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Discussion Starter #1
The last 3 jobs I quoted and scheduled all involved homeowners who either tried to hold me to somebody else's bid, or just out right asked me either to do the job for less or if I could do the job for less.

How do I get more of these customers? I have a feeling I am creating these scenarios but I'm not positive, if I am I certainly what to keep it up.
 

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seems to be the same here like everyone is monte hall or something .
ive been saying thats my price fot the quality of work i do if you feel the need to go with a cheaper price feel free and have a good day :D
 

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I have found that by avoiding estimates now I am shooting myself in the foot for the fall. I have found that most of my fall sales are spring estimates. Very few new leads come in at fall time but yet it is still my businest time of the year. Go figure.
 

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funny thing is that a few weeks or so later in the year i can expect to get more calls to redo some of these cheaper bids work at a slightly icreased price than they could have gotten if i would of done it in the first place due to the increased work to repair
i find it silly more than anything
 

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mikesewell said:
Let your competition take the beating for a while. They'll get themselves all snarled up with these cheapskates, and won't be able to bid soon because they'll be too busy. Then you can get yourself some good jobs.
What did I miss in Mike's post?! I didn't read anything that lead me to believe that his competition was cheap or the jobs weren't 'good jobs'. In fact, he asked "How do I get more of these customers?".

Mike, I think a customer that's willing to put cards on the table is great. Lot's of places you can go from there. Beats the hell out'a fishing around trying to make heads or tails out of reluctantly offered comments.

Right now, in my market, availability is the key to getting work and there's more $$ communication between contractors and their potential clients than I've ever seen. Also, between 1987 and 2003 I became aware of maybe (2) contractors in my line of work that had contracts terminated for non-performance - failing to keep up with the schedule. This year I've fielded (3) inquiries from GC's in the process of terminating contracts for that reason.

I think, much to the major media's contrary representations, the economy is going gang-busters. Sounds like you're positioning yourself right where you need to be in order to pick-and-choose the jobs as you like.
 

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Mike Finley said:
The last 3 jobs I quoted and scheduled all involved homeowners who either tried to hold me to somebody else's bid, or just out right asked me either to do the job for less or if I could do the job for less.

How do I get more of these customers? I have a feeling I am creating these scenarios but I'm not positive, if I am I certainly what to keep it up.
Hey Mike,

Why do you suspect that you are encouraging this? I want to make sure Im not doing the same thing without relizing it.

It’s the damn “Wall-Mart” mentality and the Doctors and Lawyers sure have it down to an art form……

Thanks

Best of luck

Jesse R. Kirchhoff
Kirchhoff Handyman Solutions LLC
“Making Your Life A Lot Less Complicated”
www.midmohandyman.com

Advanced Power Washing and Restoration Services LLC
Professional Products ~ Professional Service ~ Professional Results
www.advancedpw.com
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hey, don't get me wrong here, I'm not complaining. All 3 of these customers who were asking about discounts or bid comparisons are all now sold jobs with deposits and in the schedule, not looky-lues, and just so there is no confusion they were sold at full price.

I don't have anything against a customer who is doing what these are doing, they are stone cold buyers, once they ask about discounts or such they are all but hooked and just waiting to be landed. :Thumbs:
 

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yes pipeguy after taking a second look at the post it does seem that he is liking this sanerio and putting in the terms you are it would be a very sweet set up when customers set the bids out basicly beggging you to do their work but only if you can really do it for the price and come out ahead
also gives you a chance to see what the local market is bringing in and how much the market is being flooded with the trunk slammers

but to the defense of the other hand with all the diy shows and the such and the wonders of editing people are educated in a strange way of home improvements across the board thinking its just that easy and we are way over paid
and in the end i find that after seeing the old new fixture laying in abox in the corner in peices and a new fixture still unwraped sitting on the counter or the home owner who shakes :eek: even turning the light switch on after tackling some of these project many prefer to leave it to the pros to what it should be

sorry to go off topic dont know where that came from :rolleyes:
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Jesse Kirchhoff said:
Hey Mike,

Why do you suspect that you are encouraging this? I want to make sure Im not doing the same thing without relizing it.
Jesse,

After thinking about it I think it has something to do with my just becoming better at selling a little bit now.

I been a sales machine in the past but am new to construction selling and it has (blush) taken awhile to get back into the swing of things. I recently started working my sales a bit harder, just by some small changes and adjustments.

The one thing that might be doing this is I might be pushing them to do more than just say, "okay, thanks we will let you know".

I'm now after going over the quote and really pointing out the details (remember my posting about educating the customer too much?), and all the little intricacies and anything I can think of that helps show them I know what the hell I'm doing and not just going to slam something in and move one. After I present the quote I go right to asking them "I have the week of the 30th available does that work for you?" - this simple new question is seeming to bring some of these responses where they get into the price issue and discuss it instead of just saying "we will let you know"

I also have been adding in a few lines such as "I'll tell you what, when it comes to construction it has never been so true as now that you get what you pay for."

