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When getting a call to bid a remodel and you go and visit the home owner to see what work he would like to have done, which way do you approach it?

1. Do you do the estimate on the spot and use your experience to guesstimate the job, no matter if it is not totally accurate. Than, hand him a written proposal on the spot and get him to sign a contract?

2. Or do you take your information that you have gathered back to the office and make the appropriate calls/research and create an accurate proposal, and fax or email it to the home owner?

Which way works best for you? The accurate slow proposal or the fast semi-accurate proposal?
 

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Depends on how I react to the customer. If I get good vibs, I take it home and crunch numbers. If bad vibes, I jot an ungodly number down and give it to him on the spot.;)
 

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I'm no salesman so trying to sell on the spot has never and will never be my cup of tea. I gather all related information and then i put together a much more accurate, but not 100% speced estimate so we're both on the same page as to what the job entails and will cost. If they decided to go with us, then we set up a second meeting to pick out materials, colors, textures, etc....to finalize the exact scope to be performed and from that i will nail down the contract price.

IMO, without being a strong salesman, trying to bid a remodel off the hip and try to sign on the spot is too hard to do. I know some guys can sell a standard $8-10K bath remodel on the spot, but i cant:(:laughing:
 

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Project Manager HFH..
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2.

Although I have done what Cdat said once or twice.
 

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Interior Renovations
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I dont give estimates right on the spot. Even if I know a ballpark figure I always like to double check the material costs and since my workforce is just me and a few freelance carpenters I use, I always have to see who is available because some get paid more than others... But there are times when the homeowner has all of the materials already and I just give them a day rate and do the work solo. Not my favorite way but its better than nothing these days.
 

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DavidC
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If its a job you want its very important to discover the budget. We can give an on the spot estimate for most projects by opening a book. But the real purpose is to guage the customer reaction, find out if we are in the same park or not. If this goes well....

Then its back to the office with notes, measures and photos to prepare a very detailed proposal which attaches to our contract. But no email, fax or phone calls. The proposal is delivered in person and reviewed word by word. Sales are best made face to face in my book.

Good Luck
Dave
 

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I go back to the office to do a number 2. Then I fax him a copy of it.

(2 scotches in the tank.)
Damn brother! Nice of you to fax a shot of your dump to the customer (I mean who wouldn't like that?), but do they then ask you if you are sending the estimate later? :laughing:
 

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I very rarely give a guesstimate off hand.
Those have a nasty way of coming back to bite you in the... oh well you get it.
I once tried to give a two minute bid and missed 2 bedrooms and a bath in the attic. (thought those dormers on the elevation were fake)OOPS
 

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Pompass Ass
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When getting a call to bid a remodel and you go and visit the home owner to see what work he would like to have done, which way do you approach it?

1. Do you do the estimate on the spot and use your experience to guesstimate the job, no matter if it is not totally accurate. Than, hand him a written proposal on the spot and get him to sign a contract?

2. Or do you take your information that you have gathered back to the office and make the appropriate calls/research and create an accurate proposal, and fax or email it to the home owner?

Which way works best for you? The accurate slow proposal or the fast semi-accurate proposal?
Depends on the job, some I can quote off the top of my head, others that are going to take awhile to bid, i will go over a general scope of work and give them a ballpark, the reason I do this is so I can find out if they are serious.

A few months ago, I went on a kitchen remodel for a clients employee, I went over the scope of work, told hem a ballpark of about $45,000, they said they thought it could be done for $5,000, I explained to them just the demo, new ductwork, and drywall would cost me over $5,000.

She ended up getting some unlicensed guy to do the work for her, I am not sure how it turned out, I can guarantee it is not the same scope of work I was talking about and no permits will be pulled or inspections will be done.
 

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It's Not a Toomaa!!
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I always seem to think it is going to be less time and materials than it actually is when I'm just beginning the process of figuring out a job. I usually talk to a homeowner for all of 15 minutes about the actual project and then I engage them in conversation having absolutely nothing to do w/ the job. I have found that most homeowners are concerned about the character of the person that will be in there home for days at a time w/ no real supervision.

Yeah I give them a ballpark w/ a wide range in it. I also explain that I am licensed and insured. I'm a professional w/ a pretty impressive list of recommendations and references. I tell them I can provide pictures and references, but honestly they rarely ask for them. I tell them that 80% of my business is referrals and repeat customers (which is the truth) and that I am pretty busy for at least the next month (also the truth). I try to make them feel that it will be THEIR privilege to have me do the work for them.

I tell them when I will get back to them w/ a written proposal and I make sure it gets to them on that day. After I send it in, I call to make sure they got it O.K. I then give them about 3 to 4 days and follow up with another phone call. Honestly in the last few months I've landed about 90% of the jobs on a cold call and 100% of the referral work. I'm honest and fair and I try to make sure that I always give them a little extra at no additional cost. I point out the extra to them almost as an afterthought. Since I've started to make a concerted effort to find the small extra to give them, my referral rate has gone way up. I could just be a coincidence, but I like to think its part of a plan coming together.

When I am finished I also always ask what the other bids came in at. I have found that lately I am not the lowest bidder nor the highest, but when asked why they chose me the response is usually confidence that the project will be done right because I earnestly care.

You gotta sell it!! Don't feel the need to rush your proposal, unless we're talking about less than $500 worth of work.

Later,

Josh
 

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Structural Engineer
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I all seriousness, I get pressured a lot to provide a number there on spot, particularly in certain plan rooms here in the NY NJ area. I can say with certainty that in the last 10 years, I have never given a number there on the spot. I recently started telling certain long standing customers "Eh, figure a week of labor, maybe 4 grand in material, I need to rent a crane so add $1000 to that, so call it $X, but don't hold me to it until I can confirm some prices." I started doing that because we've been really getting hammered with tire kickers, and I need to get quotes out the door any way I can. But the only thing I see it doing is giving the client that internal gate, where they say "really? ok get me something in writing by Tuesday so I can get approval", or "mmm, hold off, don't go crazy getting me a firm number, I have to pitch that to management first."

