Thanks, that's a very detailed explanation of the process you're going through.
I guess the thing that's still puzzling me is why a breakdown of labor and materials would hurt you. Is it because you've got a hefty markup on the materials compared to what you're paying? Is your labor rate high compared to others? If your final number is competitive in the end, and the final price of the materials is at or less than what the HO could get himself, I guess I don't see how it hurts to show the breakdown of labor + materials.
I actually go out of my way to show the HO if I can get an appliance for 15% less than they can. They seem to focus more joy on getting a screaming deal on a new stove than they do the labor portion of the quote.
First off, every customer is different, i do not think that one answer applies to every client. There are a # of reasons that breaking down pricing in terms of L and M would not be helpful with certain customers
#1, I want to discourage a HO from suppling mat on a job, they are more likely to consider that option if they see i am charging X, but they saw a special at HD for Y
#2, They calculate the time we spent on the job at the end, and foolishly assume that we made 150 per hr per man, and after this revelation, they want to renegotiate
#3 Explaining our markup, if you paid 250, why are you charging me 315? I dont feel like explaining damaged items, drive time, research etc....
I dont consider this approach unethical, or taking advantage of an uninformed client in any way, it' s just business, and it is the way business is done everyday, when you go out to dinner this weekend, ask the waiter for a breakdown on food costs, or ask the dentist "how much was that crown costing you". Sometimes you have to bend and provide the customer with a breakdown that they want, but my exp has shown me that it less likely to create difficulties, if they are willing to accept a job total, with a progresive payment schedule, GMOD