Weeding out customers

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by Fieldman12, Oct 17, 2007.

  1. Fieldman12

    Fieldman12 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,504

    Just wondered how many of you try to weed out jobs you can and can not do over the phone before you ever look at the job? I would hate to drive some where especially as expensive as gas and diesel is if I don't have the stuff to do the job with. While I'm taking to them I try to visualize in my head the best I can what the job site looks like, what it should look like when done, an idea how long the job should take, and how much money I need. I also think about if I need to rent anything or any unseen issues. I then go look at it if I think I can do the job and then compare what I have seen versus what I saw in my mind and give them a price and how long I think it will take. How do you guys do things?
  2. Fieldman12

    Fieldman12 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,504

    I also think about underground utilities and safety
  3. RockSet N' Grade

    RockSet N' Grade LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,454

    That is the bidding process with residential. You just never know, and just when you think you have it figured out, someone will surprise you. I bid everything that comes across my desk.......you never know what it will lead to. We get alot of jobs that no one else wants to do, we get "re-do" work fixing other poorly done work and it has led to some pretty awesome jobs down the road. Seems like if you do quality work, the word spreads. We have met some real flakes too and that takes some of the fun out of the deal, but all and all, its a good gig. Know your costs, c.y.a., stay ahead with money if you can, and provide an ontime quality service and the good clients will come.
  4. dozerman21

    dozerman21 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,171

    What RSG said. It's part of the process of being self-employed. Going to bid a job is necessary. Even if it's not a job that you end up getting, or you aren't too excited about doing it, that job/customer might lead you to future jobs. If you say no over the phone, you won't have that network. Some jobs are better than others. I wouldn't go turning down jobs over the phone if you are trying to find work and get your foot in the business door. Unless it's a job that you don't feel like you have the knowledge or experience to tackle, or if it's farther than you want to travel, I'd give it a look. If you can't do it or don't want it, try to point the customer in the right direction of someone else who you know, and give them your card and tell them to keep you in mind for future jobs.
  5. Fieldman12

    Fieldman12 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,504

    I agree, with what you guys have said. A buddy of mine that got big very quickly in excavating told me he prices everything. If it is a job he does not want or not sure what it will cost he bids it very high. Not sure if that is good advice or not but he now has all the work he wants.
  6. RockSet N' Grade

    RockSet N' Grade LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,454

    To add a little to DozerMan's thoughts.......On jobs that are farther than you want to travel, bid it to make it worth your while. I just bid a job the other day more than 1 hr. travel each way........I thought I would pass, but decided to add $1,000 for "windshield time", thinking I would not get the job but if I did, it would be worth the extra drive time......the job is only a 1 day job. Low and behold, the chap called back and asked when we could start........we were the only ones who would go out and bid that job.
  7. bobbyg18

    bobbyg18 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 166

    something im always thinking about is, what type of customer/client is this?...do they seem reasonable, are they someone i want to deal with?...or do they seem like ball busters...i can usually get a good sense of it on the phone...

    ive backed off of easy jobs just bc i did not like the tone of the customer...
  8. ksss

    ksss LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,170

    Some people just are not worth working with/for for any amount of money. Some customers have jobs that just are not profitable. I have transitioned my business from doing mostly small jobs in the mid 90's to larger projects. I still get the calls from the small jobs people and some I do others I don't simply because I lose money by doing them.
  9. Fieldman12

    Fieldman12 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,504

    I'm mainly focusing on smaller jobs for now. I don't have as much experience as most of you plus I work another job. As I get better and feel more comfortable I will tackle bigger and more advanced jobs. I appreciate all the help guys
  10. Scag48

    Scag48 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,067

    You gotta start somewhere. When I was 15 I was renting minis and Bobcat's making barely anything on the jobs I was doing. In the end, what I learned back then got me to where I am today. Now, I'd like to think I'm a fairly decent commodity to an excavation contractor, or I can go back to work for myself at some point. What I learned then for free is definately paying its dividends now. Starting a business, whether you're experienced in the field you're getting into or not, will require you to bleed for a while to get in and figure it out. That's just all there is to it. I mowed lawns for 6 or 7 years when I was a kid, did pretty well, sold it when I left for college. Started mowing again this spring in my new location and did pretty well after I got going, but the first month or two was a rough start. Not because I had no idea what I was doing, but because getting into the market even if your work is the best around is difficult.

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