How many of you go to look at a kitchen and give the people ideas on there kitchen while in there homes and after they get all your ideas they run to the big box store with all your professional ideas on what will work for them. How far do you go without giving to much info but still give the ideas. I don't give measurements just a good understanding of color and design. What do others do so I don't keep wasting time when the people have no intention of getting you just the ideas
The folks you talk to may be saying the same thing after you leave - you are wasting their time.
What you don't say is why they go to the BigCabCo - obviously it is money.
Therefore, get the money out on the floor first thing. Ask their budget, tell them a ballpark and what that includes and excludes. You will know within a few minutes of meeting whether it will proceed further or not. Then spend a short amount of time explaining 3 things that make our product superior. 3 sentences, no more. As you get better (at the product, and at reading prospects), your reputation may help winnow them out and you can hit more than you miss.
The shoe can be on the other foot as well . Before the big box stores came along , customers would go to the high end cabinet shops first. They would get a mit full of glossy brochures and computer generated pricing . They would then go around to all the smaller shops figuring they would get it done cheaper because of supposed lower overhead . Many times I would walk in and spot the glossy blue folder on the kitchen table and knew instantly who I was bidding against .
time never get wasted when you looking for job, It is dependts how capable is your business, good working business should complette any big box store, see how the big box stores getting customers, that can give you an idea.
I often try to look at it this way. Not everyone that calls me for a quote, is the customer I want to work for. If they want cheaper prices than what I quote, I do not want to work for them. If they are too focused on the price of the product, then they probably don't appreciate my level of skill, attention to detail and the service they will get when they pay my price. I don't enjoy working for people that do not appreciate what our company offers. The quoting process helps me discover who is, and who is not my customer. And last, I consider that if I am not tied up with this type of customer, then I will have the time and production available for the next great customer that gives me a call. And hopefully they are keeping my competitor all tied up and annoyed, working way too cheap to make a profit. They probably deserve each other, don't they? Sure it annoys me to have given them time and ideas, but this attitude helps me to keep from getting discouraged. There really is a positive side to not getting orders from certain people.
Unless I know the people or they come referred from a client I ask if they have a plan ?
If not I make them the offer to come measure , design and layout the kitchen and bid it as well , a set of complete plans will be made available for $250 as an example .
I call it an insurance policy for the clients ,they can take it and get as low a bids as they want but we do get paid for our time .
I offer to give them the cost of the plan off the project price . So it is our job to design a job the big box simply can't produce and some shops won't want to do it the way we see it , sell your abiltiy by showing them what you do , offer a trip to a clients kitchen no big box will do that .
Thanks everyone fig that these days you have to give free est everyone in the area does and if I would start charging I would think that would cut me out into putting myself in front of people that I can show what I can do as workmanship and a design. After telling them drawers would be nice in this area because, Also pantry would be nice here for all your foods. 90% of people cant see there kitchen in any other way that it was. Big box doesn't do this So now they have ideas.They jump in car go get second est or price from big box they have a great layout because the min wage guy can punch it in the computer and give them low overhead cabinets. How many people go look at electronics at best buy play with it and talk to the guys and learn about it and walk out and get it off amazon. Well amazon don't have stores low over head and can sell for less. kinda same. Guess just have to get some better selling ideas. This is why the mom and pop stores are hurting
"Guess just have to get some better selling ideas"
Think how many skills you have to improve and how much you have to invest to trim your production time by 5%. And how many skills do you have to improve to get your pricing up 5%? Selling and perhaps designing.
An oversimplification, perhaps, but I know what I'd invest in first.
I personall y sell a bout 300 jobs per year many of those are shopped against very good competition. I close 50-60% of those deals and avg. $3500 per sale. I'm rarely the lowest price. Part of being good at selling is to have a well put together plan that you follow that sets you apart from the competition. I go over my company history, online reviews, licensing, insurance, employee background checks. I then educate them on products and explain how options effects prices. Then I design and finally price. I try to set appts. With both decision makers present. I schedule all follow up appts at my showroom.
A percentage of our time is spent bidding , talking , looking ,chasing materials and otherwise doing things that are not earning dollars . So how many hours a week are spent in unproductive ways , I figured about 6-10 hours a week average .Based on a 40 hour week it is about 20 % or so of my time . If your hourly rates are say $50 then you need to charge more per hour to recoup .You could just figure it in to your overhead costs but it is a real factor not to be forgot about .
Here's my take. First off, you should be around 20% cheaper than Lowe's or HD as their pricing (high end at least) is stupid high.
I have my clients start at HD after I talk to them. Have them get their free prints and pricing from them...they'll do it in 30 minutes, even over the phone. At least in my case, when they see my pricing and what I can offer them comparable to what they think is top of the line I usually get their business.
If any of you say that I should be higher than the big boxes...there is no way in my market. Nearly all custom shops in my area are 15-30% lower that big box when you compare apples to apples as closely as possible. Their prices step up dramatically just to go from 5/8 cab sides to finished 3/4" which is my standard. If you throw in pullouts, soft close everything, and glazed finishes you should be able to beat their prices easily.
I usually ask them pretty quickly for their budget. Not specifically, but ask if they will be choosing a 50 dollar faucet for the sink or a 500 dollar one. If they are cheap enough to buy a 50 dollar faucet and don't care about how long it last, they are not my customers. If they don't mind spending a few hundred for a decent faucet I can usually sell them a kitchen. My designs usually include something a big box does not have in their catalog also.
One thing I stopped doing, was leaving drawings and suggested ideas/designs behind... The next guy should be able to do the same on his own, on his dime.
I think the faucet comment is pretty close to how I feel, but I'm not there to educate them on plumbing fixtures.
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