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Thread: Time to invoice

  1. #11
    Junior Member rh1's Avatar
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    From a client perspective, I think you should charge for making a detailed quote. To give you an example. A pipe burst in my bathroom. The plumber indicated that there is a call out fee of R750 after which he will then create a quote. He gave me a detailed quote which I used to source quotations from other plumbers.

    I think that this an untapped market out there. Pre and post installation - Pre - detailed quote; Post - Review to see if the electrician work was up to standard. I am willing to pay R750 + R750 for such a service.

  2. #12
    Diamond Member adrianh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rh1 View Post
    He gave me a detailed quote which I used to source quotations from other plumbers.
    You seem to fail to see the Irony in this....

    I think you are in a market of your own. I am not paying a call-out fee, a quote fee and then faffing around looking for other quotes. Are you going to pay every plumber a call-out fee and a quote fee for wasting their time with your "quote trawling?"
    “Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
    ― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

  3. #13
    Diamond Member adrianh's Avatar
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    It is said that when quotes are vastly different then people either don't know what they are doing or they are quoting on different things. Getting quotes off the 1st quote is simply silly because you do not know whether any of the people are actually quoting for the correct repair. If you want to get multiple quotes then you need multiple inspections otherwise it could very well be a case of the blind leading the blind!

    Take a scenario - Your car fails to start quickly 50% of the time. The 1st guy quotes for a new battery. You then get 3 quotes for a new battery......great...what if there is nothing wrong with the battery but the starter is faulty....
    “Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
    ― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

  4. #14
    Junior Member rh1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by adrianh View Post
    It is said that when quotes are vastly different then people either don't know what they are doing or they are quoting on different things. Getting quotes off the 1st quote is simply silly because you do not know whether any of the people are actually quoting for the correct repair. If you want to get multiple quotes then you need multiple inspections otherwise it could very well be a case of the blind leading the blind!

    Take a scenario - Your car fails to start quickly 50% of the time. The 1st guy quotes for a new battery. You then get 3 quotes for a new battery......great...what if there is nothing wrong with the battery but the starter is faulty....
    I hear you but the original poster and subsequent poster were highlighting issues they experience by giving a detail quote including what steps/work they need to perform. If you have ever compiled/create such a list, you will realise it takes quite a lot of time. Therefore, I see no problem with paying someone to professionally assess and give a detailed list of what needs to be done. Hence my sentence untapped market. This avoid the issue of getting the wrong advice which are given by those looking to get a quick buck. Any real professional, will always try to undersand/analyse the real issue/problem before quoting for a job. The problem is most people want this service for free.

  5. #15
    Diamond Member adrianh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rh1 View Post
    I hear you but the original poster and subsequent poster were highlighting issues they experience by giving a detail quote including what steps/work they need to perform. If you have ever compiled/create such a list, you will realise it takes quite a lot of time. Therefore, I see no problem with paying someone to professionally assess and give a detailed list of what needs to be done. Hence my sentence untapped market. This avoid the issue of getting the wrong advice which are given by those looking to get a quick buck. Any real professional, will always try to undersand/analyse the real issue/problem before quoting for a job. The problem is most people want this service for free.
    I do quotes all the time. I will NEVER work off a quote done by a 3rd party - that is just looking for trouble.

    I think that one would have to be much more specific in your needs - One would not use the term "Quote" you would use the term "Assessment" When you ask for a quote you do so with the general implied understanding that the one doing the quote would be doing the work. An assessment would not have this implied understanding - kinda like the difference between "How much will you charge to fix the blocked drain" vs "what do you think is wrong and what do you expect a qualified tradesman to charge"

    These are vastly different things in my opinion. "A car insurance damage assessor comes to mind" - they don't do the work but they are expected to be able to estimate the cost of repair.

    Nobody in this country is going to pay a "plumbing assessor" a R750 callout fee and a R750 opinion fee.

    Look, I understand the problem, the customer gets the plumber out...finds out what wrong and then shops for a lower quote...that is why many companies waive part of the call-out fee if they get to do the job. Its a difficult one - the mechanic can really only quote on fixing a gearbox once the box is open...(that costs time and money...he can't then to put the box back together as is was if the customer doesn't like the quote)

    I don't have answers - but I agree with what was said before - Whatever way you operate make sure that you get your money for your time.

    I do a lot of manufacturing - people ask for lower prices on higher volumes - I learned that the price stays the same but I will give you a couple of items for free IF YOU TAKE THE ENTIRE VOLUME. Buy one pay for one - buy 100 pay for 95 - as soon as the buggers see a volume discount then they want the discount on the 1st 5 as well....
    “Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
    ― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

  6. #16
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    Here is an example ... I get a call to do a quote ... a regular customer.

    It takes me 5 days to compile the quote ... back and forth to site measuring ... opening panels ... identifying cable routes and how to secure the tray and because it is on comunal property ... we have to get permission to work in front of other companie's entrances ... etc etc.

    Design ... which includes cable sizing ... panel upgrade ... cable trays ... underground sleeves.

    Create a bill of qualities ... a full material list and I send it for pricing.

    Friday afternoon I send the quote to the customer R876 000.00 (rounded off)

    The customer calls me a week later to inform me that they only plan to do the project in 5 years time ... so I send them a bill for R6000 for my time ... thats were the fight started.

    I doubt an electrical consulting company would only charge R6k for all that work ... but maybe I live in coco land where people dream of making R6k for creating a document ready for a tender.
    Comments are based on opinion...not always facts....that's why people use an alias.

