Your Estimate / Consultation Policies

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by DVS Hardscaper, Mar 1, 2007.

  1. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,580

    How tolerant are you with estimates / consultations?

    #1. I never schedule estimates for 1st thing in the morning. My first estimate is no earlier than 9:30 am.

    Over the years I have gone to people's home at 8:00 or 8:30 am, only to be told to wait outside, as "my husband is in the shower", or "my wife is getting dressed". It never fails. Every time. So about 3 yrs ago I stopped the early estimates. I did make one exception, we had a customer that is of high ranking command staff for the US Airforce. He wanted me at his house early in the am, because I knew he is top brass in the military, I knew he would be waiting for my arrival.

    #2. I almost NEVER do ANY Sunday appointments. There are exceptions. If I know I may be passing thru a particular area on a Sunday, and I get a call for an estimate in that area, and if I believe I can be in and out quickly - I 'll schedule it just to keep muself from driving there again and wasting gas and time.

    #3. Saturday Appointments are offered February through May. And October through November (due to daylight savings time).

    Memorial Day weekend is the point where I stop doing weekend appointments for the summer. I have a personal life and a family. I HAVE to draw the line!

    #4. I try to make my last appointment no later than 4:30 PM. Appointments usually run about 1 hr. I typically live an hr away. This puts me home at 6:30 pm. Any later than that and I barely have any time to play with my kid. People always say "I get home at 5:30 or 6. Well here is my mentality: People can take off work for a $300 dentist appointment, so they can damn well leave work early for a $10,000 - $55,000 landscape. It also establishes how serious they are about having the work done.

    #5. Before going to an appointment, I always try to call the people to confirm. Many folks forget their appointments. Nothing makes my blood boil more than rushing to an appointment and finding no one there.

    #6. If no one is home when I arrive for the appointment, I typically wait FIVE MINUTES. I have a small company, I wear many hats, and always have alot on my plate. I don't have time or patience to sit outside of someone's home not knowing if they'll show or no show. I then leave my business card in the door.

    #7. Phone Numbers! This has become an art! Seems lately many a folk wanna give me only their cell phone number. Thats fine and dandy. But...I have had a few people (usually stay at home moms) that don't even turn their cell phones on! Making it hard for me to reach them to comfirm the appointment, or for me to advise that I'm running late. So now I'm finding myself having to become more forceful in obtaining the house number.

    #8. Also, if I do not get a response to the appointment confirmation call, I do not go to that appointment. And I do have a polite way of expressing this when I call to confirm and leave a message.
  2. mrusk

    mrusk LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,260

    dvs, i must ask: Do you actually lay pavers in the field all day, or do you just handle the busienss side of things???

    I have to work in the field. I long for the day when i do not have to. When i have to work 8-10 hours a day the only time for appointments is at night and on the weekends.

    Honestly, this time of year now is my favorite. I am not working yet, so i can run estimates when ever i want. So many people actually try to make appointments during the day. Its like they want an excuse to leave work early or go in late.

    One i start working in the spring my saturdays and sundays are filled with estimates.

    If i go on estimates after work, i don't get home until 9-10 at night depending on how far away the estimate is.

    I am young and have no family, or hobbies for that matter, so its not that bad. But i am doing everything i can to make sure that in a few years i only go on estimates between 9and5 mon-fri,.
  3. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,580

    I do not lay pavers. I seldom get dirty.

    I am in the field typically at least 60% of the time. Which allows me to maintain field experience and competency.

    And even then I do not do much production. I am usually working in the truck on the laptop on estimates and designs, as well as making phone calls.

    I do however, from time to time - mark the pavers to be cut (like along walls, arounds posts, etc). For some reason I really like doing that. Also, from time to time I may run the skid loader for a bit.

    I spend the other 40% of the day, meeting with prosepctive clients, running errands, and working out at the gym.
  4. neversatisfiedj

    neversatisfiedj LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,028

    Sounds like a smart man ! I give all my estimates on the weekends ( I am part time in this field). Never had a problem with a customer accepting that.

  5. PSUturf

    PSUturf LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 663

    I set appointments before 9AM, after 5PM, and Saturday mornings only if the customer can't meet during regular business hours. If they are directly between my house and the office I am more willing to make an appointment in the evening since it is on my way home.
  6. kkls2006

    kkls2006 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 141

    I try to do all my estimates on Sat & Sun, that way there is a better chance of both parties being home (Husband & Wife). I can't stand it when it's only one at home I do the estimate and then have to do my whole pitch again....
  7. GroundScapesIncorporated

    GroundScapesIncorporated LawnSite Senior Member
    from VA
    Messages: 386

    I try to do estimates from 9am to 4pm Monday thru Friday, I think it gives a more professional image, rather than evenings and weekends. If a client ask and seems serious, I will usually meet them on the weekend or in the evenings though.
    If I am setting up a consultation over the phone and the client ask "how about Monday at 10am" my reply is always "can you hold for just a second while I look at my schedule" then I fumble through some papers on my desk and return and say "actual Ive got a 9 o clock already schedule, how does 10:45 look".
    People like dealing with people who are busy, so I always appear to have alot going on, (I usually do anyway).

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