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Old 04-15-2019, 10:54 AM   #1
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Default How To decline work after doing quote?

I'm sure we've all been there. You go do a quote and then after looking at the job don't want to do it for whatever reason.

How to you inform the customer that you don't want to do the job?

I just tell them that "I'd like to withdraw from the bidding process" or "decline the invitation to bid on the project". The second part of the email should be the excuse which is usually a white lie. I always find difficulty coming up with an excuse. Often times I say we're overbooked and don't have the manpower to take on any more work.

What's you go-to letter of rejection for a job after you have done an estimate?

I don't want to spend an hour doing a quote for a job I don't want to do. Obviously you can just double the price and hope you don't get the job. I don't want to waste my time with that. You have to be delicate with this because someone might give your business a negative review.

I've also gotten into the bad habit of not responding to quote requests for jobs I don't like.

What jobs do you always turn down?
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Old 04-15-2019, 11:34 AM   #2
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Not responding, whether before doing a bid or after, is indeed a bad business practice. I hear all the time from people who are upset because another contractor never even bothered to get back to them. I think your listed responses are just fine. And although there really isn’t any need to elaborate (though we usually feel the need to do s) a simple, “Due to scheduling concerns.”, is usually true (at some level).

I hate painting popcorn ceilings and refuse to do them any longer. Same with people only wanting their front door painted - basically impossible to make money on them. When people call about either of those, I just level with them. No budging on my stance regarding popcorn ceilings. On doors? Maybe. But I will tell them to expect my bid to be at least $500.
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Old 04-15-2019, 04:00 PM   #3
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For the first time since I got started, I did the old don't call 'em back thing this month. Went and looked at the job. Absolutely miserable old woman who was argumentative, rude, condescending, etc. etc. Whole house is wallpapered, full of nick nacks. She wants the ceilings painted. She argued about why we'd have to move all of her stuff. She argued that I should pick the ceiling white rather than she having to. She argued when I told her I'd have to prime them because they're currently oil and she didn't want to pay for another coat.



Tongue in groove ceiling with tannin bleed through in a hallway. She argued that she didn't want paint smell after I told her I'd have to Bin the knots and tannin bleed.


French doors currently done in oil. They looked fine. She wanted me to paint them the same colour. I explained we'd have to prime them to convert to latex. She accused me of trying to run up the bill.


Gave her a price. She argued for a while about that, then finally accepted it. Miserably. I told her I'd call her when I was ready to get started.


Walked out. Ten feet out the door I said to myself "Frack that!". No intentions of calling her back. Her house has probably looked this way for 40 years so it won't hurt if it stays this way until she either dies or finds someone else equally miserable to put up with her bs.



I'm not really happy about dealing with it this way, but I have no intentions of getting into an argument with her about why I don't want the job. Didn't want to get into it with her when I was there either. That would have been particularly unpleasant.


Spending days in her house with her supervising my every move would have been absolutely awful and there's no way I'm putting myself through that. Got much better people to work for that aren't asking me to do horrible stupid jobs in horrible stupid conditions.


I gotta get used to the old "I'm sorry, but your job isn't a good fit for my business" turn around, walk out and don't look back.


My wife thanked me for not taking on that job because I would have come home every night either depressed or angry.
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Old 04-15-2019, 04:14 PM   #4
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@ Wildbill7145 I am surprised you got as far as rendering a price. I would have been gone right after the business about why furniture needs be moved!

I turned down a job years ago. I said "No Mrs. I won't work for you." After a moment of stunned mutters, I said "It's really simple: you are abusive and have no idea how to treat people. You need to get.
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Old 04-15-2019, 04:16 PM   #5
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I looked a job last year...lead job. It was not a big job, but due to property lines and regulations with lead it would have been a PITA. I pondered it for several days and them emailed the home owner that it was just something that I was not interested in.

Same thing with a job in which they wanted me to paint 1/2 of one side of an exterior. It would have required pump jacks. It took me only a day to tell them I was not interested.

I always get back to customers. I hate it when I put in the time to do an estimate and customers do not get back to me. So, I always get back to them. I told a guy last year that a job he wanted me to do was too difficult for me. This Spring I am staining his deck.

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Old 04-15-2019, 04:27 PM   #6
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Here's a great story:
A floor guy had been working for a PITA customer. They never let up and after 10 days of their harassment he was done. As he was leaving he explained to the HO "I used the best adhesive possible. It's a high grade specialty product BUT for the best result you must leave the heat turned up to 30C degrees (86 F) for 72 hours. They being typical know-it-alls, replied. "Yes, yes, we know. OK." about 8 hours later he gets a call, "Can't we turn down the heat a little? We're suffocating here!" The Floor guys says, "Well, it'll probably be alright BUT if there is a failure of the product I will not be responsible!" The HO said "I understand." and hung up. He never heard whether they turned the heat down or not.

