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Timing of a retainer/deposit

David  Member


I am reconsidering my process of meeting with, drawings, proposals, and getting a retainer/ deposit from customers. I am looking at doing an estimate based on blue prints, then if they want to move forward do basic drawings no dimensions with a proposal. At that point if they want to move forward it would require a retainer/deposit and we could do some revisions of the drawings. I guess the main thing I am wondering is at what point do most of you get a retainer/deposit? I want to avoid wasting time with too many window shoppers.

9/3/15       #2: Timing of a retainer/deposit ...

Client calls... "Can you come out to see the project"? I say, "do you have a design drawn up? Even a napkin sketch will do for pricing purposes. Oh, you don't? Well, we can design it for you for (450 for a simple built in to??? For a bigger project which goes toward the purchase price IF we get the job. If not, client keeps drawings and goes shopping. Keep in mind you draw it how it's easiest to build for YOU and people don't like to give money away usually) Speaking you have a budget in mind. Generally we like to get you a preliminary price before we come out for a site visit. Many people haven't done any research or sketching and want free ideas on your watch in my experience. This will weed out the fire kickers I have found

9/3/15       #3: Timing of a retainer/deposit ...

Also, if you're busy and can afford it, charge for a site visit. I charge accordingly depending on if it's in the city (SF) $240 one hour consultation or in the county I work in (neighboring) $120-150

9/3/15       #4: Timing of a retainer/deposit ...
David  Member


Thanks Chris for a look into your process. I am going to require a design fee for any drawings.

9/4/15       #5: Timing of a retainer/deposit ...

Website: http://Morantz

i use many of Chris's ideas in first contact with client. Try to prescreen for tire kickers. Ask for address with zip code. If area has homes worth 65k, and your kitchens run 20% of that, 99% chance they are looking for Chinese, or Home Depot and are hoping to get something cheaper. Most of my clients are snowbirds and I will make first visit free, but will only show iPad photos, take measurements and give ball park price on spot. If they are interested, I get back to them within 24hrs with accurate price and take 50% deposit to start drawings. After 35 years in this business, it is usually easy to see the signs of a serious client.
The process works in reverse as well. We have 47 excellent reviews on Houzz and have won best of Houzz for 3 years running. If a prospective client had only seen my website, I send them to Houzz to read all the reviews. Now they have prescreen me and we can both feel confident. Harold.

9/10/15       #6: Timing of a retainer/deposit ...
David  Member


Thanks for your response Harold. I think I saw on your website that you do work for designers which prompts another question from me. I am working with a designer now and of course he wants a fee for his services, and does work for it. On one job I gave him my price and he billed the customer tacking on his fee. On the current job I am biding for him he wants me to tack on a 5% fee onto my price and pay him when the job is complete. I am not lowering my price to do this. Is there any best practices for this or anything in your experience that leads you to do it one way or the other? Your work is beautiful by the way.

9/10/15       #7: Timing of a retainer/deposit ...
Harold morantz

Website: http://morantz

Thanks David. I have done it both ways. In this case you are paying him a commission on the sale. Check tax implications in your state . Harold.

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