I honestly think the tactic is helpful in the situation where the folks are wringing their hands wondering if they can afford it - but only if you ball park it accurately. It'll bite you square in the behind if you're not accurate and don't follow up quickly with a firm number. Also we don't run into the type of customer that says "you charge HOW much an hour? That's more than I make." I can see the tactic being a pretty decent filter for those types. Why go crazy getting them accurate numbers back at the office if you can determine there on the spot the level of their interest by how low their jaw hangs. Again, though, only if you know your stuff and you can properly ball park it. Also, this conversation has to be performed while you wear your salesman hat, not your foreman's hat, framer's hat, etc.
 

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Service & Repairs
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I'm new to estimating jobs so it's a work in progress for me but I'm getting desperate to start landing some jobs. Today I looked at a job 20 miles from where I live and operate from and I did the estimate on the spot and handed it to the customer 45 minutes later.

1. 200 amp upgrade, all copper conductors, ground and bond to code, Square D QO main breaker panel and circuit breakers. $1800
2. 2 new 20 amp homeruns and receptacles in the garage. $200
3. Remove and replace existing ceiling fan in the kitchen. $75
4. Cut-in, wire, and install new ceiling fan in master bedroom and use existing switch location. $300

All permits and inspection fees included.

Total: $2375.00

If I don't get this job I don't know what I'm going to do. If I do it for less than that I'm spinning my wheels.
 

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ampman
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783 Posts
I'm new to estimating jobs so it's a work in progress for me but I'm getting desperate to start landing some jobs. Today I looked at a job 20 miles from where I live and operate from and I did the estimate on the spot and handed it to the customer 45 minutes later.

1. 200 amp upgrade, all copper conductors, ground and bond to code, Square D QO main breaker panel and circuit breakers. $1800
2. 2 new 20 amp homeruns and receptacles in the garage. $200
3. Remove and replace existing ceiling fan in the kitchen. $75
4. Cut-in, wire, and install new ceiling fan in master bedroom and use existing switch location. $300

All permits and inspection fees included.

Total: $2375.00

If I don't get this job I don't know what I'm going to do. If I do it for less than that I'm spinning my wheels.
right now times are really bad just hang in there and when things turn around you will be on top
 

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Service & Repairs
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right now times are really bad just hang in there and when things turn around you will be on top
It's been tough these first couple of weeks finding my way. Couple the fact that I am new in business with the crappy economy that I think is getting better by the way, and I just don't know what the future holds. I know I'm a damn good electrician that does nice work and I'm not going to give away for free.
 

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Pompass Ass
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2,090 Posts
I'm new to estimating jobs so it's a work in progress for me but I'm getting desperate to start landing some jobs. Today I looked at a job 20 miles from where I live and operate from and I did the estimate on the spot and handed it to the customer 45 minutes later.

1. 200 amp upgrade, all copper conductors, ground and bond to code, Square D QO main breaker panel and circuit breakers. $1800
2. 2 new 20 amp homeruns and receptacles in the garage. $200
3. Remove and replace existing ceiling fan in the kitchen. $75
4. Cut-in, wire, and install new ceiling fan in master bedroom and use existing switch location. $300

All permits and inspection fees included.

Total: $2375.00

If I don't get this job I don't know what I'm going to do. If I do it for less than that I'm spinning my wheels.

I hope they signed up, it looks like you gave the job away.
 

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Fentoozler
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5,623 Posts
I'm new to estimating jobs so it's a work in progress for me but I'm getting desperate to start landing some jobs. Today I looked at a job 20 miles from where I live and operate from and I did the estimate on the spot and handed it to the customer 45 minutes later.

1. 200 amp upgrade, all copper conductors, ground and bond to code, Square D QO main breaker panel and circuit breakers. $1800
2. 2 new 20 amp homeruns and receptacles in the garage. $200
3. Remove and replace existing ceiling fan in the kitchen. $75
4. Cut-in, wire, and install new ceiling fan in master bedroom and use existing switch location. $300

All permits and inspection fees included.

Total: $2375.00

If I don't get this job I don't know what I'm going to do. If I do it for less than that I'm spinning my wheels.

:eek:

Have I taught you NOTHING?????????

Did I ever send you the OH Service Spreadsheet?






[BTW....any profit on the service was lost on the CF swap out]
 

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Service & Repairs
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I hope they signed up, it looks like you gave the job away.
Tell me about it. The service looked pretty easy aside from water ground connection in a tight spot in crawl space. No one lives in the home one of the daughters will be paying for the work before her parents move in. I think I can do all of the work in one day, a long day but like I said no ones living in the house so if I'm there till midnight so be it.

Now would it be appropriate to call them if I don't hear from them by Monday?
 

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Service & Repairs
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:eek:

Have I taught you NOTHING?????????

Did I ever send you the OH Service Spreadsheet?






[BTW....any profit on the service was lost on the CF swap out]

Right now I am desperate to land any job. I made a whole $400 this week and did nothing for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Maybe I can make $200 tomorrow if I milk a T&M job. You have been instrumental and teaching me things I would never had known but desperate times call for desperate measures. I HAVE BILLS TO PAY AND CREDIT CARD COMPANIES UP MY ASS and I don't know what to tell them anymore. Somethings got to give. I took out an ad in a local newspaper that supposedly is distributed to over 100,000 people but that doesn't start until 7/29 and goes for a full 4 weeks.

Btw, how did I lose profit on the ceiling fan swap out?
 
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