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View Full Version : Bid's to Bookings


Travisty
03-12-2006, 05:46 PM
I am curious on people's closing rates. I was wondering about how many bids per actual bookings most of you get. I have been in sales for most of my life, so it wouldn't seem that hard, but it's a high ticket item.
Thanks in advance
Travis
ShadowScapes

NightScenes
03-12-2006, 06:19 PM
Travis, I have an 85% close rate. I guess that's probably because I let them know that I don't give bids. There really is no way that a client can expect different designers to bid apples to apples. I believe that if this is explained at the start, the client understands. I then give my qualifications.

I give a free consultation but I charge a design fee if they want a price for the job. I explain that in order to come up with a price, the project has to be designed and that takes time. Time is money and I don't know any designers that don't charge for their time. If at this point, they pay the design fee, I'm pretty certain that they will hire me for the project. If they don't pay the design fee, their probably shopping price.

Pro-Scapes
03-12-2006, 06:34 PM
well put Paul. I don't have the credentials yet to be really bold( I will stand firm that we wont be designing for free. We will show them our portfolio and fixtures but I will be telling people we have an experienced designer ( we are outsourcing this at least for the time being). I am installing a few key location properties at far below what I would normally charge and asked for the following concessions


1) do not disclose the price you paid as it is a special rate and we cannot offer it to everyone.
2) you must allow us to place a sign in your yard (small sign much like an election sign) and place a small light on it for a period of at least 30 days.
3)If your happy with your lighting and anyone asks who did it be kind enough to pass on the referral to us.
4)do not let untrained people make repairs or adjust the fixtures. Call us and we will be happy to assist you.

Anything else ? The properties I am going to install are doctors who like to entertain and both just happen to live on semi busy street corners. Very noticable and BOTH next to or across from VERY crappy lighting jobs.

TheHotShotKid
03-12-2006, 06:34 PM
If you are closing 85% then you are either not telling the truth or working too cheap. 25% the people you meet will not be qualified no matter how well you think you've qualified them on the phone. 15% you wouldn't want to work for because they are PITA's. And the other 25% will fall under the miscellaneous reasons why you didn't close. 50% or so is a more reasonable expectation. 85 percent what a dreamer.:hammerhead:

NightScenes
03-12-2006, 06:49 PM
95% of my clients are referred to me from my existing clients!!! I guess you don't have that in your business because you don't get referrals!!! If the prospective client has already seen my work and has heard nothing but praise about me and my company, it is very easy to close a deal.

I am VERY proud of the fact that 100% of my clients are not only satisfied, but they are VERY HAPPY!!

I see why you won't divulge who you are what supposed company you have. You don't want to be embarrassed in front of everyone on this forum!! When you are proud, you show it and I don't see you showing anything that you should be proud of.

TheHotShotKid
03-12-2006, 06:55 PM
Guess that's why you are in this forum 24/7 because you are so busy installing lights and meeting with your 95% referrals

steveparrott
03-12-2006, 07:21 PM
In my discussions with installers I find quite a range in closing rates. I've heard that 25% is a green industry average, but there are numerous lighting companies out there that do close on nearly every presented customer.

A key factor is qualifying the prospect. Referrals make this easy - it's very difficult if you are mass marketing with post cards and the such. Also, if you're going after small jobs, then you will run into bargain hunters a lot.

The worst situation is when installers get desparate and try to outbid the competition by lowering their prices. They end up getting the worst jobs, taking jobs that are not profitable and destroying their reputations.

Broker
03-12-2006, 07:21 PM
I am familiar with Ohio, what part are you from? I believe that anyone that is down to earth and has a real desire to benefit from others take every word that Paul and Steve say as valuable. I have been reading your posts and I am trying to figure out what kind of person feels the need to come off as brash as you do. Along with being on a mission to post X amount of times a day and if people don't respond you just post again. All of us here should have something in common and should have a little bit of respect for everyone. You may have valuable input but until you change your attitude don't expect many to give your opinions much weight.

TheHotShotKid
03-12-2006, 07:33 PM
Maybe steve not paul. I know a fake when I see one. What does it matter what part of Ohio I'm from. You already said you don't care what I have to say. And frankly it's mutual. Put me on your ignore list. That's what everyone else should do if you're bothered by my opinion. I'll just post and respond to myself. I can learn alot that way.

klkanders
03-12-2006, 07:44 PM
Paul, Steve

Good stuff. Gives all us newbies some viable information on who we want as our customers.

