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When is enough enough ?

Posted: Thu, Nov 06 2008, 8:17PM
by Gary Puckett
How many revisions do you think a guy should do?

This is before you even know if your going to get the job, I just got done doing my 3rd drawing and still have 2 more to do.

Here is the newest revision

Re: When is enough enough ?

Posted: Thu, Nov 13 2008, 11:08PM
by Damon Nabors

I think there may be something in the WATER. :? I have bid the same job for the 6th time today in the last week and it all comes down to the home owner doesn't know what she wants. First she wants a regular FF style kitchen, then she looks in a magazine and decides she wants full overlay frameless. Then she decides she wants full overlay with a frame. Then she wants to go to a recent job we just finished and look at our work. Now she decides she likes the face frame showing but wants different doors. We are on our 4th or 5th different door style. She thinks we can just go pick up a sample or order in what ever door style she sees in a catalog for her to look at. I finally got to her today. I simply told her the first design was her budget and anything else was going to be over budget. She has a few friends living in $###,###,###.## homes and she wants one of those type kitchens on a 15K budget.

To make things even worse, they are selling the house. They just need to get rid of the 1945 model kitchen cabinets they have and update the kitchen.

Anyway, maybe tomorrow we will go for #7.

Re: When is enough enough ?

Posted: Tue, Nov 25 2008, 11:08PM
by mark e hall
Hey Guys,
I have a policy that I adhere too. Like most companies, I do free estimates. The first one that is.
I will go out and measure the job, do shop drawings, make a sample door with the finish asked for, type up a quote. then sale the job.
The key is, I think, is to get as much info from the customer as possible. I have a design questionnaire that I fill out when interviewing the customer. In sales once you go for the close of the sale, SHUT UP!!
the first person that speaks after that loses. If the customer comes back with any rebuttal then you can start naming a new price. If they are undecided about what they want then I didn't do my job. However,
If they are like this woman, and I have had them myself, You need to ask for retainer (Non-refundable). I use a price of $500.00 or 5% of the first quote, which ever is greater. usually the 5% is. If they agree, then you know they are serious. If the bock, then you move on. There is to much business out there to waste your time with(a Basket case) one customer. If they go for the retainer I will design until the cows come home.
You will really have to do some customer qualifying. Meaning ask them to look at magazines talk to whoever (friends)first. When you give them what they want in a design, be sure to point that out. That way you can justify the increase in price. Here is another freebee for you NEVER EVER give out desings, unless you have money in hand. I have done design after design for a customer. Then they take all that hard work out to other shops and have them bid the job cheeper. If that don't ------ you off nothing will.
Good luck!
Mark Hall.

Re: When is enough enough ?

Posted: Wed, Nov 26 2008, 12:27AM
by Brandan Hanz
Amen - almost a carbon copy of my policy. Best phrase i use at the end of a conversation - "Is this what you want?" Usually works - anything but a firm yes and you are still in the planning stage as compared to the production stage.

Re: When is enough enough ?

Posted: Fri, Dec 26 2008, 1:37PM
by Michael S Murray
Let me preface this by saying that I know business is TOUGH at least right now.

Let me also tell you that my policy for 2 years is, estimates are free, designs are not.And yes, you can do a very close estimate without doing a design.Design fee is at least 5% of estimate and the drawings are there property to do what they would like with them.

I know it will really be tough to change, but unless you just need the drawing/estimating practice, you will never go back.
Every once in a while I lose one to this, but you could probably chock them up as ones you would have never got anyway.
I actually had a couple come in last week with the big box drawings, said they werent happy with the design or quality.Asked me many design questions about how I would do it, solve their problems, etc. I explained to them that I would do a estimate and then for 5% do a design if they were interested. They werent happy but asked for the estimate anyway, I called them two days later and they werent even interested in coming to the shop to discuss estimate, wanted to do it over phone. I gave them numbers and they had no problem telling me I was 20% higher than big box---hmmmmm, exactly what I had told them at our first meeting!!

