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#184446 - 02/10/09 03:46 PM Insurmountable prejudice?
renosteinke Offline
Cat Servant

Registered: 01/22/05
Posts: 5305
Loc: Blue Collar Country
I just crossed paths with someone whom I had met LONG ago, when I was new to town, and doing temp work to keep body and soul together.

Over the years, I completed my apprenticeship, took some courses, even got my contractors' license. They, by contrast, had Daddy die - vindictive, mean person, Daddy was - and now they own and operate a small manufacturing firm.

Well, by golly .... their responses were along the lines of "we're cutting back" and "we have some major projects (implied: that you couldn't possibly handle)" and "we're tied into the guy we use."

The little detail that I had built, from the ground up, two neighboring industrial operations didn't seem to make any impact.

Now .... injured pride apart .... is there ever any hope for folks like this to update their assumptions?

It's not just a matter of this one encounter. As a new contractor, I am sure to encounter others whose last experience with me may have been completely unrelated to electrical work. Just how common is it to encounter someone who can't 'update their database?' Any specific advice on how best to do this?

Business, Office, Estimating, Legal:
#184450 - 02/10/09 04:39 PM Re: Insurmountable prejudice? [Re: renosteinke]
HotLine1 Offline


Registered: 04/03/02
Posts: 6792
Loc: Brick, NJ USA
FWIW, my 2 cents...
Over 25+ years as an EC, I met a lot of really nice people, had a good business, and lived cnfortably.

A 'family' operation (real estate) was a good account! Jr. came along after many years, and basically we did not hit it off. He had a 'chosen one'! Yes, I lost a few jobs thru that, and I also had to clean-up the crap that the chosen one created!

I started as you probably are 'small' and grew to comfortable ($<400k yr).

Did I worry about people who forgot me? Not really, concerned me. I had a lot of contacts/friends/references & made the best of it.

Then 1-1/2 yrs ago, it was time to say "goodbye" as an EC.

#184555 - 02/13/09 06:44 AM Re: Insurmountable prejudice? [Re: HotLine1]
wire_twister Offline

Registered: 07/25/07
Posts: 265
Loc: Georgia USA
Reno, We are a 2 person shop right now, we have a list of people that you just cant work for. Either because they will not pay, will grumble about what you charge no matter what it is, or do not want to fix anything just patch it up with duct tape and baling wire. Point is you cant get all the jobs you look at, if you did you might not be able to deliver them all on time. People have strange ways of judging other people without ever getting to know them, dont think this will ever change. Just keep that list updated and work for the ones you can, let somebody else take the ones you cant.

Life is tough, Life is tougher when you are stupid

#184572 - 02/13/09 09:57 AM Re: Insurmountable prejudice? [Re: wire_twister]
gfretwell Offline


Registered: 07/20/04
Posts: 9026
Loc: Estero,Fl,usa
There are a hundred reasons why people say no. I wouldn't worry about it. They might just be broke and don't want to admit it.
Greg Fretwell

#184584 - 02/13/09 05:20 PM Re: Insurmountable prejudice? [Re: gfretwell]
Obsaleet Offline

Registered: 04/05/03
Posts: 361
Loc: Pa
Don't worry about these kinds of folks. It will cause you undue stress. I used to try and figure them out. It just stressed me out. Now, I just figure it is there loss and keep moving forward. It is amazing how many times I eventually here from them. Or not, no matter keep looking forward, only pausing to check its not you. In this market it is good to be flexible. 10 or 12 service calls 1/2 Hr time on the job, charge min 1hr time, is more than a days wage on a large job. keep the head up!

Choose your customers, don't let them choose you.

#184630 - 02/14/09 06:55 PM Re: Insurmountable prejudice? [Re: Obsaleet]
Tesla Offline

Registered: 06/16/04
Posts: 1280
Loc: Sacramento, CA
I'd bet real money that your prospect has got his hands full just staying afloat.

The prospective significant work is just pure defensive puffery.

Financing is not to be had, today....

That's all that you need to know.

Concentrate on service work especially energy savings.

#184634 - 02/14/09 10:08 PM Re: Insurmountable prejudice? [Re: Tesla]
Rhiney Offline
New Member

Registered: 02/12/09
Posts: 3
Loc: California
After 25 years in business I would have to say that its just best to service the heck out of the worthwhile paying customers that put faith in you..all else really takes care of itself.
Don't even loose a second worrying about the ones that cannot see an opportunity when it beats them in the head !
Best of luck to you in your business!

#184658 - 02/17/09 12:57 AM Re: Insurmountable prejudice? [Re: Rhiney]
Scott35 Offline

Broom Pusher and

Registered: 10/19/00
Posts: 2724
Loc: Anaheim, CA. USA
My suggestion is similar to those already posted:
Take care of your paying, "Good" Clients, and try to avoid the "Bozos"

Don't lose sleep, nor spend too much time dealing with possible "Bad Leads" (AKA: "Bozos", uncertain people, "Bid Farmers")

The prospective Client mentioned in your first post might be unable to perform any Improvement work, due to financial reasons (no $$$ for Improvements, they lost Clients, etc.), or they just do not have any idea of what Improvements to do, and instead of appearing ignorant to their needs, simply say things like "We Have Someone Already", or similar.

Unfortunately, there always will be prospective Clients whom use the same statements of:

"we're cutting back",
"We have some major projects"
(implied: that you couldn't possibly handle)
"We're tied into the guy we use"

as "Bait" to get someone to do the impossible, for almost free!

Be very cautious of possible Clients whom "Will give you work, if you can beat my normal Guy's price", as these people are either looking for a budget price to use on a job, have some absolutely unreal base number from "the normal Guy", or will expect you to do way more than what you agreed to per contract.

Other warning signs of possible issues with prospective Clients would include things like:
* "We need a bid tomorrow",
* "We have no Plans for Bid, but we can give you an idea of what to do",
* "You need to design and build everything, but we have no specs or design constraints",
* "We have lots of work, just give us a good price now, and you are guaranteed to get future work",
* "We do not want to obtain permits for any work"

There is a certain GC whom demands way too much from the subs, and consequentially, we avoid bidding Design + Design/Build projects for them.
If we do submit a proposal, there are highly defined exclusions, specific inclusions, plus a disclaimer regarding the point where things become an "Extra" &/or Change Order.

We provide a competitive bid, but things are outlined as to avoid me/our Company having to do _THEIR_ work for free.

Good luck with your Contracting work.

Always remember the Definition of a Winning Bid:
... A Poker Game where the lowest hand wins!
The Winning Contractor is the one with the losing hand which won the game!

Scott " 35 " Thompson
Just Say NO To Green Eggs And Ham!

#184667 - 02/17/09 09:43 AM Re: Insurmountable prejudice? [Re: Scott35]
renosteinke Offline
Cat Servant

Registered: 01/22/05
Posts: 5305
Loc: Blue Collar Country
As for the individual whose attitudes led to my starting this thread ... I am inclined to believe that, yes, they have major attitude / ego issues. If Santa came down their chimney, they'd probably snicker that he dressed funny, and sneer that the sled was last years' model.

Apart from this individual, there is a greater issue. I'm not just the grunt with the pipe bender anymore; and there's no apprenticeship program for runnung a business. I need to focus on things like finding work, selling myself, and -ugh!- the paperwork.

Perhaps I ought to incorporate these challenges into career goals: let those who dismiss me keep hearing that I'm the guy they need to call ... and be prepared to charge them a premium! laugh


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