How many times do you feel that you’re wasting time during your estimates?
You find yourself answering the same questions over and over again…
I’m going to give you 7 questions to answer for your customer before you show up for the estimate, so you can stay ahead of the game and save time for those important things on your schedule!
I also have a couple of bonus questions to answer that will make the customer decide to spend more money with you before you even walk through their door.
I am Ron Ramsden, I’m a DYB coach, also a painting contractor here in Massachusetts.
I don’t know how many estimates I have gone to in the last 18 years, about 5 a week, that’s 250 a year, for 18 years…
I don’t even want to think of how many times I have answered the same questions over, and over, and over again!
In the past, I’ve shared about a video I’ve made that I send out to anyone that I’ll be giving an estimate to.
For example, I’m going to go over to Mrs. Jones house, prior to me getting there, I send them a video, “what to expect during your upcoming estimate,” and I walk them through it.
I let them know when I arrive, I take my shoes off when I come in, even if you don’t tell me to because that’s what we do.
We let them know we’ll use a laser measurer to get the measurements.
We also ask them to think of what an unbelievable paint job would be for them, this gets their minds racing and thinking before we get there!
Doing this also sets us apart from everybody else!
We are not a stranger when we walk through the door; and one extra thing to save you time while also starting a conversation with your customer is if you see something on a wall, maybe a golf trophy, for example, you can talk about golf and help that relationship to build.
Doing this will also help them in making a decision.
What we started doing is after we sent them the, “what to expect during the upcoming estimate” video, we then sent them a video about FAQs during an estimate.
In the video we also let them know that we use this same video for everybody.
You’ve got to make sure that you have this video and that you are sending this to every potential customer that you are doing an estimate for.
Pro Tip: Add “[VIDEO]” in the subject line and your email will get opened 6 times more often than a regular email subject line!
Write the subject line however you’d like, but add “[VIDEO]” in the beginning.
You can say something like, “[VIDEO] Check out my video about the popular questions asked during an estimate.”
For this video, we’ll sit down someplace where there is no commotion, someplace that is not too distracting.
Do a one-on-one with the camera, say something like, “I just wanted to answer some questions that I receive all the time that would probably help you out on your upcoming estimate in making a decision.”
This is GOLD! It will really help them to have an overall understanding.
One question they like to ask all the time is:
- From what time would you be here painting?
In the winter we work 8:00 am-4: 30 pm and we take a 30-minute lunch.
Another question they ask is:
- Will you be here painting?
I’ll tell them, “It’s actually been a while since I’ve actually used a brush, it’s probably best that I don’t paint if you want a great job, but my crew is unbelievable!”
This throws a little bit of humor in there, from there I’ll tell them the different members of the crew, how long they’ve been with me and such.
- Who buys the paint? What kind of paint do you use?
Those two get asked a plethora of times!
“What kind of paint do you use, and who buys the paint?”
Those are a couple of great questions that I answer.
We tell them that we buy the paint, and then we talk to them about Sherwin Williams, Benjamin Moore, or whatever you are going to be using.
It’s smart to have all of this in the video, this way you’re able to answer these questions quickly ahead of time.
- What about my dog?
I’d say, “Well, your dog and cat are fine to be in the house, we don’t use any harsh chemicals, we don’t use any paint that is going to hurt them, but they should be kept away from the area we are working in. I hate to see a finished room with your dog or cat walking by and rubbing against the trim. We can repaint that section of the trim, but your cat is going to have paint on it for quite a long time, we don’t want that!”
Now they know they are going to protect their animals and keep them away from the area being painted.
- Do I have to be home?
Some of our customers like to be home, sometimes we don’t really want them to be home, but of course, it’s okay if they are not home.
You can let them know to give the crew leader the passcode to the garage or even if you want to leave a key somewhere outside the house.
You’ll want to explain it in the video as if you are talking to the customers in person.
It’s okay if you rehearse this a few times, and you will probably have to delete a lot of videos that don’t go as you wish.
Also put your phone on airplane mode during this time, just in case as you are recording and someone tries calling you.
Now, these are the money making questions that I love putting out there, because a lot of times in the past, you get to a house and are like, “I’ll just do it,” so ask, about the curtains, the question you might have is:
- Who is going to remove the curtains and put them back up?
Well, a lot of times, we have to take the curtains off for the window trim to be painted.
Let them know we would appreciate if they would take the curtains off.
Tell them, “We don’t mind removing the hardware, but if you are not going to use it, let us know because we can patch those holes for you, if you’d like us to remove the curtains and take them off, we will just add a half hour work of labor to that room, that’s perfectly fine with us.”
Depending on the room, if it’s a huge room, it may take an hour, because taking them off is one thing, putting them back up is another show sometimes.
- Who moves the furniture?
Bingo! This one is a money maker, of course, the furniture has to be moved out of that room…
“We would be more than happy to move the furniture for you, we’d just like to know ahead of time. For a normal room, we add one hour of labor. It usually takes half an hour to move it, but that’s two guys moving all the furniture around, please let us know ahead of time, we will be reaching out to you to verify that all the furniture and such will be moved, if not we just want to plan for that so we can add it to our day.”
If they want you to move all of the furniture and curtains, you can potentially get an hour and a half more labor for that same job.
We all get asked similar questions but you might have some depending on the area, some specific questions maybe.
Answering these questions ahead of time has helped us save a tremendous amount of time.
A bonus to this is that implementing this idea is going to set yourself apart.
Also, if you are ever bidding against somebody else, having these videos are going to make them so comfortable with you before you even walk through their door.
Don’t be super serious about it, make it fun, be loose about it, but not unprofessional.
Practice, practice, practice.
No one is perfect, just be yourself.
Let them know, “remember to check out my other video, what to expect in your upcoming estimate.”
This has been a big help for me, and then also this one, “the common questions asked during all my estimates.”
You can title them any way you want to, this is a great way to break the ice with a customer and you won’t have to answer the same questions over and over and over…
This way you can use that time for something else, maybe it’s a color consulting.
Maybe you can get into a deeper conversation about something lighthearted, you can talk about a hobby as you are walking around the house.
Maybe you see some trophies, you find out whatever tickles their fancy, maybe you have something to relate to.
That’s time much better spent than answering the same questions repetitively.
Anyways, I hope that helped, I am Ron Ramsden, I am a DYB coach, I am also a painting contractor up here in Massachusetts.
If you’d like to get in touch with me email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am more than happy to answer any of your questions, you can also find me on Facebook here.
As I mentioned, and many of you have, I am more than happy to chat on Facebook or even pick up the phone if you have time to talk!
Thank you for reading, I help painters work on their business so they don’t have to work in the business, have a great day!