Jump to content

Recommended Posts

I had a potential client call me today who was referred by a former inspector and PE that I have a good relationship with. I was highly recommended by the former inspector and PE. After the potential client told me that I should do the inspection for 20% less than I had quoted he told me that of course I provide a list of needed repairs with the costs associated with those repairs. I was to do this so that he would have a negotiating tool with which to hit up side the head the owner of the house.

When I informed him that I am not up to date on labor rates of all trades and prices for every material on the planet he suggested that I go back to my office and do the needed work in order to determine all of the required costs after completing the inspection. I said that I would and would double the cost of the inspection for the additional work.

I do not give cost estimates as a business decision I made years ago as they may at some point be used against me due to the variables involved. The PE who referred me did give cost estimates with his reports, albeit about 5-6 years ago. He is no longer in business as an HI and trades stocks online in addition to some PE consults.

Does anyone else make it a practice of estimating repairs? Do you put it in writting?

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll do it for certain customers. Even then, the numbers are bracketed.

If someone is adamant about numbers, I'll charge appropriately, and provide numbers, but it costs a lot more.

If some guy was hitting me like this guy was hitting you, I'd walk. He sounds like a pain.

Link to post
Share on other sites

After our discussion I get the distinct impression that he's going with the cheaper guy. No love lost, I've moved on.

On a loosely related note, of the folk who are leaning on going with a cheaper inspector, many say "l'll call you and let you know either way." 'Course, they simply never call back - up 'till today. Guy had the cajones to call back and let me know he decided to go with someone else, but would keep my name handy. After a couple seconds pondering a wise-ass, deserved reply, I simply hung up.

Timely post, though; I've been getting more and more requests for repair-cost quotes, significantly more than ever before. Sign of the times. . .

Link to post
Share on other sites

I had a potential client call me today who was referred by a former inspector and PE that I have a good relationship with. I was highly recommended by the former inspector and PE. After the potential client told me that I should do the inspection for 20% less than I had quoted he told me that of course I provide a list of needed repairs with the costs associated with those repairs. I was to do this so that he would have a negotiating tool with which to hit up side the head the owner of the house.

When I informed him that I am not up to date on labor rates of all trades and prices for every material on the planet he suggested that I go back to my office and do the needed work in order to determine all of the required costs after completing the inspection. I said that I would and would double the cost of the inspection for the additional work.

I do not give cost estimates as a business decision I made years ago as they may at some point be used against me due to the variables involved. The PE who referred me did give cost estimates with his reports, albeit about 5-6 years ago. He is no longer in business as an HI and trades stocks online in addition to some PE consults.

Does anyone else make it a practice of estimating repairs? Do you put it in writting?

That guy would make better progress talking to a brick wall than to me. No price quotes period.

Marc

Link to post
Share on other sites

I provide verbal estimates on almost anything and I have no problem providing written ones if I feel I can. I don't mind making calls to see what contractors charge to make certain repairs. It's just a part of my ongoing education.

The thing is, if you get 5 estimates on almost anything, the top bid will be triple the cost of the lowest bid. The "going rate" is a myth.

I've been giving estimates for repairs for 16 years and have never had a single issue with one of my clients. I have had some terrible rows with real estate agents. I also tell clients to figure out what something is going to cost and then double it.

My contract states, "Estimates provided for repairs are based on a limited visual inspection. The actual costs to correct problems may be more or less depending upon a more detailed professional analysis."

As far as haggling, I don't take it personal. I'm usually willing to come down about 5%. Certain ethnicities always haggle and they feel real good about themselves if they can save $20.

Link to post
Share on other sites

On a loosely related note, of the folk who are leaning on going with a cheaper inspector, many say "l'll call you and let you know either way." 'Course, they simply never call back - up 'till today. Guy had the cajones to call back and let me know he decided to go with someone else, but would keep my name handy. After a couple seconds pondering a wise-ass, deserved reply, I simply hung up.

I don't understand why you think he deserved a wise-ass reply. It's just business, and he chose somebody else. What's the big deal? It never helps to be rude, wether you're on the giving or the receiving end of the exchange.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll do it for certain customers. Even then, the numbers are bracketed.

