Canadian Contractor

Quoted on a job and did not get it? Did you commit one of these Proposal Killer errors?

Mike Draper's seven 'Proposal Killers,' if you commit one of them, will cost you profitable jobs you should have been doing.


November 12, 2014
By Steve Payne

Last Friday, some 80 contractors attended our RENO-SUMMIT one-day seminar (“Mastering Your Renovation Business”) near the Toronto Airport.

We’d like to thank both of our resident contractor coaches, Mike Draper from Renovantage, and Victoria Downing from Remodelers Advantage, for their presentations.

Here are Mike’s 7 “Proposal Killers” that will damage your chances of getting the next job you price for a customer…

(1) Asking for a large collection of money before work starts.

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(2) Building in too-large of a “buffer” in your pricing – because you are not 100 per cent sure you understand what the client is looking for.

(3) Giving a single budget price rather than a line-by-line scope-of-work.

(4) No upfront contract with the client.

(5) Rushing to get quote completed.

(6) E-mailing your quotation (rather than presenting it to the prospective customer face-to-face).

(7) Taking too long to prepare the quotation.


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3 Comments » for Quoted on a job and did not get it? Did you commit one of these Proposal Killer errors?
  1. Not sure how others feel about #6, emailing quotes, but I for one need to work with that “Killer” or else I would be spending my life…. working.
    As it is, it’s hard enough to find time for work, family, and personal life. While running a business is fun, it’s a boat load of work. When you don’t have any employees to pass work onto, you end up doing, well, everything. Driving out to a customers house for the second time on a $5000 quote in hopes they’ll pick you is hard to justify. During the busy season, which seems to be all year these days, it’s hard enough to find time to get out to the first visit, then write up a proper contract. Anyway, feels like I’m blabbing. Not sure if anyone else feels like it would be too much to always hand deliver. Comments?

  2. Brandon says:

    I will agree with Matt on this one but have a few comments to add to it. I currently email all my proposals to my customer. I do however always plan to set up a meeting with the potential customers to go through the proposal but end up emailing the proposal because of how busy work is. I always seem to find that good contractors are not always good business people and good businesses in the construction industry are run by good contractors who took a step away from the tools if they are able to hire good help to complete the work. If you are a good contractor and want to expand your business you have 2 options. Work your tail off completing the work and running the business until you run yourself into the ground. Or be a business person and take a step back from the hands on work to grow your business. If you are a good contractor it will come easy to manage some employees to complete work to your standards so that you can make it to those extra onsite meetings to go over the proposal with the customer. Also, 9 out of 10 of my customers want to have that onsite meeting before we start anyways. Why not get that meeting done and over with in order to secure more work for your new employees. A little bit of rise and grind for a few years to grow your business never hurt any body. But the extra time you may have running a successful business to spend with family may prove to be worth those extra meetings.

  3. Ariel says:

    I have been through both experiences and honestly there are all kinds of clients as well, regarding how fast you send the quote some of them like fast and some others are ok, I think there is not a 100% formula as there is no similarity from one person to the other. So is as everything else relative.
    I am looking in that way of find others that can full fill the work quality I speck so I can develop my skills in find more for them and for my self.

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