Register free!
Search
 
     

Click for Weather
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #21  
Old 03-01-2011, 09:17 PM
White Gardens's Avatar
White Gardens White Gardens is offline
LawnSite Fanatic
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Bloomington IL
Posts: 6,765
Quote:
Originally Posted by tadpole View Post
That sounds to me as if you are making your legitimate clients bear the expense of giving free estimates to 'dead ends'. Is that fair?
I would say no. I do simple 3d designs that aren't expensive at all, but is still more than a consultation fee.

So ultimately the customer that buys the design isn't being overcharged in the least.

And ethically it wasn't my conscious intentions to use the design buyers to off set for the tire kickers. It just happened to work out that way.
__________________
White Gardens On Facebook.......WG Thread......Greencare For Troops......... mywhitegardens.com(under construction)

2005- Completion of University of Illinois Master Gardner's Program.
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 03-01-2011, 09:23 PM
etwman's Avatar
etwman etwman is offline
LawnSite Bronze Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: central PA
Posts: 1,216
#1 - The potential client calls and we use about 50 well crafted questions to prequalify the client. Once this is done we set up an appt with both spouses at thier place.

#2 - They know we are going to charge for plan (and its not $200 either), its a known fact before we come out. You won't get what you don't ask for, and you devalue your service tremendously if you give plans away for free. Don't give me that BS that I'm not going to get a job if I don't give a plan for free. We collect 50% before we leave to create the plan, balance due upon reveal at our offices.

Bottom line: You have to be confident in yourself, and your company. Your client is buying your company, what it stands for, and what it delivers. Not just a patio in the backyard. Competition? Bring it on.
__________________
etwman
__________________
"Earth, Turf, & Wood, Inc. is a high-end residential landscape & hardscape company that offers superior employment experiences for employees, exceptional opportunities for our architects, a premium service to our customers and value to the community through service and stewardship. We attempt to honor God in all we do by encouraging teamwork, pursuing excellence passionately, serving those who lead, and demonstrating stewardship of resources."
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 03-01-2011, 09:32 PM
AzLawnMan's Avatar
AzLawnMan AzLawnMan is offline
LawnSite Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Glendale, Az
Posts: 409
When I get a call and while talking to the potential customer, if I hear this sentence "I am calling about a FREE estimate" I usually try to end the conversation as soon as possible and I normally dont bother returning the call. I usually charge $50.00 for a consult that is deductable if you accept my contract. In the old days I wouldnt charge a consult, but in todays market when the potential client is getting 5-8 bids, its simply not worth my time to give a feeler bid. I get calls all the time about driveways getting sink holes and walkways "dropping" I inform them that I have a $50 trip charge and they either say "great, when can you come by?" or "Oh, you charge for an estimate?" but its not an estimate, its a diagnosis. I charge $41 to send a sprinkler tech to trouble shoot a system, so why not charge to find a problem with pavers?
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 03-01-2011, 09:35 PM
tadpole's Avatar
tadpole tadpole is offline
LawnSite Bronze Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Pensacola, Florida
Posts: 1,183
Quote:
Originally Posted by White Gardens View Post
I would say no. I do simple 3d designs that aren't expensive at all, but is still more than a consultation fee.

So ultimately the customer that buys the design isn't being overcharged in the least.

And ethically it wasn't my conscious intentions to use the design buyers to off set for the tire kickers. It just happened to work out that way.
If this is true and the design buyers are not being overcharged, but the fee that they pay offsets the tire kickers, then the costs incurred in giving free consults/estimates to the tire kickers is absorbed BY YOU with revenue from another source. Which brings us back to the fact that consults/estimates incur costs and these costs should be borne by the party initiating the costs, namely the party that requests the estimate/consult.
__________________
"Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects." - Will Rogers
Ripples
Aquatic Habitats
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 03-01-2011, 10:45 PM
DVS Hardscaper's Avatar
DVS Hardscaper DVS Hardscaper is offline
LawnSite Fanatic
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: County Jail
Posts: 5,761
Many good points!

One thing I wanna remind many folks of here is that prior tomthe recession I DID charge consult fees.

$30 a pop, and I was doing 11 estimates a week. I kept it at $30 cause people have that in their pocket. Any higher and they write a check! So this consult things isn't theory, I've done it!

I have survived through 2 years of recession. Barely.

The phone is ringing for work more than it has since 2007. I hoping to get my son into moto-cross racing on his KTM 50 this spring. I'm at the point where Ive learned to get by with very little (due to the recession) and I would rather teach the kid about losing and winning, rather than stand in someones yard talking about a pretend patio!

That and I just priced $18800 of work today and didn't leave my desk to do so! So that is spoiling me!

When you start pulling measurements and your education, knowledge, and experience are going to work - you're working for someone.

A pro is a pro. Doesnt matter if you're a CPA, attorney, plumber, or padio guy. I called a CPA last week, they won't even talk to me or answer a single question without billing $250 / hr.

Why do some feel we padio guys aren't worthy of being paid for what we know?

I think I'm gonna start playing with fees again.


