A humorous letter from a homeowner to a prospective contractor
One of the tasks we are charged with is to educate our prospective clients and existing clients. Prospective clients, especially, have a very singular view. They want to protect their interests. They don’t want to be ‘taken to the cleaners’. They want the best job they can get at the lowest price.
What about when the prospective client asks you for a low bid? How many times have you heard, as you leave the consultation visit, “Remember to really sharpen your pencil on this one. I want the lowest price possible.”? You of course, smile and tell him or her that is exactly what you intend to do.
Letter from a potential client to a prospective contractor
Here is a rather “tongue-in-cheek” humorous letter a price-conscious homeowner might write to a prospective contractor. This particular homeowner is pretty savvy about what is included in an estimate and how to cut corners.
The objective of this satirical correspondence is to point out the huge disadvantages a client might incur should they be so unwise as to blindly accept the lowest bid. There is a finite cost of doing business and building a project. This is as consistent as the laws of nature.
Anyone who believes that an object won’t fall to the ground when it’s dropped, might want to copy this letter and send it out to everyone who’s bidding their job.
One of my good friends, who is also an excellent remodeler, concludes all of his emails with this quote: ” When you know enough to take short cuts, you also know enough not to take them.” Anonymous
As a final note, a low bid is not necessarily a bad thing nor would I advise someone to automatically exclude a low bid. Yet, if there is a large spread in the estimates submitted, it would be wise to step back and ask some pointed questions.
So without further ado, let’s read what they wrote:
Dear Prospective Contractor,
As you can see, money is tight and we want to get the best bang for our buck. In order to achieve this we respectfully request that you follow these guidelines as you assemble your estimate:
- Please use the cheapest materials you can find. They can even be used or leftover from other jobs as long as they look good.
- We are not concerned with the longevity of a product, so long as it will look good at least till the job is closed.
- Maintenance is something that we enjoy doing and paying for. Faucet leaks, siding falling off exterior walls, faulty appliances, doors falling off their hinges, and settling foundations we see as challenges, so you needn’t be concerned about avoiding these and similar issues.
- We don’t know a lot about how to remodel our home, so anytime you can take a short-cut, feel free to do so. If we don’t see it and you’ve already covered up the mistake, don’t worry. Out of sight, out of mind.
- We prefer to start with a low price and make changes during the project with change orders. There is no need to spend excessive time on the estimate. We can deal with the omissions later.
- Another item you can skimp on is clean-up. There is no sense in cleaning the job every day. It will just be dirty again tomorrow. Dust in our closets and on our clothes, gritty mud on the hardwood are not a problem. You can clean it up at the end of the job. Much more efficient that way.
- We feel very comfortable with you building our project, so there’s no need to communicate during the project. We trust you will do the right thing. No need to put weekly meetings in your estimate. That should save a lot of money.
- If you can get away with not buying a permit, that would be fine by us. The last thing we need is a nosy inspector crawling around the job site trying to stir up trouble.
- Being the well-educated consumer that we are, we know that insurance jacks up the cost of labor by 20 or 30%. If you don’t have insurance, or it lapses during our project, no problem. We won’t be asking you for a Certificate of Insurance. The money saved will be worth the risk. Besides that, our Homeowner’s Insurance will probably cover anything bad that happens on the job.
- Overall, we put this project totally in your hands. We save a lot of money and you save a lot of your valuable time. Our investment, if you can call it that, should look good for a least a few months. We’ll deal with any problems as they arise. We don’t expect you to rush out here and do warranty work, just because you said you would. That’s just something that will cause you to pad your estimate.
We look forward to your estimate of our job. If you’ve followed our suggestions, you should be the low bidder. Congratulations!!! This is something we’ve been planning for years, and look forward to actually seeing the real thing. Can’t wait to get started.
John Penny-Wise and Mary Pound-Foolish
Feel free to share this with your friends and colleagues. Even though this was written as a satire, there is always a bit of truth in humor.
This article was written by Randall S. Soules, writer, remodeling coach, advisor, educator, and creator of the Scientific Remodeling System. The Scientific Remodeling System will show you easier ways to advance your business, raise your profits, and improve your life, through the use of superior remodeling processes. If you would like to learn more about this eCourse and all of the forms and contracts available to Premium Members, click here. You are free to reprint or copy this article to your blog, newsletter, staff, etc. as long as the article is shown in its entirety and has a live link to RemodelerBiz.ScientificRemodelingSystem.com.
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