We have a wide range of customers and many of them are “trades”, ranging from sole traders and small companies through to larger SME’s. We annually publish a pricelist, detailing all of our products and associated prices, in order to assist all of our customers with pricing, whether purchasing for themselves or pricing up a job, however we know that our prices only form a small part of many quotes. So we thought we’d do a little more research into how people set their pricing, how they deal with their quotes and how it’s perceived by their clients.
The first point that came to our attention was travel. What is the acceptable distance to travel for a job and when do you start charging for travel, to cover both time and mileage? It seems that from the customers point of view, where the tradesperson comes from is irrelevant if they are happy to quote for the job and do the job, however lengthy travel surely eats into profit so are small businesses best chasing just local business.
Some end clients appear also not to be interested in receiving a breakdown of materials and associated costs, they would prefer just to be told a total price for the whole job, materials and labour included. This also avoids the issue of a “day rate” which implies that if you finished the job in half a day the customer would only have to pay a 50% cost, whereas reality states that you have booked the job in for a day therefore don’t have an additional job to move onto in the same day.
For domestic work, most homeowners just want a really good job, with a clean, tidy and “well-behaved” tradesman who sticks to his quote, and giving this provides a better impression and gains more repeat business than one who may have charged less but was sloppy in appearance and workmanship. Clean work wear and a smart van seem to make more difference than you might think in creating a good impression, as does a well written, easily understandable quote. Gone are the days when a hand written scrap of paper will suffice. Good presentation and good work seem to be the key to word of mouth recommendations, which remain by far the greatest source of business leads.
A bone of contention when looking at various trades and their viewpoints seems to be “estimates” versus “quotes”. Do customers feel the same level of trust if they have been given an estimate rather than a confirmed quote? Regardless of the trade, it would appear that many do not like estimates, even if by and large the final price is the same as the estimate. An estimate can sometimes give the wrong impression, with a hidden implication that “this is an estimate and I may hike the price if I so wish”.
Ultimately if you provide a quote based on what you see then you do have to assess the potential for unforeseen events happening and you also have to factor this in, particularly if the risk of such a circumstance occurring is high. There is always a chance that if something goes wrong that is out of your control then unless you have very understanding clients you do have to put it right, generally at your own time and cost. Do clients feel more at ease knowing that the price quoted is and always will be the price paid?
We’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject. You may have a completely different way of getting quotes out to your customers, or a completely different opinion on what works and what doesn’t? Let us know!
Don’t forget, for all of your timber material requirements to contact us at Forestrall on 01474 444150 or firstname.lastname@example.org