Why You Need To Perform a Handyman Service Walkthrough Before Bidding On A Job
Before bidding on a commercial job, performing a walkthrough for handyman services can save you a big headache in several ways. Not only are you going to be able to quote properly and get an idea for the scope of work, but you’ll get a chance to meet with the client and build a trusting relationship, which could lead to more work in the future.
As all handymen know, property owners are not necessarily experts on building maintenance, and may not know what is causing their problems. That is why it is paramount that you perform even just a quick walkthrough before quoting them and give yourself the chance to set the proper expectations.
No one likes to find out that what they thought was a simple, inexpensive problem is much more significant. It’s much better for clients to find these things out upfront and have a realistic expectation of the cost before committing to hiring you to do the work.
Performing a walkthrough for handyman services is especially important for work on commercial buildings, where the scope of work tends to be larger and needs more urgent. People need these problems fixed as soon as possible so they can get back to work, but they are also going to be budget conscious. Getting them the right price, timeline, and expectations is crucial, and a proper walkthrough is the only way you’re going to be able to deliver that up front.
How Handyman Services Should Be Quoted
Whether you are a solo handyman or a commercial handyman service company, you need to know a lot about both your own business and the job you are bidding on before you can make a proper quote. If you charge too little, you risk not covering your expenses and going into debt, but if you charge too much you could develop a bad reputation with local property owners.
You always need to be able to quote confidently in order to protect your business and to properly serve your clients. There are five issues that often come up before putting in a bid:
- You must make sure you are covering your own costs. You need to make a decent living.
- You also need to know you’re worth for a service (plumbing, electrician, etc) compared to others in your town and charge a fair rate. Charge more if you are one of the best, less if you are new to this kind of work.
- Figure out if there are unknown variables that could make the work take longer. Do you need to include those in the quote or let the client know that you may need to put in a change order if it comes up?
- Know if you’re willing to walk away if the client tries to lowball you. Have a bare minimum price in mind if they try to negotiate and don’t go lower than that.
- Be prepared with an answer if they ask for a ballpark price if you aren’t certain of the cost yet. In most cases you will want to defer this question until you can give a proper quote, but it comes up often.
For the first two problems, you will need to do your research and know your local market rates. If you aren’t sure what others are charging for a particular type of job in your area and you want to offer a comparable rate, you can always tell the client you’ll get back to them in a couple of days with a quote so you can do your research.
For problems 3-5, doing a walkthrough is going to give you what you need. There is no way you could possibly know what variables will arise until you see the job site yourself, and people can’t lowball you or ask for a ‘ballpark price’ if you’ve seen what actually needs to get done for a successful job yourself.
Once you’ve considered all the variables of how much you need to charge to be profitable and competitive within your local market, as well as the detailed scope of work you’ve uncovered on your walkthrough, you’ll be ready to submit a confident quote.
Bring what you need to be prepared for a walkthrough
While you don’t need your entire toolbox for a walkthrough for handyman services, you will need to bring certain tools to properly make measurements and estimates.
For instance, if you are an electrician you may not need to bring your entire toolbox, but you will need to be prepared. You could bring measuring tape, markers and labels to mark and draw everything that you might need to put handyman lines and switches.
This will allow you to make physical marks on walls, ceilings, cabinets, around furniture, ceiling fans, vents, or anything that needs electricity running. Then, once you have everything you need marked you can take pictures you can use later to figure out exactly how much work needs to be done and deliver the proper quote.
If you don’t come prepared to document exactly what needs to be done, you won’t be able to give a proper estimate and you risk charging too much or too little because you didn’t have what you needed up front.
What to look for during a walkthrough for handyman services
While you may not need to be quite as thorough as you would on an official real estate inspection, you will still want to make sure you check every important detail during your walk through. This is not just looking at the damage you are fixing, but also looking for related issues.
Of course, what to look for will depend on what type of job you are bidding on. If you are doing handyman work, in addition to the examining the problem area, you may want to:
- Test all nearby outlets with a multimeter or outlet tester.
- Test all nearby switches.
- Turn the circuit breakers off and then on again to make sure they are not loose.
- Check the nearby lights.
The main purpose here is to see if there are other problems that need to be fixed, or if there is a bigger issue that is causing the problem your client has. To add another example, for HVAC systems you could turn the heat and AC on to make sure hot or cold air is blowing, or set a temperature for several rooms and check with a thermometer to see how close the HVAC system is getting to it.
You are the expert, so you will know what to check, but is important to consider checking more than just the immediate problem that is being reported to you so you can have a solid idea of the scope of work involved and quote confidently.
Submitting a proposal after the walkthrough
It isn’t as simple as doing a quick walkthrough, giving the price, and expecting the clients to pay when work is complete, especially for commercial handyman services. In order to do things right, a legally binding proposal must be submitted that protects both the handyman and the client from wrongdoing. This document will be used as a contract, so it needs to be well-done.
Your proposal will need to include items such as:
- A statement that this is a legally binding contract between you and your client with information for both parties included.
- A detailed scope of work. This can be included in the contract or attached to it.
- A statement on change orders that mentions that any changes to the scope of work will need to be agreed to and signed by both parties.
- Any necessary permits, approvals, or insurance required for the work.
- Information on how to access the property and site conditions.
- A detailed list of the project costs and a payment schedule.
- Statements on dispute resolution, warranties, final inspections, and governing law.
Because there is so much that needs to be included in a proposal, it is easiest to use a pre-built template or a software system that can help you build the proposal with an easy to use click-through system.
How Route streamlines walkthroughs and proposals
There is a ton of information that is gathered during the pre-work stages of walkthroughs and proposals. It is much easier for handymen to use a system that works on the go and in the back office. It’s even better if it is specifically designed to put everything a handyman needs in one place.
Route’s Walkthrough Builder allows handyman to quickly and easily capture the info they need during a walkthrough. They can save that info for creating a proposal later and easily share it with teammates internally or clients by exporting to PDF.
Handymen can easily capture photos, measurements, notes, and get a detailed scope of work saved via a mobile app during the walkthrough, then access that information again at any time via the app or by logging into their account on the Route website application.
Once the walkthrough is complete and you’re ready to create a formal proposal. Route’s Proposal Generator can save you a ton of tedious work with fully editable what-you-see-is-what-what-you get markdown fields.
The proposal generator ensures you meet legal requirements and allows you to add photos, data, and the scope of work directly from your walkthrough notes, so you don’t have to repeat the same work you’ve already done.
When bidding on handyman work, you need to make sure you’re not selling yourself short or giving yourself a bad name by over-charging. You also need to make sure you’re doing everything by the book when submitting proposals.
Proper walkthroughs for handyman services and proposals are necessary to get the job done right and for the right price. Route can help you speed up this process by making it easy to capture the data you need for walkthroughs on the fly and create a professional proposal that covers all your bases quickly and easily.
Route has options for any sized handyman services organization, and even has a free version you can try to see if it works for you. See which Route plan works best for you.