Mark Troyer Builders
Plain City, Ohio
On smaller jobs, like handyman work or a small bathroom, we fax or mail the bid to the client. If it's a substantial project, say $30,000 or more, we set up a meeting.
The package we present includes two cover letters on bordered company stationery. The first shows our logo and letterhead and the second describes the project and explains the price. After the cover letters, the proposals include descriptions of the permits required, drawings and details of the work to be performed, and a draw schedule. We also include a list of homeowner rights and responsibilities, which explains the right of recision as well as our policies on mold damage and asks clients to clear the construction area and provide a bathroom, among other things.
A lot of homeowners have complimented us on how detailed our proposal is, compared to some of our competitors' proposals that look like computer spreadsheets. That comparison has helped us to sell jobs. Each proposal takes a lot of time, but people see the time and care we've put into it, and it reflects the quality of our work.
McCollum & Associates, Dallas
We create a 30-page set of documents and drawings that we present in the clients' home. The top sheet is the bid for the job, broken down by line item. We also include specs for each stage of construction and very detailed allowance sheets. We try to create as much detail as possible for each allowance category, including a per-item pricing schedule that accounts for a variety of options, like different installation techniques, that may change the price.
We always meet at the client's home. If they're having the job bid by someone else, invariably the numbers will differ. We want to be able to look at the other remodeler's bid with our clients and point out the differences. We find other bids may appear lower but don't contemplate every detail the way ours does. You want to be able to explore that difference with the clients and help them understand where it comes from and not let them make an uninformed decision just based on comparing numbers.
Allied Kitchen and Bath
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Our firm mostly remodels complete kitchens and bathrooms, and those bids usually get a complete proposal packet with our estimate, a complete set of drawings and specifications, and information about our credentials, client referrals, and copies of up-to-date licenses and insurances.
We also include public relations materials such as newsletters, articles from local papers, and even press releases.
We present the proposal package in our own showroom. This way, the client sees a little more about who we are, and if they are comparing us to another firm, it usually puts us on an equal or higher level.
We keep the atmosphere upbeat and positive. That way, the client sees that he will be taken care of, from the initial visit in our showroom through to the completion of the project. It makes a huge difference for the client to know there are other "go to" people besides the salesperson. Even as an owner, when I'm presenting a proposal, I want to introduce my client to the other people on our team.
Custom Remodeling Specialist
Last year I began e-mailing contracts to clients and including links to specific product Web pages. This way, if they have questions about a product, like, "Does this come in brushed aluminum instead of chrome?" they can navigate the Web site and find out immediately. Also, it saves the client the trouble and time of shuttling around town looking at product showrooms.
I've made two sales to clients who told me the links were the decisive factor in their choice.
Most people have a bad impression of tradespeople, and when you can elevate yourself, that goes an awfully long way in building the client's confidence in you. This approach lets them know that I'm technologically savvy and that I value their convenience and the importance of their time.
Some clients do prefer a face-to-face meeting first. If I think they do, I can let them know at the meeting that I'll be sending the e-mail later that day. Either way, the effect is the same.