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  1. #1
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    Sep 2005
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    Default I Got A Great Email Today!

    And wanted to share it.

    This is cool! (But long.)

    Some background info...

    I've been in the process of pulling the framing lumber numbers together for the project I'm involved in. It's about 31k SF.

    I'm talking with 4 vendors, by email and phone. I have this one guy who works for a company in Baltimore, that I don't know at all, but it's a big operation. And it's easy to see he's on the ball: Responds quickly, texts and email, sends prices in a spreadsheet, very easy to talk with on the phone...articulate, professional... Overall I just get a good impression.

    As the numbers come in I see he is 2nd lowest, but has several individual lowest prices.

    My boss is ready to pull the trigger and he gets the low guy on the phone to see if he can match some of the other lowest numbers. They come to an agreement, but I want to give this guy in B-more one more shot, because of my impression of him.

    So I talk to him, and at that point in time, also tell him that the quantities he has priced need to be doubled.


    Lemme digress to explain: This building is about 200' long, and so only half fits on the page. But the other half is a mirror image. So not to get myself confused, I only takeoff what I'm actually looking at on the plans, since the other half is exactly the same. But I didn't keep track of who (lumber sales reps) I told this to. So all the bids I'm getting are only for half the building. And at no time did my boss think that could present a problem. (But I learned to never do it this way again!)


    So at the last hour, when I call my guy in B-more, I tell him that this order will actually be for twice the amount he has quoted me, and ask him if that might help him in any way to do any better on his prices, because if it was my choice, I would like him to get the sale (for the reasons above.) But it is not my call. Lumber is actually going UP this winter, and as such we're over budget, and my boss is going to buy the lowest price, and that's that.

    The salesman tells me he will call me back and let me know what he could do. Over the course of the day I sent him 2 reminder texts, but never heard back.


    SO..., On my end, I'm thinking, "Ok, this guy has probably heard it all from GC's, and just thinks I'm full of ****." And that's the reason I never heard back from him.

    I thought about the whole situation over the weekend, and I sent him an email to tell him that I thought... given his quick response up to that point, he probably thought the worst of me, and that's why he never got back in touch with me. But I hoped he understood that was not the case...that I a still green, made some mistakes, and meant what I said about wanting to do business with him.


    He responded with an apologetic email, explaining they had had a serious incident that day, involving police, and during the whole time he was also trying to figure out what he would say to me about his lumber prices. Lumber had been rising fast, and not only could he not sell me the 2nd "half" of my order at the same (or lower) price that he had quoted, he could not hold his line on what he had already quoted me!

    And his email went on to say some very nice things too! He said he never thought I was "pulling his leg", and he had nothing but high praise for the way I conducted myself throughout the whole process!


    Sorry about the length, but I didn't know how to really explain it without telling the whole story.

    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.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
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    Senatobia, MS
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    1,897

    Default Re: I Got A Great Email Today!

    Those are the only kind of people I deal with. If something is happening, let me know first and I can adjust. We both need to stay in business and we all know that the lowest isn't usually the "best" price.
    Brad

    You will never stand taller than when kneeling to help a child.

  3. #3
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    Jun 2004
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    woodstock GA
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    Default Re: I Got A Great Email Today!

    Nice story thanks for sharing!
    Kreg
    www.builtinking.com
    youtube channel: builtinsbykreg
    if you do not have fun every day... why?
    get up.... get out there..... get going ! rocking all day long
    remember to give out 10 business cards a day !

  4. #4
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    Sep 2005
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    Default Re: I Got A Great Email Today!

    Thanks Kreg.

    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.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    Southern California
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    Default Re: I Got A Great Email Today!

    Interesting story, but do I understand correctly that he wouldn't honor his bid THE NEXT BUSINESS DAY? If that is true, what good is any bid from them?
    (Or am I misunderstanding something?)
    HERS Rater • BPI Building Analyst • BPI Envelope Professional
    Certified Green Building Professional • Certified Existing Home Advisor
    General Building Contractor • Asbestos Certification • Hazardous Substance Removal Certification • EPA Approved Lead-Safe Contractor • Locksmith
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: I Got A Great Email Today!

    Quote Originally Posted by BeachBoy View Post
    ....he wouldn't honor his bid THE NEXT BUSINESS DAY? If that is true, what good is any bid from them?,,,,
    No good, for sure!

    But no, that was not the time line. He had given me the quote about 10 days prior, iirc. One of the things I did wrong was not to have gotten a commitment from the vendors that they would hold their quotes for ___# of days, and in his defense, his quote did have a disclaimer, although vague, that said it was subject to market conditions.

    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.

