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MAGLIGHTING
02-22-2009, 12:43 PM
Check this out and let me know what you think.

http://raleighfencecontractors.com/2009/02/19/call-another-raleigh-fence-company-for-my-measurements/

worx
02-22-2009, 12:54 PM
Anything like this ever happened to you?

I couldn't do that,...not just because of the ethical part, but wanting to actually meet the customer. Hand them my cards, talk with them about the project, answer questions, have my truck seen in the neighborhood, etc.

That other contractor shouldn't be in business too long with that kind of ethical standard.

MAGLIGHTING
02-22-2009, 01:09 PM
I've had instances where my bid has been used as a project spec and then sent out to others for quote but never lost out to someone who quotes over the phone sight unseen. Not that I'm aware of at least.

I think it's ironic though that if you read the blog posts on this website the posts are directed towards discrediting competitors practices and comparing to his own that he feels are superior. So I guess he's been doing some bashing of his own without directly mentioning any of their names.

TXNSLighting
02-22-2009, 01:24 PM
Interesting read. Theres some crazy contractors out there. I to wouldnt want to miss a chance at meeting with the customer, getting my truck seen in the neighborhood and all that. I think its truly professional for the owner to come out and do the estimate to get the client confident in the company. But thats just me. I think the customers like to see the owner out as opposed to just talk on the phone with them, or whatever.

MAGLIGHTING
02-22-2009, 01:53 PM
I think there is a fine line between educating your prospects and clients (by making them aware of incorrect installation techniques or poor quality materials) and bashing your competitors.

More homes have decaying and non functioning outdoor lighting then high performing, high quality systems worth maintaining.

The #1 reason for a failed system is money. You get what you pay for.

#2- Consumer unawareness as to what a quality system consists of and what it costs not only to install, but to operate and maintain. With such a lack of standardization and differences of opinion there are many who operate within the industry who also don't have a clue.

#3- Ambiguity as to who does the design and or install- Is it the outdoor lighting specialist? The landscaper? The electrician? The handyman? Do it yourelf?

Lite4
02-22-2009, 04:30 PM
Good points, I believe this type of behavior is less likely to pop it's ugly head in our industry simply because how we approach lighting someones house and property is not a standardized thing. you could take 20 different lighting designers to the same property and you will probably get 20 different designs. Everyone one of us sees things differently, (even if only slightly). Giving an estimate on a lighting design is a far different thing than giving a bid on 100' of cedar fence.
Now, I have had homeowners go out and drop in home cheapo on my designs which is why I no longer do free demos, unless I am out seeking one to do for a marketing ploy.

thefencepost
02-22-2009, 10:02 PM
Seems most everyone that has read my blog agrees with me about it, and while I have had it in for this contractor in question for a few weeks now, I didn't think my blog was generally negative and went out of my way not to mention who it is (the other contractor) on my website which is very tempting.

Also, they have bashed my company on several of their websites even naming my company and my personal name on a couple of occasions. Then after I found out about their tactic of telling customers to call another fence contractor to get the estimate so they could have the measurements and pricing, I lost it and wrote the article you linked to at the beginning of this thread.

Their website boasts of NOT doing on site estimates and being able to save the customer up to $300 because of it. Now, if you want to do business that way, and I have stated this on my blog, fine with me. But I will explain my policy of doing onsite estimates and why I think it works better for me and the customer.

And, I feel like I must defend my blog as someone called it negative and that I write how my methods are "superior" to others. If I see a fence or end up tearing down a fence because it was built improperly, I don't see any problem writing about it and saying why it is wrong.

All in all, this mess with this other contractor started because I wrote an article a couple of weeks ago on why I do on site estimates. He then trashed me, named my company on his site (he has 15 plus websites for fence) and I probably took that too personally, when the fact is, he is probably just mad because I am doing well with my company. But, I believe there is enough work to go around, even in this economy.

Anyway, the criticisms did make me take an honest look at my writing style, so thanks for that.

Good to see niche forums out there too, have actually been thinking of doing a fence one just to see if fence contractors will get involved.

Keith Bloemendaal
http://raleighfencecontractors.com
http://fenceadvice.com

MAGLIGHTING
02-22-2009, 10:45 PM
Seems most everyone that has read my blog agrees with me about it, and while I have had it in for this contractor in question for a few weeks now, I didn't think my blog was generally negative and went out of my way not to mention who it is (the other contractor) on my website which is very tempting.

