Giving Estimates To People Who Obviously Can't Afford You

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by JimLewis, Oct 2, 2006.


How would you proceed?

Poll closed Oct 14, 2006.
  1. Say you'll call back with an estimate, leave quickly, and never call back.

    4 vote(s)
  2. Write down a quick estimate, don't explain your service at all, and try to leave ASAP.

    18 vote(s)
  3. Tell customer, "Honestly, I don't think you can afford me." and leave.

    6 vote(s)
  4. Spend the same amount of time you normally would giving a full estimate and explanation of your work

    70 vote(s)
  5. Give the customer a big discount, as they are obviously poor and you are a good samaritan.

    3 vote(s)
  1. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    Ok, What would you do? Here's the situation, you go out to give a bid to a customer for whatever; Could be lawn care, could be a large clean-up, could be a big landscape install...whatever. And within a minute or two of talking with the person and by the questions they are asking it's obvious to you that they're never going to be able to afford to hire you. Your years of experience tell you that there is a very high likelihood that the person you're talking to just isn't your type of customer.

    So at that point, how much time do you continue to spend there? What do you do? Answer in poll above.
  2. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,112

    Well I do 2 of the options in your poll. First I tell them honesty I don't think they can afford to pay for me to do the job justice.
    If that does not work I get the info I need and go home and do them a full estimate, but it's not an estimate that I put alot of time and effort into. I can make a simple estimate for people like this in about 15 or 20 monutes.
  3. General Landscaping

    General Landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 801

    How about a brief explanation and a estimate where everything is rounded up to the nearest hundred.... or thousand, depending on the scope of the work. Not too accurate.... but way quick and comes out in my favor.

    I try to cut my time losses without disrespecting the "customer". I'd like to leave without them feeling like they were "blown off"
  4. LLandscaping

    LLandscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,016

    I give the customer a price and let them decide it they can afford me.
  5. 1MajorTom

    1MajorTom Former Moderator
    Messages: 6,073

    What Matt will do is just keep it pretty simple. When he picks up on it that a customer doesn't have the money, he will just say, "well before I take a real good look around and start measuring, a ballpark figure on this willl be "such and such". Is this something that you feel is in your price range?" We've had people just come out and say, "oh, I hadn't realized it would be so much, blah, blah, blah", and Matt thanks them for the call, and gets on his way. It's just easier to give them a "quick ballpark", as to not waste too much time.
  6. WildWest

    WildWest LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 384

    I kinda do the same thing. I'll listen to what they want and add it together in my head as I go and give them a round-a-bout price, and if I get the "deer in the headlights look" we're not right for each other!
    Then, if they start the "well how about if we just do this.... or just this..", then I know we're REALLY not right for each other!!! and it's time to :walking:
  7. Uranus

    Uranus LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Mass
    Messages: 1,624

    None of the above. I give a ballpark price explaining that it could go up or down some and if they gasp I refer some clowns in the area who I know will do it for less. I waste very little of my time once I determine that my price is to high for them.
  8. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,112

    Yes but I have burned myself this very way. Because my ballpark fiqure was way too low and they DID have the money!-Thus my constantly reminding everyone here to walk the properties and go home before you give them any prices!
  9. ALarsh

    ALarsh LawnSite Silver Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 2,412

    Good post. I hate writing up an estimate for someone I know can't afford the work. I spent 45 min for a bid knowing they couldn't afford it. Wasted time and never heard back. :cry:
  10. Sandgropher

    Sandgropher LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 903

    Yes i have read your advice before but still get caught out, i give them a price then when i get home and think over the job more carefully and think ,what have i done, i should have quoted a lot more than that.

    Am thinking about taking lots of photos and reviewing them at home,(before giving price) as an added bonus i have before and after photos in the case of any legal disputes.

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