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Ready to Snap - Tired of the Games

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  • Ready to Snap - Tired of the Games

    The next customer (lawyer, president of Hyundai, other weel to do professional) that asks me why it is so expensive I am going to explode on. Or pack this whole thing in - no that they will really care.

    Have others before me had so many nay sayers and grinders in a row that they almost called it a day? Will it end?

    This is so exhausting!

    Nicole

  • #2
    Re: Ready to Snap - Tired of the Games

    Nicole- that's the game. What you are experiencing is the difficulty of operating a small business in a field that doesn't have a strong advocacy for itself, and is beset by low-ballers and a weak understanding of cost. That's the big point of Sonny's "Process" and why Allan & Dick target the markets they target: trying to get out of the part of the market that is fishing for Wall-Mart's pricing structure.

    You've always got to justify your costs, but you don't want to have to justify yourself. That should be done in the recommendations, previous work, and quality of bid. The rest of it is just fighting against public image of the industry, and is part of the grind.

    I tend to gravitate to a quick explanation of the industry and the difference between my services and the average. I tend to give a bit too much time explaining how much the costs of many are subsidized by illegal workers, building to code minimum (if even), and using the cheapest products possible. Let them know they get what they pay for.
    http://www.lavrans.com

    "He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp posts; for support rather than illumination." -Andrew Lang

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    • #3
      Re: Ready to Snap - Tired of the Games

      Originally posted by Lavrans View Post
      Nicole- that's the game. What you are experiencing is the difficulty of operating a small business in a field that doesn't have a strong advocacy for itself, and is beset by low-ballers and a weak understanding of cost. That's the big point of Sonny's "Process" and why Allan & Dick target the markets they target: trying to get out of the part of the market that is fishing for Wall-Mart's pricing structure.

      You've always got to justify your costs, but you don't want to have to justify yourself. That should be done in the recommendations, previous work, and quality of bid. The rest of it is just fighting against public image of the industry, and is part of the grind.

      I tend to gravitate to a quick explanation of the industry and the difference between my services and the average. I tend to give a bit too much time explaining how much the costs of many are subsidized by illegal workers, building to code minimum (if even), and using the cheapest products possible. Let them know they get what they pay for.

      That is a great response right there. I agree wholeheartedly. I tell people all the time you get what you pay for and I won't put my name on cheap work. If you want it done cheaper call one of the 100's of fly by nighters that don't make it a year and you'll never have anyone to come back when you have problems. This industry has a lot of people that are ok with lowballing and doing stuff halfass thats why the rest of us have people saying "why does it cost so much". I truely believe that to become a really skilled contractor you put as much time and effort into your craft as a doctor or lawyer so why not be compensated quite well for the work you do?
      If you build it, They will come

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      • #4
        Re: Ready to Snap - Tired of the Games

        My instinct is to go into detail as to why we charge the rate we charge and other comments - the on and on not really sure where to draw the line professionally. I will use your advise as well let my husband deal with these questions he seems to be better at direct and to the point. Its the woman and words working against me. I can not remember the stat but we say a couple more a day then men. Can you married guys relate?

        Nicole

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        • #5
          Re: Ready to Snap - Tired of the Games

          One question I've started asking is, "Thank you for your feedback, but I'm curious to know cost so much compared to what?"

          You can learn a lot about where they are coming from with that question. My grandfather used to complain about how much stuff cost, but I learned he was using the frame of reference from his childhood. He could buy stuff for a penny or a nickel. They had the Dime Store (as apposed to the Dollar Store).

          If they answer the question that would indicate that they are using lowballers and fly-by-nighters (as was so well put in previous post) then you can begin to educate on overhead and the cost of staying in business. Unless you charge for these things you'll soon be out of business like every other company that doesn't factor these things in to their price. Then if something goes wrong, he'll have to hire another fly-by-night company to come in a fix it.

          Quite honestly, I wish these people would raise this objection BEFORE I start work because I could begin to size up whether or not I should black flag them and let them hire someone else. It's usually after we've signed the papers and start the work that they begin to complain about how much it cost, etc. (Even though they agreed to the price.) They start talking about the LONG list of every other contractor who "ripped the off" "did crappy work" "charged too much" etc. and I know I've got my hands full with a difficult customer that's impossible to please.

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          • #6
            Re: Ready to Snap - Tired of the Games

            That you are being asked why costs are so high is actually a positive. It allows you the oppurtunity to explain your position. The very sharp people know why your costs are what they are.

            Many years ago we bid a 750K remodel. We didnt get it and I requested a meeting to attempt to convince the owners as to why we should be selected. During our meeting the owner fully acknowledged we were the most competent contractors to under take the project. However he wasnt concerned. He would insure that whomever he used was always behind him in the money game. When they couldnt perform he would fire them and complete the job with others for even less cost.

            In his words "I don't want an intelligent adversary".

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            • #7
              Re: Ready to Snap - Tired of the Games

              Originally posted by Nickymg View Post
              Can you married guys relate?

