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QuoteFast is the easiest most powerful estimating software for the building industry. QuoteFast is a family business established in 1984 to help give buiders back to their families. This page gives builders many various short videos on the features in the program and allows them to see how the whole program works.
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Welcome to Builder's BLOG

Filling the gaps of what's happening in our industry.

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BUILDERS BLOG.jpg takes the builder to a blog page with all the latest news about estimating and the building industry.

Why am I Not Winning Jobs ?

SO, WHY AM I NOT GETTING THE JOB? To kick off the discussion, 60,000 LinkedIn followers were asked this question: What do you think is the biggest deal breaker in a job interview? Here’s what they said: Arriving late – 45% Poorly prepared answers – 35% Dressing inappropriately – 16% Other – 3% Now, this list of blind spots makes a great conversation starter, but there’s plenty more where they come from. Let’s circle in for a more detailed look at the most likely blind spots holding you back. ARRIVING LATE FOR A JOB INTERVIEW As decided by a vast majority (46%) of participants in the poll, arriving late to a job interview is the biggest no-no when you're trying to win a job. But hey, life happens. So, be proactive. The moment you realise you’re running late, contact the client and let them know: 1) How late you’re running 2) The reason why you’re running late 3) You are open to rescheduling if your lateness has caused problems. Preference a phone call over sending an email or text. Don’t over-explain or lie. Be honest, take ownership. If the client is understanding and the interview proceeds, take a moment to calm yourself upon arrival. It might seem counterintuitive — as every second counts — but taking the time for a few deep breaths to calm yourself is infinitely better than botching an interview due to being flustered with sweaty armpits.

3D Helps Sell Owners on Your Ideas.


In the early days of the 3d architectural visualisation studio, the focus was on creating photo-realistic images of buildings that didn't yet exist. This allowed potential buyers to see what their future home or office would look like.      3D architectural visualisation is an important tool for architects and engineers. It allows them to create          realistic images of their designs, which can be used to present their ideas to clients or investors.       Nowadays, the role of the 3D architectural visualizer has evolved. While still involved in the sale of property, they are also heavily involved in the design process. By using 3D visualization, architects and designers can explore different design options and make sure that the final product meets the needs of the client.

MATES in Construction.


MATES in Construction “As men we often feel we have to fix things when they are broken. It is not so easy when you feel your life is broken and you can’t fix it. It can be very difficult to ask for help, and most often we do not. If your workmates can pick up that you are struggling and offer help instead, we have a real shot at making a difference.” “If we really believe that suicide prevention is everybody’s business, then we all need to do our share – the health system, the social system, the community, the workplace, workers, employers, Unions and employer . MATES in Construction was started by Unions and Employer associations through the Building Employees Redundancy Trust as a bi-partisan initiative to pull the industry together around suicide prevention Thousands of workers have stepped up by becoming MATES in Construction volunteer Connectors and assist workers on site. A Connector is a MATE who can keep you safe while connecting you to help and every day Connectors are connecting their workmates to support and help through MATES case management and 24/7 support line. Lives are saved!

Customer Care gets.... Contracts....and Solves Conflicts.

Each week a new idea is discussed

 WEEK 1:  

This course is specifically designed to do three things; 1)To help you win jobs. 2)To save you from having to compete on price alone. 3)To have the client pay for their quote. This is done by simply changing the way both you and the client think. The idea that builders give free quotes only exists because it’s “always been that way”, and very few builders have thought that it could ever change, because if the other builders give free quotes, then the clients will say not to bother quoting. If you think this way, then you’ll be right, but if you think like a professional who gets paid for his or her professional consultation, then you can also be paid, or certainly in the majority of cases, but only if you come across as professional and not like other builders they’ve called who are just there to “give a free quote”. To do this, you simply need to follow the steps set out in this course, and you’ll be surprised at the results, and wonder why you didn’t use the techniques years ago. Small changes in your approach will make huge changes to the results. You will no doubt find that some or even many of the points discussed and put forward in this course are different to what you have been used to doing. However, if you follow each step, you will be following a logical path to successfully signing your clients. For over 30 years I used these steps and with a conversion rate of 1 in 2 and an average yearly work load of between 30 - 50 jobs, I can say from experience....when followed correctly....they work. Obviously some steps will not be appropriate for some jobs, but in the majority of cases this course will give you success.

