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Old 01-03-2019, 09:27 PM   #21
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If it was a first time customer, I would tell them we don't break down our pricing.


If it was a long time customer, I would break it down into labor and materials only. I haven't had any pushback from the long time customers when we've had to break it down for them. I think the last time I broke one down, it was because the customer was surprised how much a VFD cost. We still did the project though.
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Old 01-04-2019, 08:39 AM   #22
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I don't itemize tasks on projects like that.

As others have said the customer asking for a breakdown is a red flag that they are going to either...

Nickel and dime you over every minor detail of the project:
"I looked online and outlet box is $0.59, outlet is $0.68, outlet box is $0.26, Romex is $0.18/foot, so how come new outlet is $xxx.00?"

-or-

They will likely do like most GC's and just use your numbers to beat somebody else into submission on a lower price. The unlicensed guys on Craigslist will beat any price.

As for taking out the subpanel, not a chance. It is essential to doing the project safely.

I'd also make it very clear in the contract that anyone else (brother from another state), licensed or not, altering or modifying my work in any way is an express violation of the terms of the warranty which will render any warranty or guarantee void.
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Old 02-06-2019, 12:18 AM   #23
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I must be missing something, are the tandems not allowed due to afci or is it some new code section I haven't seen? and if so couldn't you use afci receptacles or even afci dead fronts in boxes next to the panel?
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Old 02-06-2019, 09:52 AM   #24
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I would ignore them and price it how you see fit.

I do itemize but only with certain repeat customers....usually when i am doing a conceptual estimate for a project.
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Old 02-06-2019, 10:57 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by WPNortheast View Post
Hack this was the email

Thanks so much- would you be able to itemize the estimate for us? Also, if we can take out the sub-panel and just add in some twin breakers... not sure there will be much more wiring we will be adding to the house to warrant the sub-panel (and my brother said he could install at a later date if we ever need one). Thanks again for coming out this morning!

How would you respond to this? Btw it’s a full qo panel, so electrician brother from NY is suggestion a code violation by using NCL breakers. Sounds hack esp for a half a million dollar home.
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I must be missing something, are the tandems not allowed due to afci or is it some new code section I haven't seen? and if so couldn't you use afci receptacles or even afci dead fronts in boxes next to the panel?

@WorcesterSavage you missed the part about the existing QO panel being full. The customer's brother suggested violating code and common sense by using non-CTL circuit breakers rather than installing a sub panel.
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Old 02-06-2019, 11:32 AM   #26
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I don't break down material and labor, but I do itemize most quotes. Sometimes the itemization is broken down in to specific tasks, other times in to certain rooms or zones, but it is still a break down. It's a lot easier in the end when the client or GC states that the client no longer wants to do X. I charge the same price whether it's itemized or not.
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Old 02-06-2019, 11:42 AM   #27
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you guys are great. I used to do better types of jobs for my old boss, but for last 5.5 years lots of crap. Oh well i make twice the $$. No go on the software excuse i wrote it up while there since it was no big deal. I tend to get better results with a quick price on the spot. How do you guys do it? In person or call / email later?
don't ever give pricing on the spot.

*unless it's a service call, which this was not.
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Old 02-06-2019, 01:25 PM   #28
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don't ever give pricing on the spot.

*unless it's a service call, which this was not.
Why not?

I don't do it out of laziness and because I don't need the work that badly. But I think it's the best way to sell.

Play on your iPad or phone a bit to "enter the work and pull up the price".
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Old 03-07-2019, 01:00 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by WPNortheast View Post
You guys are great. I used to do better types of jobs for my old boss, but for last 5.5 years lots of crap. Oh well I make twice the $$. No go on the software excuse I wrote it up while there since it was no big deal. I tend to get better results with a quick price on the spot. How do you guys do it? In person or call / email later?
Agreed.
I do mine on the spot as well, unless it will take more than 15-20min and the customer doesn't have time to wait around.
In those cases I have to make a second trip back, so I try to avoid that.
I use software because it looks more professional, but doing it by hand really isn't any slower.
I avoid emailing prices or leaving anything behind at all costs.
If I present my prices to a customer and they say "can you email it to me, I'd like to think it over?" or "I need to talk to my wife, can you email it?" or some other such excuse, I know I've lost the sale.
99% of the time they never call back, so what is the point of emailing to them?
More than likely they're just taking your price and shopping it around.

