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View Full Version : What is the proper way to follow up with a customer after giving them a quote?


SECTLANDSCAPING
11-24-2009, 12:18 AM
I don't want to come off rude by emailing them whether there happy with the bid or decided to go in another direction.

The problem comes up more with my website then people I see face to face. I added a best way to contact you? on my quote form to help in the future.

So this is how it works. A potential client uses the quote form at my website. If the client gives me enough information. I will email them back a quote, ask more questions about the job or set up a appointment. What ends up happening is I dont hear from them. If they dont respond by email I feel somewhat stalkerish trying to call.

The Cleaning Doctor
11-24-2009, 06:38 AM
Once you get the quote notification you NEED to call them. Don't just be a person on a computer make it personal. Call them and discuss your questions. They want personal attention that is lacking these days. I have email alerts that come right to my phone and if possible I stop and call them right then. They love the quick response. I even got a job just because of this. I responded quickly when they were expecting to have to wait a few days to be contacted. Turns out this guy is an archetect and has all kinds of builder connections. Personal attention but not baby sitting.

StartALawnCareBusiness
11-24-2009, 11:43 AM
As a general rule, I only give quotes in person.

With face-to-face meetings you are able to explain to the customers the reasons behind your quotes. Also, face-to-face meetings give you the advantage of being able to read their body language.

If they don't flinch when accepting your prices, you may surmise your prices are too low and you can experiment raising your prices with subsequent customers. If they refuse your price, you can ask them why they think it's too high then take them around their yards to explain why your prices are fair.

Take a more personal approach. I think you will find much better results face-to-face than by giving quotes over email.

Let us know if this change in tactic helps your ratio of acceptances vs. declines.

Steve
11-24-2009, 12:53 PM
I don't want to come off rude by emailing them whether there happy with the bid or decided to go in another direction.

I don't think there is anything rude about calling them up after a few days or a week to see if they had any further questions about the bid, it shows you are interested in the job.

But as the others said, it is very important to meet in person and give the bid in person.

I would love to hear, if you changed your estimate strategy, what kind of outcome you found.

Keep us posted.

shack
11-24-2009, 05:59 PM
I don't want to come off rude by emailing them whether there happy with the bid or decided to go in another direction.

The problem comes up more with my website then people I see face to face. I added a best way to contact you? on my quote form to help in the future.

So this is how it works. A potential client uses the quote form at my website. If the client gives me enough information. I will email them back a quote, ask more questions about the job or set up a appointment. What ends up happening is I dont hear from them. If they dont respond by email I feel somewhat stalkerish trying to call.

as a rule I always walk a site and speak face to face with a client before giving a quote. During the conversation I always discuss their preference for communication. I've won quiet a few bids over folks that sent an email bid without walking the site just because of this.

picframer
11-24-2009, 07:11 PM
We use Blackberries so I get the inquiry from the website right away and I thank the prospect for contacting us and when would be a good time to stop by and have a look atthe work they want, I have won dozens of projects because our reply is so fast, I have bid over the phone twoceand got burnt, I simply will not bid if I do not know what I am up against, and generally I will see other things we can do for them, quite often the reply is you can do that?

At the very least I would call them, a simply email reply with a quote is, IMHO not the route to head down.

Steve
11-24-2009, 07:24 PM
Something I was wondering is this. When you are out on a site pointing out other issues on a home owners property, do you find you are able to make more profit on the upsells either immediately or soon after, once you get them as a customer for what they initially called you for?

I would figure there would be some kind of premium a customer would be willing to pay once they get to know you and are comfortable with you.

Has anyone had such an experience or do you find you still need to bid your additional services as competitively as you bid your initial estimate?

The Cleaning Doctor
11-24-2009, 09:07 PM
I was called recently by an out of state homeowner that was wanting his deck cleaned in preparation for selling the home. I went to the site and by the time I was done I had washed the house, gutters, deck, dirveway, sidewalk, repaired window screens and replanted the landscaping that was bad looking at the front door along the side walk.

