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Do you have a Buget for the prodject?

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by olderthandirt, Mar 15, 2005.

  1. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Posts: 4,900

    How many of you guys go to do an estimate for a residential customer and he/she wants the world and you know dam well that they have no idea what its going to cost? I usually stop them when they get to a point and ask them if they have a budget that they need to stick to. And I get a number thats a waste of time for me to be there or I hear yes I budgeted 20 k for this and that. You go figure everything out and then go back and talk to your customer and do your presentation. At the conclusion I ask if thats what they were looking for and it never fails that one of them, husband/wife will say we really don't have that kind of money right now. :realmad: :realmad: even though I stayed with in there budgeted amount. For me thats the end of the conversation, even though they will start with what if we eliminate this or that
    I figure its just going to be a major headache and I have enough of them with out trying to get more :D
  2. kootoomootoo

    kootoomootoo LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,369

    You and I both know there is plenty like that. Had one the other day who wanted everything (budget was $1000) ;) She wanted 3 quotes (victims) .....maybe she called you.
  3. GreenMonster

    GreenMonster LawnSite Silver Member
    from NH
    Posts: 2,702


    This was something I learned last year. I insist on the customer giving ME a budgetary number, or at least some idea of what they'd like to spend. It takes too much time and energy coming up with a proposal for someone who is really just kicking tires. :angry:

    I'm thinking of doing away with free estimates for jobs over $8k or so. Initial consultation no charge, fine, but no more of this spending hours and hours coming up with a bid only to hear exactly what you said "we really don't have that kind of money right now"
  4. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Posts: 4,900

    LMAO probably, had alot of those calls. Heck they even want you to walk the dog while your there for that 1k job :D
  5. mbella

    mbella LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,284

    Absolutely, I get a budget number on the initial visit. If they are serious, they should have a budget. If they don't have one, I give them a rough idea (usually within $5000.00) of what it will cost to do what they are asking.
  6. jd boy

    jd boy LawnSite Member
    from nw ohio
    Posts: 179

    I know exactely where you are coming from and a really thinking of doing away with free estimates also but, I always hear the same thing when it comes to budget conversations. "we don't have an exact budget set aside for this project mainly because we don't know what landscaping costs."

    You don't go buy a car without a budget, why would you try to buy landscape work. man, that pisses me off!
  7. Residential Recreation

    Residential Recreation LawnSite Member
    Posts: 74

    i just had a customer do this to me. called me up and wanted a deck said that they didnt want to spend too much money. i went over there and told them the difference between pricing on pt cedar and composite then i looked at the site( of course they want pt its the cheapest) They want the deck to go alongside their s curved stamped patio. with 2 steps matching the curve. i asked what is your budget. she replied just give me your estimate and i will worry about our budget. this deck will be raised to meet a doorwall that they dont know if the will ever install. and kerfin those boards take a long time especially to but up against a patio of this shape. overall its 16' deep at the short part of the curve its 14' at the far part its 20' i designed a rough plan and gave them an estimate at 4500.00 my cost on materials is 2090.00 then to kerf 3 24' boards god is that a pain. stain them on all cuts to keep my warrentie. its only been 2 days but i dont think they will call me back. if they would have told me their budget i would have just told them to call some hack.
  8. StealthDT

    StealthDT LawnSite Member
    Posts: 97

    "...and can you hurry up estimating? I've got another guy coming in 30 minutes".

    They'll use your work and price to beat down any who follow, or take the material list and price it out all over town. That's why I ceased residential work and went commercial. Then the only problem was waiting on payments, in some cases forever...
  9. Rex Mann

    Rex Mann LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 621

    People can be funny when it comes to the budget question.
    Most hold their cards close to their vests.

    I ask the following questions to help me get a feel for their budget or knowledge of what things cost without asking directly.

    Have you talked to other cons tractors.
    Have you received any proposals for your project
    Can you tell me about your project.....square footage, areas to be paved so on and so forth.
    What part of town are they in
    How soon they are looking to have the project completed
    How did you get our name

    These are some of the questions I ask over the phone, but not necessarily in that order.

    I then try to give them a budgetary number over the phone, and let them decide if they want to take the next step, which is a formal on-site proposal.
    Saves me hours of valuable time.

    I make appointments with only approximately 20% of the calls I receive. I get jobs from just over 50% of those 20%. It weeds out the shoppers.



  10. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,112

    Gee that's too bad cuz they would have got one hell of a deal at your charges. :blob3:

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