One way around emailing or leaving your price behind is to just tell people upfront when you first come out that you're prices are your companies intellectual property and they leave when you do.
You can be available anytime by phone or in person to go over it with them, but you don't email or leave it behind unless they make a purchase.
If they're shopping around or are not serious about getting the work done, you'll find out before you waste your time giving them a price.
You can tell them nicely, but I don't think its unfair that if we're making prices for free that the customer doesn't get to keep the information unless they pay for it IMO.
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Old 03-07-2019, 07:15 AM   #30
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Agreed.
I do mine on the spot as well, unless it will take more than 15-20min and the customer doesn't have time to wait around.
In those cases I have to make a second trip back, so I try to avoid that.
I use software because it looks more professional, but doing it by hand really isn't any slower.
I avoid emailing prices or leaving anything behind at all costs.
If I present my prices to a customer and they say "can you email it to me, I'd like to think it over?" or "I need to talk to my wife, can you email it?" or some other such excuse, I know I've lost the sale.
99% of the time they never call back, so what is the point of emailing to them?
More than likely they're just taking your price and shopping it around.

One way around emailing or leaving your price behind is to just tell people upfront when you first come out that you're prices are your companies intellectual property and they leave when you do.
You can be available anytime by phone or in person to go over it with them, but you don't email or leave it behind unless they make a purchase.
If they're shopping around or are not serious about getting the work done, you'll find out before you waste your time giving them a price.
You can tell them nicely, but I don't think its unfair that if we're making prices for free that the customer doesn't get to keep the information unless they pay for it IMO.
I email an estimate to all of my customers and at this point I generally don't give a price when I am there even if I know what I am going to charge. Yet I still have about an 80% close rate. It's the same people who have to think it over or talk to their wives. Sometimes they don't get back to me for a week or two. My estimates say that they are good for 30 days, but I honor them for far longer than that.

Why is it that you lose 99% of the jobs that you can't close on the spot? That is insane. It reminds of a used car salesman. What are you doing wrong that makes people go elsewhere when they have some time to think about it?

Maybe you scared them off with your "My price is my intellectual property" bullsh1t? Or maybe, after having a little bit of time to think about it, they didn't like that you came in and turned their $700 job into $8,000?
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Old 03-07-2019, 07:34 AM   #31
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I email an estimate to all of my customers and at this point I generally don't give a price when I am there even if I know what I am going to charge. Yet I still have about an 80% close rate. It's the same people who have to think it over or talk to their wives. Sometimes they don't get back to me for a week or two. My estimates say that they are good for 30 days, but I honor them for far longer than that.



Why is it that you lose 99% of the jobs that you can't close on the spot? That is insane. It reminds of a used car salesman. What are you doing wrong that makes people go elsewhere when they have some time to think about it?



Maybe you scared them off with your "My price is my intellectual property" bullsh1t? Or maybe, after having a little bit of time to think about it, they didn't like that you came in and turned their $700 job into $8,000?
If I feel like I'm being led into a trap I get out quick. I've taken a few days to mull over a large purchase.

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Old 03-07-2019, 08:48 AM   #32
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It would be the exception in our shop to give a price on the spot. We call/email after we're back at the shop and the price has been worked up.

From what we've seen, we do not lose 99% of our bids doing it this way after the fact.

This has been standard procedure at our shop for 30+ years.
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Old 03-07-2019, 08:55 AM   #33
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I email an estimate to all of my customers and at this point I generally don't give a price when I am there even if I know what I am going to charge. Yet I still have about an 80% close rate. It's the same people who have to think it over or talk to their wives. Sometimes they don't get back to me for a week or two. My estimates say that they are good for 30 days, but I honor them for far longer than that.

Why is it that you lose 99% of the jobs that you can't close on the spot? That is insane. It reminds of a used car salesman. What are you doing wrong that makes people go elsewhere when they have some time to think about it?

Maybe you scared them off with your "My price is my intellectual property" bullsh1t? Or maybe, after having a little bit of time to think about it, they didn't like that you came in and turned their $700 job into $8,000?
It is his sales training, sounds like a Joe C. thing.