              Nicole
              Every now and then I kind of hear a buzz. When I turn to look I realize she's talking again. Is that what you mean?

              The other guys seem to have it covered pretty well. The yin/yang approach prohibits any situation from being all bad or all good, so there is a silver lining somewhere.

              Questions on cost are many times conversation starters because most HO's don't know anything about our business except we cost a lot. It could be that that is the only place they know where to start intelligently(?). I like the response of "in relation to what?".

              Regardless, sounds like you had a rough day. Consider this, good days would be pretty drab without decent contrast.

              Good Luck
              Dave
              This Space For Rent - BR549

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              • #8
                Re: Ready to Snap - Tired of the Games

                Originally posted by carpenter View Post
                Every now and then I kind of hear a buzz. When I turn to look I realize she's talking again. Is that what you mean?
                LMAO!

                My wife makes the mistake of thinking that just because I looked up that I know that she's there. That's the start to a rough transition back to consciousness...
                http://www.lavrans.com

                "He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp posts; for support rather than illumination." -Andrew Lang

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Ready to Snap - Tired of the Games

                  Originally posted by eskloe View Post
                  In his words "I don't want an intelligent adversary".
                  That was the best 750K you never made. Shows what high regard he had for competence.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Ready to Snap - Tired of the Games

                    Boy, you think you're having a bad day.
                    I was at a house a couple of days ago to look at changing a bathroom to be wheelchair
                    accessible. The guy was few years younger than me(59) and you could see he had a chip on his shoulder BEFORE he even opened the door.
                    He complains about everything that had been done in the house over the past year or so. Every second word is F^*&$$^ and co^*&^%$$^$er and he is very loud when he's talking.
                    For some reason, this type never bothers me. I might not like it but I don't take it to heart.
                    I tell him my rate which I can tell by his eyes that it is high but he goes on another rant that because he doesn't have to call anybody else in ( electrical,plumbing, tiling, drywall) I'm worth it. That was a good rant.
                    He doesn't want to deal with lots of people in fact he doesn't want to deal with anyone other than me.
                    Being a one man operation, that's simple.
                    Because he never actually came out and said I was high I didn't have to clarify but he could see he was getting a good bang for his buck and I fit his circumstances.

                    His circumstances are why he could be angry and why our problems pale in comparison.
                    I met his wife who needed the new bathroom. Just over a year ago she contracted a "blood disease" and had both legs amputated and what looked like all the digits on both hands. Think about that for awhile.
                    Think things can get worse? You bet. A couple of months ago she was diagnosed with throat cancer.
                    There's more. Back in late November we had about 2 feet of wet snow fall in 3 days then rained like hell for the next 3 days and melted all the snow and he got flooded out. Insurance didn't cover it.
                    I'm not sure now that I've read what I typed even fits this thread but it does sort of explain angry customers and pricing and that we should put "our problems" in perspective.

                    roger

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                    • #11
                      Re: Ready to Snap - Tired of the Games

                      That right there is a rare thing, though- a necessary remodel.

                      I have been trying to hook up with a local organization that does critical remodels like that- wheelchair ramps, handicap access baths, etc. Primarily for elderly and accident victims, but increasingly for vets and the middle aged diabetics. They supply materials & do the run around getting the permits, I volunteer labor. Win-win in an unwinnable situation, and keeps the world in perspective.
                      http://www.lavrans.com

                      "He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp posts; for support rather than illumination." -Andrew Lang

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Ready to Snap - Tired of the Games

                        Originally posted by Nickymg View Post
                        The next customer (lawyer, president of Hyundai, other weel to do professional) that asks me why it is so expensive I am going to explode on. Or pack this whole thing in - no that they will really care.

                        Have others before me had so many nay sayers and grinders in a row that they almost called it a day? Will it end?

                        This is so exhausting!

                        Nicole
                        Do you "sell", or "tell"?

                        You: "You must have a reason for saying ____, Mr and Mrs client-I'd-like-to-work-for. May I ask what that reason is?"

                        OR...

                        You: "Well, you just think I'm too expensive. It really is a fair price. You gotta think about insurance, truck expenses, advertising, and on and on. There's really a lot of unseen costs that go into a job."

                        How about...

                        "Well I'm not sure I can reduce my price by that amount without also switching to something less expensive, but if I WAS able to tell my supplier and subs that I will get the job if they agree to a small discount, maybe in exchange for paying them a bigger deposit, or some other benefit to them, and I could meet you halfway on the kitchen stove markup..., would you be willing to go forward with this today?"

                        The old, "If-I-could-would-you...?" close.

                        Tom
                        1) Unconsciously Incompetent: He knows not, and knows not that he knows not. He is a fool. Shun him.
                        2) Consciously Incompetent: He knows not, and knows that he knows not. He is simple. Teach him.
                        3) Unconsciously Competent: He knows, and knows not that he knows. He is asleep. Wake him.
                        4) Consciously Competent: He knows, and knows that he knows. He is wise. Follow him.

