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I'm green to the site, just wanted to ask for some input on scheduling work. I have a 100% referred customer base doing bath&kitchen remodels.I've been at it for about 6 years on my own, recently inc.'d w/ a trustworthy partner-ie, he has mucho capital, and brings as much work to the table as I do. We have been swamped with estimates, and ALL of our customers accept our bids as they recieve them. Some send a deposit check knowing we won't be there for 6 months. I get leery about holding that money, and even more uneasy about the fact that I may not make it to their project start even remotely on time. Anyone have any advice on how to prioritize customers for scheduling, or better yet-how to turn down the ones you can't fit in?
 

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plumbobsquarepa said:
I get leery about holding that money, and even more uneasy about the fact that I may not make it to their project start even remotely on time. Anyone have any advice on how to prioritize customers for scheduling, or better yet-how to turn down the ones you can't fit in?
If you can't, with some reasonable accuracy, tell a customer a specific date upon which you will start their job, you'd better only tell them "We'll start sometime after X and finish within X weeks of our start".
If it was me, I'd prioritize by the dates on the checks.
Turning down customers could go something like "At this time we couldn't start your job for AT LEAST 12 weeks. We chage X% of the total price for estimates on jobs that will be more than 8 weeks out from starting. The estimate charge will be applied towards your deposit should you accept our proposal. Would you like an estimate now or would you like to wait and see if a better scheduling slot opens up in the weeks ahead?"
As far a the money goes, if it was me, I'd have a seperate bank account for deposits, use it only for "lead items", and carefully track it's by job.
 

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Sounds to me like you're ready to hire more help.
Like Pipe said, all deposits should go into an escrow account, placing them in a general account is risky business.
 

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Raise your prices.

Our economy is a supply and demand based economy. Your business should be no different. The more in demand a product is the scacer the supply which causes the price to rise. One of the reasons the demand for your services has reached the level it has and is out pacing your ability to service it is because your services are under-priced. You are currently delivering much greater percieved value for the services you are offering than you have them priced at.

Unless you want to be the Walmart of remodelling which is following a low margin/high volume opperation, being a specialized service business your goal can be high margin/low volume.

Take a look at the portrait business to see the coorelation.

To get a portrait done there are all levels of rates.

Sears - high volume/low quality - $20.00 - $80.00
Kiddy Candids - high volume / mid quality - niche player - $50.00 -$200.00
Neighborhood portrait studio - mid volume / high quality - $400-$800
Celebrity - Pro photographer - super low volume / super high quality - creating individual art works with photography - $4000-$10,000

You guys have earned your reputation with 6 years of hard work and dedication to your customer base, you are in the enviable position now to start reaping the rewards. :Thumbs:
 

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All good advice..
Another thing to think about - if you walk into an interview with a client and you don't already know how booked you are or where your crews are working - there's a problem. I know remodeling can take longer than anticipated in most cases but that's a margin that should be accounted for in the scheduling of your crews. If you increase your workforce it's even more imperative to setup some type of manpower matrix to know where everyone is and how long to account for them being there. Bring that matrix with you to the interview - get the scope taken care of - and then select a crew most suited to do that work - find that crew on the matrix - we can start your project within 2 weeks of x/x/xx. If you've planned your work on every project and know what is expected you should be able to get pretty close to the actual date instead of a guess.
Then as far as who gets worked on first - you're basing that on the most qualified crews for that type of work. Maybe one crew has an excellent cabinet guy, and another a good tile guy.
Mike gave some excellent advice on costing also - you can take that to the bank. Often times you'll new home prices begin to increase - that's mostly due to the increased demand put on the builders. They are booked so the price increases because they need to realize a larger profit to continue to expand their business. i.e. hire new employees, more training, etc..etc. Same principles apply.
 

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I have a few suggestions. I know a few guys on this forum disagree with this one, but sub the work out to bring it in ontime. That's what I'd do without hesitation.

My other suggestion is to raise your prices. Sounds like you are too cheap if you've got all this work.

If you are taking deposites create a sub-account in your accounting software. I did that in my quickbooks and call it "deposite purgatory". Yes the money is in my bank account and shows on my bank statements but quickbooks doesn't see it as spendable money. This way if I ever have to return the deposite for any reason I won't have accidentially spent it.
 

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Where are you located? If your that busy I have a crew that can turn a average size kitchen over in 5 to 7 days including granite tops. Thats demo to trim out.
 

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We send counter drawings and sign a waiver that if doesn't work will our numbers we will eat the top. We have the top made and ready for install before demo begins. Its risky and you have to make dam sure of your #'s, but when you go to a customer and tell them you can do it in a week and everyone else is 3 weeks, well you can guess who gets the job. There are sceptics but with testimonels we get it done.
 

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Sounds like you need to up your prices. You should not be signing 100% of your bids. With a back log of over six months I would start by doubleing my prices and see what happens. Recieving 30% to 50% of your bids would help with scheduling and your bottom line would be greatly improved.

Jim Bunton
 

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plumbobsquarepa said:
I'm green to the site, just wanted to ask for some input on scheduling work. I have a 100% referred customer base doing bath&kitchen remodels.I've been at it for about 6 years on my own, recently inc.'d w/ a trustworthy partner-ie, he has mucho capital, and brings as much work to the table as I do. We have been swamped with estimates, and ALL of our customers accept our bids as they recieve them. Some send a deposit check knowing we won't be there for 6 months. I get leery about holding that money, and even more uneasy about the fact that I may not make it to their project start even remotely on time. Anyone have any advice on how to prioritize customers for scheduling, or better yet-how to turn down the ones you can't fit in?
Where are you located, and who handles your painting needs? :cheesygri
 

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paintr56 said:
Sounds like you need to up your prices. You should not be signing 100% of your bids. With a back log of over six months I would start by doubleing my prices and see what happens. Recieving 30% to 50% of your bids would help with scheduling and your bottom line would be greatly improved.

Jim Bunton
Agreed.
 
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