Mike & Lucia
03-12-2006, 11:44 PM
Last year (2005) was my first full season strictly pursuing LL and not landscape design at all. I began with a bunch of mass marketing and ran around a lot. Pulled my hair out doing designs, proposals and demos... UGH! I closed about 30% between March and June. The silver lining was the exposure to a couple of landscapers doing quality work who were looking for a lighting designer to partner with. The second half of the season saw over $50K in project referrals, no demos, and no hard-selling (which is not my style anyway).

This year has already begun differently. We currently have several signed contracts with deposits in the hopper and a few warm referrals. My first springtime ads are set to begin later this week.

I have sworn off demos. I will use my demo kit to do mock-ups when experimenting with effects for paying clients. I have assembled an info kit to mail to prospects after we have spoken on the phone and set a consultation. The package pre-sells our professional service and explains that the will be a design fee in order to present a proposal. No more working up designs and revisions only to walk away empty-handed. Tried it out two days ago and came home with a check for my design fee and a smile on my face. Now I can go back to take measurements, photos and sketches knowing I'm not working for free.

I may be setting myself up for future disappointment, perhaps this meeting with this nice couple is not indicative of what I'll find down the line, but for now, I'm sticking to my guns. BTW- no charge for existing clients. When they call for additions the sale is assumed. Will keep you all posted on my progress.

Mike

Travisty
03-13-2006, 12:20 PM
I really would like to thank everyone for all the help this forum offers. I have learned a number of lessons that there is no way I would have learned without years of experience and feel that I am 2 steps ahead of the game because of it. A special thanks to paul as he helped me find a distributor and has been a lot of help.

So the replys to this leads me to my next question. When you do a design and charge a design fee, what exactly does the customer get? Obviously you would design the lighting set up on paper, but is that it? And how much do you charge? I understand if you don't want to answer the second question. I must say that after last week I set up a demo for a lady that I felt was an sure sale just to find out her husband was coming home in an hour and he almost had a heart attack when he found out the price. Which by the way was a really good deal in my opinion, considering I dropped my 10 light minimum to 8 just to try and get my first job in the ground. I wouldn't be suprised though to drive back by their house and see my design work used with good ol' Home depot specials@!@

And I will thank everyone one more time to there commitment to this industry, it has helped me and my partner immensly.

NightScenes
03-14-2006, 12:18 AM
I really would like to thank everyone for all the help this forum offers. I have learned a number of lessons that there is no way I would have learned without years of experience and feel that I am 2 steps ahead of the game because of it. A special thanks to paul as he helped me find a distributor and has been a lot of help.

So the replys to this leads me to my next question. When you do a design and charge a design fee, what exactly does the customer get? Obviously you would design the lighting set up on paper, but is that it? And how much do you charge? I understand if you don't want to answer the second question. I must say that after last week I set up a demo for a lady that I felt was an sure sale just to find out her husband was coming home in an hour and he almost had a heart attack when he found out the price. Which by the way was a really good deal in my opinion, considering I dropped my 10 light minimum to 8 just to try and get my first job in the ground. I wouldn't be suprised though to drive back by their house and see my design work used with good ol' Home depot specials@!@

And I will thank everyone one more time to there commitment to this industry, it has helped me and my partner immensly.

First I must say good luck and all the best to you in your new career!!

What does the client get for their design fee? Usually, I will deduct the fee from the down payment for the system. If they say they want to think about it, I will hand them the design, which does not give an "as built" so they still won't know "how" to install it.

It does take awhile to make a design along with the travel time to and from their home. Also you have the cost of education and certification. All of these things are reasons why I believe that there is nothing wrong with charging for design. I can't think of any other designers that don't charge for designing.

Once again, I'm glad that this forum is helping you in your endeavor's.

Pro-Scapes
03-14-2006, 12:32 AM
heck if you can build up a big enough reputation you can take mike gaminos approach. He charges for the colsultationjust to come meet. That would really weed out the price shoppers. He claims in his articles he doesnt regret it but then again southern cali is a totally different market than most of us deal with.

Im not going to charge just yet but on my contact page for the website it will have a drop down menu for budget with price ranges. If they freak at 2500 they wont want to waste thier time let alone mine.

