Waiting Game...

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by llgardens, Jun 16, 2003.

  1. llgardens

    llgardens LawnSite Member
    Posts: 16

    After bidding a job, I of course do not expect an answer on the spot, but wouldn't that be nice! Sometimes it happens but anyway...I am looking for some feedback on the waiting game that you contractors/estimators play. I tend not to be a pushy salesman, as I want to make sure the homeowner is getting just what they want. I usually contact about 7 days after the final bidding. My success rate for getting work has kept us busy, however I am at the stage where I have recently hired more men and work is getting completed faster of course.

    Do any of you bid on the first visit? How many days between initial consult and bid? One more...in my neck of the woods (St. Paul, MN) almost everyone gives free estimates. I continue to do the same, but am curious if any have graduated to charging...

    Thanks in advance for your replies...

    ;)
     
  2. jwholden

    jwholden LawnSite Member
    from CT
    Posts: 218

    I find that if someone is going to hire me they usaully will call me back in 3-4 days. I occasionally get the lucky instance where someone just gives me the go ahead on the spot, but it is usually from someone I have already done work for.

    I require a deposit to put people on my schedule so they usually call in 3-4 days and say they want me to do the work and I say to send me a deposit as stated on the last page of the estimate.

    One thing that continues to amaze me is that if you are responding to advertising in a mailer or ad in the paper these people will call the entire world before making a decision. I have started charging a design fee to try to weed them out but the initial visit is still free, though I'm not sure for how long.

    Be careful when looking for work to keep your guys busy. If you start going low on bids it will always take longer if you are not on the job, and not come out the way you want the job to. This is my humble opinion, and I "only" run a crew of myself and two laborers.

    I would love to participate in a thread about how to run a crew, pick up supplies, return phone calls, pay the bills, and complete estimates promptly without the wife going "Ballistic" weekly.

    Hope that helps.:)

    benchonsidewalk.jpg
     
  3. llgardens

    llgardens LawnSite Member
    Posts: 16

    thanks for the reply jw, is see a lot of truth in what you say. I agree that if people are truly interested they do reply within the week, however I do get stragglers that call back 4+ weeks post estimate and are ready to do the work.

    I am finding myself in the position where I have to be selling more and installing less. Of course I am much faster than hirees, I can't see anyone other than myself selling work at this point. I worked in the field much more last year but got caught in the cycle of sell, install, sell, install, sell install; where my time ran thin and contracting jobs became tricky.

    Aside from pricing myself out of the market, I am trying to operate things as smooth and profitable as possible. I know quality work is worth the price, but people definately put different values on landscaping.

    Keeping a thread going pertaining to your quote: "I would love to participate in a thread about how to run a crew, pick up supplies, return phone calls, pay the bills, and complete estimates promptly without the wife going "Ballistic" weekly." is interesting to me as well, with an emphasis on the "weekly ballistic wife". I will add more on how I do things if you wish to continue the thread...hopefully others will join in too...

    By the way nice photo...looks like quality work
     
  4. Rex Mann

    Rex Mann LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 621

    Some tricks I use when selling.

    Ask them if they have gotten any quotes yet. This will tell you if they can afford what they or you are proposing. If they wont reveal that, then you can unusually figure it out. If they start using industry lingo then either they really did their homework or they have talked to other contractors.

    Ask when they are going to make a decision, the date.

    When you first meet you can ask about budget and the like. Then require a second meeting to present them a proposal. At this proposal they have to say either yes or no. A no is better then a maybe. with a no you can go on about other business. A maybe leaves you hanging.

    Only time I sign on the first visit is when I am the last bidder. They are ready to go!

    Good Luck.

    Rex
     
  5. Lanelle

    Lanelle LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,361

    I agree with Rex. At the meeting when the proposal is presented, require that all decision-makers be in attendence. After going through the presentation, let them ask questions. Ask them questions that will show you if they are accepting the solutions that you are proposing. Then ASK for the sale. Gently remind them that the schedule is filling up and you'd hate for them to have to wait a long time to have their project completed.
    I assume that when I go back with a design/proposal that I am closing the sale---not just giving them something to think about.
     
  6. llgardens

    llgardens LawnSite Member
    Posts: 16

    Both nice info, thanks...

    Assumptions of selling a job can go two ways as I have experienced. Finding out a definite answer on the second visit (proposing date) is a good idea, however, I also assume that the person footing a 5-40K job will whan to sleep on it for a few days. I guess I am somewhat of a 'softy' and side woth clientele when making an 'investment' decision, however, I don't necessarily want to be the one holding the sand-bag.

    Whether a no or a maybe is the better answer, I'm not sure. I've had plenty of maybes that turned into work...and at that stage most of my leg work is completed anyhow. At that time they 'got the best of me' and if I lose the sale because they 'want to think about it' the ball is out of my court regardless.

    Any other idea would be fun to play around with

    ...your pleasure is our Business.
    Lawn and Landscape Gardens Ltd.
    www.llgardens.com

    Nick Tamble, owner
     

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