Last modified: 2020-04-16 | Approximate reading time 6 mins
A few months ago, if you had told us that we would be telling contractors to present quotes remotely, we would've had a hard time believing you. We are now going through an exceptional situation that requires us to adapt to a new reality. The most recent recommendations from the government have been to reduce in-person meetings to avoid spreading the virus.
For contractors who are working in the field of home renovations, this means having to put most projects on pause and finding new ways to approach customer service. Ordinarily, it is better to go on-site to present a quote. However, at this time, this is simply not possible.
Despite the current situation, there are people that are still looking to get in touch with contractors. Sometimes, they need emergency work done, and these are usually considered as essential services (provinces have different rules). Otherwise, there are people who are planning the upcoming months and who want to find contractors for their projects, knowing that the work will be completed at another time of the year.
For contractors, this involuntary break time can be seen as a moment to plan the rest of the year. By presenting a few quotes remotely, you can line up contracts that you will work on once the confinement measures have been relaxed. This way, you can quickly relaunch your company.
In the following paragraphs, we will share a few tips to present quotes remotely whilst making sure that you are communicating properly with the customer.
These days, it's easier than ever to communicate remotely. Even when you're talking to someone who is on the other side of the planet, you can see them through video. This means that if your potential client is located a few kilometres from where you are, communications will be made much easier by technological tools. To better explain what we mean, we will present a few examples of situations, as well as tools that could be useful for you.
Here are the tools you could use to present your quotes:
The most interesting tool among those mentioned is the video phone call. If you are communicating by video to evaluate the work that has been requested by your client, you could have a visual overview of the element or place that needs to be renovated. You can ask the client to show you what you need to see.
If you have any technical skills, you can even record that call and refer to it later. There are applications that you can use to record your screen. You can activate this app when calling the client.
Otherwise, you can simply proceed as you would if you were meeting them in person, by taking mental or written notes.
Here is a list of applications that will allow you to carry out video phone calls:
Most of these apps are free and some of them even let you have conference calls, which can be practical if you want to speak to more than one person at a time.
Concerning emails, we recommend that you put as much detail as possible when writing to potential clients. When you write these emails, remember that communications may be a bit more complicated than usual, as in-person meetings are easier to create a dialogue, whereas, in writing, it can be harder to understand the person's needs and intentions.
To avoid any misunderstandings, you have to take the time to make sure that what you are writing is clear. By email, you can even transmit documents, photos and even videos (more on that later in this article). You can even ask the client to send you these types of documents to help you present a quote that is comprehensive.
You might also have to share a quote through a simple phone call, as some people aren't equipped with smartphones. Once again, you should focus on clarity and communications. More than ever, you have to understand the needs of the people who are contacting you for projects. If possible, you could combine the use of phone calls and emails to maximize your chances of communicating properly.
A few examples of situations where you can use technology to present quotes
For most types of renovation projects, it's possible to find solutions to present quotes remotely. It may be helpful for you to consider this like you would approach a quote for a project that is starting from a plan, as it would be with a new construction project.
Example 1: You are a residential painter and your potential customer wants to repaint their living room. You get the description of the project, you contact them by email and you agree on a time for a phone meeting. During the phone call, the client can show you the room, tell you about their budget, the colours they want and they can even take the measurements in front of you.
Example 2: You specialize in excavation services. If a client contacts you for a french drain project, ask for as much detail and as many elements as possible to help you establish a base price. You can work with a house plan, measurements, information about the type of soil and so on.
Example 3: Are you a roofing expert? Some roofing specialists are used to presenting quotes by phone, especially when the project is for a full-on roof renovation and not a repair that requires a diagnostic. Ask for photos and as much information as possible about measurements, materials and the shape of the house.
In this type of situation, the client will have to be a bit more hands-on than usual. You may have to ask them to measure certain things, to take photos, to provide information about the materials and to create plans whenever possible.
Do not hesitate to tell them about what you will need to evaluate the project. This will let them know that you are trustworthy and that you can start the work without delay once it becomes possible.
Several contractors are asking us how to present a price to clients when they haven't been able to see the worksite. We absolutely agree with the fact that it is harder to establish a precise amount when the project hasn't been evaluated in person.
The solution, in this case, is to give a basic price to the potential client and remind them that this price could be subject to unforeseen changes.
If you establish an agreement for a general price that could be modified, make sure that this is written somewhere, either in a contract that you send by mail or in an email that you can set aside. You can also write down all the things you have talked about (materials, duration of the work, potential date and all that applies).
To make sure that you don't forget anything, you can check out our article How to calculate a renovation quote (note that this article was written before the pandemic).
For now, there is no precise date at which life will return to normal. However, there is every reason to believe that the actions that are being implemented will bear fruit and that the confinement measures will be loosened in the short or medium term. This means that as a contractor, you can still establish a certain work calendar for the year.
Of course, this schedule will have to be flexible and you will need to adapt easily if conditions change.
Do you have any questions or preoccupations? If you have a contractor account in our network, we will be happy to help you. Contact us by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by phone (1 844 828-1588).
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