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If you go over your expected install time do you charge?

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Post Fri Jul 31, 2009 12:31 pm

If you go over your expected install time do you charge?

I did a job the other night and went over time a wee bit.
Question is, do you start charging an hourly rate once it happens?

I know in theory the answers yes, but if you've quoted £500 and are 99% you're to be there one hour then hit a snag you couldn't have anitcipated, would/could you really turn round and say to customer its gonna be another £XX an hour till im done?
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Post Fri Jul 31, 2009 12:40 pm

I usually say to the customer that I charge £X per hour and I expect the job to take X hours to fit + fittings, screws etc.
I then also say that this time is based on not hitting problems like rotten fascia boards etc.
Most are happy with that so if you go over your expected time a little then their not too bothered, as long as it's only a little and there's a good reason.

Steve

Edit
This is for shop signs and that sort of thing, vehicles the quote includes fitting.
Last edited by Stephen Morriss on Fri Jul 31, 2009 1:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Fri Jul 31, 2009 12:52 pm

a quote is to do the job, it is supposed to include all the little hidden bits that you can't see, but from you PROFESSIONAL KNOWLEDGE know may be there and have factored in.
When it takes LESS time do you charge less, or just say , " I got away well there"
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Post Fri Jul 31, 2009 1:22 pm

I have actually been known to charge less if material/time/costs have come up less, yes. (depending on customer)
So you're saying no, dont charge, Ian?
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Post Fri Jul 31, 2009 1:50 pm

I would stick to your end of the bargain if they have stuck to there's unless there was a major discovery when you were doing the work.
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Post Fri Jul 31, 2009 1:55 pm

Chris you might get a better response if you could provide a bit more detail. ie what sort of problem did you come across, did it just cost you a bit of extra time or where there materials involved.

I'm finding it difficult to answer because my answer would be not normally but sometimes I would, depending on circumstances which doesn't help you at all :oops:
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Post Fri Jul 31, 2009 2:25 pm

No, its ust a general question, martin. I'm only talking about time.
Am just wondering what the general feeling so I can act in-line with everyone else, wasnt a particular problem.
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Post Fri Jul 31, 2009 2:41 pm

No, I don't charge any extra if I go over.

Even if there is circumstances outside my control, the clients are usually working on a budget, and they've authorised the quote based on that budget.

The secret I guess is knowing your fitting speed, and being aware of anything that may go wrong, and making allowances for it.

I'll reduce the price tho if my fitting is quicker. It leaves a good impression with the client.
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Post Fri Jul 31, 2009 2:42 pm

Yeah Shane, I agree. And make you feel a wee bit better too, eh?
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Post Fri Jul 31, 2009 5:00 pm

A quote is a quote. A firm price.

Anything else is only an estimate, and even then your customers should be made aware of the possible pitfalls and factors that will affect variation. Then they can make an informed decision on whether to accept your estimate, or go elsewhere.
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Post Fri Jul 31, 2009 5:14 pm

i've never yet charged for going over the time i factored into a quote, however, on my quote under the 'special notes' heading, it always says that the quoted fitting time is subject to the facia being sound, the vehicle being washed before my arrival, etc, i supply a quote based on what i can see, if the facia is rot and i have to spend £100 on new timber and ply, then an hour or so to replace it, there's no way that's coming out of the price of a £1000 light box!

Hugh
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Post Fri Jul 31, 2009 5:53 pm

John Childs wrote:A quote is a quote. A firm price.

:thumbup2: :yes1:
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Post Fri Jul 31, 2009 7:07 pm

Having read John's reply and thought about it a bit more the answer is no I have never charged extra. I did do a job once where I thought there may be problems with the existing fascia board once the old signs were removed and brought this to the customers attention before the job was done. I had given him the option for us to repair it if required or for him to get someone else in to fix it an we would put the new signs up once he had the work completed.

I try to do a thorough site survey and make a note of any potential problems, this helps me to factor in anything which may cause additional time when fitting, like Stephen and Hugh I do make sure customers are aware that fitting is subject to existing boards being sound and safe. If I were doing a job and found that once old signs had been removed the existing structure was unsafe then I would stop and contact the customer before doing any more work.
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Post Fri Jul 31, 2009 7:55 pm

I do not charge if I go over my estimated time, I make all the calls and if I have screwed up on my time estimate then just bite the bullet and learn from that problem.
Digging holes is my one problem area, I have a set charge per hole and only yesterday I was digging 6 holes, normally they can take from 15 to 30 minutes each depending on ground condition, but these holes took almost an hour each :o The ground was hardcore packed like concrete, even with a ground breaker it took me forever, my back is now buggered for the next week and my muscles don't belong to me anymore. Can I charge more, well maybe if I work a per hour rate, but as I "Quoted" the job I just get on with it.
Live and learn!

The only time I put a clause in a quote was a few years ago, I had to do a new fascia and on my site survey I pulled the corner of the existing sign away to find it was totally rotten behind, so I covered myself in the quotation for that. About a year later the line of shops which had a rusty old steel and concrete canopy over them to which I had to fix the sign collapsed completely, luckily during the night and no one was hurt. :o :roll:
Hindsight is a wonderful thing!
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Post Fri Jul 31, 2009 9:02 pm

If it's time only - no materials. MY estimate was wrong...MY fault....MY loss.

If i see from the site survey that I may need to write in a proviso for extra materials - will be charged for accordingly...but that would have been pre-agreed.
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Post Fri Jul 31, 2009 9:46 pm

Its always worth thinking how you would react if you ordered a service or goods that had been quoted, only to be confronted with an extra charge when the job was completed.

Any professional, should be able to allow for the unforeseen, and work on the basis that sometimes you will come across a problem,
If you remove the old fascia, and the frame is rotten underneath the question needs to be asked "why did you not do the initial survey properly"?
Its not difficult to determine probable extra work, and make the client aware before proceeding, that an extra charge will be made for any addition work, not covered by the quotation and so quote on that basis.

Its called giving the customer an informed choice.

A quote is just that, if you don't state exactly what you are quoting for
then be prepared to get your bum bitten.

Peter
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Post Sat Aug 01, 2009 8:59 am

Agree with the other posters - if you try and add extra at the end of the job after giving a quote, you're going to get a) one annoyed customer and b) a very hard time actually trying to get the extra money off them.

OK, on some jobs you may need to follow Hughs example and say the quote depends on certain factors that cant be ascertained beforehand - most customers wouldn't want you ripping off their old sign to see what the board is like underneath just to give a quote for a job that may not go ahead - but as long as this is explained to the customer, and you give them two quotes, one for simple fitting, one for fitting and replacing the boards if required, then you should be OK.

In the same way, when quoting for artwork I sometimes look at the job, and quote for two hours setup work, then find it only takes an hour, or quote for 5 hours, and find out it takes 7, but don't then go back and the customer for more money, or refund them the overpayment.

With experience you can judge what a job is going to take, and factor in a bit of extra time for unforeseen things, so giving a firm quote and sticking to it isn't normally a problem.
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Post Sat Aug 01, 2009 11:33 am

Thanks guys, I think the general feeling is be sure to make an a good intial survey, accurate quote, and stick with that quote.

What I've been doing is visiting the site a couple of times measuring twice and checking everything else twice to make sure.

I'll just quote normally and be ready to take anything I didnt foresee on the chin until I've got a couple years fitting under my belt. Unless of course its a dodgy fascia in which case I already put that clause on my quotes!

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