Also, they have bashed my company on several of their websites even naming my company and my personal name on a couple of occasions. Then after I found out about their tactic of telling customers to call another fence contractor to get the estimate so they could have the measurements and pricing, I lost it and wrote the article you linked to at the beginning of this thread.

Their website boasts of NOT doing on site estimates and being able to save the customer up to $300 because of it. Now, if you want to do business that way, and I have stated this on my blog, fine with me. But I will explain my policy of doing onsite estimates and why I think it works better for me and the customer.

And, I feel like I must defend my blog as someone called it negative and that I write how my methods are "superior" to others. If I see a fence or end up tearing down a fence because it was built improperly, I don't see any problem writing about it and saying why it is wrong.

All in all, this mess with this other contractor started because I wrote an article a couple of weeks ago on why I do on site estimates. He then trashed me, named my company on his site (he has 15 plus websites for fence) and I probably took that too personally, when the fact is, he is probably just mad because I am doing well with my company. But, I believe there is enough work to go around, even in this economy.

Anyway, the criticisms did make me take an honest look at my writing style, so thanks for that.

Good to see niche forums out there too, have actually been thinking of doing a fence one just to see if fence contractors will get involved.

Keith Bloemendaal
http://raleighfencecontractors.com
http://fenceadvice.com

Wow that was fast. Having a competitor directly use your name on their site and criticize your practices in such a negative manner is not good. It must mean that you are making an impact in your market. You handled your own criticism of others practices and work quality more professionally but so far all of your posts have been about that or about defending your own practices. Focusing future posts on different issues will diffuse that.

I applaud your effort and I think your site is well done. Do you find that you are directly getting work that results for your blogging?

Thanks for participating in this forum.

thefencepost
02-22-2009, 11:35 PM
Wow that was fast. Having a competitor directly use your name on their site and criticize your practices in such a negative manner is not good. It must mean that you are making an impact in your market. You handled your own criticism of others practices and work quality more professionally but so far all of your posts have been about that or about defending your own practices. Focusing future posts on different issues will diffuse that.

I applaud your effort and I think your site is well done. Do you find that you are directly getting work that results for your blogging?

Thanks for participating in this forum.


I don't think you have read "all" of my posts, I have written 50 on that site since August, and I just looked back at them, and very few are about defending my own practices, although the last few have been (which I will change now that you pointed it out :).

I actually have gotten ALL my business through my blog, it is my only advertising and it has served me well. Mostly, people appreciate the information such as all the different fence codes I researched for all the "towns" surrounding our area. Many people have commented on my site and blogging, so I am happy with the results.

PS: I just went back and counted, out of 50 articles, 8 were somewhat negative (2 of which I wrote about actually tearing down fences that were built improperly). Mostly, I write about different fences being installed around town, fence codes, materials, and I like to post some funny/cool picture sometimes. (maybe I am getting a complex about my writing now!):)

MAGLIGHTING
02-23-2009, 12:27 AM
I only saw 6 or so of your most recent articles that's what I based my judgement on. I wasn't aware you had 50 on there. I'll go back and check out the rest. Glad to hear it's bringing you work.

Venturewest
02-26-2009, 01:11 PM
What a testimony to the power of the internet. Mike, I have to ask a question....how did you initially find the blog article being discussed? And Keith, how did you find this thread on lawnsite? Did you just do a search for your site or something?

Just to weigh in, I think your article was great Keith. I also think the blog is an incredible marketing tool, and you have inspired me. I have never given it serious consideration until now, but I can see the value in many ways. I may have some questions about it if you don't mind.

Welcome to lawnsite.

Ron

irrig8r
02-26-2009, 02:08 PM
I just wanted to comment on the practice of getting someone else to submit a detailed bid and then having someone else try to beat the price.

I know I have been on both sides of that... unknowingly in the case of bidding someone against else's estimate and a while ago... basically made the prospective client look bad (to me) and made me not want to do business with him... he had carefully photocopied parts of a plan, masking the name of the design/ build contractor who drew it, and as I recall, he told me I was within $600 of the other bid and asked if i could do any better than that.