All that and all I was called for was a deck cleaning. I took photos and emailed them to him along with the pricing. Next call I got was go ahead and do it all.

Steve
11-24-2009, 09:17 PM
I was called recently by an out of state homeowner that was wanting his deck cleaned in preparation for selling the home. I went to the site and by the time I was done I had washed the house, gutters, deck, dirveway, sidewalk, repaired window screens and replanted the landscaping that was bad looking at the front door along the side walk.

All that and all I was called for was a deck cleaning. I took photos and emailed them to him along with the pricing. Next call I got was go ahead and do it all.

Do you feel you were able to charge a little more on the other services once you performed the first service or do you feel you bid it the same all the way through?

The Cleaning Doctor
11-24-2009, 09:46 PM
I know what I need to make and I quote it all the same. No need to gouge customers.

picframer
11-25-2009, 03:39 AM
To me its about building the relationship, I see you have a few dead trees, we can cut and chip those for you and for your consideration we will give you a quote, quite often I see the siding needs to be pressure washed, I would guess generally we get the additional work, some it's later on.

I can't bid a project unless I see it, recent examples is leaf clean up, you may have a one acre property with what you think is a lot of leaves, to us it may be a 1 hour job, some may have leaves six inches thick, it gives me a chance to explain the process we use (I am a very firm believer in educating the client, we win a lot of jobs because the competition comes in, looks around, says $xxx.xx and walks away), understand exactly what their expectations are and the job to be done, this way most of the time we can do a few little added things to exceed their expectations, we hear oh my, that was nice I am going to refer you to. We may have decided to spend 30 min trimming when it was not part of the deal, every one of us like to get something that we preceive as free, I have probably already factored it into your quote but didn't mention it on purpose.

Lots of reasons but the longer you are on the site the more money you should be making and the longer there the more people driving or walking by see you. I can't believe the amount of business we get from people that walk up to us, happened to me yesterday while getting gas, it was a down day due to harsh rain, I took a new chipper into the gas station for fuel then to my lettering company for measurements, guy walks up to me, looks at the chipper, makes a comment about what an animal it looks like, we laugh, wants the chipper and three staff Saturday and Sunday, chipping is simply $500.00 a day for operator and two staff, additional staff is $25.00. Chipping is one of the very few services we offer that I do not need to see the job unless the client wants to know how many days, even then I will talk my way around this by saying, in my experience it will take xx days however that is just a guess, if you can only afford one day now, no problem, we would be happy to come back when you are ready for another round. It works and works well, why? Customer probably has a budget and they at least want some of the work done, I could say this will cost you $2,000 and never get the deal or I could take the approach I do and we at least get part of the pie now.

Now these chipping jobs for me are candy as I can send the highschool staff as there is a very short learning curve, I can leave the equipment the night before etc.

Another thing that we see is the customer might hire a crew for a day, they see the progress and change their mind and say, would you be able to stay another day, could you clear that area while you are here etc. You need your foot in the door, once there you have full access.

shack
11-25-2009, 07:46 AM
I know what I need to make and I quote it all the same. No need to gouge customers.

I agree with this 100% in fact if I win a bid and do some add ons I'm more likely to discount the add ons. Bidding the upfront job properly is the way to go, not low ball every other guy just to get in the door and nail the customer on add ons.

SECTLANDSCAPING
11-27-2009, 12:04 AM
I already started to change to a more personal approach. I generally will only bid mowing jobs without seeing the property. Recently I quoted the price we charge per foot for gutter cleaning and told him I would give him a full clean up and aeration estimate after looking at the property. I never heard back from the customer.

I will respond back to emails with appointment's now. If they blow me off then I know there not serious about attaining a professional service.

The Cleaning Doctor
11-27-2009, 08:37 AM
I will respond back to emails with appointment's now. If they blow me off then I know there not serious about attaining a professional service.

This will give you more time to work on your marketing and attracting more customers. Setting up the appointment is kind of a prequalification. If they won't set up an appointment 1- they are tire kickers, 2- they are just looking into your pricing so they can start their own business and low ball you.