 WEEK 2:  

POINTS OF DIFFERENCE: In order to gain a customer’s acceptance of your estimate and eventually the final quote, you need to simply convince them that your proposal is the best overall value for them, and not just the cheapest price. All aspects of your proposal and presentation are important, otherwise they’ll look at the price and see nothing else, and once again you’ll just be competing on price alone. As we'll show in the 6 Steps to Better Estimating, the most important thing you need to concentrate on is to give your potential customers as many Points of Difference as possible to set you apart from other builders who may be quoting. This gives you many advantages that can lead to you not having to compete on price alone, and to being paid for your quotes. If you think about it, all builders tell prospective clients the same things, like: 1) I’m a good builder. 2)I start and finish on time. 3)I only use the best materials and labour. 4)I may not be the cheapest, but I’m the best. So a client has nothing to distinguish one builder from another…..except price. This is where building up Points of Difference during the estimating stage is absolutely critical. The process of estimating and then giving a final quote begins at the very first call when the client phones to ask for a quote. Right from the very start, it’s imperative that you take control of the conversation and start calling it an estimate not a quote. From here on in you should think of yourself as a consultant giving professional advice to your client, not just a builder having to give a “free quote”. For this reason and with this mindset, you should be working towards being paid for your advice just like any doctor, solicitor or even a washing machine repairman for that matter. So your initial “bedside manner” needs to put the client at ease that you can help them in a professional manner and better than the next builder. All this takes the emphasis off price being the “be all and end all”.

 WEEK 3:  

THE INITIAL ENQUIRY CALL: Here’s how to do it: 1)If the client calls while you’re on site, say hello, offer your apologies and explain that you’re on the jobsite at the moment and its bit hard to hear with the noise. Say you’ll take their name and number and YOU’LL CALL THEM back LATER IN THE DAY, when you’re more able to give them your full attention. There is nothing more off-putting to a prospective client than to try and talk over the noise of a power saw. Telling them you want to be able to “give them your full attention” makes them feel that you’re really interested in what they have to say. Also tell them YOU will call THEM. This shows concern for them. Do call THE SAME DAY; otherwise you’ll lose all the advantage you’ve just built up. These simple approaches make all the difference for that all important FIRST IMPRESSION and gives you the opportunity of a second conversation with them. 2) When you do call them back, thank them for waiting till you called back because of the jobsite noise, as thanking them up front and then moving on, gives continuity to the initial “interrupted call earlier in the day”. You should have a broad-based questionnaire in front of you at this call. It shouldn’t sound like a preset list of questions, so be sure to just talk to the client ordinarily while slipping the questions into the conversation. 3) If the call is to your office, it should be answered in a businesslike manner and have your questionnaire ready. 4) We cannot stress strongly enough NOT to let your children pick up your mobile and answer the phone, as being told “Daddy or Mummy aren’t here”, or “Daaaaaaddy, there’s someone on the phone for you” does NOT instill confidence in your firm as being professional, or even that their message will ever reach daddy or mummy. Answer with the company name, and who’s speaking. EG: “Good morning, QuoteFast, Paul speaking.” Oddly enough, there’s not much you need to ask them when they call. It’s very important to let them do most of the talking during this initial call. After all they have the accommodation problem and have come to you for help, so be like a doctor and listen to their problems, asking pertinent questions as they go along. Often, they’ll give you the answers to your questions before you even ask them. Sometimes they will even give you the “trigger” as to why they will sign with you if you successfully solve that particular problem. That’s why you should never ask them… “What do you want? “… always ask “How can I help?” They will then begin to tell you what they need whether it’s an addition or a new build and often why they need it, and sometimes a bit of background that might be important later. Remember, you need to be a salesman before you can become a builder; well, this is the first step. If you don’t win the job…you can’t build it ! If they haven’t already told you, you should then ask them: 1) “Have you been thinking of building for long?” This will often tell you if they are a NOW client or a FUTURE client. 2) “Do you have any plans?” If yes, they are serious NOW buyers. 3) Ask, “Can you email them to me so I can look at what you’d like before we meet? That way I can be of maximum help to you at our meeting.” If NO, tell them: “That’s not a problem. I can draw a quick plan on my laptop and will more than likely be able to give you a ballpark costing when we meet.” You’ll generally be able to do this, as any plan you draw “on the night” is not likely to be very complex, and so the ballpark costing calculated using GRT should be relatively easy. Complex designs are usually already drawn by an architect or draftsperson. Drawing their basic plan for them and using GRT, engages the client with you and not the other builders. It also allows you to control the design to some extent to keep their cost down and make the job easier to build. Even if you can’t cost the job at the appointment, it will definitely impress the client that you were able to help them by just drawing a plan and saving them the cost of getting plans drawn that still might be too expensive. This is another Point of Difference you‘ve achieved. Remember: the object of the first meeting is NOT to give them a fully accurate costing, but an initial estimate. 4) If they can send plans, tell them you should be able to give them a ballpark estimate once you’ve seen them. 5) If you’re a family business, tell them that : “We’re a family business, and even though we’re professional builders, we work on the principal of one family helping another”. Most family clients like to feel the builder has the same family priorities as they do and so now you have just achieved empathy with them. This is another Point of Difference you’ve achieved and also sown the seed that you’re a professional. If the client is a developer or other commercial client, this approach, of course, will not work. 6) Next tell them: “I need to keep my advertising overheads down to be competitive, so would you mind letting me know how you heard about us”. Don’t give them suggestions, or they may just take any one of them. Let them think and give you, their answer. It will more likely be the correct one. 7) Then make an appointment to suit both you and the client. If it has to be at night, tell them: “That it doesn’t matter as I’ll call up a satellite site view of the property and look for any site items I’ll need for the estimate that I may not be able to see at night.” 8) Tell them that you’ll send out an important initial Information Pack and ask them: “Would you mind filling it in as far as you’re able, to help me understand anything that may be important to you when we meet. Things like: do you prefer sliding doors or hung doors, or carpet or polished floors, it will all be in the pack that I send out”. The reason for this is that it makes the client put some input into the process and makes them begin to feel that you’re involving them even before you’ve arrived. This is another Point of Difference specifically designed to lead them into a YES when you ask for a “small fee” to move forward from the initial estimate to the final quote proposal. If they don’t, fill it in, then it’s an indication that they may not be really sincere, and want you to do all the work without any commitment on their part. Real clients, particularly the “NOW buyers” will be enthusiastic to help you ….to help them. The Information Pack is extremely important as it’s the “salesman” you send to pave the way before you get there. It should contain your photo and short background, your builder’s license and contact details, photos of a few past jobs, short references from past clients and some details on how you’ll go about making the planning and building of their job enjoyable for them. The Information Pack will also pave the way in telling them about the fee for quoting as you will read later in this course. 9) Finally tell them in the Pack and then later in person: “We subscribe to a Code of Ethics for builders in estimating and job management, to make the building process more enjoyable and less stressful for our clients and their families. Over and above my building course, I’ve completed additional studies in Jobsite Safety to keep your home safe during construction, PARTICULARLY FOR ANY CHILDREN you might have. Also in Ethical Estimating to keep building costs down but not to mislead customers with unrealistic quotes. Unfortunately, some builders will give very cheap prices to get the job, and then load up the client with extras during the job. The other course we do is Customer Care, to make sure we’ve got good communications with our clients and present our documentation well”. Make sure you say “load up the client with extras”…NOT load up the job with extras. This subtle difference emphasizes that THEY will be paying the extras on cheap quotes and not just “the job”. This creates trust in the client that they’ve chosen someone who’s different and a cut above the rest. It’s this trust that will go a long way towards getting their YES to go ahead with the job, and when you tell them that you “ask for” a small fee for a fully accurate cost proposal, but they will be refunded if they decide to “go ahead “with you. Never say “sign contracts”, always say “go ahead”, and when the time does come to “go ahead”, you will “just do the paperwork”. It’s all just a simple change in thinking that softens any concerns clients may have in “signing contracts”. 10) So that the client doesn’t feel “ambushed” later at your meeting and undo all your good work, it’s critically important to tell them in the Information Pack that you’ll help them with their project in whatever way you can with the experience you’ve gained over the years, and that you give a free initial estimate to help with their budgeting. If they’re happy with your service and the initial estimate, they have the OPTION of paying a small fee if they’d like a fully detailed firm price, and that the fee is refundable if they decide to “go ahead” with your proposal.

