Contractors often struggle to find the "right" price for their services. There are many means and methods for bidding anything from drywall repair, tile floor replacement, kitchen remodeling, to whole home renovations. Whatever the cost estimation platform is or the estimating software that a contractor chooses to use to try to hone the science of their process, there is always an element of art in determining the materials, labor, and equipment for a project. In this segment from The DYOJO Podcast Episode 82, Steve Patrick of Level the Playing Field shares a story about a mindset change for a plumbing contractor that affected how they priced their services.
Estimating and Closing Work at the Right Price
During our conversation regarding using questions during business negotiations, especially with insurance claims adjusters, Steve Patrick shared a story that he heard during a sales training. The story goes something like this,
There was a plumber in Chicago who immigrated from Yugoslavia. He was a master plumber and he was selling the work for a higher price than anyone else in Chicago. He was closing almost like 90% of the jobs that he went out on. The owner of the company asked him one day,
"How is it that you're able to close such a high percentage of the work you estimate?
The owner obviously wanted to clone this plumber who could bid work higher than their team members and converting a high percentage of those estimates into contracted work.
The owner told the plumber "I want you to train all the rest of our plumbers. I want you to show them how you are able to close 90% of the work you estimate when you are selling it at a higher price than anyone in Chicago."
This causes the plumber to pause. He doesn't know why he closes more work than anyone in the organization or how he is able to charge more than them either. The plumbers says, "I don't know. I just go in and explain what needs to be done and the customer hires me to do the work."
Steve asks The DYOJO Podcast audience, "So, what happened to the plumber's closing ratio after the owner told him he was charging the highest price in Chicago?" Unfortunately, we know the answer, his close rate plummeted the 40%.
The Mindsets and Habits for Estimating Success
Why was there such a drastic reduction? As Mr. Patrick says, "Mindset change. The plumber's mindset changed. Back when he thought he was bringing tremendous value to the client, they bought the value that he was selling. Once the owner told him that he was charging the highest price in Chicago, all of a sudden the plumber thought, oh my goodness, I'm overcharging the clients. And guess what happened?"
Isn't that interesting? It's all about what is in between our ears. Mindset change.
As a former adjuster, Steve trains roofing and restoration contractors how to succeed in the challenging world of insurance claim's repairs. In the extended conversation of Episode 84, Mr. Patrick shares, "It's your mindset. You know that you're right. You know you bring a tremendous value to the client." The contractor should take the confidence of the value they bring to helping the client navigate the insurance claim repairs process. Steve says, "Whenever you are dealing with an adjuster, 80-90% of the words coming out of your mouth should be in the form of a question." Mindset change.
Jon Isaacson, The Intentional Restorer, is a 19 year veteran of the property restoration industry and a business coach through his organization The DYOJO.