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Old 03-04-2010, 09:50 PM   #1
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Default Why No Job Is Really Too Small

Why No Job Is Really Too Small

by Mary Baker on March 02, 2010 constructiondeal.com
A small job means different things to different contractors and service professionals. Some claim any job under $100 is too small while others consider anything under $50,000 to be too small. Whatever the case may be for your business, you really shouldn’t discard the small job.
Here are two reasons why:
The small job lead may come to you and you choose not to do it. That could be a big mistake. Someone else is going to take that job and get the project done. If your competitor completes this tiny piece of work and does a great or even a good job, there’s a good chance the homeowner or business owner is going to call this person again for the next project. And they may also become a great cheerleader for your competitor and pass his or her name all around town. Wouldn’t it be better for your business to take on the project and then get future work and referrals from it?
Another aspect to consider is this – what if the small project turns into a really big project? For example, a homeowner wants to replace a sink in the bathroom. It’s a pretty small job. But what if that sink replacement becomes more than that? Countertops and cabinets could also be upgraded, along with some new paint, and flooring. Before you know it, it’s a complete bathroom remodeling project.
In a down economy, many people are not taking on the big projects. Things are slowly improving in certain areas. Many contractors and service professionals are gearing up to be able to handle the smaller job leads out there until the economy is rolling again. It would be a smart move to equip your business to handle these smaller projects, too. If you already are taking on the small jobs, then don’t forget to upsell your services to give clients the satisfaction they’re really looking for. It will have people calling you back and it will keep your business name on their lips as they talk to friends and family.
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Old 03-04-2010, 10:01 PM   #2
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Small jobs are overlooked far too often.

When you think about it, you actually make more money on small jobs than you do on big ones (per capita). I.E. a customer who wants a single bathroom painted will pay up to $500 or more for it, while if it were part of a whole house repaint that same bathroom may be quoted as low as $200 (fictional numbers).

Also, people who get small jobs done are more likely to refer you to other people who also need small jobs done, so it's a great way to get your name out there.

Great post NEPS
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Old 03-04-2010, 10:04 PM   #3
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It is the easiest way to build your client list by giving a small project superior service. Many people will "try out" a contractor on a smaller task first before trusting them with a high dollar project.
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Old 03-04-2010, 10:12 PM   #4
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I take smaller jobs way more in the winter.I just don't have the time the other times of year. I try to always weight it out on what is best at the time. You bring up a good point though. One other thing I do in this same vain is: I tell people even if I bid on a job and they go with the other guy they are always welcome to call me if they need advise on anything. I hold nothing personal it's all part of the job for me.
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Old 03-04-2010, 10:27 PM   #5
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Great advice NEPS. Not so much a small job story but similar. I had a older lady call & ask if I could look at a Log home ( our speciality) she wanted refinished. She had other contractors take a look before me and everyone passed. It was an hour an a half drive one way just to get to it way out in OR logging country & I thought she was nuts, no way I'm doing that so I bid it really high and couldn't believe she accepted it. We did the job & lived in it while doing it & I'm so glad we did. To make a long story short she is the widow of a prominent doctor & has become my best client. She owns a massive home in a very upscale neighborhood & another beautiful (beach house) on the Oregon coast. We've redone all three in the past 2 years inside & out and rebuilt decks, railings etc. Anything from remodeling to changing out a doorknob we get the call. Also rich people have friends! Ive gotten 4 referrals from her so far & there's no telling how many more. To think I almost passed it up.

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Old 03-04-2010, 10:57 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brushmonkey View Post
Great advice NEPS. Not so much a small job story but similar. I had a older lady call & ask if I could look at a Log home ( our speciality) she wanted refinished. She had other contractors take a look before me and everyone passed. It was an hour an a half drive one way just to get to it way out in OR logging country & I thought she was nuts, no way I'm doing that so I bid it really high and couldn't believe she accepted it. We did the job & lived in it while doing it & I'm so glad we did. To make a long story short she is the widow of a prominent doctor & has become my best client. She owns a massive home in a very upscale neighborhood & another beautiful (beach house) on the Oregon coast. We've redone all three in the past 2 years inside & out and rebuilt decks, railings etc. Anything from remodeling to changing out a doorknob we get the call. Also rich people have friends! Ive gotten 4 referrals from her so far & there's no telling how many more. To think I almost passed it up.
Thats a very good story, So many times we can be so pessimistic that we pass over this good stuff. Life is such an adventure, we really don't know where it will lead us.
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Old 03-05-2010, 12:16 AM   #7
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Actually sometimes small jobs pay better than the larger ones.. and they are USUALLY alot less stressful/headache
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Old 03-05-2010, 06:33 AM   #8
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Actually sometimes small jobs pay better than the larger ones.. and they are USUALLY alot less stressful/headache
See post #2
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Old 03-05-2010, 08:09 AM   #9
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NEPS is exactly right; it's a heckuva way to build your client list. Also keep in mind that some HO's have a given budget to work with. Alot of retiree's will budget so much on a quarterly basis or whatever for painting and updating. It can either go to your competitor or to you.
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Old 03-05-2010, 08:27 AM   #10
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It's one thing to do small jobs, but now add all the expense of homeowners getting 5 quotes to do a $250 bathroom - and the fact you'll still end up only getting the job 1 in 5 times. Do 'small' jobs really pay off? I think this falls under the broader category of loss leaders, the technique of doing a job for a loss in an effort to pierce into an area. I think if you were to examine your quicken database and followed your 'small' job customers and looked at all the overhead of meeting with them and delivering estimates and the amount of time/overhead dedicated to a 'small' job - you better have great referrals to make it work.
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Where the professionals go to make sure Harry homeowner isn't getting too many quotes!
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Old 03-05-2010, 08:35 AM   #11
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Quote:
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See post #2
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Old 03-05-2010, 09:02 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plainpainter View Post
It's one thing to do small jobs, but now add all the expense of homeowners getting 5 quotes to do a $250 bathroom - and the fact you'll still end up only getting the job 1 in 5 times. Do 'small' jobs really pay off? I think this falls under the broader category of loss leaders, the technique of doing a job for a loss in an effort to pierce into an area. I think if you were to examine your quicken database and followed your 'small' job customers and looked at all the overhead of meeting with them and delivering estimates and the amount of time/overhead dedicated to a 'small' job - you better have great referrals to make it work.
Getting small jobs shouldn't require a lot of legwork.

