I have been in the remodeling business for almost 30 years. During the first 19 years, I did what I thought we were supposed to do: I went out on “estimates.” I’d show up promptly, take notes, and ultimately acquiesce to the homeowner’s demand for a dollar estimate for the job. I’d usually supply this along with a sketch and a brief project description. I would run all over town, providing as much information as I could to anyone who was interested, and then I’d wait and hope someone would call me back. Some called, but many didn’t.
My entire sales and estimating process felt broken and left me feeling frustrated, used, and resentful toward the people I wanted to work for. “How dare you not call me back,” I’d think, “after I worked so hard to earn your business? What about the drawing I gave you? What about the three times I visited your house? What about the trade partners...
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