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30 year novice
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547 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking for ways, ideas and suggestions how to weed out tire kickers and the type that want to spend a nickel and get a bucks worth of work.

I have a fair number of repeat customers and get a lot of referrals but i'm always looking for new customers that will become repeats. I do good work, tons better then most and not many put out higher quality, so I do charge more then Joe the handy man or even your average painter. I'm legit, insured, bonded yadda yadda so I simply can't and won't compete with someone who does painting on the side. The way I look at it if you're looking for quality and know it costs a little more then call me. If you can't afford a quality job then that's fine too but I don't want to waste my time quoting something you can't afford, these are the people I want to weed out. Ideas?
 

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Super Moderator
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24,654 Posts
People that are serious about a project will have an idea of a realistic budget and an roughly what the job will entail.
 

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Charge a small fee to come look at it. 'Tire kickers' will run away fast. They always do for me. The ones that pay, will convert to a sale most of the time.
 

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Contractor of the Month
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26,075 Posts
Ask for their budget first. If they won't give you a number tell them to fvck off.
 

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823 Posts
Bill a nominal fee and cut it off of the final bid if they accept. I've billed $100 in the past on occasion, but even $25 will get rid of most mouth breathers.
 

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30 year novice
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547 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the input everyone. Billing a small fee for a quote along with a quick chat on the scope of the job is the direction I'm going to take. I've never heard of anyone in my area charging for a painting quote but it's worth a shot. Thanks again.
 

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Hair Splitter
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18,330 Posts
Ask for their budget first. If they won't give you a number tell them to fvck off.
Exactly!

OP your problem is qualifying. You need to qualify the lead right from the start. Ask questions that will weed out TK'ers.
 

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Hair Splitter
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18,330 Posts
Thanks for the input everyone. Billing a small fee for a quote along with a quick chat on the scope of the job is the direction I'm going to take. I've never heard of anyone in my area charging for a painting quote but it's worth a shot. Thanks again.
No need to charge for an estimate. I never have and don't have problems with TK'ers. I also have a qoute request form on my site. It wouldn't be wise to remove that. Giving customers easy ways to contact you is always a good idea. You just need to get better at qualifying.
 

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One of the busiest residential painters I know is old school and does it like this:

Shows up at appointment in his whites and painter's cap (end of day, or while crew is on a job, etc. ) He's a hard worker, so it's no act.
Patiently looks at the complete job, asks questions as necessary, but keeps it at a minimum. Listens patiently and intently.
At the end, while the customer waits, he does hit summation in a notebook right in front of them (this seems to surprise many folks).
Then he shows them his written total price for "everything" (he never lists paint cost separately). It is not a "quote" they get, just his notebook.
Even if the client does not yet commit, they will usually ask "when can you do it", and he pulls his pocket calendar out, opens it up, and goes through it with them and offers a start date. It works for him.
 

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Particulate Filter
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4,430 Posts
One of the busiest residential painters I know is old school and does it like this:

Shows up at appointment in his whites and painter's cap (end of day, or while crew is on a job, etc. ) He's a hard worker, so it's no act.
Patiently looks at the complete job, asks questions as necessary, but keeps it at a minimum. Listens patiently and intently.
At the end, while the customer waits, he does hit summation in a notebook right in front of them (this seems to surprise many folks).
Then he shows them his written total price for "everything" (he never lists paint cost separately). It is not a "quote" they get, just his notebook.
Even if the client does not yet commit, they will usually ask "when can you do it", and he pulls his pocket calendar out, opens it up, and goes through it with them and offers a start date. It works for him.
He may be busy because his prices are low. I generally find my numbers I come up with at home are higher than those I give off the cuff.
 

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Pro Painters
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38 Posts
I don't agree with asking a potential customer what their budget is. That sounds too much like "how much can you afford?". I think it's a turn-off to even the customers that can afford you. Their budget is really none of your business.

I think asking too many questions makes you sound lazy.

Many people don't have a clue what it costs to paint. That doesn't mean they aren't willing to pay it. Sometimes people just need to hire cheap, fly-by-night painters to understand why your price is higher.

Charging someone for an estimate is not going to work when every other competitor offers it for free. You might get a few referrals to pay it but good luck on that one.

I find people that ask more questions about the cost of the project rather than questions about the project itself or your company generally can't afford a good painter.

On another note though..
Sometimes it's obvious when you have a tire kicker on the other end of the phone but other times I've been dead wrong about my first impression from so many potential clients. If you try to weed people out on the phone with systematic questioning, you will lose great jobs.
 
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