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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    43

    Default Hopelessly old fashioned?

    Am I totally out of date in expecting not to pay a plumbing company to bid on a job we need done? It seems that every company I call charges at least $75 to quote a job (refundable if we choose their bid). If we're trying to get at least 2 quotes, preferably 3, we can't afford to shell out this kind of money to every company just to find out how much they'd bid for the job. What's up with this?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    6,940

    Default Re: Hopelessly old fashioned?

    Personally, I think bid fees are in poor taste and bad for business, especially for small jobs that will only take a short period of time to do, hence, no need for a protracted bid time or charging of fees. If you wanted to replumb your house or other major work, then I can see a small bid fee, however, I still think it's a small mind that has to scr-ape at pennies. Give the bid for free, win the job honestly, and add a little to the job for your bid time.

    I've gotten into more than one argument with fellow contractors over the charging of bid fees. They say it's putting value on their time, regardless of how it looks or feels to the potential customer. I say, omit the fee to look at a job and you'll win a long term client and more work for your time and efforts. The other side of this coin is that those charging bid fees are not looking for high quality, long term clients, they're looking for volume.

    I would recommend to continue looking for bids from companies you feel good about than to arbitrarily pay fees just to get someone to look at your house.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
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    Default Re: Hopelessly old fashioned?

    If you call a plumber who was referred to you, chances are that he won't ask for a bid fee. This is how we've done business all those years.

    But if you call a plumber listed in the phone book or located far, he will try to collect a bid fee to cover his time, gas and other expensive, while giving you the incentive to hire him with the promise to refund the bid fee when he gets the job. Well you don't want this kind of plumber.

    The truth is that in the last few years contractors have been giving a lot of bids, but get a few jobs because of the long slump in remodeling, so this is one way to fight back. But the good contractors, the ones who rely on word of mouth, haven't slow down at all. Get yourself a plumber who belongs to this group.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Default Re: Hopelessly old fashioned?

    Quote Originally Posted by dj1 View Post
    The truth is that in the last few years contractors have been giving a lot of bids, but get a few jobs because of the long slump in remodeling, so this is one way to fight back. But the good contractors, the ones who rely on word of mouth, haven't slow down at all. Get yourself a plumber who belongs to this group.
    Agreed, this was kind of what I was trying to say and unable to do. Word of mouth clients was my mainstay, and these were gotten with hard work, good quality craftsmanship, and giving my clients what they needed at a reasonable price. Good clients are hard to find, almost as hard as finding a good contractor, but trust me, the search is well worth the effort.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Houston Texas
    Posts
    2,917

    Default Re: Hopelessly old fashioned?

    When you find a contractor who is well respected, charges a fair price for excellent work - Don't be surprised if he is booked for quite a while.

    Good people are always busy - for a reason.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    294

    Default Re: Hopelessly old fashioned?

    Quote Originally Posted by A. Spruce View Post
    Good clients are hard to find, almost as hard as finding a good contractor
    Sorry if this is a highjack, but what makes a good client?

    To be clear, I am not a contractor myself, I am a moderately skilled DIYer that knows his limits and knows when to call a pro. I ask a ton of questions, before, during and after because I like to know everything, I like to maintain that which I have paid for and I like to get a fee for who I am dealing with.
    It's this old house, not this built after your dad was born house.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    6,940

    Default Re: Hopelessly old fashioned?

    Quote Originally Posted by function View Post
    Sorry if this is a highjack, but what makes a good client?
    I'll answer with another question, what makes a good friend?

    While we are all individuals with our own standards, basically, my standard is that I want a client whom I like. I want a client that I'd enjoy interacting with on a personal basis. I want to be respected for my work, my demeanor, and the care that I bring to the project. I want to be given the same level of respect as I give my clients.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    43

    Default Re: Hopelessly old fashioned?

    Thank you, everyone. I'm glad to hear that there's a possibility of finding plumbers out there that know bid fees are bad for business. I'll keep looking for them...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    1,905

    Default Re: Hopelessly old fashioned?

    I can see both sides of this. Part of my business is estimating jobs and that takes time, Time=Money. Thing is that around here nobody pays for estimates and anyone foolish enough to try asking for that would be out of business quickly. What I have to do is allow for all the aspects of my business when I price a job- that includes the time I took to estimate your work as well as 3 other jobs I estimated but didn't get. In the end I guess the price comes out about the same. All I need is a quick short conversation to decide if someones work may be worth me investing the time it takes to do an estimate and I simply pass on the jobs I don't think will work out for me.

    The concept of getting your estimate fee refunded if they do the work is just a way to pressure you into using them instead of someone else- and that is a very non-professional way to do business. Yeah, it takes time to do estimates and material take-offs etc, but it goes with the turf of being in business for yourself. If you think you're too valuable to give free estimates then you're probably too costly to do business with.

    Phil

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