If someone is adamant about numbers, I'll charge appropriately, and provide numbers, but it costs a lot more.

If some guy was hitting me like this guy was hitting you, I'd walk. He sounds like a pain.

Agreed on all counts.

I think that there are people out there who just don't know exactly what it is that we do. That's not bad and it's not their fault. It just means that we have to do a little expectation control.

Link to post
Share on other sites

On a loosely related note, of the folk who are leaning on going with a cheaper inspector, many say "l'll call you and let you know either way." 'Course, they simply never call back - up 'till today. Guy had the cajones to call back and let me know he decided to go with someone else, but would keep my name handy. After a couple seconds pondering a wise-ass, deserved reply, I simply hung up.

I don't understand why you think he deserved a wise-ass reply. It's just business, and he chose somebody else. What's the big deal? It never helps to be rude, wether you're on the giving or the receiving end of the exchange.

I've had hundreds, if not thousands of folk call for quotes, and then they're polite and say something like they'll check with their wife and get back to me. 'Course, for whatever reason, they never do, whether it's price or they just don't like me.

What's the big deal? I've never had one of those such call me back and rub it in my face. You'd be polite?

Link to post
Share on other sites

I do not feel comfortable pricing another individual's work. To me, it's no different than a Realtor telling someone what the inspection will cost. It's not their place to do so, nor is it mine. Ballpark figures are sometimes given, but they are one big ass ball park.

Link to post
Share on other sites

A big part of what I do (when I provide numbers) is explain to folks the concept of architectural specifications. All numbers are meaningless without a precisely detailed description of what it is going to happen.

As an example, if I give a number for a roof, I indicate the differences in flashing, drip edge, lead boots vs. plastic, IWS, IWS installed correctly, etc.

Same with heating; some contractors include a metal liner, others don't. That often explains the $1000 between two contractors selling the same furnace.

If you read enough proposals, and I read a lot, you realize that contractors leave out all the most important parts and masquerade everything in a parade of product names and flowery language about what a good job they're going to do.

I tell all my customers to collect the proposals, and .pdf them to me for review. It's a great, cheap, easy education, and it alerts me to all sorts of things I'd otherwise not be attendant to.

Link to post
Share on other sites

On a loosely related note, of the folk who are leaning on going with a cheaper inspector, many say "l'll call you and let you know either way." 'Course, they simply never call back - up 'till today. Guy had the cajones to call back and let me know he decided to go with someone else, but would keep my name handy. After a couple seconds pondering a wise-ass, deserved reply, I simply hung up.

I don't understand why you think he deserved a wise-ass reply. It's just business, and he chose somebody else. What's the big deal? It never helps to be rude, wether you're on the giving or the receiving end of the exchange.

I've had hundreds, if not thousands of folk call for quotes, and then they're polite and say something like they'll check with their wife and get back to me. 'Course, for whatever reason, they never do, whether it's price or they just don't like me.

What's the big deal? I've never had one of those such call me back and rub it in my face. You'd be polite?

I would be greatful that the guy bothered to let me know.

Unless he flat out had a need to be a jerk and spoke to you with an in your face attitude, I can't imagine why someone in the middle of jumping through the flaming hoops of buying a home would waste time screwing with you.

Maybe the guy has had others not call him in the past, knows the frustration, and was trying to do the honorable thing?

Either way, and at the risk of pissing you off, it's up to you to ignore the price shopper thing and do a better job selling and booking the inspection.

These people don't know what to say when they make a call. They fall back on, "how much?" Ignore it.

People don't buy prices. They buy services. You usually only get one shot at them on the phone. If you do a good job selling your service, they won't be making another call.

Link to post
Share on other sites

On some jobs (litigation work, pre-construction cost analysis, and other consulting work) I do provide the average cost of repairs, cost comparisons, etc. I use RS Means and Craftsman publications that provide national averages. I do not even attempt to quote what can be found locally as it's all over the board.

I offer a range like this:

Domestic 50 gallon gas water heater $600 to $800 (Direct vent add 20%)

Residential dishwasher (plastic interior) $350 to $450 (add 40% for stainless interior)

My clients will pay extra for this service, it is not part of my normal home inspection. I also note that these are national averages obtained from the above publications.

