Over the phone Bid

I have heard Chris mention this before, but didn’t go into great detail about it.

I want to hear systems that people use to bid/estimate a Res. over the phone.
I would hate to bid $250 and it be a $400 job when I show up…the people would be super mad.

I just don’t have the same time any more to run around, so a good system would

  1. conserve gas
  2. save time for other activities
  3. See if they’re serious, not busting my balls
  4. overall keep more money in my pocket

Just ask how many windows,doors, french windows they have.

I use this formula(see attachment) when i do my bidding over the phone.

ps: i never bid in person unless it is a custom home over 6000 square feet

I hear you StarBrite!
Thanks bro
I’m definitely in need of this.

Is that one of the first things you ask?
If they say 3000sqft, does that give you a general idea of the cost, or do you follow the formula to the “t” unless it’s 6000sqft?

Whoever is in the office uses the attached “over the phone bid sheet” and must fill it out in its entirety. I usually get to drop the price when I get there if it is a square foot estimated bid. However, if the homeowner doesn’t want to spend the time counting panes, they are let know that the resulting bid will be quite rough and that it will USUALLY BE LESS than the “cheat sheet price”. This type of customers (who are too lazy to count) usually have been referred to us or otherwise trust that our price when we get there will be fair. Also, customers too lazy to count panes are typically not too price sensitive (ie they have better things to do with their time) and are not deterred by price.

I should also mention that whenever you get to a first time customer’s home with an over the phone bid, you need to re-bid the entire job before beginning, get any scratch waivers signed, and run the correct price by the customer. This is your opportunity to find out:

  1. If you scheduled enough time for the job
  2. If the final price is okay
  3. If they understand why there was a difference with the price quoted over the phone and the correct price (ie “Oh yeah, the garage has windows”, or “oops I forgot those rooms”…etc)
  4. Upsell on anything else you noticed as you walked the property (mention that you noticed A, B, C, or D and if they’re interested A costs x dollars, etc.
  5. Let them know that you will need access to certain parts of the yard before you get started (ie locked gates and such)

We’ve had great luck with this system for the reasons you indicated already!
5.BidForm.pdf (265 KB)

I follow the formula to a “t”, unless they dont know how many windows they have, then if they have a 3000 squarefoot house, i would tell them that it might be around $300.00, but i will confirm the price when i arrive if they wish to hire me, nobody has a problem with that.

easy money my friend.

The average home has 1 window per 100 feet. so typical 2300 sq ft home will have right at 30 windows.

Unlike many, I have ONE per pane price. But, as you know, we do not have such a wide range of window types here in our area.

I like that bid sheet Curt

I like that Curt, thanks.
I really like StarBrite’s too…I’ll make a mix :slight_smile:

I’m digging his prices for sure. I just have to use the layout shown there for the ease of adding up all of the intracies of the job so I am sure to collect the right amount and not forget things like ladderwork, screens, tracks, etc…

Being a visual person, I’ve got to ask StarBrite… Could I plagiarize your graphic to put on my website and adjust the prices to my area? Before you say “no”, rememeber that imitation is the greatest form of flattery…:slight_smile:

“The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.”-Albert Einstein

go for it…

[I][COLOR=Red]This is a copy and paste from a previous post I wrote on here:[/COLOR][/I]

Estimates can defiantly be done over the phone.

We do hundreds of homes per week and this is the only way we do it for residential. It requires about 10 - 15 minutes on the phone. You need to come up with a price per window for every imaginable type. [/B]

[B]Most customers will most likely book with the first company that gives them a price. People want things NOW, they don’t want to wait days to review several bids. [/B]

[B]With a cleverly crafted phone spiel you can have your potential customer figure out how many and what type of windows they have.[/B]

[I]Can I have your name / address / phone number / How did you here about us?[/I]

[B]If they wont give you this info it draws up a red flag in my mind at this point I would politely terminate the call. [/B]

[I]Do you know what type of windows do you have?[/I]

[I]Do they open from the bottom up, or do they crank out to the side? [/I]

