Time wasting quotes

Discussion in 'Plumbers' Talk' started by bathroom boy, Feb 1, 2008.

  1. mario500

    mario500 New Member

    I am going to start asking a few questions over the phone to sound like I am interested and then ask - Do you have a budget? Should be able to sort out the timewasters from their answer.

  2. bathroom boy

    bathroom boy New Member

    Yeah saves a lot of running round, I went out twice to one last week,once to quote for the job and then to ensure that what suite I was supplying was right, it got knocked back because they had outstretched there budget, the stuff they wanted they couldn't afford.
    Maybe I should bill them for consultation.
  3. mario500

    mario500 New Member

    What you have to remember is that all businesses do somework for free sometimes. The trick is to limit this to an acceptable level to yourself. Gift of the gab having a good nose are your best friends.
    If you know full well that a customer has just got you phone number from Mr and Mrs Jones - then you can take it as read that they will know how much to expect to pay.

  4. Simon J

    Simon J New Member

    I've asked about a budget on occasions as well Mario, it can cut to the chase with people you suspect are either wasting your time or have no clue on costs.

    Had a 'foreign person' ask me to do a quote for a big refurb, ball-park estimate it was going to be £6k, when I asked what was their budget.......................... £1,500............bye, bye!!
  5. mario500

    mario500 New Member

    Totally agree Simonj, My mate runs a landscaping business and he always asks his customers if they have a budget and then works to whatever it might be.
    I did two estimates for a guy the other day - en-suite and bathroom refurb. He gave me the address - nice place by the way, but when I got there I soon realised that he couldn't afford me. I am not being disrespectful about it - just truthful. Anyway posted the estimates through his door and so far no call. I have been wrong before though, even had people call up to a year later for a revised quote - and then got the job! people are funny sometimes.

  6. gardm1nt

    gardm1nt New Member

    Thankfully my client base is now recommendation only and whilst I get dozens of awkward people ie change minds six times etc atleast they can aford me.
  7. Simon J

    Simon J New Member

    Anyone ever take a portfolio with them, pictures and customer testimonials?
  8. gardm1nt

    gardm1nt New Member

    Yes on laptop although not testimonials as my work is already by recomendation.

    A portfolio is very usefull in getting customers to visulise things and for the folk who are indesicive.
  9. clarkster

    clarkster New Member

    though i'd chuck my ten Pees worht in as ive been stiffed many a time especially in my early years of self employment. you learn as you go on. i set myself up because a) i was * off with my desk job even though the money was very good and b) i was sick of seeing people on the TV getting shafted by so called tradesmen when i knew i could make a decent living out of the work for doing a better job than those idiots.

    i was naive in years one and 2, less now and into my 4th year i think ive learnt to weed out the myriads of timewasters out there. i was never racist until i started self employment but that all changed (unfairly you might say) but in my area i had calls from lots of asian folk. hindus/muslims never really had the same experiences so go figure!! anyway i treated asians like anybody else, they were always polite and well mannered etc but i never got 1 single job from them. sometimes i would spend anything between half an hour and 2 hours chatting over the customers options but nil poi.

    thats anohter thing you learn to trim down - the time you spend with the customer at that initial meet. if i get a bad feeling now i do the old "fetch a tape measure from the van " routine and simply drive off.

    ive tried the "do you have a budget in mind" and that never worked for me. i would get "we have no idea" or a "we're not going to tell you our budget" told in a sort of lets make it funny kind of way so it was often said with an inane grin on the customers face. funny how when you give them a ballpark figure they always have a figure in mind afterwards dont they!

    customers who know the price of everything and the value of nothing-they seem to be on the increase(not talking about my regulars here, but the new customers). they never tell you how long a job should take or how much it should cost BEFOREHAND. no, they wait until youve told them "about 5 days and about £1600" then all of a sudden they gain some god given font of knowledge and know better than you! thats sounds like a lot? or thats a 2 day job or "my brother reckons he did one like that in half the time".

    i used to work with a bloke who i know still to this day gets taken in and used by potential customers. he used to **** me off for my curt nature in front of some of them when by gut told me there and then we were wasting out time. he continues to do bit time jobs plastering and ive learned to move on and just read people better.

    we all run businesses. yes i do accept that some work we do will be speculative, the only advice i can give to th less experienced guys on here is that it will come in time and usually a very short time at that! try and ask lots of questions over the phone to avoid a few quid of wasted diesel and an hour or so out of your evening.

    i recently had a call from a chap wanting plastering work to 2 average sixed rooms (living and dining). no artex, walls all stripped and in good condition so no bonding or floating to do etc, carpets being binned, 2 chimney breasts. i said youre looking at 600 per room with mats. he said youre joking arent you? i said well you get what you pay for? his reply was that he recently had a plasterer in who did a whole room for 200.00 all in and his work was spotless. i said well can't you get him to do the other rooms for you? think he was trying it on. 4 years ago when i was starting out and desperate for work/experience i would have talked myself into doing the job for 199!! not anymore.
    even if i priced it at 150 i reckon he would have gone back to his original man and said somebody has offered to do this for 150 can you do it any CHEAPER.

    i just avoid customers who are after a cheap job and there are loads of em out there especially amateur property developers who will make a packet on the sale anyway - rollox to em.

    do youre best to find out who is pulling ya chain and go on your gut feeling either over the fone or in person. if ion doubt walk away.

    also in these times of the credit crunch more people will be losing jobs or finding money tight. always get the client to sign an agreement or contract and collect staged payments on time with no leeway.

    [Edited by: admin3]

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