Giving Ballpark Figures on an Estimate Call

Posted by David Chism | Fri, May 12, 2017

 Giving Ballpark Figures on an Estimate Call
I got a quote to replace my slid­ing back door with a new unit. I asked the guy doing the esti­mate a fair­ly sim­ple ques­tion, and it will sound famil­iar to all you esti­ma­tors out there! I know you have to work up the num­bers back at the shop, but do you think it will cost more than $2k or less than $2k for a ball­park.” Fair ques­tion, right? I did not want to waste his time…as I had a bud­get fig­ure in my head. The esti­ma­tor said loud and clear, Oh def­i­nite­ly under $2,000.” Well that was excit­ing to hear. I thought the price would be well over $2,000. I fig­ured any­thing under $2k from a com­pa­ny I have used before, I’d just sign the pro­pos­al and get it done on the spot. If it was over $2,000, I might wait a lit­tle while, because this door is not used much and is a low pri­or­i­ty for fix it items. Now, when I got the esti­mate a day or so lat­er, there were two quotes. The first was almost $3,000 and the sec­ond was $3,500. The esti­mate was not detailed and did not give me much infor­ma­tion on options or why the quote was a lot high­er than the ver­bal. There was no real expla­na­tion from any­one — just the facts (it is what it is). I reached out to the per­son who sent the pro­pos­al (I am a repeat cus­tomer) to clar­i­fy a cou­ple things. I tried not to sound alarmed, but I was curi­ous as to how it went from a ver­bal of def­i­nite­ly under $2,000” to quite a bit more. As I write this blog, it has been 4 days, and I have not heard back. l was a paint­ing esti­ma­tor for a decade, so I know when a cus­tomer tries to cor­ner you for a price. It does not mean they are being cheap! Get that head trash out of your mind! Yet here is the point I want to make: a sea­soned esti­ma­tor should be very care­ful on how he/​she responds to bud­get fig­ures. If you real­ly are not sure of the price on the spot, don’t give a price –even a ball­park. Instead say some­thing like,
David, it will prob­a­bly depend on the type of slid­ing door you want. There are a lot of options out there. There maybe a few slid­ers that are under $2,000 and quite a few well over $2,000. Let me do a lit­tle research and see what I can do. What price point were you hop­ing to be at?” 
If the esti­ma­tor or com­pa­ny took a lit­tle extra time to use a sim­i­lar script I wrote above, they prob­a­bly would have sold me. I need­ed to be edu­cat­ed on the price of a slid­er, as I real­ly had no idea. I just got my hopes up when I heard it was going to be cheap and then was pret­ty bummed when the price was nowhere near the ball­park. I’ve seen it hap­pen many a time on paint­ing esti­mate calls. If you don’t know, keep your mouth shut until you know! You’ll win more business. 

About David Chism

David Chism started his business out of a passion for helping small contracting businesses grow, be more profitable and become better known to their target clients. One lifelong hobby of David is using techie gadgets. So this blog is a place where he writes about technology, marketing ideas, just for fun (humor), personal thoughts on small business and more.


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