Negotiating with a customer


#1

I have a friend who has been in business for like 7 years. he always complains that joe homeowner talked him down x amount of dollars.

i do not negotiate how much my time is worth. I have lost only one job in the past due to this.

how do you guys feel about that. am i alone.


#2

Whenever I’ve done it in the past, which was rarely, I always came out on the short end of the stick.
And it was my fault, my eagerness that caused me to cave.
Anyway, 98% of the time I just gave my price-- take it or leave it.
I think there might be issues other than price that don’t get brought up, and either the customer or contractor “assumes” it is about price.


#3

Some people just aren’t cut out for sales. Really, that’s what you are if you’re a one man band (like I am).

If that’s the case, he needs to have a set schedule for “as found” repairs & this isn’t merely to cover how much is required in parts, but what’s needed to comp his time as well. I can see doing a freebie & sucking up 2 or 3 sheets of decking & maybe the same amount in rafters if it’s just scabbing on some new pieces, but 20 ft. of fascia or rebuilding the area around a 6’ wide chimney that’s been 40 years without a cricket is going to take a boatload of time & that’s what needs to be comped for.

It’s possible he’s on the upside from the part of the estimate, but after that, the extras are killing him on time, parts & sub labor.

If it’s just the basic ‘strip & shingle’ jobs with limited ‘as found’ repairs needed, then he needs to do a better job in measuring the job. This will cascade into resolved issues he may have with too many or not enough parts (which means either overstock that has to be handled & maybe returned @ a % loss or having to always run to the supply house).

If his measurements are always within 5% of perfect (we all make mistakes), then it’s possible his customers smell blood & they’re always trying to get something from him. Believe it or not, a majority of customers prefer a strong relationship / strong willed sales process FROM THE CONTRACTOR vs. someone they can push around a lot.

This doesn’t mean you should bully your customers, but they are looking to YOU the contractor for guidance in a process & in materiels / how to use them right that the clients are unfamiliar with.


#4

I will move from time to time on price and im onlky talking about a couple hundred bucks. The most i will move is 500 but i have that money in the bid so i can do that. If you are bidding without any cushions then you will have problems. It is tough here in michigan but if you can carry about 1200 profit a job you have done well when it said and done with. Around me profit in the 600 dollar range is the normal and i dont deal with those types of people. If you want cheap i tell them to go to the corner bar and find a roofer, thats after i appoligize for them not being able to afford me. Tell that to a foreign decent and watch what happens. Funny as hell.