                        May we all endeavor to progress from not knowing that we know not, to knowing that we know.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Ready to Snap - Tired of the Games

                          Isn't it always that the ones who complain are the ones with the most money.


                          I worked for a couple..... He works for the largest landholder / commercial developer in the US and his wife is a BIG WIG at SONY Corp. No kids and lots of toys..... 2008 S Class AMG Mercedes that has a sticker of $195,000.... Range Rover.... Etc...


                          But they have the balls to say..... Well, we didn't think it would be so much.... It's not within our budget....


                          BUDGET?????? BUDGET???? These people have no freaking idea what a budget is....
                          Chuck

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                          • #14
                            Re: Ready to Snap - Tired of the Games

                            Originally posted by Nickymg View Post
                            The next customer (lawyer, president of Hyundai, other weel to do professional) that asks me why it is so expensive I am going to explode on. Or pack this whole thing in - no that they will really care.
                            Well Nicole, I'm not intentionally trying to be cliche (but then again maybe I am) but 'I feel your pain'. I've been there and done that. 'Learned that lesson long ago.
                            Now what you may not like or want to hear is the problem you're facing is your (you and Barnabas's) fault. If your clients are asking you "why it is so expensive" you folks have failed to sell your 'Value Proposition' to your potential customers (Google: Value Proposition) . Your brand just isn't worth it in the eyes of your customers. That could be due to any one of a number of things.

                            Maybe you really haven't yet developed a defining brand message, story, or stories that you can deliver to your prospective customers.

                            Maybe you are talking to the wrong customers. Just because someone is "well to do" doesn't necessarily mean they'll make a ready and willing client for you. Are you picking the best leads from your pile of prospects to work with or are you talking to anyone and everyone who calls since you only have limited leads? Do you really really know just why these leads called you? What were they thinking? Did they call because they heard you folks were a real 'bargain' or did they call because they heard you were the very best company for their project or the kind of customer experience they were looking for?

                            As for this bit of endorsement I hear from time to time for Sonny's "The Process" in cases such as this I think that's off the mark and misses the real point of branding and the delivery of a 'Value Proposition'. I'll admit I haven't seen the "The Process" since the last century so maybe it's changed but "The Process" document that I saw back then was really just apologetics. I thought is was whiney rationalization and justification of the cost involved (as your customer I don't care what your costs are) and doesn't tell me anything about the value I will receive for my dollar (whereas I do care about the VALUE I will get).

                            When I go to buy a car and I'm surprised by the price I don't expect the car saleswoman to hand recite to me apologetics about the cost of leasing commercial buildings in Mt Kisco NY. I want to know what kind of value and experience the truck I am looking at is going to deliver to me.

                            When I go to buy a Joseph Abboud shirt I don't care about how much the fine fabric costs or how expensive it is to manufacturer and ship. I care about how it makes me look and how it makes me feel.

                            The thing I see many contractors do and I know I used to do it myself was I just hand the prospective client a proposal and think that they know all that stuff about what it takes to run a business (99% of the time they don't) and never even considered or understood just what it was that really mattered to them. That's the stuff you need to answer and respond to with a Value Proposition.

                            If we can identify that what really matters to the prospective client is 'getting it done as inexpensively as possible' we can then either tailor our proposition to meet that requirement or reject them as a potential client and refer them to someone else.

                            Originally posted by Nickymg View Post
                            My instinct is to go into detail as to why we charge the rate we charge and other comments - the on and on not really sure where to draw the line professionally.
                            Unfortunatly I think that strategy may be just wasted effort at this point with those clients. It sounds like they already made some value judgments both about what their project is worth and what your value to them is.

                            I would imagine though that what you are concerned with now is wasting and loosing all the time and effort Barnabus has invested in estimating your project costs (you need to learn to streamline that process) so instead of the price rationalization and apologetics I think Bathrenewal's question of "Thank you for your feedback, but I'm curious to know cost so much compared to what?" might be the better route in that it still leaves you in a strategically strong professional position. Even if you can't really afford it to try and project a position that you are prepared to walk away from the project if you have too but I would really discourage getting into the "my prices are what they are becuase..." apologetics because the prospective client really doesn't care about that stuff and it doesn't create value in their mind. While it is a little late in the sales process now you might still try and identify the potential clients value touch points and try to point out to them just how you folks we're planning to address them. That makes the discussion about them and not about you.

                            __________________
                            J. Jerrald Hayes
                            Quietly Re-Thinking Out Loud
                            J. Jerrald Hayes
                            360Difference.com | ParadigmProjects.com
                            Paradigm Building & Remodeling | StairScapes

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                            • #15
                              Re: Ready to Snap - Tired of the Games

                              Nicole,

                              You could buy a course on salesmanship and get an A+...or you can print and read Jerrald's post every day. My value equation says print and read Jerrald's post.

                              John

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