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Unread 03-15-2015, 10:43 AM   #16
Join Date: Nov 2008
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Few years back I was with my friend GC doing estimate. Client asked him for discount, he asked him back if he gets discount from his doctor. Discussion ended quickly.

Rarely, I get asked for "deals". I tell client my work is The deal, take it or leave it. Sometimes I do some free labor, but only for customer who never ask, clients who are nice and on jobs where I have room to do it.
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Unread 03-15-2015, 11:28 AM   #17
Bill Vincent
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Originally Posted by Jim
i get that here as well, basically they say look after me on this job and i will give you all my work, meaning look after me on this one and you can look after me on the next one as well.......a mate of mine just bought a old house, did a big reno on it and sold it i tiled the bathroom for him at "mates rates" it sold last week giving him 100k profit, i asked him for my share he just laughed at me, next job will be full price
Been there, on BOTH counts, and got burned on both counts. If I get someone saying give me a break on the first one and I'll give you the rest, I'll tell them how about you give me a bunch of them, and I'll give you a break on the LAST one. I've yet to ever have someone take me up on it.

As for helping out a friend, and then getting burned? Keep in mind as you look at these pics-- this was the owner of a showroom I used to do work for almost exclusively-- his house. Also keep in mind he did this with every single sub on the job. This was supposed to be his "forever" house, that he was going to use to show potential clients, and so forth. I charged him 2500.00 for the labor. TOTAL.

Granite Front Entry:

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Granite Kitchen, hallway, and mudroom floor:
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Marble master bath:
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with ceramic walk in shower:
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Granite backsplash with inlays (also as you see the finished hardwood in this pic, he got the same kind of deal from the hardwood guy):
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He built this house for about $75,000.00. Nine months later, it was on the market for $985,000.00:
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"Whether you think you can, or you think you can't, you're probably right."


Last edited by jgleason; 03-15-2015 at 04:54 PM.
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Unread 03-15-2015, 01:27 PM   #18
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I give small discounts to people I like. Often the same people who feed me lunch while I'm on the job. Or I throw in small upgrades for free. But it's never the people that try to push for the lower price.

A friend of mine has a good trick for those nationalities that like to haggle. He raises his prices 10% up front. When the job is done they will always try to get him a lower the price. He says OK, if you give me cheque today I can knock off 10%.

Me I just don't deal with nationalities that are notorious for haggling amd not paying. That's their business culture and I respect that, but they're in my country now and the rules of the game are different here.
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Unread 03-15-2015, 05:03 PM   #19
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im with you guys. I don't give breaks on my price. I explain to them the quality of materials being used and that ive got to be able to make a living also. I tell them that's my price and they can use me or not and im fine either way.
tile setter 12yrs exp.
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Unread 03-15-2015, 05:32 PM   #20
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Nice job Bill, looks like you got paid for the entrance only, rest of the house was for free. OUCH. We have all been there once or twice. Ill throw in a little bit here and there for good customers, otherwise have not come across to many hagelers lately. People are watching to much American pickers.
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Unread 03-15-2015, 06:10 PM   #21
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Family and friends got to be the worse to work for, you can't win either way they think you should charge next to nothing!

Nice work Bill!
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Unread 03-15-2015, 06:27 PM   #22
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A discount for the first house and I'll give you the rest = "I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today"

My time is worth more than it was yesterday and less than it will be tomorrow.

Everyone gets the same pricing (unless its free).

For when DIY isn't such a good idea...
Houston TX area Kitchen & Bath Remodeling

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Unread 03-15-2015, 07:28 PM   #23
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It seems like when we are scrambling for work or all "those" guys are getting the work instead of us, ghosts creep in; we have that negative self-talk where we disparage our own value to ourselves.

When you work for yourself, it's inevitable.

We've all eaten ass when we shouldn't have, given discounts to people who
really didn't deserve it -- comes with the territory. Bill that job you did for a friend/associate is all too familiar.

For me, it's always been a valuable exercise to ramp up my self-value in some way when I feel undervalued by someone else -- It really doesn't matter what it is; learn a new skill, lose a few pounds, commit to a larger self-improvement goal , do gratis work for people who really "do" need it -- Anything, something, just move the life-meter incrementally to the positive side and do not stew in self-doubt. Doubt can be thwarted -- your life is a "plus one" equation. Increase yourself !!

