Phone estimates vs in person proposal

The topic of phone estimates vs in person proposals was brought up in a Facebook group and I want to discuss this topic and hear others people’s experience. The original comment was that in person estimates yield a higher profit margin. Here is my response to the thread:

I’m sincerely curious why you say in person estimates give you a better profit margin? They will certainly give you a more accurate price as you can customize your estimates better.

In order to give you a higher profit though you would have to average about $150-200.00 more on average per job, or make more per week by because ng able to schedule jobs tighter and more accurately, to cover your time and vehicle expense giving in person estimates.

I’d be curious to hear other people’s experience with in person estimates over phone estimates. I do phone estimates, which are just that, an estimate, which is a ball park price that is firmed up when we come out to do the job. I estimate the number of windows based on square footage and have a firm price per window which is different for 3 different styles of windows double hung, French, and storms. I do not add on variables like size of windows or second floor vs first floor though I can count extremely large windows as two and combine smaller ones as one window etc.

I’ve always felt that being able to not have to drive all over spending time and vehicle expense was the better way to go for estimates but maybe over all it isn’t. I’m curious about other people’s experience with phone estimates vs in person estimates?

I think phone estimates can be a mixture of convenience and tire kickers. An in person estimate gives you a chance to sell the job and explain any particulars on the specific job that you may see on the walk through. The potential customer will see that hard water spots don’t easily come off and is a separate animal from cleaning dirty windows. That window that would normally be an easy clean but is hidden behind a thorn bush - how you going to treat that? Tracks loaded with years of debris - the customer wants them clean and sparkling - can that be addressed over the phone? Yea, it saves having to drive out and inspect, but be sure to explain up front that it will only be a ballpark price, and the actual price will be given after the walk through.

We do 99% phone estimates. Its really all about explaining that we are going by what we can see online and what the customer has told us, and that we will be doing a final window count before the work starts.

If I were to switch over to in persons, I would have to take an experienced tech out of the field and create a full time position at $40k+, not including a dedicated vehicle, gas etc. Totally not worth it in my opinion.

Be the first call and last call. We are on 2023’s doorstep, people don’t want to wait anymore.

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The question isn’t are in person proposals better, clearly they are more accurate, but more are they worth the additional time and expense vs a phone estimates.

I can say from doing phone estimates for decades that they aren’t that inaccurate and a lot of the variables are easily accounted for though they certainly aren’t as customizable as in person estimates.

The question for me is more how much does that accuracy translate into and increased profit after the expense it time and money driving to give estimates? I have always thought no but I’m considering the possibility of it being more profitable.

Where I can see it making a difference is in possibly being able to increase the price because of your presentation in person. I don’t have an issue selling it over the phone but there are those who you could sell better in person. It hink it would help to weed out those difficult jobs that bring your average down or at least increase the rice in those jobs and they might say no. Though they say no you’re not wasting time doing jobs that drag out.

I’m on the fence. I’m kicking it around .

If you’re not using Google earth, Zillow, or to get majority of your quotes done you’re wasting so much money (your time and expenses)

Your estimates need to have specifics stated, what’s included? What’s not included?

Make your numbers sexy to sell… oh that job came up to $343… it just become $349 or maybe $369.

They want deep clean screens and not just a quick dry brush? Start that at $99 (don’t charge $2/3/4 per screen, give it a flat rate that you find acceptable for the additional time on-site.)

Give them 3 quotes no matter what they asked for…

  1. exterior only (screens must be removed by customer prior to service or they receive additional charge and they must be home so you can get in)
    price this at 60% of the in/out price

  2. in/out (your basic in/out that doesn’t include track cleaning/deep cleaning, just note sills will be wiped and everything will be clean.)
    price as usual for whatever you charge, using numbers that sell

  3. in/out deep cleaning (the full white glove treatment, nothing is excluded and top of the line pricing… deep clean screening cleaning is included in this as well)
    price this at 2x your in/out price

Price like this and you’ll close more jobs by already giving them 3 quotes, they can pick their level of service and they’ve set their own expectations off the quotes your provided.

Window cleaning is the easiest service to price, don’t complicate it.