Or if the talk about price I say something like "Be careful, you just might end up getting what you are paying for." which always leads to a nice discussion about how few homeowners really ever end up paying too much for something when it comes to construction, but lots of homeowners end up paying too little and end up paying for the work twice.

Anyways, stuff like that.
 

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Mike Finley said:
How do I get more of these customers? I have a feeling I am creating these scenarios but I'm not positive, if I am I certainly what to keep it up.
Mike, here's what influences me to open up and 'work with' a HI contractor:
1. Humble, professional, attitude.
2. Perceived technical knowledge and skills
3. Perceived ability to execute tasks

I won't hire the guy that:
1. Doesn't seem to 'need' the work (this is an attitude issue, not a price issue)
2. Repeatedly tells me how long he's been doing the work
3. Can't tell me, within a three week window, when he would finish the job based on an immediate acceptance of the quote
4. Won't honor a quote for 30 days

I've met many contractors that bristle at the concept of humility (if they even know the word). Being 'self-made' men they take great pride in their ability to take-or-leave any given job at their leisure. Many wear that pride like a medal. When I say I look for humility, I'm not talking about a contractor that offers himself up as a doormat or allows customers to assert inappropriate control or influence over the work. I am talking about looking for the guy that respects the appropriate relationship between the payer and the payee. A guy like that is a shoe-in with me and I am happy to be transparent to him with information he might find useful.
 

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Quote from the short time that I was in the car business; Buyers are liars.
This really doesn't faze me due to my business, I don't even think about competing. Want the best? Here it is and this is what it is going to cost, end of subject. Want to nitpick? Here are some other contractors names.
I jusk walked away from a $30K job today because I saw that the wife was going to be a PITA. She was wearing the pants and the guy just shook his head as I left. Driving out of the development, I was speed-dialing all of my buddies and passing the word. Hope she likes soup kitchen guys.
 

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Teetorbilt said:
...I don't even think about competing. Want the best? Here it is and this is what it is going to cost, end of subject.
Yeah! What he said! :Thumbs:
 

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I can just see Teetor, one finger pointed out, going up and down, standing at the car lot, wearing a chicken outfit..........." if you want the best.....":cheesygri

Sorry Teetor, my smartass side coming out again.

Bob
 

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Bob, They start you out on the 'point' which is out on the lot, usually the farthest place from the showroom and out in the heat. No problem! Born and raised in that briar patch.
My current wife was in the biz before me and advised me about used cars=more money, so I zeroed in on those.
There was only me and one other that 'se habla espanol'. They fired her for taking too many sales and didn't know that I spoke Cuban. I got away with that for a couple of months and then they let me go.
Imagine a business where they cut loose their 2 top sales producers. The idea defeats me to this day.
PS I still have some nifty clothes that I would like to get rid of. Anybody 6'2" and athletically built? Good stuff, Brooks Brothers, Polo, Dockers and Boca. French cuffs and all of the extras. I'll even throw in a few pairs of cufflinks.
Also have a few tuxes that I'll practically give away.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
PipeGuy said:
Mike, here's what influences me to open up and 'work with' a HI contractor:
1. Humble, professional, attitude.
2. Perceived technical knowledge and skills
3. Perceived ability to execute tasks

I won't hire the guy that:
1. Doesn't seem to 'need' the work (this is an attitude issue, not a price issue)
2. Repeatedly tells me how long he's been doing the work
3. Can't tell me, within a three week window, when he would finish the job based on an immediate acceptance of the quote
4. Won't honor a quote for 30 days

I've met many contractors that bristle at the concept of humility (if they even know the word). Being 'self-made' men they take great pride in their ability to take-or-leave any given job at their leisure. Many wear that pride like a medal. When I say I look for humility, I'm not talking about a contractor that offers himself up as a doormat or allows customers to assert inappropriate control or influence over the work. I am talking about looking for the guy that respects the appropriate relationship between the payer and the payee. A guy like that is a shoe-in with me and I am happy to be transparent to him with information he might find useful.
That should be the first page in a book called how to be successful in the home improvement business. Being a 'real' person goes a long, loooooooooooooooooooooooooooong way in being successful at sales. I believe many, many contractors shoot themselves in the foot with their attitude. If you are truly great you don't need to beat people over the head with it, as they will figure it out pretty quickly on their own if you truly are.

I never wanted a tatoo but if I do get one, I might tatoo your post on my forearm so I can read it everytime I go meet a customer. :cheesygri
 

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The Other Side Of The Table

I come at this from the other side of the table. I am not a contractor, I do the DIY thing until I see a project that I know will strech my abilities too far and then I turn it over to you guys. Examples of that are putting in a new tub, doing bathroom tile floors, any in-wall plumbing, and ANY work with natural gas.