[I]Does the screen cover the whole window or half the window?[/I]

[I]Are there any extra pieces of glass on the outside that move up and down or is there just the 2 interior panes?[/I]

[I] Touch the glass. Are there any divides or separators on the window? Can you tell if those grates are fixed or removable?[/I]

[I]Lets take a quick walk around your home and count up how many windows you have. Keep in mind our definition of a window is 2 panes of glass that touch. If they don’t touch or are of larger size like a sliding glass door they will be charged as a separate window. [/I]

[I]Do you have a day in mind for your appointment? We work 7 days a week so we can fit into what ever your schedule allows. [/I]

[I]Now keep in mind Miss Smith this is a rough price based on the information you have provided me with today. When we arrive on site we will do an official count for you. At that point we will give you our final price, and our fabricating debris waiver for you to sign. [/I]

[I]OK I think were just about wrapped up, what type of Credit Card would you like to put your deposit on? We accept Visa / Master Card / [/I]Amex[I] / and Discover. We will be charging your card our minimum for showing up $125. This deposit is 100% refundable you just need to give us 24 hrs notice of cancellation. If you choose to not have all the work we discussed done when we arrive we would be happy to do at least $125 worth of work for you so you don’t lose your deposit. [/I]

[I]OK thanks we will see you next week, and you will be hearing from me the day before your appointment when I give you your reminder call. [/I]

[I]Thanks for calling All County Window Cleaning ! Have a great day![/I]

[B]This is a very rough run down of how a typical sale goes. We have about an 85% close ratio using this method. I came up with this system my second week in business. I always thought it was weird to drive around bidding work when I could spend that time cleaning windows, making money.

If they choose not to book the appointment at this point at least you have all there info. You can through them on your mailing list or you can offer to give them a call back at slower time of year when you can afford to offer discount pricing. [/B]

Doug: Did you create that window graphic / price guide yourself?

Yes i did…

I use a slightly different approach. I always ask the potential client if they have access to the internet (which they 99% of the time say “yes” to…), and ask them if they would have a moment to visit our [B]website[/B] to help us give them as accurate a price as possible.

Then, once they’ve navigated to the “residential window cleaning” webpage, I’ll ask them “based on the various sized homes you see here, how do you think we would categorize your home, size-wise? Medium? Large?”

Then, from there, I discuss window types, accessibility, etc, and go from there. If the house sounds like a really potentially sweet job, I’ll show up in person and try and woo them more with a fancier written estimate.
Secret discovery: I’ve found that very few homeowners like to think of their own home as “little”, and will tell me “medium” even if its a smaller home. Thx to their pride in their ‘medium’ home, it means more $ for me, more easily…[/SIZE]

interesting point, I can see that being true for sure!

So you’re prices are really square cut…you have a price for small, medium and large. Do you find that your prices are more higher then competitors, or lower???
How often do you change the price when you arrive on the job site???
So when someone calls, you just tell them to pick a size from your website and that’s it???

Thanks, man! Really top notch… now to get the time to do it…

By the way, like Chris said, customers want a price now, and like Paneless said, most customers have an internet connection. I’m thinking that once I get the page built with the help of Starbrite’s graphic, it would be a great page to look at with the customer over the phone as they count their windows/panes. I don’t think I could do the small / medium / large approach, there’s just too much variation in panes and such-- but I will mention that the SQ footage “cheat” section of the form I posted earlier, never gets abused. I always find it funny that when I ask someone’s square footage they usually tell me down to the foot (ie 3,281 sqft), never trying to down play the size of their castle (ie 3,000 sq ft… you get the point). Paneless is so right.

As far as hiding my sources… in today’s world I think I’d rather ask permission than forgiveness. I’m recalling a certain “Award Window Cleaning” website fiasco. Mark Reinhart may have more to say on that subject :wink:

A great method is having a estimate page on your web site for prospects to fill out. Use the same form when pricing over the phone. Asking the right questions to pre-qualify the prospect. This will take care of all of the 4 concerns you have.