounded material suppliers that I buy from for the best possible prices to try to help with the job, but i just havent had any luck.

Today I finally told myself I am not going to let someone haggle me out of everything I have worked for just to do their job. I have a family to feed and business to run and I cant work for free.

What do you guys think? Does it sound like she is just trying to get me to drop my prices? She is always asking me how early I would be able to start....but never saying she can have the other companies start right away. When she talks to me its always...how soon can your plumbers connect everything to city water....or how long do you think it will take you to get the permit?? Its always how long do you think it will take YOU!?!?!?!?

Does this sound like she is trying to get the best of me?

I am young and she seems to have alot of money, so maybe she is trying to push me around?? I dont know, its my first time really dealing with someone that wants to spend 100k on a building the size of garages I build for 30k.

Hope to hear from you guys. I would post the plans but the file is 10 megs.
 

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Banned
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846 Posts
At your meeting give her the original estimate for $112,376.14.

"Ma'am, this is my price for the project. If you do not currently have the means to do this work I will be happy to go over the proposal. Perhaps we can reduce the scope of work to fit your budget. Other than that there isn't much I can do. My prices are firm."

If she's going to be a PITA make it worth your while to work for her. Here's what's going to happen if you lower your prices. You gave her an inch, now she wants a mile. It'll start small, an extra little thing to do on your way out the door, change a color, stuff like that. Pretty soon you'll be coming home everyday mad as hell. Your marriage will suffer and you'll be hating life.
 

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Custom Stuff
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867 Posts
Yes, she is trying to get you to lower your prices. Happens all the time when you don't ascertain the client's budget constraints ahead of time. Most have no clue what something costs until they get a proposal like yours. Others DO know but now days think all contractors are starving and will do anything for work.

I cut my prices all the time when I just cannot get a client to tell me their budget, especially when they have no clue. It goes something like this:

"Your proposal came in a bit higher than we (thought, can afford, want to pay) and we really like your work and the others were more in line with our thinking so can if you can get your price down, we really want to go with you."

"Ok, I am at $80K, you want to be at $65K. Let's look at the Scope of Work and see what we can eliminate or reduce to get the price down to the level you are comfortable with."

That approach is successful more often than not IF you have sold the client on the value of your service. They will be more than willing to work things so that a lower price can be realized. If not, then so long.
 

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Registered
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498 Posts
I tell you what Turnkey. Me and some of the guys will give her a proposal for $125,000 +. That will make your quote look sweet!!!!:thumbsup:
 

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Seriously, it is not worth it. Give her the lump sum price. Do not break it down. Politely tell her it is what it is. If the others can do it that cheap let them. Either you will be taking their place or you will start getting the work that they would have had because the are no longer in business.
 

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Designing YourImagination
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265 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
At your meeting give her the original estimate for $112,376.14.

"Ma'am, this is my price for the project. If you do not currently have the means to do this work I will be happy to go over the proposal. Perhaps we can reduce the scope of work to fit your budget. Other than that there isn't much I can do. My prices are firm."

If she's going to be a PITA make it worth your while to work for her. Here's what's going to happen if you lower your prices. You gave her an inch, now she wants a mile. It'll start small, an extra little thing to do on your way out the door, change a color, stuff like that. Pretty soon you'll be coming home everyday mad as hell. Your marriage will suffer and you'll be hating life.
This is exactly what I have come to realize the past few days. Its not worth doing a job, if im not going to be happy. Regardless of who they are. I normally try to co-operate and work with everyone, but I have been in the give an inch take a mile deal once before and it ended up in not getting paid for all the work I had done.
 

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Pompass Ass
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2,090 Posts
Give her your bid and if she doesn't like it, she can hire someone else.

Why would you even consider working for a client who wants you to lose money on a job?:eek:
 

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Designing YourImagination
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265 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Yes, she is trying to get you to lower your prices. Happens all the time when you don't ascertain the client's budget constraints ahead of time. Most have no clue what something costs until they get a proposal like yours. Others DO know but now days think all contractors are starving and will do anything for work.

I cut my prices all the time when I just cannot get a client to tell me their budget, especially when they have no clue. It goes something like this:

"Your proposal came in a bit higher than we (thought, can afford, want to pay) and we really like your work and the others were more in line with our thinking so can if you can get your price down, we really want to go with you."

"Ok, I am at $80K, you want to be at $65K. Let's look at the Scope of Work and see what we can eliminate or reduce to get the price down to the level you are comfortable with."

That approach is successful more often than not IF you have sold the client on the value of your service. They will be more than willing to work things so that a lower price can be realized. If not, then so long.

I tried to tell her that the materials were very expensive and that is the reason that the quote is so high. After running the materials through 4 different sources, as well as speaking to a few company reps, there is no way anyone can get the products that I am buying another 10k cheaper. I dont mind lowering the price, but in another aspect:

If I was to lower the price by using a different brand of materials other than what the plans call for or using cheaper building practices from that, that differ from the architectural drawings.....when I install that trim that isnt Fypon she can come back and say....this is not what was on the plans and I am not paying for it.