While you're in a neighborhood working on a larger job, shoot out 20 letters letting people know you're there, and "while you're working there" if they happen to have a small job they need done, to 'visit us at 1234 any street' or give us a call.

Takes 5 minutes to drive up the street and geta small job contract estimated and signed on the spot
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Old 03-05-2010, 02:14 PM   #13
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I have always said - ''Out of small acorns, come big trees.''

There is a lot, in a lot of old sayings.
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Old 03-05-2010, 07:45 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plainpainter View Post
It's one thing to do small jobs, but now add all the expense of homeowners getting 5 quotes to do a $250 bathroom - and the fact you'll still end up only getting the job 1 in 5 times. Do 'small' jobs really pay off? I think this falls under the broader category of loss leaders, the technique of doing a job for a loss in an effort to pierce into an area. I think if you were to examine your quicken database and followed your 'small' job customers and looked at all the overhead of meeting with them and delivering estimates and the amount of time/overhead dedicated to a 'small' job - you better have great referrals to make it work.
Doing a small job and marketing to obtain small jobs are two differnet things, Dan. This reference was to doing the occasional small job and not to blow them off. If a HO calls and is getting competing bids for a $250 bathroom they are not my type of customer to begin with. On the other hand if I get a referal call from a HO that needs a accent wall painted, some plaster cracks fixed or a front door painted then this is a great opportunity for my company to gain another potential repeat customer.

Dan you really enjoy looking at those quicken numbers but what actual substantial data could you be basing your opinion off of? After all it is just your opinion, I am talking from experience.
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Old 03-05-2010, 08:35 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plainpainter View Post
It's one thing to do small jobs, but now add all the expense of homeowners getting 5 quotes to do a $250 bathroom - and the fact you'll still end up only getting the job 1 in 5 times. Do 'small' jobs really pay off? I think this falls under the broader category of loss leaders, the technique of doing a job for a loss in an effort to pierce into an area. I think if you were to examine your quicken database and followed your 'small' job customers and looked at all the overhead of meeting with them and delivering estimates and the amount of time/overhead dedicated to a 'small' job - you better have great referrals to make it work.
Plain why dont you ever look at how good things can be. You are a complete pessimist and its not going to work out for you always thinking of the negative side. Im not telling you to walk down the street singing I love america but just try thinking positive for one week even if you have to make yourself and I guarantee you will feel better about everything.
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Old 03-05-2010, 10:17 PM   #16
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Default Small Job is your In!!!

Any small job stewarded well is a small job that can pay some big dividends!! If you show up and do a great job for a small job, you can ask for referrals which leads you into bigger and better jobs. I am all about the small ones, and then you lean on the home owner to get you some bigger ones. Or a small job is a good one to do some teaching to a new employee or new team member. Go small....in any economy.
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Old 03-05-2010, 10:27 PM   #17
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Very interesting thread!

This IS largely my schtick. I don't profess to having a clue what you 'big boys' are doing....I'd love to buy you coffee and hear all about it. (not that I'm interested in changing directions) I really enjoy the "one room wonder" jobs. With that said, I'm not sure if I have ever just done "one room".

You are absolutely right Rcon. Selling a room for $500-800 is easy. Almost 100% of the time people say, "how much for room 'X' also....I can't stand that colour (or whatever excuse)." It becomes 2-4 rooms in short order.

As big as I ever get (with painting that is) is $9000-10000 on an exterior. For me, if I get 1 or 2 of those from a so called, 'small job', I'm happy.

A good example of this 'small job' is Monday I'm 'cleaning up a house' for resale. No walls, just hitting trim and doors with white-semi. Caulk and patches yadda yadda....two days max $1200, materials is $250. I 'never' make nearly $500 a day on a big job.

I won't do a room for $250 either. I'm not saying that those who will take that job are lesser painters, I think that type of painter either doesn't know his numbers or its self-esteem. The home owner who wants to pay $250 will get 'that' type of painter....they are a match. I don't worry about it, good luck to both of them.

There's a multitude of levels in this profession, I absolutely agree that the small ones equal opportunity.
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Old 03-06-2010, 12:55 AM   #18
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I like your thinking JP! Life has definitely been an adventure. Like a roller coaster...up ..down...up & we'll see??? So much time wasted on the trivial & mundane. A good quote for all: "If you don't think life is awesome, just try missing a day"
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Originally Posted by johnpaint View Post
Thats a very good story, So many times we can be so pessimistic that we pass over this good stuff. Life is such an adventure, we really don't know where it will lead us.

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Old 03-08-2010, 05:29 PM   #19
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Negative Dan strikes again.
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Old 03-09-2010, 06:23 AM   #20
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I find Dan to be a ray of sunshine in an otherwise cloudy day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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