Check this little story out
I gave an estimate based on a guy going by a job I was working on. Saw my truck with my name on it and stopped. The job was an empty apartment. This guy says to me: "I'd like an estimate on a lot of work. I'm tired of the drunk painter I hired and need someone to finish up." It's about $6000.00 worth of work."
So, at lunch, I mosey on up to the place for an estimate. It's close so I don't kill a lot of time driving there. But, the estimate took a couple of hours to see. Big place with different types of buildings that needed to be sprayed out.
My partner and I talk over the job. I tell the prospect, I'll email a job quote. We figured the job was a minimum of 11 grand. Needless to say, the potential customer never called. What he was saying, if you listened carefully was: "I have 6000 to pay for the job, if you can bring it in at that, the job is yours."
Yeah right and cows fly over the moon too. Here was a dude ranch manager trying to lowball the painters and probably keep 1/2 of the paininting budget for himself. The 11 grand was actually a pretty damn tight bid. We would be making ok money, nothing great.
Point Being: Lots of prospects will lowball other prices they have. Sometimes, the prospect will just make up the figure because that's all he wants to spend.
When price is an issue at the close of sale, I sometimes say: "Would you sweat your own copper pipes? Would you pull electric wire for your 220 dryer and put in the receptacle? Painting is a meticulous trade, if you want quality, you have to pay for it.
There is a problem in all contract bidding which is all over the business threads in these forums. What do you do with the lowballers? You may get a job after they have slopped up the place, but then again, if you don't close with a yes from your customer on the first shot, you rarely hear from them again.
It's fine to know you are worth every bit of what you bid, it's another thing to get that price and keep working. Ah--there is the rub!