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Existing Customer

k Member Posts: 38

Don't hire anyone who doesn't offer a contract and hand her the work estimate. Say I think my price is fair, I will deliver on my quote.

And walk away.


  • Dan Sedens
    Dan Sedens Member Posts: 48
    Asked for an estimate to replace boiler due to CO leakage

    Boiler was tagged by gas company.I agree, I should have fired boiler and checked for issues, although customer wanted to replace system. Tag from gas company was given to next door neighbor to give bid. Don't know where CO was generating. Gave verbal price to customer and was told I am $400.00 higher than neighbor and his boss. Guess who gets the job. Have had a decent relationship with this customer and my lowest bid is $400.00 more. Is it worth lowering my bill $400 just to get the job? I already lowered $150.00 from my original estimate. How do I go back and not look like an ****. I don't really need the work. I just want to make sure she gets what she is paying for.
  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
    Don't sweat it

    I'm sure you have many customers who are more loyal than that, right? Life's too short.......

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  • Dan Sedens
    Dan Sedens Member Posts: 48
    Thanks Steamhead

    You always want to kno that you're doing right by your customer but at the same time you want to make sure that you are doing right by your company to make sure you can service the improperly installed system that someone can install for $400.00 less. Maybe I am being a little harsh because I do not kno the installer or his boss. I can only assume that he doesn't frequent these sites or research higher education. Maybe wrong on my part andfor that I appologize. It just stings to find out that a friend referred me to this person to help her out in a jam and now I am buidding against the gas company and two other bidders. To lose the job for 400-550 bucks kills me when I kno I will do a BETTER JOB WITH PERMITS AND ANALYSIS.
  • bob young
    bob young Member Posts: 2,177
    discounting bids

    THERE is a limit to how much you can drop a price without looking like a thief except if you itemize deleted materials & procedures ie : auto. feeder , new header , supply line & new valve etc.
  • burnerman_2
    burnerman_2 Member Posts: 297
    same story different city

    we have had that too. Then a few years down the road we get call "the company that installed it is busy cann't come for a week".You get what you pay for, if you lowwer your price they think you overcharged. Wait time is on you side.
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 7,099
    AS my good friend, Rich Bruno once said.................

    The minute you drop your price....they "KNEW" you were trying to Screw them! Don't do it. I will tell people this when they ask if I can "do any better?" The price is THEE price....Do you think it would be right if I were 'trying you on' for size to see how much I could get you to pay??? I don't like when people do that to me. Mad Dog

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  • EJ hoffman
    EJ hoffman Member Posts: 126
    Doing better?

    Is a a point of perspective. When asked if I can do better I always say yes and raise my price ten percent, Now i am doing better.
  • Maine Ken
    Maine Ken Member Posts: 531

    We can lower our prices without too much hassle. We just ask what the customer wants to remove from quote. You definately don't get the same job for less money, however you can have less job for less money.

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  • Exactly right

    "Yes, I can lower my price but I'll be cutting corners and reducing the quality of the job to do it, is that what you want?" And walk away as advised above. Anyone who'll jump ship for a measly $400 isn't worth worrying over. Plus, if she calls you later with a problem you can have the satisfaction of saying, "I'm sorry, I don't clean up other people's messes. You'll have to call the original installer. Have a nice day." I love when I get to do that. Especially when I can see the look on their faces. Priceless. Suddenly, they're not feeling so smart. ;)

    I know it sounds counterproductive moneywise but you don't know what kind of nightmare the last guy left and personally, I'd rather not deal with it. Unless of course, they'd agree to a complete R&R, which is usually doubtful.
  • Mitch_6
    Mitch_6 Member Posts: 549
    Repeating alot of the above

    You drop your price and they think your were screwing them. Is there a $400.00 difference in what you are giving them in value. You drop once they will ask you to drop again. You drop and they go back to the other plumber to drop.

    I have had many accounts use other people for capital size projects then come back to me to get them out of a jam. You do not know how many times I have heard ya the other guy did the big job cheaper but I really like the way you do service better. I tell them go back to the cheaper person.

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  • Mike Thomas_2
    Mike Thomas_2 Member Posts: 109
    Get Happy

    When I get underbid, and I know my costs are good numbers, I don't sweat it. If somebody else wants to work for less, let him. I refuse to let somoeone else tell me how much I can make or should charge. I am fair, competitive, but not stupid. And when that customer that passed me by for the cheaper bid calls back to have me come fix it, well, "I Get Happy". I charge them a fair price, but high enough to make me happy....
  • Keith_8
    Keith_8 Member Posts: 399

    If I understand your post correctly you gave her a "verbal quote" ?

    Did the other contractors give the homeowner a verbal quote?

    If we as contractors have a hard time keeping up with codes, manufactorurs requirements and good business practices how do we expect the customer to make an informed decision based on a verbal quote? From my experience the customer only heard your price.... after they realized you were $400 higher they stopped listening.

    I'm not critizing only pointing out the obvious. I give many verbal quotes but will follow up with something in writing if I feel the situation warrants. It keeps things in perspective long after you have left the job site.