The more you can do to increase yourself at any level imperceptibly amplifies your readiness when you have to deal with the concept of "negotiable"

Underlying all this rah-rah talk is the reality of "been there", and, will be there again; so I feel you as far as the frustration goes when negotiating for fair consideration.

BUT, what I really wanna drive home, is this - the most important negotiations
you will ever have, are with yourself. Once you master that, the rest is just ebb and flow -- ramen to ribs . . .

hang in there -- stick to your code.
Stephen -- Man vs. Tile -- The Battle Continues . . .
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Unread 03-15-2015, 09:17 PM   #24
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Yep, right now I'm in the middle of a job for one of my best repeat customers.
Three years ago I tore out their master shower and rebuilt it. Last year I removed all the stone from their walkway and porch and retiled it. Now I'm back tearing out 4 tub surrounds and a shower in their 5 other bathrooms. I went by their house a few weeks ago to measure the 5 bathrooms and told her I would go home and figure up an estimate for her. She said, no, go home and enjoy your evening, you're gonna do the job. Charge me what it takes. I could use a few more like her. She's not one of my customers that wanted to negotiate my price.

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Unread 03-15-2015, 09:45 PM   #25
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Funny thing-- my best customer now started out because of my wanting to get my money back. A guy who I'd done his house, his brother, and his father thru the guy who owned the home up above-- this guy used to work for his father as an electrical contractor. We worked out a deal that we'd trade work at cost. I did a backsplash for him where I actually lost a few bucks. Not much, but enough to mention it. A few months later, I wanted him to change over service in the 100 year old house I was in from 100 to 200 amp service, and install a couple of GFI's for me. He charged me 1800.00 for it. Now me, being the trusting (read that as gullible) one, I never even got another price, and just assumed that was the cost, being he had to get the utility company involved, and so forth. My father in law asked me if I was soft in the head (he was an electrician in his younger years). When I said maybe it was a geographical thing (he was out in Utah), He told me to make some phone calls and get some prices over the phone. See what they say. The most EXPENSIVE price I got was this kid's uncle, at 1250.00. As if that wasn't bad enough, my wife went down to his office and got in his face. He told her he'd take 50.00 off the bill. After that I almost went down and popped him. But instead I decided to stick with him-- he was just starting up as a GC, and I had more of a chance to get my money back that way. That was probably the most expensive 600.00 extra he ever made. Also the last time he got anything for free from me.

The kicker is (and what made me think of it) that like Davy, any house I do for this guy now, I go in and do the work and give him the bill later. I can't remember the last project I had to estimate.

"Whether you think you can, or you think you can't, you're probably right."

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Unread 03-16-2015, 05:09 AM   #26
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The minute you start lowering your price could be the end of profitability. I find that the folks with the most income are the worst at wanting a “deal” The referrals you get from these folks are the same type looking to get more than they want to pay for. Sure you’re busy, but you’re not making any money. Not worth it. I agree with the majority, stay home and be with the family, or help out someone in true need, than negotiating a lower price.

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Unread 03-16-2015, 08:01 AM   #27
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I've come to find that in this day and age, people generally don't want to buy things unless they feel like they screwed you out of it. Especially with labor and home improvement. Of course, I'm not above negotiation, but not without sacrifice on their part. Sometimes, it really is just too expensive. "Ok, if you want a better deal, which part of my bid would you like to eliminate?"

I don't advertise for this very reason. I'm not looking for tire kickers and negotiators. My closing rate with word of mouth is in the 80-90% range. My closing rate with advertised leads is only about 25%. Not worth the trouble. In any case, I don't negotiate.

I had a contractor a few years ago who made the same "give me a deal on this one and I'll give you a lot of work" of course I did, but never heard from him again. I guess he found someone else and lured him in with the same line. Then repeated the process every job after that.
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Unread 03-16-2015, 08:16 AM   #28
Bill Vincent
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"Whether you think you can, or you think you can't, you're probably right."

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Unread 03-16-2015, 10:07 AM   #29
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When someone asks for a discount, the answer should go something like this.

I only have 2 types of discounts that I offer, the first is since my father was a fireman, I have a discount for firemen and police officers and the other one is a general discount for everyone.

When they ask what's the difference, you say:

It's simple, for the firemen and police officers, I double the estimated price and then give them a discount back to the original estimated price. For the general discount, I triple it before I reduce it to the original estimated price.
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Unread 03-16-2015, 11:46 AM   #30
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You mean the general public gets twice as much off as a public servant?


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