How Would You Answer This Question From Customer?

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by JimLewis, Feb 28, 2013.

  1. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,830

    So he really loved my response and that reply definitely got us back in the running for the job. But in the end I had to withdraw our bid because there was some other work he wanted done that I just didn't want to do. I could have handled the patio part. But he also really wanted a brick masonry seat wall and brick masonry fire pit. We just don't do brick masonry at all. I could have subbed that portion of the job out. But he was almost at the decision making process and it was pretty late in the game to go contact the brick mason, get a quote from him, then revise my proposal.... so I just let it go. I told him that if he was really sold on that work being done brick masonry style we'd probably have to pass.

    I'm at the point where we're doing all sorts of jobs every week anyway. It's not like we really needed this job, although it would have been a nice one. And although we do handle jobs where we have to sub out part of the work, I just prefer not to. I'd rather take on jobs where we could do the entire project in-house. I hate waiting for subs to finish their work, holding up the job, holding up the payment, overages, reconciling things when they under-estimate, all that crap. We're doing a job right now that should have taken just 3 weeks and it's taken 9 weeks all because of one slow sub-contractor. I am just sick of doing jobs like that. So I respectfully withdrew our bid for this one.

    There is really good news though! These people have a lot of money. They dropped $9K on just a nice outdoor lighting system with us already this year. And he said after the patio is done, they want US to do their new driveway, in pavers. And that's a REALLY big job. Like 2-3x the size of what the patio would have been. So he sounds like he's sold on us doing that, at least. I may have lost a decent sized job. But it sounds like in the end I'll get an even larger one.
     
  2. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,403

    Jim, I would look for a better sub, that will finish work faster. I have a really good sub, wakes up early and gets the job done. One time I tried another sun and it turned out to be a disaster. Find yourself another mason.

    As far as you doing the driveway - I would not count on it. They flopped around and wanted masonry which was news to you. You sold them on an aggregate base. then they flopped back to the guy with the concrete slab. flip flop flip flop. They flopped all over creation thus far, you can bet they'll flop all over creation on the driveway.

    If I was the guy that got the work, my personality would have them sold to never call the previous contractors back. Taking my kid to work - people love that, they love seeing a young child learn the trade. And in turn - they grow a respect and fondness for me. Same could happen with this job. They might find out the contractor and the MR are both antique gun fanatics. Never allow opportunities for others.

    With that driveway lurking around the corner - I would have found a sub.
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  3. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,830

    Yah, could be. I'm not banking on it. Just something I'm looking forward to if it does happen. If it doesn't, I'm pretty sure we'll continue to do well despite that. Good news is he likes our company, loves the lighting work we did, loves the sprinkler work we did, and told me he's highly considering us for future work. So to me, those are all good signs. We had a great rapport. It may not pan out, but then again it may very well turn out to be a nice job down the road for us. I'll be excited to come back if and when he does call again.
     
  4. alldayrj

    alldayrj LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,750

    Its a shame he couldnt just hire a mason and you do the rest.
    I had to decline a job today, first one ever and man did it feel weird!
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  5. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,009

    Interesting comment, I recently lost a job because I brought my son on an estimate because I had to watch him that day. The response was "we are not sure that you will be a good match. We need someone that can provide for our needs reliably without interference from personal matters." Now obviously this is a db comment and not a customer I would want. Not to mention one of the top things we are known for is reliability. I have missed holidays and left funerals to deal with clients. This was simply based on me holding my sleeping infant son while talking to the client.

    Now on the other side of things I have about 10 customers that outfitted him better than half his relatives last christmas.
     
  6. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,403

    Perhaps I'm guilty of not practicing what I preach, but business is like a sport. There's a strategy.

    When playing a sport the idea is to not do anything to help your competitors. I believe the same applies to business.

    Once in a while I too get a little too lenient when we're busy and life is grand. And by doing so, I'm only aiding my competition.

    We ("we" as in us contractors) may think "oh well, we're busy we won't miss that sale". which may be true, but on the same token we're helping our competition by providing them with an opportunity to grow and expand, which in turn they could soon one day become more of a threat to our ("our" is in us business owners) businesses.

    Don't get me wrong, there are instances where yes we must draw the line and walk away from a job. Jobs where the prospective clients have difficult personalities, or risky job site variables.

    But walking away from a nice job and allowing the other contractor to have the job may just be the edge that they need. You may have just enabled the other contractor to finally be able to buy a piece of equipment that will enable them to be more productive, which in turn offer extremely competitive pricing.

    The owner of Under Armor (Mr. Plank, a Maryland resident who never has to work again) said "somebody is always trying to catch us......and NEVER let them do that". He was referring to his competition.
     

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