    In fact I visted a building where another contractor was awarded the boiler replacement. Apparently their price was better. When I swung by a couple weeks later to take a look I realized why. They reused the old burner and operating controls. I politely pointed this out to the facility manager who was instrumental in making the decision. He got defensive and claimed that was what we discussed. No it wasn't. My proposal clearly spells out what the scope of work was to be. He and I reviewed this again. Without my actually saying it he realized he made a decision based upon the wrong information. My only point in pointing this out to him AFTER the fact was so that he was aware that the other company (who did a fine installation by the way, with the exception of using the 10 year old burner and controls)didn't do the same scope of work for less money.

    Part of the learning process and your heart/head is in the right spot.

    Good Luck,

  • Mitch_4
    Mitch_4 Member Posts: 955
    I agree

    with Maine Ken.

    That price is for the work promised, what do you want removed?

    I never do a verbal for precicely that reason.
  • amhplumb_2
    amhplumb_2 Member Posts: 62
    Can you afford to lower your price?

    Can you afford to lower your price? You said that you gave a verbal quote. If you look at your numbers on paper, can you afford to drop it the $400? If so, tell the customer that after looking over the numbers more closely you can match the price, or come close to it! There's no shame or dishonesty in that. Also, explain what you are giving them and ask what the lower priced guy is giving. Long story short, at our church the AC condensing unit needed replaced (I don't do AC!), we had a long standing relationship with a reputable guy in the neighborhood. He was $500 higher on a $6000 job, than a big outfit. My fellow council members just saw the extra $500 and church politics dismissed the other guy's work over the years, and voted against me in favor of the big outfit. They came and replaced the condensing unit and were given their check when they were finished. Two days later, on a hot August evening the pastor turns on the t-stat, no AC! Without consulting anyone, the administrator calls the outfit, "Oh unfortunately, the unit we gave you a price on requires a special relay to work with your air handler, parts and labor will be an additional $1200!" No vote was required for this payment. The neighborhood guy planned an exact replacement! Your customer is making a major investment, talk a little more!
  • World Plumber
    World Plumber Member Posts: 389
    What are they getting for that $400.00 less

    I had a coustomer do that last year. He got someone to do the job for $2000.00 less. But Oops my upstairs rooms and back of the house don't get warm or cool and the other guy didn't include connecting the outdoor boiler to the system. It ended up costing him double.(my cost for the coils and hydonic parts and piping was $3200) It was like $700.00 more than my orginal estimate till I went and tore out all the ductwork and replaced. Would have been easier when the walls were open. The guy he hired tried to run a 3-1/2 ton A/C - Heat pump with a trunk line that started out at 8X16 didn't work. When he called me back he had the AC going and window units in the upstairs and kitchen windows. You get what you pay for the other guy isn't going to give them things that he has to buy. Don't cheat yourself on labor so you have to do other work to pay your expences for doing that job.
  • mark ransley
    mark ransley Member Posts: 155

    Maybe a Home owner point of view is in order, he just sees a price and knows heating guys charge alot per hour, maybe 60-100 an hour here, and thats alot and there is room to move in this economy. He doesnt know the install is what makes or breaks a job and that it should be inspected by the city since hacks screw up jobs every day, gee he may not have a lisence, insurance, or know anything. Can you go down 400, well thats up to you, if you have excess work then dont, but zome techs here dont seem to realise that alot of folks are broke after high gas, gasolene, dropping real estate values and the stock market. So if you need work and can afford a cut in pay meet the other guys price, but dont cut quality. It should not offend you he needs to save every penny he has left, maybe he actualy doesnt have enough to pay anyway.I know even rents are down 10-15 % this year from last, and my expenses are up across the board, we have been in a recession I have felt for 1 year. Be sure to tell the guy either way to pull a permit and get the free inspection, it helps weed out the hacks.
  • Dan Sedens
    Dan Sedens Member Posts: 48
    I appreciate the point of view,

    I gave her a verbal quote because the gas company had red tagged the boiler and they were without heat.It is not currently that cold out but, we allknow that cold is relative. It was to be a quick bid.I wanted to give her a verbal so as to not waste my time in writting an estimate as well as pushing other boiler replacements out to accommodate her situation unless I knew I was going to get the job.I understand that times are tough. Please understand that times are not only tough for the homeowner. We as technicians are spending more on costs everyday. We generally do not raise our costs on a monthly basis. I gave her a verbal qoute figuring that my longstanding relationship with her and her house would get me the job if I was in the ballpark. Shame on me! $400.00 is not worth puting out other scheduled customers for. I will always try to accommodate the most needy person however I can't be expected to loose money due to a customers situation.


  • tim smith
    tim smith Member Posts: 2,765
    $400.00!!!!!!!!, why in the world would anybody take a chance on

    some other company they don't have experience with for their main heating plant for that amount of difference. When they have a known entity to them who has served them well over the years. This I do not get, that amount is negligible at best compared to a complete boiler replacement. I have got to stop talking for a moment because my jaw is on the floor!!! Tim
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