Charge $15 for double hung windows and you’ll be happy you did.

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That’s been my opinion as well. I have given most all estimates over the phone for the last 20 years and have perfected the process.

That’s said there are advantages that might bring up the overall profit margin. A good case can be made. In person estimates will allow for an increase in pricing as close rate is going to go up with an in person estimates if the person giving the estimates is good at sales. It will also eliminate difficult jobs that can sometimes get underpriced with a phone estimate. If trh estimates are routed well it would cut down on the time and expense to give them and they could be made to be efficient.

Right now I would still side with phone estimates but again I think a good case could be made for in person estimates increasing profit.

Keep in mind as well you can more easily sell add on services in person which would increase your ROI on marketing and that will contribute to an overall increase in profit.

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Certainly using online tools is part of phone estimating. It’s still not as accurate as in person and in person sales will always have a higher close rate everything else being good.

It’s also easier to add services to the ticket in person which increases the ROI of marketing.

It’s an interesting discussion.

You could do in person estimates but qualify the leads.

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Somewhere this got lost. Phone quotes are ballpark to be verified upon arrival.

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Agreed. That’s why it’s called an Estimate and not a firm proposal.

Wait… you guys really change your prices instead of just charging a little more on your quotes?

That’s wild to do to a customer

Come on - you really think that is the way it is done? Here’s what you missed. On a phone quote you be sure to verbalize that it is a sight unseen estimate that you will firm up once you put eyes on the actual job.

I can’t tell you how many people I have run into who claim 1 window (you and I assume is a standard window) and it turns out to be huge, multiple pane, in a stairwell.

So not “changing the price”, just verify upon arrival that everyone is talking about the same thing. :wink:

Hmm, can’t post whole quotes…okay.

That’s still crazy to me, do any of you guys ever show up for a “one window” job? Or even 10? Maybe I’m crazy or not following right.

You don’t look these addresses up? You just go by what they say on the telephone?

If I don’t get a full name, address, cell phone, and email address for when we ask for it I don’t even quote the job. I tell people if they can’t provide this information we won’t be doing business with you.
I let them know quotes are sent in writing via email and another link in text message.

I did one job this year where she didn’t have an email or cell, referral from a regular and it was her mom.

How many leads are you working with?
I do zero in person quotes and I’m still around a 40% close rate.

Only time I go in person is if I can’t see the house using the online tools and if it’s even worth my time to look (IE big job, minimum $1 million home value, or just looks like a weird job)
At that point, I’ll only go when it’s convenient for me and I’m in the area of the estimate.

1 window!? No, holy crap. One of the windows that theyu describe on occasion is way more than a one window even the the opening in the wall, in their view, is one window. Wow, the translation here is wonky as all get out.

Do a test , the next 10 estimate request you get do an in person estimate. Before you go out do a ‘ what would I have charge over the phone ‘ . Go out and look at the job , chit chat with the home owner provide a price and see what happens .

Every business and area is different, what works for me will not work for everyone.

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Also to reduce the time spent in driving around doing estimates, look at when you’ll be closest during the next 3 days and see if you can swing by and do a walk around . You’ll see that you can do a couple estimates in very little time

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100%, we let them know beforehand that we will be double checking the count, and this is the price per window if there are more or less.

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Well that is the official explanation of a window… a window is the opening in the wall, that consists of panes of glass. stop trying to rename the window to suit your narrative its a window with multiple panes in it. charge by the panes to stop confusing yo9ur customers.

At the end of the day over phone quoting vs in person will vary from location to each business. For me there are no cookie cutter homes where you can work out the area/perimeter and get a ball park, I am also a solo guy who generally does 6hrs per day also 90% of my calls are from either regulars or referrals I don’t get heaps of new customers.

That being said I do have 3 jobs to quote on Thursday all in person, cos each job will be 700+ job I would rather do these jobs over 400 in person to get a accurate time scale of the job, but all of these people have been pre qualified coming thru my price list page on my web site and are aware that my earliest opening is the 29th of November, but those quotes are all within a few minutes away from each other which is also a few mins away from my last job. Those are all those quotes I will have done in weeks.

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