Bidding Against Low-Ball Competition
I went to the house after the cabinets were set and snooped around. They did a facade of what I quoted. They got 1/2 plywood drawer boxes with side mounted runners, (vrsus dovetail, Blum motion) no glaze kitchen, the finished cypress bookcases I had were done in unfinished birch/maple.
My question is - should I have called the owners up and tried to talk them out of it. I knew the job could not be done that cheaply but I didn’t want to tick off the builder. The owner is now unhappy, and the other cabinet company is on life support. I was laid low thinking I had it and then lost it. Should I have been more aggressive towards the owners in demonstrating the differences between cabinet companies? I know some of you had this happen. I also just turned in a bid of $200,000 for another residential project with this same builder.
From contributor M:
Builders can be your worst enemy. I have had them look me in the eye and tell me I am stealing money from their pocket when I am higher than someone else, then say they don't like thieves. They could care less about the specs, and you, and the homeowner.
You are far better dealing with the homeowner, then treating the builder as an equal. Homeowners are the ones financing the deal. They can and will take the time to understand what you are quoting, and will give you an opportunity to compare specs if there is competition.
Much of what we supply is emotional - nobody needs it, but they really, really want it. If you can feed the emotional side, it will help you work with, understand and eventually supply the customer with exactly what they want. They will write the check, say thank you, and tell their friends what a fine job you did. While you can't ignore/insult the builder, you can side step them.
From contributor B:
Next time at the first meeting ask for a $1,000.00 check regardless of the value of the job. You will progress bill for more money when needed. It works for me.
From contributor J:
There’s a good reason we do not get certain jobs, and there are some down the street that have turned into my best references and I never set foot into the house!
From contributor R:
If you could have done the job like they did for the $80k price then it just boils down to a quote problem. Why not quote the job the cheap way and just make a list of options for the drawers, glides, glaze etc. We have been doing this for a while with mostly positive results. It definitely helps with the sticker shock or like in your case, with the apples and oranges comparisons. Just make sure that your quotes are very specific.
From contributor D:
Contributor R has a good idea about giving quotes with upgrades listed and priced out. Let the customer choose what they want. You should always be demonstrating why the better components are worth paying extra for - not just offering a take-it-or-leave it bid. That's just good salesmanship. The best value is usually not the cheapest.
Would you like to add information to this article?
Interested in writing or submitting an article?
Have a question about this article?
Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?