Giving estimates

For those of you that have some employees do you train someone to give estimates? My business is growing and wondering if I should teach someone to give some estimates when they are working in the general area of a potential customer. As of now I have always been doing the estimates. What do u guys do?

over the phone estimates…

works great unless you have homes over 5000 sf.

Commercial i always do in person.

But i do 99.9% residential.

I have done some over the phone, but I feel like I always come on the low side when that happens. I still like seeing it in person so there are no surprises. P.S. I like the attachment

thats why i have the prices on my website, if a client tells me over the phone that they have 22 windows @ $180.00 then i count 35 Windows @ $280.00.

there is no confusion about me trying to rip them off.

All of my appointments are confirmed price upon arrival.

You will waste alot of time and gas giving in person estimates, plus alot of people want a price right when they call.

(Being if you dont give a price they will call the next window cleaner in line unless it was a referral)

Chris at all county does over the phone bids as well.

Yep we do the same thing as Doug…

It can be done over the phone… Its for the most part the only way we do it… There are a few exceptions.

where do you get the pictures of the windows?

you make them with some software or you hire a graphic designer

This isn’t a thread about phone estimates. The question is:

“Do you train an employee to give estimates…when they are working in the general area of a potential customer.”

We’ve been over this same issue several times already, but I still think that is better to do quotes in person.
The reasons? Several for me.

  • Gas is something that needs to be included in your costs of operation, if you think of it as something that you “waste”, to me, there’s something wrong. I’m not talking about going to a house and realize that you forgot something at home and go back to get it, and then take a lunch break and go somewhere to eat, and go back to the house , and so on … you get the idea.

  • I base my prices on several factors, even if you look at some of my past posts it doesn’t look like I do, and one of those factors is how dirty the windows are and what kind of dirt. Just dirt or paint ? silicone? shotgun fungus? stucco? We all know that all of them require different methods and different amounts of time .

  • Upselling - You can do it over the phone, for sure, but is hardest for me, I have a better “performance” in person, so is a no brainer for me if you can sell $100 over the phone, or $400 in person with an investment of $5 in gas and 30 mins of your time.

  • I’m a nice guy - and I’m not kidding, most people let me know that, even most of the time my prices are higher that other quotes, they go with me since they like me - I’ve always being like that, is courteous, nice and try to keep myself clean cut all the time (I fail miserably sometimes), but again, over the phone I’m just a name and a voice, when I knock at their door they see my truck, my uniforms my smile and you just need to work some magic.

  • I’m an immigrant (Hispanic) living in a state (TX) with a HIGH percentage of service providers of my same ethnicity … LOTS of them your big ole low baller. My English is not perfect and I have a bold accent, over the phone I’m just another potential “illegal worker”, so I have to bury that thought on my customer’s mind right away. And I accomplish that showing up right away and being how I am, and people sees to like that.
    So I have to GO to their houses in order to avoid being prejudged, is not my fault but is a reality that I need to face on a daily basis.

Bottom line is you have to do what works better for you and your business, and that’s the only true. If you do fine over the phone that’s great, I wish i could, If you have to show up to every house and that makes you $$, then is great too.

Merry Xmas to y’all.

when ever I do over the phone I always come on the high side.
I say over the phone that it’s a rough estimate, so when I show up and notice more work I can add that in instead of already giving an in stone price.

I would use the employee for the purpose I hired them - doing windows. The point to having an employee is to let you do the marketing, sales, bids, etc. By doing it yourself if it gets messed up you know who’s at fault.:wink:

What would Michael Gerber say if he read this?

Some employees are hired to clean. Some employees may be hired to clean, supervise, and provide quotes when in the area (with proper skills and training.)

I’ve always thought that until you get to a certain point of growth that the owner should use employees to do the cleaning while handling the rest of the biz themselves. Of course when you get to be a larger company then other areas should be farmed out - sales, bidding, etc. Of course I think an owner should never give up marketing because only he/she knows the company best.

Is providing quotes considered marketing?

I consider bidding and quoting the same. I personally consider marketing different than bidding. Around here there are alot of variables that I wouldn’t want to turn an employee loose on (as far as bidding is concerned). If it was someone I had trained and been using as a team lead that might be different.

Companies that do phone quotes and then have their employees go out to clean usually have those cleaners do the final estimate. But I can see how your own vested interest in your company can produce better quotes and add on perks.
I think kevin still does all his estimates himself. I think he feels that his face should be the main thing the customer sees when they think of his company. That way if they dont like a particular service visit or employee, they are still willing to deal with him.

I think it could be.

I could be missing out on something. Can you guys tell me how the two might combine? Are we talking about upselling on the quote?

To me that might be one of the main reasons, along with your face, as company owner, to be seen by the customers. But, is almost 4 AM on Christmas Day so …

To me, marketing is so much more than advertising. It’s branding my company, it’s the image that my customers conjure up when they hear my company name… it’s the feeling portrayed by my company.

I believe that whoever does the bid is DEFINITELY marketing for a few reasons.

  1. They are responsible for letting them see that we keep our “5 Star Commitment” (ie. we are prompt, we are clean-cut & friendly, learn about cleaning schedules)-- Companies that make promises are a dime a dozen… but this is our chance to show them that we keep our promise.

  2. They get to see a bid on all of our offerings. They get a chance to feel a low-pressure, thorough scope of how our company could help them. To aid with this, we have a Sales Catalog that shows nice before and after pictures, customer referrals, and uniform pricing.

  3. All follow up emails, direct mailers, or indirect marketing will now be associated with the positive, personal experience.

I think when we narrow the scope of marketing to advertising, we tie our hands with what is possible. I’d be interested to hearing Kevin’s ideas on this.