If you’re preparing an estimate for a homeowner, you’re probably not the only pro in the mix. In fact, most industry professionals advise homeowners to consult with at least three pros prior to making a decision. Before you pitch your estimate, use these five pitch-perfecting tips to put you at the top of any homeowner’s list.
1. Know the House. Every project is different. Before you offer an estimate, ask the homeowner for a walkthrough and, if applicable, a copy of the home’s blueprints. An intimate view of the house will help you provide an accurate estimate and anticipate any potential delays or additional costs.
2. Avoid Industry Terms or Lingo. It’s important to remember that your homeowner isn’t a contractor. Avoid technical terms when describing projects — especially during your pitch. If a project is complicated, demonstrate the repair or upgrade by walking the homeowner through each step. A quick show-and-tell will help the homeowner visualize the process and gain a sense of your expertise.
3. Pitch in Person. As tempting as it might be to give your pitch via phone or email, nothing beats an in-person consultation. A face-to-face presentation will help you answer any questions and clarify confusing or technical aspects of the project. It’s also important to walk the homeowner through your list of costs. Be sure to touch on any issues that could change the overall price of the project (and mark them clearly).
4. Provide Accurate Pricing. It can be difficult to provide accurate cost estimates — especially for larger projects. Construction estimating software and free online pricing tools like HomeAdvisor’s True Cost Guide are effective ways to offer homeowners an accurate figure. Factors like equipment rentals, man-hours, demolishing or hauling, subcontractor fees and materials can also change quotes. Make sure to clearly communicate these possibilities during your pitch. Also, provide a clear outline of your billing process for the homeowner.
5. Establish a Timeline. Think about the size of the job. If you’re bidding on a large project, give yourself plenty of wiggle room — nothing ruins a homeowner-contractor relationship like missed deadlines. For smaller projects, feel free to offer a tighter timeframe for completion. During your pitch, share a timeline with rough completion dates with your homeowner. Project timelines will help you communicate and share pricing milestones throughout the project.
Conclusion: During a remodel, repair or construction project, most homeowners are nervous about hiring the right pro. By using these tips, you’ll present an organized, thorough and friendly pitch that will ensure any homeowner that you’re the right pro for the job.