He said they made it hot for him while he was working there so he made it hot for them when he left.
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Old 04-15-2019, 04:28 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wildbill7145 View Post
For the first time since I got started, I did the old don't call 'em back thing this month. Went and looked at the job. Absolutely miserable old woman who was argumentative, rude, condescending, etc. etc. Whole house is wallpapered, full of nick nacks. She wants the ceilings painted. She argued about why we'd have to move all of her stuff. She argued that I should pick the ceiling white rather than she having to. She argued when I told her I'd have to prime them because they're currently oil and she didn't want to pay for another coat.



Tongue in groove ceiling with tannin bleed through in a hallway. She argued that she didn't want paint smell after I told her I'd have to Bin the knots and tannin bleed.


French doors currently done in oil. They looked fine. She wanted me to paint them the same colour. I explained we'd have to prime them to convert to latex. She accused me of trying to run up the bill.


Gave her a price. She argued for a while about that, then finally accepted it. Miserably. I told her I'd call her when I was ready to get started.


Walked out. Ten feet out the door I said to myself "Frack that!". No intentions of calling her back. Her house has probably looked this way for 40 years so it won't hurt if it stays this way until she either dies or finds someone else equally miserable to put up with her bs.



I'm not really happy about dealing with it this way, but I have no intentions of getting into an argument with her about why I don't want the job. Didn't want to get into it with her when I was there either. That would have been particularly unpleasant.


Spending days in her house with her supervising my every move would have been absolutely awful and there's no way I'm putting myself through that. Got much better people to work for that aren't asking me to do horrible stupid jobs in horrible stupid conditions.


I gotta get used to the old "I'm sorry, but your job isn't a good fit for my business" turn around, walk out and don't look back.


My wife thanked me for not taking on that job because I would have come home every night either depressed or angry.
Few years ago I looked at a job for which everything was white (rugs and furniture included). The woman forgot that I was coming, told me she had already had a bunch of painters look at the job. She also seemed to have a pissy attitude. I told her she had a lot of lead, it would be very expensive, and then ran away.

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Old 04-15-2019, 04:33 PM   #8
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When I get exterior work I don't like the look of, I simply explain I am a fine interior specialist; you need an experienced exterior painter because all of the chemistry, prep work and materials are different and I don't want to take on a project I can not warranty. Works every time and they still call me for interior work. I will do some low level exterior work but up at the eaves & such, No!
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Old 04-15-2019, 05:27 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wildbill7145 View Post
For the first time since I got started, I did the old don't call 'em back thing this month. Went and looked at the job. Absolutely miserable old woman who was argumentative, rude, condescending, etc. etc. Whole house is wallpapered, full of nick nacks. She wants the ceilings painted. She argued about why we'd have to move all of her stuff. She argued that I should pick the ceiling white rather than she having to. She argued when I told her I'd have to prime them because they're currently oil and she didn't want to pay for another coat.



Tongue in groove ceiling with tannin bleed through in a hallway. She argued that she didn't want paint smell after I told her I'd have to Bin the knots and tannin bleed.


French doors currently done in oil. They looked fine. She wanted me to paint them the same colour. I explained we'd have to prime them to convert to latex. She accused me of trying to run up the bill.


Gave her a price. She argued for a while about that, then finally accepted it. Miserably. I told her I'd call her when I was ready to get started.


Walked out. Ten feet out the door I said to myself "Frack that!". No intentions of calling her back. Her house has probably looked this way for 40 years so it won't hurt if it stays this way until she either dies or finds someone else equally miserable to put up with her bs.



I'm not really happy about dealing with it this way, but I have no intentions of getting into an argument with her about why I don't want the job. Didn't want to get into it with her when I was there either. That would have been particularly unpleasant.


Spending days in her house with her supervising my every move would have been absolutely awful and there's no way I'm putting myself through that. Got much better people to work for that aren't asking me to do horrible stupid jobs in horrible stupid conditions.


I gotta get used to the old "I'm sorry, but your job isn't a good fit for my business" turn around, walk out and don't look back.


My wife thanked me for not taking on that job because I would have come home every night either depressed or angry.
Reminds me of an exterior job I went to bid on many years ago. The old biddy followed me around the entire time griping about everything - especially the two college kids she’d hired a few years earlier to paint her place and had F’ed it up. I swear, I had a headache after just listening to her for twenty minutes so I can only imagine what it would have been like working for her.

