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Need advice on renovation estimates

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  • Need advice on renovation estimates

    I've started my one man shop last year and I read all that I can on forums about homeowners asking for estimates on bathroom/kitchen renos. To every person I said an estimate or quote has a fee they said they wouldn't pay for it. I ask if they have a budget there's no reply or they don't know, they never have a general contractor. It seems like I'm the only one they called yet, no other offers. I can't be driving all week spending 2 hours with each home owner, spending 4-6 hours preparing free quotes only to be told it's too expensive and they hire the dreaded hack.

    I did a few free estimates, got one job to rough in a bathroom/kitchen. I relocated the shower drain for free when he ordered a different pan, I repaired a cut water supply from the drywall guys for free. Got praises and awesome review from the young guy, his father was impressed with the service I provided, the floors all cleaned at the end of each day, straight piping etc. When it came to the finish stage I told him my rate was hourly as he had a special free standing tub coming in, custom vanity etc. I never heard back and he hired a hack.

    How do you deal with all these estimates? Free or not free when they say the other companies give them for free? How to pre-qualify customers and prevent wasting time and energy. Any tips appreciated.
    Last edited by Pro Service; 01-10-2018, 07:41 AM.

  • #2
    Visit the Journal of Light Construction where you will find this subject discussed thougroughly by small to large outfits, worker owners to general managers.

    This subject is examined in simple terms as well as more complex and offers some of the best discussions I've ever read on how to be profitable and adjust to changing conditions.

    Youll will find a couple of different approaches and begin to notice that many are in the same boat but there are some simple no nonsense solutions that might be a good fit for you. Even if it doesn't work out precisely to your needs it's very interesting reading.

    You don't want to do anything for free but you don't hand a bill to a customer every time something comes up. When we are on a job we take care of hiccups if we are already there but a call to fix a subcontractor screwup, that would be case by case and should get paid for changes. Your estimate should cover your time spent on sales and contingencies and yea some jobs that went smoothly will be more profitable than the difficult ones, your goal is to find a good balance by the end of the fiscal year. You don't want to spin your wheels or take advantage of your customers, easy to say. One thing I know is you need to be constantly managing to stay profitable, if your always working your not managing.
    Last edited by Mightyservant; 01-10-2018, 11:44 AM.


    • #3
      I will check that site out, thanks


      • #4
        No business can provide any kind of free service and stay in the black.
        You must get paid for your time.
        Try offering a refund of the estimate fee if they accept your proposal in a timely fashion.
        Just be sure to adjust your quote accordingly...and always collect the fee.


        • #5
          I've tried the refund too but no bites. I get the feeling they want free consultation to do it themselves. I also get the feeling they think a full bath reno costs under 200$and my rate is the same as a walmart employee.
          Last edited by Pro Service; 01-13-2018, 09:55 PM.


        • #6
          You just have to figure out what you need to be profitable. Now define profitable right? If you did any reading of that topic on that site you'll see guys doing all sorts of calculations to figure out markups, over head, job costs etc.

          A couple of contributors break it down in very simple terms which is refreshingly easy to follow.

          There is always going to be people who want you to work for nothing, you've avoid those customers as best you can, yea sometimes there is nothing else.


          • #7
            Thanks Mightyservant I just subscribed to journal of light construction.