In another case, I bid an LA's irrigation plan two ways, one by the specs for about $15K and the other using a more water efficient approach, and slightly downgraded equipment (changing 1806 SAMs to plain 1806 where there was no slope for instance) and got it down to around $12K...meanwhile she had some unlicensed, "undocumented" guy who probably couldn't read the plan accurately bid it for $9K. I knew my materials costs alone were nearly $6K... anyway, he got the job.


Basically I see the practice of simply trying to beat someone else's bid as lazy, and it wouldn't inspire my confidence if I were the homeowner... I'd expect them to be cutting corners, ya know?

MAGLIGHTING
02-26-2009, 09:30 PM
What a testimony to the power of the internet. Mike, I have to ask a question....how did you initially find the blog article being discussed? And Keith, how did you find this thread on lawnsite? Did you just do a search for your site or something?

Just to weigh in, I think your article was great Keith. I also think the blog is an incredible marketing tool, and you have inspired me. I have never given it serious consideration until now, but I can see the value in many ways. I may have some questions about it if you don't mind.

Welcome to lawnsite.

Ron

Mike, I have to ask a question....how did you initially find the blog article being discussed?

I found it linked to a construction marketing blog that I was reading and clicked on it. I thought it was interesting as it has direct parallels to our industry.

thefencepost
02-27-2009, 03:16 PM
I found about this forum because someone linked to my article from here. When using Wordpress as a blog platform on a website, it automatically lets you know when someone links to you, and where the traffic comes from (I noticed several hits to my site from this thread).

I absolutely love my blog site, I have built a second, and plan to build 2 more so I can use those to highlight micro-niches of fence (wood, aluminum, vinyl etc..).

A couple of things I really like about it is that my customers seem to appreciate it, and the added bonus of climbing the searches for targeted keywords was unbelievable (made it to front page of Google in 3 months for 6 terms I track).

I would be more than happy to help anyone that is interested in blogging (as long as you are not my competition! LOL ) and can refer my designer for a professional build as well (very reasonable and easy to work with).

Thanks for all the comments!

Venturewest
02-27-2009, 10:53 PM
Thanks Keith. I can really see the keyword boost as a huge bonus of the blog. Thanks for the offer for help and I will check out wordpress also. That is a cool feature that it allows you to see when others link to your blog. I found about this forum because someone linked to my article from here. When using Wordpress as a blog platform on a website, it automatically lets you know when someone links to you, and where the traffic comes from (I noticed several hits to my site from this thread).

I absolutely love my blog site, I have built a second, and plan to build 2 more so I can use those to highlight micro-niches of fence (wood, aluminum, vinyl etc..).

A couple of things I really like about it is that my customers seem to appreciate it, and the added bonus of climbing the searches for targeted keywords was unbelievable (made it to front page of Google in 3 months for 6 terms I track).

I would be more than happy to help anyone that is interested in blogging (as long as you are not my competition! LOL ) and can refer my designer for a professional build as well (very reasonable and easy to work with).

Thanks for all the comments!

M&N Maintenance
03-02-2009, 07:22 PM
I have had that happen to me as well. I do a design for a brick patio and leave them the qoute. The next thing I know someone else is doing my design for that home. Now I just leave the qoute not the drawing anymore. Great post Maglighting.

MAGLIGHTING
03-02-2009, 07:56 PM
Thanks M&N

thefencepost
03-04-2009, 07:06 AM
Just an update:

I have gotten 2 calls from customers of this other contractor telling me horrible stories of lawsuits (both against the contractor and against the customer for refusing to pay because his fences were falling down) and harassment from this contractor such as putting nails under the tires of peoples cars he was suing. One customer told me when she went to court with this guy last year he had 4 other cases going on at the same time as hers.

He changed his company name a year ago and made his wife the owner of it and he is just an employee.

This guy won't last long, he will hang himself!

David Gretzmier
03-04-2009, 10:19 AM
I too have had similar things happen. I have also been on the other side, with potential clients offering, showing the drawings, bid, and asking if I can do it for less. extremely tempting, and curiosity if nothing else will cause you to take a look at how your competitor bid. Once you have seen it, It will change your perception of the job- scope, price, design. putting yourself back in your frame of business is much more difficult once you have seen others bids. Bear in mind it is not just contractors out there that will take your bid and undercut and use your design.

From many customers point of view, sharing information in this way gets them a lower price. for many, a lower price is more valuable than a good design or quality materials.