  7. #17
    Diamond Member adrianh's Avatar
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    I think that you have to be upfront with the company and tell them that you are going to bill them for the "Assessment" - You can't assume that they are going to get paid for your time unless you tell them up front that you are going to bill them.

    Assumptions are the mother of all fxckups....

    That is exactly why companies charge call out and assessment fees. If I send my Canon camera in for repair or service they bill R500 sommer there and then. Only after they get the R500 will they bother to quote on repairs. They do this because 1. they know that they have to open the camera to inspect it. 2. 90% of people DO NOT have the work done because it is too expensive.
    “Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
    ― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

  8. #18
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    Another example ... I work with company for 6 years we build the entire factory from the 250 amp mains in the meter room. When I arrive on site I make a point of greeting the man in charge/site manger.

    6 years later ... they decide to do a few modification to a building which includes adding a few lights and plugs (6 lights and 2 plugs) a week into the mods I notice a things are growing by the day ... I ask the site manger if it would not be better to quote for the work ... he informs me that they are not sure what they plan to do ...so I must just bill for the time and materials.


    month 1 - we do a ton of chasing and installing conduits ... I send the bill at the end of the month ... I ask the site manager if he is happy .. .the bill is paid and everyone is happy

    month 2 - same thing

    month 3 - same thing

    month 4 same thing

    month 5 same thing

    By this time we have gone from a few lights and plugs to a 60 amp 3 phase power supply from the meter room to the building 10 24 ooo BTU aircons ... 65 socket outlets ... 130 lights points ... 6 kitchen showrooms with plugs and light sand stove points ... outside security lights ... 25 mm conduits for telephone points in each office ... and lots more.

    Being the reasonable idiot that I am ... I reduce the labour rate because its no longer a little job ... big jobs get better rates (because you don't have to job hop etc you know the deal)

    We complete the job ... As always ... I first contact the customer and verify that he is happy with everything and more important ... everything is working ... I send the final invoice.

    Thats were the fight started ... I have still to this day never been paid the final invoice ... it was enough to close my little business (it took 5 years to recover) fortunately by that stage I had already got a good reputation ... I had jobs lined up for months in advance ... I put my head down and worked my backside off to pay back the wholesalers etc ...

    At that stage I was still a member of the ECA ... I spent hours going through all the bills ... pics of work done material costs etc ... and everything was above board and well within the recommended rates markups etc.

    They got a quantity surveyor in to verify that I had ripped them off ... when it was time to go to court the quantity surveyor stepped down and acknowledged that he was a friend of the customer and that he could not lie in court ... I still never got paid.

    As Adrian pointed out ... dont assume because you work with a customer for many years that your payments are guaranteed ... I have had so many long time customers eventually take me to the cleaners ... why it happens ... the companies only last so long 3-5 or 8-10 ... its starts with the wifes new car ... then the bigger house then the private school and the expenses grow to a point that the business can no longer sustain.

    Fortunately for me I make a point of always putting all my eggs in different baskets ... as I am typing this thread ... so I can see why I am not a multi millionaire. The knocks I have taken over the years.

    People think start a business you will get rich ... unless you are a really lucky person ... or have a family trust fund or won the lotto ... you are in for a hard bumpy road.

    I know of people personally who have started a small business and made millions ... I can count them on one hand ... they have the same story to tell ... and of that handful ... I can only give you the name of one person who made a success of his business ( and now in court trying to get paid millions owing to him) after selling the business.

    The part that I cant do is the under hand dealings ... another reason I have not made millions ... I still havent bowed to the backhand deals sometimes required to grow or keep going.
    Comments are based on opinion...not always facts....that's why people use an alias.

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Justloadit View Post
    What I now do is that I do not do a quote, but first offer a verbal expected budget cost.
    Depending on the reaction of the client, most times I find that the client does not have the budget.
    In the case the client does have the budget, only then do I do an official quotation.

    This has saved me countless hours.

    Maybe get the client to send you a video and a narration of what they need, will save you the trip. From this you have a pretty good idea of the estimated cost. Issue a verbal expected cost.
    If the client has the budget then go out to site.
    Also later you can use the video as evidence when the client says that you missed something.
    I agree on that

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Derlyn View Post
    Telephone tactics.

    Following my previous post I thought it would maybe be of interest to someone if I shared how telephone skills and the way one uses a telephone has worked for me.

    For ten years I commuted between East London and Johannesburg weekly. ( Once each week )
    My mission was to buy cars in Johannesburg and sell them in East London. ( Rust free )

    I also decided that I would never buy a car from a car dealer. Only private. I had to cut out the dealer's profits.
    Those were the days before internet and Google were around.

    Telephonically, I had to find out quickly whether the seller was a car dealer without actually asking him/her. ( No time wasting )

    Now what do you think my first question was ?

    I'm phoning in connection with the car that has been advertised.
    I'f the response was " which one ? " then I'd end the call abruptly.
    I mean, how many private sellers are selling more than 1 car at a time ?

    For ten years I bought privately and my competition in East London never knew how I did it.
    Junkmail was what did it, and my telephone skills.

    Then along came internet, Gumtree, Autotrader and killed that one.

    Today in my Electrical Contracting business, the phone is also vital for saving time.

    I am direct.

    Will you be paying cash or by eft? I always ask this question during my first call with a new client.
    The prospective client then knows that I'm in it for the money.

    This usually get's rid of about 60%.
    I don't need them and don't want them. Goodbye.

    We now work with the rest who are serious and are going along quite nicely.

    Peace out ... Derek
    I like that thanks for such an advice:

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