If I have a caller asking for repair estimates, I simply tell them that this service is an additional $75 to $150 depending on the size of the home. this extra fee gets rid of folks who want to use the inspection as a negotiation tool! I also tell them that I do not quote structural repairs. It is very uncommon in my area for folks to ask for cost of repair estimates.

Link to post
Share on other sites

On a loosely related note, of the folk who are leaning on going with a cheaper inspector, many say "l'll call you and let you know either way." 'Course, they simply never call back - up 'till today. Guy had the cajones to call back and let me know he decided to go with someone else, but would keep my name handy. After a couple seconds pondering a wise-ass, deserved reply, I simply hung up.

I don't understand why you think he deserved a wise-ass reply. It's just business, and he chose somebody else. What's the big deal? It never helps to be rude, wether you're on the giving or the receiving end of the exchange.

I've had hundreds, if not thousands of folk call for quotes, and then they're polite and say something like they'll check with their wife and get back to me. 'Course, for whatever reason, they never do, whether it's price or they just don't like me.

What's the big deal? I've never had one of those such call me back and rub it in my face. You'd be polite?

First, I don't think he was rubbing it in your face. And second, yes I would be polite.

Link to post
Share on other sites

. . .and at the risk of pissing you off, it's up to you to ignore the price shopper thing and do a better job selling and booking the inspection.

I agree; I could always improve on my selling skills. That said, I've been a good enough salesman pretty near 8,000 times now that I won't loose any sleep over such, nor loose any sleep about hanging up on a smug sum-bitch who went out of his way to make doubly sure that I knew he didn't like me, my services, and/or my pricing.

Link to post
Share on other sites

. . . I agree; I could always improve on my selling skills. That said, I've been a good enough salesman pretty near 8,000 times now that I won't loose any sleep over such, nor loose any sleep about hanging up on a smug sum-bitch who went out of his way to make doubly sure that I knew he didn't like me, my services, and/or my pricing.

Or you could kill him with kindness. Sometimes that's even more satisfying.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have done spreadsheets twice for clients aiming to buy homes in such bad shape that I could not do the typical breakdown of description and comment. The second one came on referral from the first, who used my estimate like a stick at the closing table. Everyone knew my figures were ballpark at best, but in each case they had lots of value for the client.

Link to post
Share on other sites

After our discussion I get the distinct impression that he's going with the cheaper guy. No love lost, I've moved on.

I would venture a guess that you are better off not working for that person. Think of all the time and money you saved on litigation costs. Many of the low cost inspectors are desperate for business, don't realize they are losing money on their inspections, and will probably not be your competition in a few years (or less).

Link to post
Share on other sites

On the topic of low bidders. As I was dropping of a radon machine this morning 4 guys piled out of a van marked as xyz "Plumbing & Electrical Services". I wished I had asked a few more questions, but according to the realtor they were doing the home inspection. Three of the guys looked like they had no idea where to start and were just following the old grey haired guy around. I've met the old guy before doing some electrical work and from that experience I know he is a low bidder - I cannot imagine how he will make any money bringing along 3 other guys.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Three of the guys looked like they had no idea where to start and were just following the old grey haired guy around. I've met the old guy before doing some electrical work and from that experience I know he is a low bidder - I cannot imagine how he will make any money bringing along 3 other guys.

I'll bet they are paying him for the privilege of being there. Training school graduates.

An HI that gave a low cost estimate here a few years ago landed in court when the cost proved to be significantly higher. That was a rotten joist/foundation situation. The judge sided with the homeowner and the settlement was over $150G. No, I don't do cost estimates for the price of a home inspection.

There is a list of typical costs included in my report which is published by Carson Dunlop. Basic tank replacement or drain inspection items, I will sometimes mutter a ballpark figure, but I don't make a habit of it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

After our discussion I get the distinct impression that he's going with the cheaper guy. No love lost, I've moved on.

I would venture a guess that you are better off not working for that person. Think of all the time and money you saved on litigation costs. Many of the low cost inspectors are desperate for business, don't realize they are losing money on their inspections, and will probably not be your competition in a few years (or less).

NJ has the largest number of lawyers per capita in all of the United States, so I'm told.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...