  7. #7
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    Oct 2007
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    Southern California
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    Default Re: I Got A Great Email Today!

    Their quote should indicate how long it is good for, which should be at least 30 days, I would think. You want them to take the risk of market conditions changing, either up or down, not you, that is their business. You can bet they wouldn't reduce your price if their wholesale cost went down, so you expect them to cover any increase in wholesale cost too.

    You are taking the risk that you will over-run your labor costs due to unforseen conditions. You can't afford to also take on the risk of increased material costs because your supplier won't honor a bid.

    Perhaps others who do this more often than I can chime in on whether your suppliers honor their bids and for how long.
    HERS Rater • BPI Building Analyst • BPI Envelope Professional
    Certified Green Building Professional • Certified Existing Home Advisor
    General Building Contractor • Asbestos Certification • Hazardous Substance Removal Certification • EPA Approved Lead-Safe Contractor • Locksmith
    PMP • ESEP • CISSP

  8. #8
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    Jan 2005
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    9,252

    Default Re: I Got A Great Email Today!

    I agree pretty much with you Greg.

    Once I did have a 30 day estimate expire and when I was ready to purchase, it came in lower than the estimate in my hand... :)

    I do not understand having a supplier only bid half a list??? Here the larger the order the better the break. I could be misunderstanding the original scenario.
    “Racism is man's gravest threat to man - the maximum of hatred for a minimum of reason.”
    Abraham J. Heschel (Jewish theologian and philosopher, 1907-1972)

  9. #9
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    Dec 2007
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    Cortez, Co
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    Default Re: I Got A Great Email Today!

    Off topic: Did you find an online source for hardware? I assume this is the same job.

  10. #10
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    Jun 2004
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    St Louis, Mo for the past 25 years
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    Default Re: I Got A Great Email Today!

    If the supplier won't honor the price and has a vague disclaimer when do you know what you get charged for? When they deliever the materials or when you get an invoice in the mail 10 days later or do you call and ask what the charge is 30 or 60 days after delievery and you are ready to pay? Seems odd to me.

    Does make me wonder how many of you have a time line for the cost of your jobs when you bid them? I rarely do but them most of the time I am only booked out about 6 weeks. Unless there is a hurricane or something that drives up the cost dramatically I cannot think of really needing to have a disclamer about costs. Also my jobs are nothing like what we are talking about in the OP.

  11. #11
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    Dec 2006
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    Default Re: I Got A Great Email Today!

    Quote Originally Posted by m beezo View Post

    Does make me wonder how many of you have a time line for the cost of your jobs when you bid them?
    Fifteen days. Plenty of time for prospective clients to shop my budgets.
    Richie Poor

    See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil, value engineer your unit prices.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: I Got A Great Email Today!

    There's a lot of factors here.

    This is a very large lumber order, so I don't expect a lumber company is going to absorb market changes (prior to committing to use that company). It could cost them thousands.

    As for a larger order meaning better prices... not necessarily true.

    For example: The LVL quantity was more than one vendor had in stock of that item. The quantity I initially gave him, he priced based on what he had "on the ground." When I told him the actual list should be twice as much, he then had to check the prices of that item to replenish his stock. So, no. I didn't get a price break.

    Lumber co's are not keeping much in stock right now b/c of the economy. And since this takeoff was priced at a time when lumber was on the rise (who'da thought?), any lumber they had to bring in to re-up their stock, and use to fill my order, was gonna cost more.

    I was the one who only did the takeoff for half the building, because that's all the plans showed, so to keep myself straight, that's all I figured. The mistake was, I should have taken it one step further and just doubled all the quantities..., but I did make a note at the top of the takeoff. I just didn't realize the sales guys didn't catch it...I didn't think it mattered one way or the other...I did mention it in conversations... In short, it was a mistake on my part. I learned.

    As for holding the prices once I start ordering... At that point the vendor knows what I'm going to buy, so he orders it in, at the prices he used to quote my bid. Then as I take delivery, I get billed per the unit prices.

    Beach, there are 2 different scenarios: In the one I just went through, each vendor is competing for the business of a job that is happening. So, if there is a price change before I make the decision, they may very well change their bid to me, either up or down. But again, it depends on the size of the order. I often wonder how a builder bids a new house to a customer, and still gets the same lumber prices when it comes time to frame.

    But in the other situation, which is after the vendor is chosen, that quote is now locked in. I really don't know all the subtleties of what happens on the vendor's end, when another builder comes in the buy a bunch of lumber, and he gets a higher price than I did, but my lumber hasn't been shipped yet.

    I'm certainly no expert in this area, but this is how I (now) understand it.

    I have not ordered the hardware yet.

    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.

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