Heres the kicker, I was at big box the same day picking up some metric tapes for shop and seen big box designer that I am good friends with(estimated, designed and built her kitchen!!!)Told her one of her clients was just in with her drawings, she asked me name and I told her, she laughed and said they had ordered almost 2 weeks earlier.............I hope all you guys doing free designs read this carefully and reconsider. THESE PEOPLE HAD NO INTENTION IN USING MY PRODUCTION FACILITY,ONLY MY DESIGN SKILLS!! What most people consider my design expertise is really more the capability to produce whatever I need to work around there problem, not really my superior design..
Ok, off my soap bx and back to layout....

Re: When is enough enough ?

Posted: Fri, Dec 26 2008, 2:06PM
by Gary Puckett

Had almost the same thing happen to me, did a clients front room, cubbies in the mud room, ran their cable line about 150 feet through the ceiling in the basment(that was finished drywall) did not charge them for running the cable.

Made 4 drawings for the kitchen area gave her a price she said things were tight and if I could get the price to xxxx dollars she could swing it. Well I did I took a hit on labor but I thought they were nice people wrong!! She emailed me about a week later and said they were going with another cabinet shop that was $400.00 cheeper and it was a different design. Right this guy was about 1hour drive from her. I kept trying to go over to get to see what he did, but no luck. Well live and learn.

From now on people get a 2d line drawing that I keep after I show them, then when I get a downpayment thats when they get a true drawing from eCab.


Re: When is enough enough ?

Posted: Thu, Jan 08 2009, 8:53PM
by mark e hall
Get'em Gary,
Sometimes I would like to ask a customer i.e. Home owner or builder what they paid for the blue prints that they are building the house with. do you think that architect drew those for free?
Or better yet ask the customer if they would do what they do for a living for free for me!
I hope the best for you guy's
See ya,

Re: When is enough enough ?

Posted: Wed, Jan 21 2009, 1:28PM
by Sergio Fetter
Hey guys,
At least you got some business going there. I am having to look for stuff. Things are tough down in my area.

Re: When is enough enough ?

Posted: Fri, May 15 2009, 6:59PM
by David Coleman
I wanted to add my two cents.

Here in Kenosha, there are a lot of basements that people want updated. I've gotten a lot of business that way. I do the one-of-a-kinds as well as all the other stuff. On my proposals I have a stipulation that the estimate is good for 7 days after that the price is likely to go up to cover cost of materials, etc. I also tell them that they'll need to put 50% down to secure the bid and get the job rolling. Of course that's so they have some skin in it too. So far I've only lost one job this way--and that's in this economy. Stick to your guns. If people want to quibble over change they can go somewhere else. In all likelihood they'll be pretty impossible to please anyway and you'll end up less rested and do less quality work.

David Coleman
Shaker Works

Re: When is enough enough ?

Posted: Fri, May 15 2009, 8:58PM
by John J. Desmond

David wrote:
If people want to quibble over change they can go somewhere else. In all likelihood they'll be pretty impossible to please anyway and you'll end up less rested and do less quality work.

Sounds like Joplin area, Remember?


Re: When is enough enough ?

Posted: Sat, May 16 2009, 11:06AM
by David Coleman
Yeah, it does.

I don't want to give the impression that I think that you're always going to get good people to work for (meaning: yeah, you have complete creative license and I'm going to pay you on time, and oh yes, here's bonus to thank you in advance for your hard work). But I think that you need to make every effort to make them happy within reason, after all this is your time that you are giving to a project that you're not even sure you're going to get. Time which you could be giving to other, more pressing projects. I know that you guys know this, you're in this business to make a decent living and because you love doing it. Anyone can go to McD's and flip burgers to live. Yes, sometimes you also have to take the jobs in between the ones that you really enjoy. Especially in this economy. And this may even be a great opportunity to hone what you enjoy doing so much--do the things that your competition is unwilling to do to get "good" jobs.

Sounds like I've gone in a complete circle :wink: