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» The Letterville BullBoard » Old Archives » Stickin with the bid?

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Author Topic: Stickin with the bid?
Jeff Spradling
Visitor
Member # 1615

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Do you stick with the bid price even if you end up way under with your actual time & materials? Do you charge more if you end up over? Is your bid just an estimate?

Jeff

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Jeff's Lettering
Lisa,Luke,Dara, and Jeff Spradling
5742 Shattuck Rd. Belvidere, Il.
61008 815-544-0167

Surviving another day.

Posts: 626 | From: Belvidere, IL USA | Registered: Jul 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Monte Jumper
Resident


Member # 1106

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Acurate bids make for happy and loyal customers...

Whatever the bid, whether we make money or no...we bill it accordingly.

There's nothing that will make a customer more uncomfortable than changing your price in mid stream. Even worse if you wait til it's over then raise the price.

There is only one scenario that I can think of that might alter a bid...We sometimes will give an open "estimate" for installs...even then we tell them the install will be on a time and material bases or has a ceiling not to exceed a certain amount.We do this sometimes because we have no idea what we'll run into...(underground lines,a crumbling wall,indecision on the customers part)in these cases we will evaluate everything and if we feel we've spent too much time on a job (because of a mistake we've made)we may charge less than amount but never charge any more.

I hope all this makes scence...the one thing I never want is to argue with a customer over the final billing...it makes for poor relationships and will eventually catch up with you.

Remember bad news travels fast and the last thing you will want is for your customer to pass that news on to someone else...chances are you'll never hear from that new customer and you will never know why.

--------------------
"Werks fer me...it'll werk fer you"

Monte Jumper
SIGNLanguage/Norman.Okla.
jumpers@itlnet.net

Posts: 3185 | From: Norman,Okla.U.S.A. | Registered: Sep 1999  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Monte Jumper
Resident


Member # 1106

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One other thing ...if you are bidding accurately, you'll find you make more on one job and sometimes less than you figured on another...they will balance themselves and in the long run you'll be making money and not freaking out the customer by changing things on them.

Giving them money back after a bid is a signal you're charging too much to start with and if they agree to the price they will never give you any grief.

On the other hand if you continually loose on a job let the customer know the next similar job will be higher...9 out of 10 will never question you.

--------------------
"Werks fer me...it'll werk fer you"

Monte Jumper
SIGNLanguage/Norman.Okla.
jumpers@itlnet.net

Posts: 3185 | From: Norman,Okla.U.S.A. | Registered: Sep 1999  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Jon Butterworth
Deceased


Member # 227

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I Totally agree with Monte.

The only time I will change prices mid-stream is if the customer moves the goal posts [Wink]

Again Monte is right. If you are not 100% sure on an install ... give them an estimate. They can be hell. At least both sides of the deal knows what can happen. Just be honest ... it pays.

The trick is to build a reputation. Never rip off anybody ... bad news travels fastest [Smile]

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Bushie^
aka Jon Butterworth

Executive Director
HARDLY NORMAL
SIGN COMPANY

http://www.icr.com.au/~jonsigns

Posts: 4014 | From: Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia | Registered: Nov 1998  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Pierre St.Marie
Visitor
Member # 1462

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Yup. Hell or high water. If my big mouth got us into it, .... then my big mouth is gonna eat it.

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Pierre St.Marie
Stmariegraphics
Kalispell,Mt
www.stmariegraphics.com
------------------
Plan on knowing everything before I die and time's running out!

Posts: 4223 | From: Kalispell,Mt 59903 | Registered: Mar 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Dan Sawatzky
Resident


Member # 88

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I clearly remember one job we bid on a few years back... I was in a hurry and gave a quick number.

The job was fairly substancial and should have taken two weeks by my estimate. Three days in I woke up to the realization that I had underbid greatly.

I made an appointment with the client and explained we had bid badly. He smiled. Then I explained that I wanted to throw out the plans we had started with. He immediately got concerned that we might be cutting corners to save money until I explained that I wanted to go all out on the job. I couldn't possibly make money on it and therefore wanted to do it MY WAY. One for the scapbook.

He said for me to fill my boots... go for it.

The job ended up taking six weeks. We lost about $10,000 on it. But the end result was nothing short of outstanding! It made me proud.

In the end even the big boys upstairs heard of our little job and how we handled it. At the time I did it only for my own satisfaction.

But a week later the client signed off on a $400,000 contract without batting an eye... no negotiations and no changes to the design.

We have worked on and off for them for years since. They leave me alone creatively and don't mess with my bids.

I WANT a reputation of sticking to my bids... I NEVER deliver extra costs unless the customer has clearly addded to the job and signed off on the extra charges BEFORE I do the work. I want a reputation of being expensive.

But I will always do a little extra to exceed customers expectations and in the process give good value for the money they pay.

-dan

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Dan Sawatzky
Imagination Corporation
Yarrow, British Columbia
dan@imaginationcorporation.com
http://www.imaginationcorporation.com

Being a grampa is one of the the most wonderful things in the world!!!

Posts: 8738 | From: Yarrow, B.C. Canada | Registered: Nov 1998  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Raymond Chapman
Resident


Member # 361

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Several years ago we bid on a job at a local technical college (it's the one President Bush flies into when he comes home to the ranch)to put lettering and logos on the airport hangars. It was a big job, on corrugated metal, and had to be done off a lift. I figured the job, submitted it to the painting contractor that was repainting the structures, and got the job.

After making patterns, I arrived on the job all ready to paint both sides of this huge building. Only then did I discover that there were TWO buildings. I had indeed overlooked the line in the specs that said there were two buildings - somehow I had seen two SIDES.

I met with the contractor and informed him of my mistake, but since it was my mistake that I would do both buildings for the price of one. He was impressed with my attitude (I guess) because when the bill was submitted I got a check back for twice the amount that I had billed. Since then he has become a regular customer and I've done the graphics for several schools they have painted.

He later told me that my admitting that it was my mistake and being willing to eat the loss was why he chose me over other signmen in the area when he had a job to do.

The mistakes don't always end with a happy conclusion, but they seem to work out for the best in the long run. It never hurts to be honest.

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Chapman Sign Studio
Temple, Texas
chapmanstudio@sbcglobal.net

Posts: 6306 | From: Temple, Texas, USA | Registered: Nov 1998  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Mike Pipes
Visitor
Member # 1573

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If you buy a job you're kinda stuck with it, but if a customer wants to make changes after work has already started, it's time for a Change Order which you bill for.

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"If I share all my wisdom I won't have any left for myself."

Mike Pipes
stickerpimp.com
Lake Havasu, AZ
mike@stickerpimp.com

Posts: 8746 | From: Lake Havasu, AZ USA | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Jeff Spradling
Visitor
Member # 1615

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I too eat it if I under bid.

If it's either unfamiliar territory or impossible to know exactly how long a certain task is going to take, I give the customer a window but never exceed the high end of that window.

I think its impossible to never overbid a job. I don't sweat it if I over bid a little, but once in a blue moon I'll miss one by a ways. If he/she is a good customer I'll make the adjustment on the final bill. It hasn't happen to many times but I feel the customer respects the fact that you could have taken the whole amount with nobody the wiser.

I have some new comers that ask if my bid is the actual price or just an estimate. There was someone else in my area that would give a bid, then charge more and tell them the bid was just an estimate.(He's no longer in business...go figure)

I guess I must be doing something right... almost 17 years on my own and busier than ever.

Jeff

--------------------
Jeff's Lettering
Lisa,Luke,Dara, and Jeff Spradling
5742 Shattuck Rd. Belvidere, Il.
61008 815-544-0167

Surviving another day.

Posts: 626 | From: Belvidere, IL USA | Registered: Jul 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Robert Thomas
Visitor
Member # 1356

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All good replies.

If you get a job and it is done in less time than you figued, then great, you built-in a little extra for the next one that takes a little longer.

Also, if the job includes an install in the ground, state in the contract that you are not responible for unforseen rockage, or other problems with the site as you are pricing it as being in good condition. Ask me how I know.

I lost close to $2,000 when installing a 6'x8' v-shaped sign when one site was full of small & large limestone boulders (fill from digging a lake nearby). I had to rent a mini excavater to dig a v-shaped trench, then use 12"x48" sonotubes for the postholes, then backfill. One boulder was 24"x36" tall! I informed the ad agency that arranged the deal but he failed to inform the developer, who refused to pay any extra for the install. After going back and forth with the ad agency, I went to the developer (I had been doing signs within the development as well) He said the ad agency should pay the extra charge!

Live & learn I guess.

*Get deposits!
*Get paid to do designs!
*Stop! If there is a problem with the install!
*Value what you are doing for the customer!

--------------------
Rob Thomas
3410 Ketcham Ct
Beautiful Springs FL 34134

Posts: 965 | From: Bonita Springs, Florida USA | Registered: Feb 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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