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| | |-+  Providing Estimates type question
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: Providing Estimates type question  ( 2709 )
baileyuph
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« : November 22, 2012, 11:18:14 AM »

Customers will sometimes ask for an estimate and indicate they are getting bids to do a ...................certain thing. 

These are estimates where the shop owner will have to go and look to perform an estimate. 

Shop estimates at my shop are free when items are brought by for review.

 However, there can be a significant cost in traveling to provide a free estimate, plus the risk of no job since customer announces it is a taking bids situation.

 Personally, I cannot stay in business running around giving free estimates and where is the logic in doing this when there is plenty of work on the bench? 

For the record, I won't go and give free estimates but how is the best, most polite way to explain this to a customer?

I usually give them an answer, but sometimes it wrinkles their brow.  My come back is price isn't everything, one must consider quality.  All work isn't the same, not like a quart of motor oil, for example,  at the same specifictation is the same but price can vary depending on purchase.

I ask them to understand that reupholstery, of any type, is not like the quart of oil; the quality of what you get is not always the same, like the oil example.

The inquiring customer doesn't always like my answer and acts like I am a snob because I won't go and give a free estimate.

How do you guys handle this?  Large scale projects maybe I could understand, where usually a bidder bids to a spec., but we small upholsters usually do not work with that arrangement.


Your thoughts,

Doyle

SHHR
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« #1 : November 22, 2012, 11:52:41 AM »

I use to be very accomodating on giving estimates, until after one fall a few years ago when a major wind storm went through. Call's started coming in to look at boats for upholstery and canvas repair. When that week was up I actually figured my time up in the shop Vs. time traveling to write estimates, which was horrible. Then to make matters worse maybe only 10% of my estimates came to fruition. Now I just ask people to bring their projects by the shop, unless it's in town which is usually somewhere I can travel in 15 minutes or less. If someone insists on me coming to look I will schedule something at my convenience as I've spent too much time away from the actual productivity of the shop chasing a job that may or may not happen. I get a lot of calls wanting "ballpark" estimates too, I always let them know I'd prefer not to guess over the phone but if I do, I tell them it's a major league ball park instead of a T-ball park which is a lot smaller.
MinUph
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Mainly furniture. Tarpon Springs Fl.


« #2 : November 22, 2012, 10:57:36 PM »

Asking them to email a picture is helpful. You can give them a decent estimate on a basic job and explain if foam or other hidden needs are found it may change. This will usually get them an idea of your fees and if they like what they hear then an in person estimate might be arranged if you think it is necessary.
  No offence intended DB but the oil can thing sounds terrible to me.
  When people are "shopping the shops" it is almost foolish to go on an estimate. They will take the cheapest one. If you can be the cheapest one and still afford to go on the estimate you won't be around long anyway. Did that make sense? LOL

Paul
Minichillo's Upholstery
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sofadoc
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All types of upholstery.....except cars and boats.


« #3 : November 23, 2012, 01:37:48 PM »

Estimates are one thing. Bids are quite another. I don't mind throwing out a "ballpark estimate" over the phone, or when replying to an e-mail pic.

Generally speaking, I only do bids for large companies. If an individual calls me on the phone using the "B" word, I usually give them a very dismissive answer. I have no intention of getting into a bidding war with another upholsterer over a small job.

I've noticed that a high percentage of the ones that call me announcing that they are "taking bids" end up calling me back later asking for an estimate. I guess that after they've called around, they come to the realization that their business isn't going to "make or break" anyone's career. ;)

"Perfection is the greatest enemy of profitability" - Mark Cuban
Mojo
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« #4 : November 24, 2012, 05:34:15 PM »

Thank God I no longer have to give out estimates. My prices are firm and what I typically get is " what is the cost for a 200 inch slide topper ". Many of the customers do not have a clue if it is $ 100 or $ 800. I do all these inquiries via e-mail based on the customers measurements.

When I was still doing solar screens I would travel to the customers location. I hated doing that because it was time out of the shop. But during that time I was not too busy and measuring windows and windshields on coaches alot of times was not a customers thing. I only traveled within a 20 mile radius of my home back then.

It is a piece of cake estimating toppers and awnings but I hated doing solar screen estimates because it always required travel. To save myself a trip, if I felt the customer would place an order I would pattern the windshield while I was there.

Chris
Mike
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Marine canvas & upholstery SWFL


« #5 : November 24, 2012, 07:50:07 PM »

ihave give a fre estimate if I don't the next guy will.i try to screen the call first if a guy is kicking tires and want a small %300 job but ost are more loike I quoted a $2500 job last week for a ladie on her boat (that's a good sign) then had totalk to hubby I didn't hear bacl and thought he put the kabash to it then today I got a voicemail he wants to talk.personaly I wiould want a price before I contracted I git a price to build a dock first. a auto repair always gives me a idea before any unforeseen problems .. soave to suck it up ho out and a lot of the time wait to hear back

Rich
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« #6 : November 25, 2012, 07:48:32 PM »

Notice how many SUV's and pickups there are on the roads today? For residential upholstery, I always suggest the customer bring the piece in. They either have the vehicle or know someone who does. If none of the above, I tell them I can't do it. But to be fair, this is not the only work I do.
Rich

Everything's getting so expensive these days, doesn't anything ever stay at the same price? Well the price for reupholstery hasn't changed much in years!
JDUpholstery
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Ash Flat, Arkansas


« #7 : November 25, 2012, 09:11:23 PM »

I am happy to do free estimates, within a reasonable radius of my shop, longer distance trips, I charge up front estimate that is refunded if I get the job..I also pick up and deliver free if close, other wise I charge a buck a mile....have had some decide to bring it to me when I tell them its 4 bucks for me to pick it up...
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