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Subject: Re: Talk me down before I send this letter.


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Message Thread:

Talk me down before I send this letter.


Got a call yesterday for a bid on kitchen cabinetry. During the conversation I gleaned that they will be getting a bid from a Mennonite cabinetmaker. I don't want to design the kitchen, I don't want to quote it. We won't get the job because of price. But I don't want to ignore the request either. (Which we have done in the past, and that's not a good look either.) Looking for the most cordial way to convey the sentiment below. -Mrs. Gary

Thank you for considering XXXXXXXXXXX for your home cabinetry. At this time, we respectfully decline from bidding this project.

For more than XX years, we have been supplying beautiful, heritage quality, custom cabinetry. XXXXXXXXXXXX is on its way to being a second generation company. Our skill and talent, along with the use of top of the line equipment, materials, hardware, and finishes have made XXXXXXX an industry leader in the area. We are loyal to our vendors. We do not shop around looking for the cheapest materials to put in our cabinets, which would compromise the finished product. We take pride in providing our employees with great wages and benefits to comfortably support their families, and the local economy.

There is room in this market for competition, and we know our competition. You may not be aware, some members of the Amish and Mennonite communities are able to seek exemptions from worker’s compensation as well as self-employment taxes. Employees are not paid overtime and child labor laws are disregarded.

That being said, we are choosing not to compete with the price point of the cabinetmakers you are seeking bids from.

Again, thank you for thinking of us.
Kind regards,

3/8/23       #2: Talk me down before I send this let ...

I'm not sure that customer would like all the chatter. When I was told that I would be competing with a family shop like that, I simply told them to go ahead and buy from them. Simple and to the point. Pretty sure they already knew that I couldn't compete but figured what the heck, estimates are free.

3/8/23       #3: Talk me down before I send this let ...
Dave Edgerton  Member

I would attribute it to your current workload which may not be true but at least the customer will feel like they are being declined because you are good at what you do rather than avoiding mennonites underbidding you.
My 2 cents

3/8/23       #4: Talk me down before I send this let ...
Hen Bob Member

I also agree, Just say you are too busy to take it on. Short and sweet is always better.

3/9/23       #5: Talk me down before I send this let ...
james e mcgrew  Member

Website: mcgrewwoodwork.com

Agree with short. to the point. "Thank you for considering Us to quote your work, Respectfully we will be declining."

3/9/23       #6: Talk me down before I send this let ...
D Brown

We all bid jobs that we don't get but we continue on.

Why not just bid it up ? The more you bid the more work you get.

3/9/23       #7: Talk me down before I send this let ...
Bruce H

I understand why you would think that, I would. Wouldn't send the letter. I'd just ignore the request. Wait for them to come back and then mention it might not fit into your production schedule.

3/9/23       #8: Talk me down before I send this let ...
Karl E Brogger  Member

Website: http://www.sogncabinets.com

"Thank you for your interest. At this time we do not have space in our production schedule for your project."

No need for explanations, justifications, excuses, (pick a word).

3/10/23       #9: Talk me down before I send this let ...
Pdub Member

Agreed. I would have written a similar letter to make me feel better, then (hopefully) not sent it and sent the "we don't have time" letter instead. Sounds like you have plenty of work so don't waste time on it. If they press you, THEN you can mention why you aren't bidding it by saying that you can't compete with those guys because of the laws that favor them. That will lead to more questions, and you can get it all off your chest then.

3/11/23       #10: Talk me down before I send this let ...

Bid it high. You never know how people think, or how they make their decisions. Don't try to guess either, and don't worry about the competition.
Don't waste time with letters, garbage anyway.
If you don't want to quote, call them up and tell them a long timeline, so they tell you it won't work for them.

3/12/23       #11: Talk me down before I send this let ...
Chippy1987 Member

@KarlEBrogger is 100% correct. Short and sweet and straight to the point!

3/13/23       #12: Talk me down before I send this let ...

I agree with your comments about not wasting time on a bid and we usually don't or just give a quick bid. I thought this may be an opportunity to educate people as to why we can't compete on a price only basis. They don't understand how much of a disadvantage we have. That being said, they are very price driven customers and don't care about the reasons for an uneven playing field so we won't get their business anyway.

3/14/23       #13: Talk me down before I send this let ...
Gary Balcom Member

Agree with all the others. You're better off burning the letter now that you've written it.
But, there is nothing wrong with qualifying them before you spend time quoting it. It's OK to say something like, "in the past projects such as this have been in the X to X range. Is this range within the budget to continue pursuing?"

3/18/23       #14: Talk me down before I send this let ...

Put another way... what would you think if you got that letter for something you were purchasing?

The only pertinent bit of information is that you won't be bidding... the rest is kind of contradictory because it almost sounds like you're trying to give them reasons why they should use a more expensive product while at the same time declining to give them that option...

4/15/23       #15: Talk me down before I send this let ...
Mark B Member

Why wouldnt you just say something like;

While we would love to bid your project, given the information at hand, I believe the quality, and level of detail we provide as our default, may not be a fit for the scope of your considerations.

This could be followed by any format of diplomacy as it pertains to comp, liability insurance, child labor practices, using faith as a means to disguise buying low quality components and passing them off as "amish", etc..

Its best not to get drug down in the weeds. Operating in the mid-Atlantic it gets pretty nauseating seeing "amish" cabinets flying in with chinese ply and hardware, slam bam, when its represented as a bunch of people packing lumber to their barn on the back of a horse drawn buggy. It is what it is at this point. The situation is no different than buying cabs at the home center.

You can educate your customer all you want but at some point you have to make the conscious decision that certain customers are a pass. Whether this one is or not is a choice you have to make for yourself. There is a crafty and diplomatic response to every situation without going off half cocked.

4/15/23       #16: Talk me down before I send this let ...
Bruce H

Mark B, I like your response!

4/15/23       #17: Talk me down before I send this let ...
Mark B Member

Ive been down this road for 15 years now. It just is what it is.

You can walk into homes where the homeowner will swear to you the home is "amish built" (note no caps)... and the interior doors the will swear were "amish built" and all you have to do is swing an interior 6 panel pine door open and set a step stool aside and let them look at the top of the door to see "MADE IN CHILE" or Venezuela, or any other south American country that is manufacturing pine doors fed into the US... Their faces go blank because they were under some romantic notion that a bunch of people with hand planes and chisels made these beautiful doors (which are actually junk) came from south America, and were shipped from Schusters in PA just like every other lumber yard door.

Its crafty marketing compounded with an ability to operate at a far lower cost due to all the known factors.

There are over the top good options and horrible options, no different than anywhere.

4/15/23       #18: Talk me down before I send this let ...
keith farr

Years ago I had a friend that would bid the jobs extremely low then trun the customer down due to large backlog This would ruin it for the allready low bid guys because the customer would approach them looking for even further cuts in thyeir bid

4/17/23       #19: Talk me down before I send this let ...
Jay Member

Website: https://www.capecoraldeckbuilders.com/

If I ever run into a similar situation, I try to take the path of least resistance and simply provide an exorbitantly high quote. That way you avoid any hard feelings and can tactfully move on.


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