Let’s face it; we all are faced with the problem of everyone wanting the best work at the cheapest possible price. It is a fact of life. Admit it, when the shoe is on the other foot and you are the customer, it’s no different. So how do you balance the scales and get a fair price for your next installation job?
First, be honest with yourself: What are your strong points?
Are you really good at custom work?
Are you willing to travel if necessary?
Are you willing to work off hours if your customer requires it?
Is your crew size flexible? Can you add other experienced installers when needed?
Are you (or your top people) certified to install special products?
Can you deliver the material in your own trucks when and where it’s needed?
Do you have solid references and a good reputation?
If you answered “yes” to many these questions, you’re in a good position to negotiate something besides the lowest price. For an installer with these capabilities, there is limited competition. You’re usually the last trade on the job site, prior to the cleaning crews and the furniture people. When it’s your turn, patience is running short and everything is over budget. With retailer projects, their advertising is already running with opening ads, and delay is not an option. When your customer calls you to tell you what day he wants you on the job, the only thing he wants to hear from you is “Yes sir, what time?”
When you’re negotiating a price for that next job, it’s important to remind your customer of your good points: Showing up when scheduled, never missing a deadline, and the top notch installation work that you provide. To reinforce that, ask him about some of his installation horror stories. Everyone has these war stories, and few are shy in talking about them. Now he’s remembering the bad things that happened to him when he “went for price.” Just make the point here that there are things more important than the lowest price. He is also aware that the project must be done in the time frame allotted and with as few problems as possible. If you spend more time on the quality issues, you’ll spend less on why you should lower your price.
When you have a particularly tough customer, remind him of the “Triangle” illustration: Each corner of the triangle represents an adjective that describes the job. Corner number one represents the word, “Good.” The second corner is “Fast”, and the third is “Cheap.” Tell the customer he can have any two, but not all three. If you want it “fast and good,” it will not be cheap; if he wants it “good and cheap,” it will not be fast; and if he wants it “fast and cheap,” it will not be good. The current economy makes for interesting times; there is no money to spare and everyone is looking to get the best bang for the buck. This funny illustration will remind everyone that there are more important things involved than price in a successful job.