I of course want the best deal I can get, but I want quality work done right the first time so am willing to pay a little more to get it.

Here are the best ways to get ushered out or have the phonecall terminated:

1) Lie to me about anything even once. - I have cancelled for this before and would again.

2) Refuse to provide me with written proof of the following: Contractors Licence, Liability Insurance, personal insurance, and workman's comp. all up to date. - I have refused warranty covered contract for this

3) Refuse to take the time to answer all of my questions thoroughly. And I WILL ask lots of questions. If I ask it - it is fair game, I want to be over-educated so I can make the right choices.

4) If I get ANY sense that you are likely to burglarize my property or in any way be disrespectful / ungentlemanly to my family, particularly the women-folk ;) (we know what I am talking bout here.) This is OUR home, leave the stares, catcalls, and bullcrap at the downtown bar.

You'll lose points for:
- talking down to me
- treating me as if I am playing a game (sorry Tetor, not all buyers are liars :)
- refusing to give me choices or educate me on WHY you refuse to use any other materials or practices that I may be curous about
- being manipulative / hard selling: "Here's the estimate, I have next week free will that work for you?" instead of "Here's the estimate, IF YOU LIKE WHAT YOU SEE I am free next week..."
- looking generally slimy
- being unable to adequately converse on a semi-educated level in my native language
- refusing to take 'I'll call you back when we decide' for an answer.

The stuff above is all pretty negative, on the other hand there are positives that will get you big points:

A) The inverse of all the above - be ready with proof of insurance etc, explain things to me in detail, tell the truth, be respectful, etc In short be professional, know your stuff, and be wiling to work with me.

B) Give me alternatives and explain positive and negative attributes in general or in specific about those alternatives.

C) Give me a fair and competative bid. Expalin why it may be higher or lower than others if you want to.

D) If I perceive you understand what it is I am trying to accomplish and are honest and direct about what you think of my latest dumb idea and whether or not you can honestly accomplish it you get big points.

E) Overt willingness to let me call a number of your customers. For a big job I'll want to call several. If I get a sense they are shills however you are screwed.

F) If I get the sense that you truly know wth you are doing and can do it better than myself (likely if I called you) and the others contractors I am speaking with, you'll be much more likely get the contract.

G) Detail oriented and willing to put the time in to do it right. My house is not to be your slap together job for bucks. If I get a sense you are detail oriented (one of the guys here mentioned making sure all the screws on theswitchplates were vertical - extreme but wow if he does that for the little stuff, he must do pretty nicely on the big stuff) and that you are willing to put the time in to do it truly right, even if its a bit more money, you'll be the one swinging the hammer.

Minor points that make me thing you are worthy of my consideration and hard earned money include:

- returning phonecalls in a timely manner
- being on time for the 'interview'
- having a truly friendly and helpful disposition
- having a decent website helps my initial impression like a yellow pages ad. It won't sell you but it makes it easier for me and other geek-like-creatures to find you. It also can answer many of my questions before I ever call.
- allowing me to put reasonable additions that protect me into the contract
- honoring your quote for several weeks, I will not deal with 'price is good for today only' people.
- respecting my property - did you walk on the lawn when you came to the door? Did you sit in our (albeit they are busted up) kitchn chairs with greasy pants? Did you wipe your grimy boots off before entering even though our front tile is old and ugly? You just got lots more points.
- If I ever called on you before and you did not get the contract and you still are decent you get points.
- You can tell me I get what I pay for, but you better show me how or it will ring hollow and salesey. (I do not mind you talking about the competition)

Upon completion, if you have done a good job, you will gain a LOT of greatful support from me. I am the type that will seek out the manager even in a fast food joint if I have gotten exemplary service. How much moreso I am with good contractors. As an example, our home inspector was hands down flat out fantastic. I have even called him once since the inspection to ask about an improvement we were doing and knowing he didn't have a dime to gain from it was very willing to give a detailed opinion. He gets tremendous word of mouth advertising when the topic comes up by friends or neighbors.

While the big things will result in a veto, the little things do stand out....
Be honest, be direct, be respectful and helpful and you really do stand a better chance than the next guy.

Buyer from hell? Maybe, but remember, this is my life savings and a place I spend a tremendous amount of my time. I do want it my way and I do want it done right. As a contractor, you are working on our biggest investment, the place we spend all of our holidays, the place where we raise our kids, and a bunch of other emotional hogwash. It's sticks and mud to you, to us its HOME. If we understand that YOU want it done right, safely, and attractively like we do, we will feel more accepting of your bid than your competitor's.

Charles
 
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