Are You Wasting Your Time Quoting for Projects You’re Never Going to Win?


If you're a Wollongong, Illawarra or Kiama Builder and you’re in the category of doing 10 – 20 quotes and being lucky to win only 1 or 2 of them, keep reading because this article was written for you.

It goes without saying that quoting is an important part of your business. However we both know that they take a lot of time and effort. There's also a big risk that it won’t pay off, and the build goes to one of your competitors, so it's understandable that quoting can become a task that you tend to hate rather than enjoy. That's not how it should be.

It's hard to stay motivated when you're spending hours of your time sitting at a computer quoting jobs that in the back of your mind you're thinking there's a greater chance of not getting the job than there is of getting it. Not to mention these are hours of your time you're not getting paid for but that's a different topic for a different day.

It's a familiar feeling as it happens to photographers too so we're all in the same boat here. The only difference is our tool of choice.

This article is about ensuring that  – your time spent quoting isn't wasted and that yout potential client decides that the best company to complete the job must be you. Otherwise why bother at all right?

Why are they not choosing you to build their house?

I imagine that you're familiar with this scenario. You've quoted the job properly, covered everything in detail so there are no surprises, you've done it at good value (even though you know you should really be charging more money). You've either sat down with the client to go through everything or you've emailed it over.

You think the meeting went well and they thank you for your time and tell you they need some time to think about it and will get back to you soon. Then, silence. Weeks go by and you don't hear anything so you give them a call or send them an email to "follow up".  A typical response is that they haven't decided and are secretly hoping you don't bother them again, or, they shoot you down and say they've decided to go for a "cheaper builder". It's an easy shut down but they thank you for your time anyway 

You understand to not call them again all while deep down you're thinking "not again. I thought they liked me, I thought I came within budget, this would have been a great project to work on" and now you're back at square one.

I'll be brutally honest with you here, after all I'm here to help you stop this from happening...

Your problem is not price it is TRUST!!

The truth of the situation is they actually really do like the fact you put in all this hard work for them in quoting the job, but you were never going to win. They love you spent all that time because now they have a great quote to compare with the company they were always going to use. The company they "trust". 

So, how do you become that company. How do you become the company they trust?

Well, let me tell you. It starts long before you're asked to quote. It starts with your marketing.

The real reason you're not winning these jobs is because these potential clients don't trust you.

Your problem is you think it's because you're not the cheapest guy in town. But when you're only winning work because you're cheap it sucks because it shows that your clients main motivation is the bottom dollar and they don't care about the quality of work you're doing and they don't value YOU. Don’t you want to be getting jobs because you do great work, not because you don’t charge enough?

When you're the cheap guy you're left working out ways to cut corners to keep costs down. You're forced to sacrifice your quality and reputation which often leads to being unethical, or working out how to be unethical without coming across that way in order to charge more than your quoted figure so you can get some money back. This is the wrong answer and a surefire way to get an angry client and a bad reputation. Especially in our market where word travels fast.

The other alternative is you are forced to suck it up and work with a low margin which sucks for you, and convince yourself you'll make it up next time around. The only thing is that we both know that next time around you find yourself in the same scenario and you're going through the same process all over again. If you keep doing this you'll never reach the full potential that you know you should be working out.

So, what's the answer?

As I mentioned earlier, you have a trust issue and you need to fix it. Immediately!

The truth is, you're losing these quotes way before you've even sat down to start writing them. I hate to say it but you were never in the race from the beginning, you were simply there to make up the numbers so they could compare and justify the price of the builder they were going to use all along.

Doesn't it suck to hear? I know it sucks because I've been in that EXACT position more times than I'd like to admit. But it's fixable! 

So how do you turn this around and create that trust to become that company, the company that was always going to be the winner.? To do that you need to perfect your marketing, your branding, your pitch and proof. All these these things combined build trust early in your clients buying cycle so that when it comes time to quote it's more of a formailty than the sole decisive factor.  

Proper marketing will set you up as the trusted authority of the industry, the trusted expert they ‘must’ use for their project. If you're the trusted authority it will ensure that you’ll win 90% of your quotes at profit margins well north of 15% and make selling yourself extremely easy. Instead of the other way around!

To become the trusted authority and win jobs at a higher profit margin you need to consider all aspects of your marketing.

Using proof to win your current quotes!

One of the most crucial elements of this as mentioned above is “proof”. For a residential builder a great way to prove your ability to your customers and hence build trust is through the use of photography of all your past projects. This should be your minimum standard.

Depending on where you're currently at in your business life, that may look like taking images yourself if you’re a new builder starting out. That's ok, but it won't deliver fantastic results or change your market position all that much. 

For those small building companies looking to ramp it up a notch and take it to the next level you could look at taking things one step further and use a professional re-touching service such as ours at Shutter Speed Studios to improve your photographs on a budget for as little as $15 an image.

If you're a builder who wants to go even further and have even higher standards and marketing budget available to you, you may wish to employ a professional photographer to take full control of your portfolio building process to get high quality images that will really wow your clients and showcase your work. 

I get this a lot at Shutter Speed Studios where a residential building company is fed up with losing out on quotes for really good projects and they know they need to do something about it. They tend to order photography for the recent 5-10 projects and I can do a package deal at a cheaper rate to accommodate a multi project photography service. As new building projects come up, I can do some mid-construction images for them for a very cheap rate, build up their portfolio of before and after images of their projects going forward so they can use that along with the quoting process to help them win those new jobs, building trust in the process, by showing clients their capabilities and their experience in doing a project similar to theirs.

This puts these builders in front of their competing quotes as it now allows them to win the quotes based on their trust to be able to complete the job at the standard their expectations desire and makes the client confident they will end up with their dream home. You’re no longer winning by being the cheapest guy around.

If you would like to discuss how photography could help your building company win over your current quotes, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me. I want to help you turn these things around. I can not only show you how to get the best results when photographing your projects but can help you by discussing ways you can use your images in your marketing to win your quotes.

Happy quoting.