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.
Mark Hall of:
1725 New Hwy. 52 E.
Westmoreland, TN. 37186