At the time I was too naive to not just run and not look back but at least I was smart enough to give her a bid number that was totally obscene. Upon hearing it, the look on her face was one of total incredulity. That was matched only by the strange sounds coming out of her pie hole as she struggled to give voice to her shock. Her response somewhat made up for the nastiness she had inflicted on me while doing the bid - but only partially.
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Old 04-17-2019, 12:41 AM   #10
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Not me but some contractors have a special estimate template for bad clients. The proposal is designed to generate a NO response. The document is poorly written with deliberate mistakes and a very high price tag. Instead of feeling rejected, your prospect will feel relieved to not hire you.

Whatever you do, do not ignore them or leave them hanging. Rejection should come quick, firm and very politely.
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Old 04-17-2019, 06:15 AM   #11
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I'm getting better at pre-qualifying people on the phone or email. Saves me from even having to view the job..
I either try to get a description of the job at hand or at least give them a ballpark price and feel their reaction.
For exterior work, I'll Google map the house so I can view it online first..
But honestly, a simple thanks but we're not interested is the best and quickest way.
Pull the band-aid off fast!

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Old 04-17-2019, 09:34 AM   #12
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I always email a formal proposal when I get home. If I decide on the way home that I really dont want the job, I just tell them I wont be able to get to it, but thanks for the consideration.
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Old 04-30-2019, 09:35 PM   #13
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Quote:
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I always email a formal proposal when I get home. If I decide on the way home that I really dont want the job, I just tell them I wont be able to get to it, but thanks for the consideration.
The client might wonder why you went to do the estimate if you can't get to it? They might suspect you just didnt like them and they might feel rejected and start typing away....
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Old 04-30-2019, 09:55 PM   #14
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The client might wonder why you went to do the estimate if you can't get to it? They might suspect you just didnt like them and they might feel rejected and start typing away....
“Sorry, but I must decline to submit an estimate for your project. When I got home from Looking at your home, there were six messages waiting for me from other customers accepting the bids I did for them. My schedule is now filled for the season.”
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Old 04-30-2019, 10:31 PM   #15
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The client might wonder why you went to do the estimate if you can't get to it? They might suspect you just didnt like them and they might feel rejected and start typing away....
I highly doubt that. Why would you GAF anyway? Its not anyones job to make the client feel "non-rejected" I anitn trying to get invited to Xmas dinner....

Besides, thats what an estimate is. Checking out how much work the job will be. I've legitimately gone to bid jobs and realized it was way too much work for me to handle, seemings I dont have a crew. I dont know if a job will be a week or a month until I get there...

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Old 05-06-2019, 09:56 PM   #16
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“Sorry, but I must decline to submit an estimate for your project. When I got home from Looking at your home, there were six messages waiting for me from other customers accepting the bids I did for them. My schedule is now filled for the season.”
Wow good for you! How about put us on the calendar for next season then?
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Old 05-06-2019, 10:38 PM   #17
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I'd submit an excessive price. If they accepted that and put down a hefty deposit, I would do the job, hate it or not. No job is to ugly if the money is big enough! I ALMOST never get the jobs when I over price but if I did, I'd do it. Like the stripping job I'm presently doing! I quoted a hefty by the hour + materials but I got the job anyway, no other company even discussed doing it. 4 others said "No! Thank you." I was the only game in town on this one. At the rate I'm being paid, I don't even mind doing the work.
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Old 05-15-2019, 02:05 PM   #18
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why not-"you're an a55, and i'm not working for you!"?
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Old 05-15-2019, 10:22 PM   #19
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why not-"you're an a55, and i'm not working for you!"?
I did that once. Mrs. HO calls; she wants me to do 2 more rooms for her. I said "No, Mrs. HO, I won't work for you!" There was a stunned silence and then some weird stuttering. I then said, "Mrs. HO, it's really quite simple, you are abusive. You need to learn to be respectful of the trades before you are entitled to have anyone work for you." She then went on a tear about how much damage I'd done the last time I was there. I laughed: " I made such a wreck of your home, here you are 3 months later, asking me to come and wreck 2 more rooms. I must assume you are not only abusive but crazy. Then I hung up.
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Old 05-18-2019, 02:25 PM   #20
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I went to a hoarders house one time, back in the 80's , before I ever knew hoarding was a thing. A nice house in a very nice neighborhood. I walked in and there was nothing but junk piled floor to ceiling. I said to the HO "when are you going to have all this junk hauled out of here, I couldn't begin to give you an estimate until then". She gave a bewildered look and said "junk"?

I just turned around and left!
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