I email almost all my quotes too, and sell a good majority of the large projects, but not the smaller ones.

Put yourself in a customers shoes for a minute. Would you make a major purchase without thinking about it? Without talking to your SO?

Likely not.

So why are you pressuring them to do something you yourself wouldn't do when making a large purchase?

On our estimates there is a click to accept and pay deposit button. At least once a week I'll get some estimate approved I thought was lost months ago approved. The people had to save up the money, family issues came up, they were out of town on work for a month, vacations, etc....

Last year alone I would have lost close to $200k worth of work following that mentality of "Intellectual Rights". That IMO is a not a good sales move, and an even worse business reputation move.
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Old 03-07-2019, 07:00 PM   #34
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It is his sales training, sounds like a Joe C. thing.

I email almost all my quotes too, and sell a good majority of the large projects, but not the smaller ones.
That may be the difference, on larger projects its expected that you'll email your proposal.
They usually have longer lead times and there is no urgency on the part of the customer to make a decision right away.
On smaller service calls, people generally just want to get-it-done, so pricing on the spot serves thier needs better.
Saves me time and an extra trip back too.
The way I look at it is if the customer trusts and likes me I'll likely get the sale then and there, if I haven't earned thier trust then its a no-go.
Id rather just know I lost the job right then and there, then continue to follow up with them and bug them (thats what annoying salesmen do).
At least in service work "email me and I'll get back to you" translates to "We don't think you're the guy for the job and we're going to shop elsewhere".
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Old 03-07-2019, 07:15 PM   #35
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That may be the difference, on larger projects its expected that you'll email your proposal.
They usually have longer lead times and there is no urgency on the part of the customer to make a decision right away.
On smaller service calls, people generally just want to get-it-done, so pricing on the spot serves thier needs better.
No one needs a price that second, nor should they be expected to agree to it. There is nothing wrong with giving them a price later in the day via email, this way they can see exactly what they are agreeing to and all the terms of the agreement. They can also think about it and discuss it with their SO.
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At least in service work "email me and I'll get back to you" translates to "We don't think you're the guy for the job and we're going to shop elsewhere".
There is an issue going on causing us to close 80% of our small service/installation jobs that we email the estimate to later in the day, while you have a 1% close rate. That is your number that you posted. Think about that for a second. Why are the people who actually have time to think about you, your service, and your price not happy with it? Why can you only sell the people who you can get to say yes before you leave (that old car salesman trick)?

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Old 03-07-2019, 07:24 PM   #36
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We price out by task but not labor and material when requested
I politely tell them we charge by the task and do not have an hourly rate
Anyone that does not respect the fact that we'd like to pay our mortgage and save a buck after all our company overhead is paid is someone I don't want to work for anyway
A friend puts it this way to his HVAC customers- you wouldn't expect an auto dealership to detail each car part when purchasing a new car would you?
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Old 03-08-2019, 04:50 PM   #37
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We price out by task but not labor and material when requested
I politely tell them we charge by the task and do not have an hourly rate
Anyone that does not respect the fact that we'd like to pay our mortgage and save a buck after all our company overhead is paid is someone I don't want to work for anyway
A friend puts it this way to his HVAC customers- you wouldn't expect an auto dealership to detail each car part when purchasing a new car would you?
Agreed. Itemization is like going into a burger joint then asking them what they pay for the bun.
When customers ask me “how much does that part cost?” I just say “Oh the parts? Why they’re free, its all included in my price”.
Or I’ll just ask them why they want to know, and then talk about that instead.
Giving materials/labor itemization to your customer is like handing them a loaded gun to shoot at you with.
I even avoid itemizing my line items as they can pick those apart too.
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Old 03-08-2019, 05:05 PM   #38
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No one needs a price that second, nor should they be expected to agree to it. There is nothing wrong with giving them a price later in the day via email, this way they can see exactly what they are agreeing to and all the terms of the agreement. They can also think about it and discuss it with their SO.

