Start with big words
One of my favourite builders spoke to Paul today and asked a bloody good question, How do I convince my clients that it is in their best interests that a QS prices their job? And how do I get them to pay for it?
First things first, I think it is reasonable to discuss with your home owner that builders do not receive formal training in pricing when they complete their building apprenticeship.
Toss out there some of the terms you hear me use, ASNZSMM2018 (The Australian New Zealand Standard Method of Measurement) is one of them.
It is an entire government standard on how building works should be measured, that never even gets mentioned during a building apprenticeship. It is only something that Quantity Surveyors learn how to use, and we use it because it ensures that we measure a job thoroughly and completely and don’t forget anything.
What else does the QS price differently to the builder?
Generally, the way we measure labour, we use labour constants (average man on the average day doing the average job calculated as a fraction of an hour against the units measured). Builders, love them to bits, but their approach is usually far less scientific than that, X amount of guys on the job for X amount of weeks….. mostly it is a best guess.
Use The Fear of God Tactic
Secondly, put the fear of God in them. Let them know that you completely appreciate their budget and respect it, and that being the case you REALLY don’t want to have job that goes over time and over budget because of a less than perfect pricing exercise.
You want to make sure they know EXACTLY where they are at financially and time wise as best you can throughout the entire build, and to do that efficiently you need a detailed blueprint to work from – AKA, a detailed QS report.
By having one of these you know exactly how long every task will take, and exactly what has been allowed for it due to the detail it provides. Basically, this is what protects both the builder AND the client from disputes down the track. It is a lack of a QS exercise that puts a build project that has gone south in the hands of a crowd like Fair Go…..
You've got their best interest in mind
Thirdly, if you are truly a professional outfit with an awesome reputation, then you will be known for doing the very best for your clients, and the very best for you may be that you have the pricing outsourced to an expert.
There is nothing wrong at all with having that as one of your (many) value propositions.
It might even set you apart from the crowd when clients are comparing your offering to another. Surely it is better that you stick to doing what you do best, which is building beautiful bespoke homes rather than spending all your time pricing jobs and crossing your fingers that you have allowed enough?
Take it or leave it
I have builders who we look after and their business model is simply that it is non-negotiable, all pricing is completed by an external QS. It is the first conversation they have with a prospective client who would like a quote for a job. They sign up a professional services contract with the client who wants a quote, that clarifies the cost of it is to be passed to the client.
Some offer that the cost will be absorbed by them (the builder) if the job goes ahead (if that’s the case we make sure there is enough of an allowance in your pricing to cover it).
Does that mean that some home owners walk away because they don’t want to pay? Yes, it does. But often these are the types of clients you don’t want anyway because they were only ever going to be tyre kickers…..
So, have a think about it. Would it save you time to have this value embedded in your business? Would it increase the quality of the clients you are dealing with? Remember, people don’t value things they get for free, so don’t undervalue yourselves!
If you want any help with creating any marketing statement to use to get this message across succinctly… you know where I am.