As for design fees if they are serious with the work and ok with paying the designers fees ( I will outsource this for now) we will move ahead. I think one of the worst things you can do is just start in with like 10 hours of work and a few trips to thier property for free just to have them say 4500 bucks!!!!! are you nuts! I have already found its important to make sure they are shopping for a service of your caliber

SOMM
03-22-2006, 01:23 PM
If you're closing more than 25-30% in ANY product-line/INDUSTRY - YOUR PRICE IS WAY TOO LOW FOR YOU TO MAKE A LIVING IN YOUR SELECTED FIELD, AND YOU ARE PAYING YOUR "CUSTOMERS" TO LET YOU DISPLAY YOUR WARES ON THEIR PROPERTY , AND YOU'RE LOSING YOUR FLIPPING SHIRT IN YOUR RESPECTIVE BUSINESS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

steveparrott
03-22-2006, 02:58 PM
Somm,

I respectfully disagree. I believe what you say may be true for a mature industry such as irrigation, but with landscape lighting it is possible to close on a much higher percentage. I've spoken with many landscape lighting companies that are closer to the 80% range.

Here are some factors that weigh in favor of higher closing rates:

-High numbers of referrals from existing customers.

-A strong qualification strategy, including effectively screening out the home depot shoppers during their first call to your office. And, including a minimum project size in marketing pieces (e.g. "Systems start at $2500")

-Demo kits (I hear closing rates as high as 90% for prospects that agree to a demo.)

-An outstanding portfolio accompanied by a professional and persuasive presentation.

-An outstanding web site

Having said this, when you first get into landscape lighting, you'll need to go for some of the smaller jobs and may have strong competition to deal with. This means lower closing rates at first, then as your business gets stronger and your portfolio grows, then the closing rates will improve.

Mike & Lucia
04-23-2006, 09:09 AM
Last year (2005) was my first full season strictly pursuing LL and not landscape design at all. I began with a bunch of mass marketing and ran around a lot. Pulled my hair out doing designs, proposals and demos... UGH! I closed about 30% between March and June. The silver lining was the exposure to a couple of landscapers doing quality work who were looking for a lighting designer to partner with. The second half of the season saw over $50K in project referrals, no demos, and no hard-selling (which is not my style anyway).

This year has already begun differently. We currently have several signed contracts with deposits in the hopper and a few warm referrals. My first springtime ads are set to begin later this week.

I have sworn off demos. I will use my demo kit to do mock-ups when experimenting with effects for paying clients. I have assembled an info kit to mail to prospects after we have spoken on the phone and set a consultation. The package pre-sells our professional service and explains that the will be a design fee in order to present a proposal. No more working up designs and revisions only to walk away empty-handed. Tried it out two days ago and came home with a check for my design fee and a smile on my face. Now I can go back to take measurements, photos and sketches knowing I'm not working for free.

I may be setting myself up for future disappointment, perhaps this meeting with this nice couple is not indicative of what I'll find down the line, but for now, I'm sticking to my guns. BTW- no charge for existing clients. When they call for additions the sale is assumed. Will keep you all posted on my progress.

Mike

Since this post I have met with six prospects using the new method. Each of them has paid my design fee upfront. I spend about an hour in the "free consultation" phase. Then explain the rest of the process and quote my design fee. Five out of six had read about the fees in my package, and all six wrote me a check right there and then. The first three were designed, specified and proposed - they all closed. The fourth has been presented and is under consideration. The meeting went very well, the couple is deciding whether to stretch their budget, or implement the design in stages. Should hear back in a day or two. The last two are on my drawing board.

The approach is completely different. None of these situations has become a comparison shopping experience. The clients have all approached the process the way I intended - as they are working with a hired designer/consultant... the sale is assumed.

I'll continue to update.

Mike

kootoomootoo
04-23-2006, 11:47 PM
Ballpark.....How many fixtures and total $$$$ for entire job are we talking when requiring a design fee?

Mike & Lucia
04-24-2006, 11:58 PM
KTMT - Check your PM. Mike

Pro-Scapes
04-25-2006, 11:48 PM
Mike we hope to implement this practice in a year or so. Mike if you could also PM me that info it would be most appreciated.

(before anyone roasts me for the pics on my site I have full permission to use them and they will be swapped out for my own as time goes on.

We just completed our first install today and did it with chuck link from florida outdoor lighting along with us.

Our website is up and running and needs some fine tuning but its located at www.integrityoutdoorlighting.com

Travisty
04-27-2006, 12:04 PM
The site looks great man! Knock em dead.
:clapping:

Travis