There is an issue going on causing us to close 80% of our small service/installation jobs that we email the estimate to later in the day, while you have a 1% close rate. That is your number that you posted. Think about that for a second. Why are the people who actually have time to think about you, your service, and your price not happy with it? Why can you only sell the people who you can get to say yes before you leave (that old car salesman trick)?
Really?!?
80% closing rate on service calls where you just email the price?
Some of the best selling techs out there AND full time sales guys dont close at higher than 85%.
I close at about 67% and that’s sitting face to face with my customer after spending at least 0.5-1hrs with them helping them figure out what they need.
If you’re getting a 80% close rate on prices your emailing for small service calls I’d love to know how you do it.
NO sarcasm here truly, but that is an outstanding close rate for emails IMO.
If I could stop presenting my prices in person AND increase my closing rate by 13% I’d be all over it, but I just can’t see it working out that way.
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Old 03-08-2019, 05:52 PM   #39
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Really?!?
80% closing rate on service calls where you just email the price?
Yes, I have consistently gotten 4 out of 5 estimates since I started. It has not changed since I switched from estimates on the spot to emailing the estimate later that day, or even the next day when I forget.

A big part of it is qualifying my customers. I talk to them on the phone first to make sure that they are serious, to try to find out if they are shopping around, and to try to find if they are aware of the cost.

If I find that they are shopping around or think the price is high, I write them off right then and there. On the flip side, if they are serious I can often give a price right over the phone just by their description and sometimes a few pictures that they text/email me. I get many jobs like that without ever going to see the job. I can't remember the last time I did an in-home estimate for a panel change or service upgrade. They just send me a picture or two of the panel and I look at the outside part of the service on Google Maps.

Once I get the sale I will stop by to have them sign the agreement and pay the deposit, I will take a look at everything, and I will see if there are any other upsells I could get.

Quote:
Some of the best selling techs out there AND full time sales guys dont close at higher than 85%.
They are probably the type that think they can sell anyone, and try. I don't waste my time, I move on to the next customer.

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I close at about 67% and that’s sitting face to face with my customer after spending at least 0.5-1hrs with them helping them figure out what they need.
This is where it's starting to sound like a used car salesman. "Don't give up until you got the sale. Keep pushing them until they sign!" I don't have time for that. There are way too many good customers out there wanting to give me their money.

I qualify them, then I look at it and talk to them as quickly as I can, then I send them a price. I let my honesty, good looks, and solid reviews do all the work. If they want me to do the job, they reply.

Quote:
If you’re getting a 80% close rate on prices your emailing for small service calls I’d love to know how you do it.
I think you need to look into your own practices first. Why can't you sell anyone that you email an estimate to? Like I asked in my last post, why can you only get sales that you push on people right away? Why, if they take time to think about you and your services, do they run?

Quote:
NO sarcasm here truly, but that is an outstanding close rate for emails IMO.
80% isn't very hard for well qualified potential customers.

I have never heard someone segregate emailed estimates like you keep doing. It's not that big of a difference. Getting the customer to sign on the spot might give you an edge, especially for a high pressure sales pitches. But it's not like emailing estimates is so terrible.

Think about this: Maybe they see my confidence and are impressed by it? Maybe they like that? The fact that I am not working my ass off to get their one job, that I don't look desperate.
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Old 03-08-2019, 06:02 PM   #40
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Agreed. Itemization is like going into a burger joint then asking them what they pay for the bun.
When customers ask me “how much does that part cost?” I just say “Oh the parts? Why they’re free, its all included in my price”.
Or I’ll just ask them why they want to know, and then talk about that instead.
Giving materials/labor itemization to your customer is like handing them a loaded gun to shoot at you with.
I even avoid itemizing my line items as they can pick those apart too.
If they want to know about labor and material costs, I don't get into that at all. That is when I shut down and start walking.

But often times people will want different tasks broken up.

Sometimes I will do it automatically. Such as a service upgrade, a vehicle charger, and some inside crap (lights, outlets, whatever) I will often just put 3 line items. I will give an inflated price and then put a discount as a 4th line item saying that they get the discount for doing the job together.

If it's the type of job that I don't want to break up, such as just a bunch of inside stuff (like 8 new outlets and new circuits, 3 new fans and fan rated boxes and wiring, and 4 new lights) I will bunch it all together. Then in the few situations that they ask for it to be broken down, I will tell them that it is all done by the estimating software and I could do separate them but the prices will be much higher for each task that way and it won't represent the real price. They almost always understand. The ones who don't? I never saw them again- just the way I like it.
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