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Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by LandscapeMember, Mar 3, 2008.

  1. LandscapeMember

    LandscapeMember LawnSite Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 32

    Wanted to get the group's feedback...

    It happened twice this week and many times last year. I go to a client's house and I spend anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour... I go home, work up a detailed estimate and either fax, mail or e-mail them the breakdown. Then the dreaded response... "Oh, I did not know a 300 square foot paver patio would be $4500.00, I was thinking around a thousand or so" This happened at least 10-15 times last year. I am not talking about a client who goes with another company to save a couple bucks, but an uneducated customer who has no idea the reality of prices.

    The question I have is... before I go to their house; pre-qualify them with a couple statements, like our paver prices start out at X amount a square foot. I do not square foot price, but give them a ball park. I do not like working all day and then waste time at night and weekends with customer who is not serious. I know there will always be tire kickers, but I am now 0-2 in the last three days with the same response.

    Does anyone have a best practice they do before they go to a customer's house?
  2. zedosix

    zedosix LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,653

    Move to an area where people have money. Or ask them what their budget is!
    Really though, people are always shocked by the real cost of doing this type of work, so you need to inform them before they "inform" you. I likely had the same # of people last year who reacted the same way. You kind of get a feeling for who these people are, first of all they are the ones who get your name out of a phone book, remember their are likely many more on the same page as you and all they are doing is price shopping. Ask them where they got your name from, if it was from a previous client of yours they will already of asked them how much it costs and they will be prepared for your estimate. Point is if you were referred to them by someone else, you already have one foot in the door.
  3. landstyles

    landstyles LawnSite Member
    Messages: 88

    I always feel them out in our conversations. Tire kickers will always give it away that they are Tire Kickers. Beware of the customer who's first priority is price. They always say "Give me your best price". You'll never be low enough for them.
    I guess the only customer who won't be shocked by our prices are the ones that work in the construction industry.
    If you can produce high quality work and that's what the customer wants then they won't be shocked by your pricing.
  4. Birdjr

    Birdjr LawnSite Senior Member
    from nnj
    Messages: 451

    where in nj are u located?
  5. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,008

    Agreed, you need to educate them and feel them out while your there. Second you will find that you will get a lower acceptance rate if you dont deliver the estimate in person. It is your second chance to educate them and sell your services. People will moan and groan over the prices, but if you can justify the cost with professionalism and quality service than you will see better results. Lastly remember that we live in a condensed state that has a large number of certified installers as well as hacks, so competition is cut throat and you need to stand out from the rest to do good.
  6. landstyles

    landstyles LawnSite Member
    Messages: 88

    Shovelracer....Great point on delivering your quotes in person (and nice logo).
    I always do that. It's nice to be able to explain your pricing with them if questions come up. One thing is never lower your price. Just re-work the size of the job to fit the customers budget. And if that doesn't get you the job, then move on to the next.
  7. LandscapeMember

    LandscapeMember LawnSite Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 32

    I like the idea of delivering the quotes in person. I normally do it on 20% of my estimates. I have to make it more of a practice.

    Hardscaping in NJ has become so competitive. Every week I receive a flyer on my mailbox, on a plain white paper with bold text... retaining walls $10 a foot and pavers starting at $7.00 a square foot installed. I will scan the next round I am expecting to see this spring.

    The new flyer I received last week was a free 7 step fertilizer program with weekly lawn cuts, starting at $15.00 a yard. My yard is a 1/3-1/2 acre... I may take him up on the offer to see how long he is in business. I can only imagine the quality of fertilizer. Probably the same cheap 10-10-10 application from Home Depot for all 7 visits.
  8. Harley-D

    Harley-D LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 508

    A good one over the phone is "Well sir i hate to waste your time by doing a design or bid based on a $10,000 budget if your budget is more like $6000."
    It's not what i just said there but how i read their reaction.
    "Whoa, i was thinking more like $2500 for a 14x14 patio with sitting wall." You then politely part ways.
    IMO it's never inappropriate to talk about your future customers budget. That way you know what you can do for them to keep them happy and still make money if their expectations are in line. Hope this helps. Just a thought.
  9. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,008

    every year I consider paying someone $25 to do my 1.5 acre lawn, not for any reason other than I know what it costs. It might be a little weird though if they show up with their JD rider, and I am working on a ZTR. Where are you located that you are seeing $7 for pavers. We at least get $9.95 up here.
  10. zedosix

    zedosix LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,653

    We would go broke with those prices, do you work for peanuts or what.

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