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Unread 02-25-2010, 09:03 PM   #1
MNTileGuy
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Losing Jobs

Just curious, other than the obvious culprit of price, what do you guys lose most jobs over?

For me its usually been availability. I've had more than a few where they want it started next week and I'm booked out for a month.

So far, I've never lost on because of taking to long to return a bid, proposal, what have you, but I could see that happening. I have several I should be doing right now....

Never lost out on one due to a bad reference or proposing questionable methods though!
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Unread 02-25-2010, 09:39 PM   #2
Tiletim
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Brad, I lost 4 yes 4 jobs from last Dec 15 all with money down - learned 3 of the 4 had over spent during the holidays and gave up there deposits.
The 4th I learned got some hack in there at about 2/3rds the price of me and they just flat out said it is cheaper for them to forfeit their deposit and pay another contractor and still supposedly save some money. ($9500 bucks)
so I lost out to price all around.

I did lose one bid for giving them to much information last week.
ya win some ya lose some.
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Unread 02-25-2010, 09:43 PM   #3
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Brad, people that want you to start next week are usually the kind of jobs your lucky to have not got. I find they are not very good at planning, whether it be a GC or a HO.

What's that saying I like? Oh hear it is: FAILURE TO PLAN DOES NOT CONSTITUTE AN EMERGENCY ON MY PART!

Sometimes you can go to these jobs and find they aren't even ready to start in a week. So if the job is close and it might fall into this category, don't be scared to check it out. Sometimes you just may even sell yourself and they may be willing to wait.

Speaking of sales, I'm learning a little about 'Negative Reverse Selling'.

http://www.evancarmichael.com/Sales/...y-Want-It.html
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Unread 02-25-2010, 09:48 PM   #4
silvercitytile
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same here brad lost three this week and one last week because of availablity.....
but really not much over price,

and yeah tim giving out the right information, does scare people away sometimes
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Unread 02-25-2010, 09:49 PM   #5
MNTileGuy
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Tim-

So you get a percentage up front when they book you?

I must be one of the few contractors out there that virtually never asks for money up front. It's never been a problem and I think quite frankly, some of my clients find it refreshing. Not knocking those of you that do, mind you.

I was talking to someone the other day who knew someone that Lowe's bid some tile install for. They actually charge for an estimate! I wish I could get away with that! I'm assuming they put that toward the price of the job if you use them, but still...
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Unread 02-25-2010, 09:57 PM   #6
Tiletim
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Brad, yep - long gone are the days I play Banker for the client.

I would really just prefer to do biz with a handshake but just can't do it that way any longer.
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Unread 02-25-2010, 10:17 PM   #7
custombuilt
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Brad I had one last fall, a house the guy was building himself. I gave him a quote and he called me like a month later saying he wanted me to do the job. I went out and figured up a materials list for him (I never do this untill they confirm they want me to do it) This called me like 8 times about the job and I met with him 4 or 5 times at the house. He didn't have the heat on so I told him that as soon as he got it on I would start.

I found out later that he had another guy do it......What a waste of my time. That is why you need a deposit!
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Unread 02-25-2010, 10:34 PM   #8
MNTileGuy
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Hmm, never had those scenarios happen. Lucky so far, I guess... I've spent more than a few hours putting bids together for jobs I didn't get though.
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Unread 02-25-2010, 10:46 PM   #9
ob1kanobee
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Unless you can afford to work for free or are independently wealthy, you must take a deposit. If I tell you to pencil me in a month from now for a job that will take you two weeks and I cancel what are you going to do, take two weeks off without pay? If that happens, the only thing you can do is hope something else falls in your lap. The last time I checked, running a successful business on hope doesn't work. You must plan and take action. Action in this case is getting a deposit. If you don't plan your business someone else will plan it for you and you might not like the outcome.

Brad, spending time putting bids together is just part of the business as you know. It sucks when you do it and then don't get the job but that is part of it. I wouldn't keep bidding things for contractors that never hire you. 3x is my max.

Have you tried to figure out why you don't get some of the jobs you are bidding. Do these jobs add up to quite a bit of lost hours? Maybe your proposals need polished up? Just thoughts.......
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Unread 02-25-2010, 10:52 PM   #10
MNTileGuy
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I'd love to have a 2 week gap right now to catch up around the house!

Plus, as a "tile hobbyist", I don't worry about such things.

Yeah, I know, I'm "that guy" sometimes.
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Unread 02-25-2010, 10:54 PM   #11
MNTileGuy
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Oh, and the jobs I don't get, I've even had remarks that they liked me and thought my proposal looked professional. They just didn't like the number on the bottom, pure and simple. That's the case on 90% of those.
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Unread 02-26-2010, 02:49 AM   #12
Higher Standard Tile
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Brad,

Read Michael Stone's books, Markup and Profit and Profitable Sales.

He is a remodel contractor. He tries to help out the good guys. Alot of good advice on how to bid jobs and how to deal with clients.

He has website www.markupandprofit.com

Sign up for his email newsletter. I learned a lot.

It is a lot easier to be a good tilesetter than to be a good business man. I'm still working on both.
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Unread 02-26-2010, 06:08 AM   #13
tileguynky
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Brad, I run on the assumption that I am only going to get about 75% of the jobs I bid. Also, a lot of calls for work start with "...how much do you charge per foot?". On those calls, I just simply tell the homeowner that I will not be the lowest price. However, if they are interested in having a properly installed tile project by a liscensed company, I will be glad to schedule some time to discuss their tile project. That seems to weed out a bunch. But there will always be somebody lower than you. I spent about 25 hours bidding a 30,000 ft2 project. Me and three other good installers were in the $180k range and some carpet store from the next town was $80. Ca you guess which one the homeowner choose. This house is all stone.
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Unread 02-26-2010, 07:03 AM   #14
Jason_Butler
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Brad and I are in the same wheelhouse here. While I applaud his detailed estimates, they are usually used to "shop around" for other "cheaper" clients.

I spend a little time meeting personally with the client and discussing pirce and technical details. I can usually get a pretty good idea over the phone if they are price shopping or quality shopping. I don't spend a lot of time on the detailed info unless I'm pretty sure it will pan out.

Many times I get a call from a "high end" neighborhood that is looking for an "affordable" install - NEXT!. You can't live in a $500K area around here and expect me to bid in-line with the $2 per ft guys. In most cases i'm conveniently booked - you will be surprised how many of those call back months later with a different budget.

I keep telling Brad to raise prices!! There are areas here that will support it

And many areas that justify it as well...big difference between installing tile in a rental ( empty) and installing in a home with pets, people, property, etc.
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Unread 02-26-2010, 08:21 AM   #15
custombuilt
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Brad I've found that an overly detailed estimate is too much info on some jobs. I have stopped giving pricing breakdowns and materiels breakdowns on initial estimates. This weeds out the price shoppers.

Let's say that you quote them 2500 for the shower, 400 for the jacuzzi tub surround, and 600 for the floor. You also include on there how many square feet each area is so they know how much tile to order...

Well I used to do it that way, then I realized that those customers can easily call another installer (cheaper), and get pricing over the phone. You can get undercut easily. Once they sign on the dotted lign I measure for materials (ok I figure them since I already have measured) This way you waste less time, and if they question this just tell them that you only think its fair that a competitor has to actually see their house and take their own measurements in order to compete.
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