How to work from home

Some examples of situations where you could use technology to bid

For the majority of types of renovation work, it is possible to find solutions for submitting a tender remotely. If that helps, you can think of it as a quote that you would make from a plan, for new construction.

Example 1: You are a residential painter and your potential client wishes to repaint their living room. You receive the description of the project, you contact it by email and you agree to a telephone video meeting. During the call, the customer can show you the room in all these corners, tell you about their budget, the desired colors and they can even take the measurements in front of you.

Example 2: Are you an excavation expert? If a client contacts you for a French drain project, ask for as many details and items as possible that could help you establish a base price. One thinks in particular of a house plan, measurements, information on the type of soil and so on.

Example 3: Are you a roofing expert? Some roofing specialists are already used to making quotes by phone, especially when it comes to a complete refurbishment and not a repair that requires an assessment of the situation to establish a diagnosis. Ask for photos and as much information as possible about the measures, materials and shape of the house.

Person speaking by Skype or Messenger

2) Request plans, photos and drawings
In this type of situation, the customer will have to put his hand in the dough a little more than usual. You may need to ask him to measure things, take pictures, provide you with material information, and create plans if possible.

Do not hesitate to let him know what you will need to evaluate the project. This will let the customer know that you are trustworthy and that you will be able to start work without delay once it is possible.

3) Communicate the price and details of the work with the client
Several entrepreneurs ask us how to present a price to customers when they have not been there. We absolutely agree that it is difficult to establish a precise amount while not having assessed the work in person.

The solution in this case is to give a base price to the potential customer, while reminding them that this price could be subject to unforeseen events.

If you are making an agreement for a global price that could be changed, make sure it is written somewhere, in a contract you send by mail or in an email that you are going to save. You should also write down all the details you mentioned (materials, duration of work, potential date and all that apply).

To make sure you don’t forget anything, you can consult our article How to calculate and submit a quote (note that this article was written before the pandemic

Run Estimate from home

A few months ago, if you had told us that we were going to have to advise contractors to make remote bids, we would have found it hard to believe you. Indeed, we all find ourselves in an exceptional situation that requires a lot of adaptation. The latest recommendations state that everyone should cut back on personal contact to avoid spreading the virus.

For entrepreneurs working in the renovation field, this means putting most projects on hold and finding new ways to approach customer service. Normally, it is best to go there to submit a bid. However, at this time, this is simply not possible.

Why do remote quotes for renovation projects?
Despite the circumstances, there are still people who want to get in touch with entrepreneurs. Sometimes it is urgent work that is retained as an essential service. Otherwise, there are people who are preparing the coming months and who want to find contractors for their projects, knowing that the work will take place at another time of the year.

For entrepreneurs, this involuntary break period can therefore be seen as a time to organize the rest of the year. By making certain remote submissions, you will be able to align contracts to be made once the containment measures are relaxed. In this way, you can quickly resume your business activities.

In the following paragraphs, we will present some tips for submitting quotes remotely while ensuring that you communicate well with the client.

Person talking on the phone

1) Take advantage of technological advances
Nowadays, it is becoming easier to communicate remotely. Even when we are on the other side of the planet, we can see each other by video. This means that if your potential customer is a few kilometers from your home, communications will be greatly simplified by technological tools. To better explain our point, we will present some examples of situations and tools that may be useful to you.

Here are the tools you can use to submit your bids right now:

Telephone (calls or texts)
Emails
Video calls
Videos shot by clients
Photos
The most interesting tool among the three is the video call. If you communicate by video to assess the work requested by your client, you will be able to have a visual overview of the element or place that needs to be renovated. You can ask the client to show you what you need to see.

If you have some technological skills, you can even record the call for future reference. There are applications that offer the function of screen recorder. You can activate this application when calling the customer.

Otherwise, you can simply proceed as when you do it in person meetings, taking mental notes or written notes.

Here is a list of apps that allow you to make calls with videos:

Facebook Messenger
Skype
WhatsApp
Google Hangouts or Google Duo
Zoom
Houseparty
Marco Polo
Most of these apps are free and some of them even allow conference calls, which could be handy if you want to talk to more than one person at a time.

For emails, we advise you to put as much detail as possible when writing to potential customers. When writing these emails, however, keep in mind that communications may be more complicated than usual, because face-to-face meetings create dialogue, while in writing it is sometimes more difficult to understand intentions. and people’s needs.

In order to avoid misunderstandings, we must therefore take the time to make sure that what we write is very clear. By email, you can easily send attached documents, photos, and even videos (we’ll talk more about this later in this article). You can also ask the client to do this to help you submit a more complete quote.

When it comes to the regular phone, you may need to use it because some people don’t have a smartphone yet. Again, focus on clarity and communication. More than ever, make sure you understand the needs of the person who contacts you for the work. If possible, you can combine phone and email usage to maximize your chances of communicating well.