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Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by zedosix, Dec 4, 2012.
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What "won't happen" - the job or the bidding war?
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The bidding war won't happen, with me or with the guy who did his front entrance already. I actually called him up (my contractor friend) and told him the story, he was totally pissed which I could understand, in fact this is what is happening in our area lately, too many newbie contractors who have 1 or 2 yrs under their belt are lowballing the guys who have been in business for over 25yrs. Its a major pita lately, really just makes me sick how people think we have nothing better to do than draw up plans and deliver them to their doors with a quote and then they ask Joe blow contractor for a price using that very plan. I can smell these guys even before meeting them. Anyway....
I met with the two of them briefly and separately this aft on my schedule. Kindly told both that having two contractors show at the same time was taboo. I didn't get into it more than that, since they already knew why I didn't show yesterday. I'm going to price both of them out of the park, I'm not interested in it at all. Neither one will get a plan they will only get a few words by email with a brief outline of pricing. Case closed.
On a good note though earlier in the day I did pick up a nice job for spring.
So, I take it providing a free design is standard in your market?
I had a guy the other day who had been referred to me earlier that day and happened to be in the same spot where I eat lunch sit down with me while I was eating lunch. He preceded to tell me about a house he was going to buy on the beach and the work that he would like to have don, he even went so far as to draw up a diagram. He wanted me to go buy and give him a quote. With little to no intentions of doing so I said I would try to stop buy and give him some ideas if I got a chance. At the end of the conversation, after he ruined my lunch (which i usually a high point during the day) I asked him when he was closing on the house. He then informed me that he was going to put a bid in later on that week. At that point I decided that I definitely was not waisting my time even looking at the house. Yesterday He called to inform me that he did not get the house because it was sold at full asking price and even though he was sure he would get the house his low-ball bid did not add up. He apologized for any time that I had spent and said he would call me if they purchased a house. I do commend the fact that he even called me back about not getting the house, but all and all he had no regard for my time. In the past I would have jumped at a lead like that now he lost me as soon as he disturbed me during my lunch.
Yes and no, depends on what has to be done, if its just for hardscape then mostly and unfortuneatly no charge, if softscape is involved then yes, there is a consultation and design fee.
I work best with a too scale 2d design draft from which I can make my material list thereby giving an accurate cost of the project. I'll show up with the plan but no longer leave it with them, unless they are very good and reliable customers of mine from past. All new quotes come with a design,then a meeting, sort of a "show and tell", and it leaves with me.
In the past I have left the design with people, I've spent countless hours preparing plans for people with no interest but to save a dime. Not happening anymore, I'd rather be having a cold one with my feet up at the cottage.
That is what happened in my neck of the woods. The area flooded with so called "hardscape contractors" all working with rates they were going rates for me in 2002. Hence the reason why hardscapes now accounts for only about 30% of my sales. And I have written on this forum at least twice that if it hasn't happened in other's areas - to start preparing because it WILL sooner or later.
Well its happening and at a faster rate than expected, its turning the industry around. I can tell you what we are doing now more than ever and its repair work, I must get 20 or more calls a year doing repairs. Its huge and quite profitable I have to say.
I feel your pain re: the free design work. I'm currently working on making a pool and an outdoor kitchen work in an incredibly tight urban lot. Back when I lived in AZ I would have been stuck designing this for free, because that was what the market dictated. I sold a lot of work but it wasn't worth the hours. At least now, I don't put pencil to paper without a signed contract and a check.
But you must be dedicating some amount of time to these customers, people just don't write cheques based on the assumption you're going to give them what they want.