So we have had 3 jobs in a row where the clients walk in and ask us for pricing. We are the first shop that they have come into. They giuve us the criteria that they want, usually all the bells and whistles. We quote it and all the while we say that these features are adding to the cost as they are time consuming. You name it they want it. So we quote it. 40K lets say.
In three days to a week they come back to us and say they went to the competition and it was 4K or 6K cheaper, but they took out the soft close, glazing, glass, large crowns and pull out corner units ect, ect...
So now the other shop looks like a hero and we have missed the job even though we could have priced it according to their BUDGET.
How do I not let a job get away from us?
i don't know the answer to your problem. i have a line in my standard reply that addresses being over budget.
"If the quote is beyond your budget - please let me know. I can make suggestions for substitutes in door styles, drawer construction, hardware options, etc. that may reduce the price. Often, we can manipulate some of these finer details that can help you hit your target budget without significant substitutions."
it does put it on them to let me know what is going on in there budget, but at least they should know it is can be an option to make things less expensive. this is assuming they are actually reading what i'm writing not skipping ahead to the overall number.
Maybe take a tip from Honda car pricing. They usually have 3 trim packages, no individual options. So one price with all simple finish and basic hardware, 2nd price point with premium hardware, 3rd price with all the bells and whistles. I've never done it this way, just food for thought.
You go back to them now, and tell them you went thru your pricing with the same spec as the other shop, and wow! they could have saved twice as much with you as the shop they are going with. Imagine that!
Then let them know that you finally landed a large job that will keep you busy for some time, and you will need to trim back the amount of work you take on. Say thanks for thinking of you and not would be nice to work together some time in the future, but you don't know when it could be.
This is bad advice because it does nothing but feed the dark side every woodworker has. But it is nice to daydream.
We see this too, and we changed the way we deal with prospects. We have been fairly successful quoting this way.
We try to get a very vague idea of what they want and try to price it as low as possible. After they decide on us, we then start adding the extras. This does two things, minimizes the amount of time you spend with a prospect, and keeps your cost low so your proposal is appealing.
I disagree with Bruce. Your products should cost what it's value is in the marketplace, not by how big your customers wallet is. I think it's highly unethical to charge someone more money for the same item just because you think they have more money.
You need to make your customers feel like you are their advocate and on their side, and that your helping them make the kitchen of their dreams. So just giving them as big of a number as you think they can afford on a piece of paper won't win you many jobs.
Perhaps quote the job as they ask for, but then on the quote show them how you can save them money but eliminating some of the unnecessary bells and whistles. Your competition is doing that for your customers as we speak and winning their business.
I would make sure you are breaking out all the extra features. This way when they are comparing bids they know what the cost is for glazing, slow close drawers compared to basic, and the same for the hinges. Estimating is very important step to allowing the client to make decisions while they are not in front of you. Everything needs to be broken out that is not the structure of the basic cabinet.
Agree with Colin on the drawings. Been beat to death here. We give up no design/drawing work until deposit.
We struggle with going in low and relying on selling adders or pricing all the bells and whistles then giving the customer the option to chop. Its a nightmare situation no matter how you slice it if your customers are going to shop you against anyone and everyone and not work on a level playing field. Then you have those that will pit shops against each other and let them beat each other into single digit margins.
We opt to give our customers a base-line number, a mid, and a full scale all the bells and whistles. These are all just ball park averages and they are made completely aware of that. I am not even willing to sit down and do a box by box take off (doesnt take much time but Im still not doing it) until the job is locked and on deposit. We give them the three numbers which constitute a range.
We are a bit lucky in that our area is down to two true custom shops, us, and one other that is on the cusp of retirement. All the others are either buying in factory cabs or barely cutting their own boxes and buying in all customer interaction components pre-made and pre-finished.
I would encourage them to do it or this job or any other job in the future. Write a spec sheet specially naming all construction methods, materials, methods, responsibilities, warranties.
All of it on paper. Then get a price. If they want you to behave as an adult then its fair that they act like one. I woud mention the fact it cost you $500 to do the quote then have them tell you that you are wrong.
So to follow up on this thread we did take some advice and price 2 jobs as bargain basement white with basic hardware, frameless cabinets. Then just under that quote we listed the add on features and a dollar amount to add to the quote.
We got both jobs because the client felt like they were in control and added up features to what they were willing to pay rather than having to decipher the exact same price with a one number bid.
Worked like a charm and from one simple vanity the job grew to a whole kitchen makeover. Small steps to climb the mountain I guess. Thanks to all for the advice. Even yours David Sochar, I sure feel like that some days.
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