My work is how she was referred to me and the previous person told her I wasnt the cheapest. So as far as trying to cut out to someone elses figures.....I believe I am going to pass.

A remodeling job that is more labor than materials is one thing, but a job that is 75% materials no way!
 

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Designing YourImagination
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265 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
I tell you what Turnkey. Me and some of the guys will give her a proposal for $125,000 +. That will make your quote look sweet!!!!:thumbsup:
:clap::clap::clap::clap:
That would be great lol.....when can you submit hehe
:thumbup::thumbup::thumbup:
 

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Designing YourImagination
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265 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
You got to know when to hold, know when to fold, know when to walk way, know when to run.

She's lying, hold at your original price:thumbsup:
You wont believe it, but right before we went to bed and I was putting my stuff up this song came on the radio!! It left me thinking all night in my sleep!

.....maybe she is bull****ing me and doesnt have any other quotes, maybe she is just telling me what she wants to pay for everything, or what someone else has told them they have in it minus overhead.

......im not working on a 100k job for labor only!!
Thanks for posting !!!!!! :thumbup::thumbup:
 

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Designing YourImagination
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265 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Lets see - you can simply say what I heard from another contractor "sure we can build it that cheap but you won't like it"

There is some good advice above - your price is your price

Thanks! I agree...to get cheap...you have to cut somewhere else....not worth ruining my name to satisfy 1 person.

I have kids that need to grow up and not have to worry about daddy having a job, because some dang customer, thought they could drive me in the ground.
 

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Designing YourImagination
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265 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Give her your bid and if she doesn't like it, she can hire someone else.

Why would you even consider working for a client who wants you to lose money on a job?:eek:
....and the funny thing is, she kept saying...."I know you have a family to feed and bills to pay....so I dont want you to cut your Labor, but I want to see the Material and Subcontractors drop by 25percent" - HAHA:laughing::laughing:

Sure I can cut out my overhead and drop 8k, but then I virtually work solely for my labor....as I put it to one person, what happens if I drop that set of Pella 3k$ doors and it tears it up
......if I have cut out my overhead who is going to pay for that new set?

Im sticking with my original bid!
 

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Premium Member
Retired deck builder
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5,326 Posts
My golden rule for selling is, never lower the original price.

The promises of being in a magazine & more work is just BS, you know it, I know it & so does everyone else including her.
 

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Designing YourImagination
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265 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
My golden rule for selling is, never lower the original price.

The promises of being in a magazine & more work is just BS, you know it, I know it & so does everyone else including her.
The promises of being in a magazine & more work is just BS, you know it, I know it & so does everyone else including her.

Thanks for re-assuring me others think the same way!
 

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Custom Stuff
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867 Posts
I'd be careful if you stick with your original bid. You said material costs were 75%? You haven't priced this job right if that is the case.

Correct me if I am wrong, but unless you have included OH&P in the numbers below, where are you making any money?

Materials: 59,261.60 $
Labor: 27,316.14 $
Sub-Contract Work: 25,798.40 $
with a total of 112,376.14 $


If those are unloaded numbers, then my bid would look like this:

Materials: 59,261.60
Labor: 27,316.14
Sub-Contract work: 25,798.40
OH&P: 50,569.26
Total: 162,945.40

When you have a client who wants to see material and sub-contractors drop by 25%, that is someone who is reading some advocate's blog on how to get a better deal from contractors. How to be a GC, blah, blah, blah. No, I would never substitute inferior or lesser quality materials in lieu of specifications. Change the specs.

Bottom line is: she wants your work at someone else's prices. Change the scope and she gets your work at a lower total cost.
 

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Designing YourImagination
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265 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
I'd be careful if you stick with your original bid. You said material costs were 75%? You haven't priced this job right if that is the case.

Correct me if I am wrong, but unless you have included OH&P in the numbers below, where are you making any money?

Materials: 59,261.60 $
Labor: 27,316.14 $
Sub-Contract Work: 25,798.40 $
with a total of 112,376.14 $


If those are unloaded numbers, then my bid would look like this:

Materials: 59,261.60
Labor: 27,316.14
Sub-Contract work: 25,798.40
OH&P: 50,569.26
Total: 162,945.40

When you have a client who wants to see material and sub-contractors drop by 25%, that is someone who is reading some advocate's blog on how to get a better deal from contractors. How to be a GC, blah, blah, blah. No, I would never substitute inferior or lesser quality materials in lieu of specifications. Change the specs.

Bottom line is: she wants your work at someone else's prices. Change the scope and she gets your work at a lower total cost.

The numbers that are above I did include my 10%. I have tried to show OH&P seperate before and was questioned to no end as to what it covers.....I got tired of explaining. So as far as the original estimate and final #'s they include 10% for overhead and profit. Sorry about that....i didnt really figure it up that they were @ 75%, was using the term a little sarcastically as to how much material is figured.
 

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Designing YourImagination
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265 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
If that is true, then why is she giving you a second chance? You're $37K high.
Because supposedly the reason is that I am a remodeling contractor and not a custom home builder, as who the people are that bid on the project....she wants to work with someone she can refer remodeling business to from her professional staging company. who knows more BS in my book.
 
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