.
Posted via Mobile Device
Reply With Quote
  #26  
Old 03-01-2011, 11:14 PM
zedosix's Avatar
zedosix zedosix is offline
LawnSite Silver Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Eastern Ontario
Posts: 2,405
24 yrs under my belt and not one time did I charge a consultation fee. I've a pretty good sense of people and their intentions, you know I read people quite well, and will now only spend minimal time on a plan just enough to take my #'s from,
I shoot them a quick email stating rough prices then wait for a response. Last season I spent 50% less time on plans then the season before and still did the same production #s as the year before. I won't do a plan unless I get either a verbal or monetary comitment from them.
Reply With Quote
  #27  
Old 03-01-2011, 11:31 PM
DVS Hardscaper's Avatar
DVS Hardscaper DVS Hardscaper is offline
LawnSite Fanatic
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: County Jail
Posts: 5,761
I believe I am good at reading people as well. But people also like to make themselves believe they are serious about getting work done, which in turn has contractors believing them.

A few months ago I was talking to someone who basically said he does something similar to what Zedo mentioned. I think he does decks or something carpentry related. He said he'll do a quick rough sketch with a quick rough estimate. Then he'll e-mail it to a prospective client and see if they like the design and are ok with the rough estimate, and if so - he finish the design and firm up the pricing. If not - he moves on.


,
__________________
"It's You vs. You"

"People Throw Rocks At Things That Shine"


My Equipment Brag List:

-1 CAT hat
-16 pairs of Hanes socks (the Heavy Duty model), many with holes.
-12 pairs of underwear, ranging from Joe Boxers to Jockey, many are in need of replacement. (no more photo requests please)
-hundreds of t-shirts. Some w/ grease stains, some torn & tattered.
-7 pairs of jeans, ranging from Levis to Polo to GAP. 1/2 of them have holes in 'em.
-1 belt
-1 pair of old worn out Nike shoes.
Reply With Quote
  #28  
Old 03-02-2011, 12:04 AM
AzLawnMan's Avatar
AzLawnMan AzLawnMan is offline
LawnSite Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Glendale, Az
Posts: 409
Quote:
Originally Posted by DVS Hardscaper View Post
I hoping to get my son into moto-cross racing on his KTM 50 this spring. I'm at the point where Ive learned to get by with very little (due to the recession) and I would rather teach the kid about losing and winning, rather than stand in someones yard talking about a pretend patio!
.
Posted via Mobile Device
I am doing alot of work for a friend of mine who is a general contractor and has a great name around town and gets a ton of work from word of mouth. Well, me and him are currently bidding 2 HOA's for maintenance and I am cutting him in on 10% of the monthly charge, not bad. Well he called and asked me to bid 1200 sqft of paver work, fireplace and sitting area for a remodel he is doing. I gave him a price and he was shocked. He will usually mark up the price about 5% when he submits it to his customers, which is fine by me. He thought I might be too high, so I asked him to call 3 other companies that I know that can do the work. Well 2 bid the property dirt cheap, one was 48% cheaper and the other was 37% cheaper. The third asked him for a $125 design and estimate fee, my buddy asked why and he explained that it takes him roughly an hour of field work and 30 minutes to prepare the contract proposal. Well, my buddy balked and the guy said he would do it anyways! Well his bid came in at 15% cheaper than mine. I explained to my buddy that my prices are my prices and I would much rather lose the job than to do it for less than I wanted, hell I know my cost of doing business better than my compition. I will be the first to say that I am on the high side, but I would much rather make the same amount of money on 3 jobs than I would by under bidding 5. I just finished a 800 sqft job and I was talking to a guy at the distrubuter and he was asking me prices, which I didnt reveal and he said in order to move their pavers they are laying them as well, for $3.50 a sqft!!!!!! Well I will forever stick to Belgard from now on.
Reply With Quote
  #29  
Old 03-02-2011, 08:02 AM
PaperCutter PaperCutter is offline
LawnSite Bronze Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Northern VA
Posts: 1,358
When you explain over the phone that your charge for designs, it's amazing the percentage that self-selects themselves out of an appointment. When I worked for a design-build we didn't charge for consults but we did for designs (had to pay my salary). Even hanging out at the home show this weekend with one of my contractors, when some people asked how the process worked and I explained that I charge for designs (y'know, being a designER) you could see them immediately check out. I probably could have said "ok, you can walk away now" to those folks and they would have been relieved, not offended.

So yeah, explaining that there's a charge for the design is a good prequalifier. As for a consult fee, it's a tough call. I feel like I'd want my volume of leads just a hair higher than where it is for me to make it a standard practice. Right now it's just case by case, either if they're a bit out of my way, want an appointment sooner than really works for me but they may be a good client, or if I can tell they want to pump me for info and then try to figure it out on their own with plants from Home Depot and a crew from Home Depot's parking lot.
Reply With Quote
  #30  
Old 03-02-2011, 09:10 AM
2ndNature 2ndNature is offline
LawnSite Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Omaha, NE
Posts: 147
[QUOTE=...or if I can tell they want to pump me for info and then try to figure it out on their own with plants from Home Depot and a crew from Home Depot's parking lot.[/QUOTE]

This is what we deal with at "Home Shows". Or the guys who think they can do it in a weekend with their drinking buddy.




I have just gotten to the point where I tell people up front "If the lowest price is what you are after, then we are NOT the company to do the job".

I will also shoot a very basic price out there just to see if we are even in the same ballpark. Or at least ask them if they have done ANY research into what their project would cost. About 1/3 of the people are BLOWN AWAY by the cost of a patio.
__________________
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump






Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ©1998 - 2012, LawnSite.comô - Moose River Media
All times are GMT -4. The time now is 06:41 AM.

Page generated in 0.12120 seconds with 7 queries