 WEEK 4:  

THE INITIAL SITE MEETING: Never be late for an appointment. The building industry often takes for granted that lateness is a part of building because “things happen on the job”. The client, however, isn’t part of the building industry and may well have taken time off work or cancelled some other appointment to be there for you. Lateness often gives the impression that you’re not really interested and not treating your client with respect. If you’re going to be late, ring them BEFORE you’re late, even if it’s only 5 minutes, otherwise you’re not professional in their eyes. When you knock on the door, you’re behind the 8 ball already, particularly if they’ve stayed at home specially to see you. When the client first opens the door, you should, by then, be known and trusted by them, and not just another builder at the door come to give a free quote. If this is not the case, then you’re just another builder with no Points of Difference in their eyes. Following the previous steps in this course will ensure this is not the case. Remember that having spoken with you and received their Information Pack, they’re now expecting a professional builder, and so you should have changed from work clothes into “salesman / builder” clothes with a logo on a clean shirt. 1)Never go to a client in work clothes. When you’re there to build go dressed as a builder, when you’re there to sell yourself go dressed as a salesman. If you don’t already do this, then this is one of the changes in thinking we mentioned earlier that helps you get paid for your quotes. 2)When you’re invited in and asked to sit down, it’s always a good idea if you suggest that it “might” be more comfortable to “sit and chat in the lounge room….if that’s OK?”. When you’ve done the small talk, ask for their Information Pack and go through it thoughtfully, asking any questions you think appropriate. Show an interest in what they’ve written as these answers, given without any pressure, will more than likely be correct and important to them. If appropriate, give advice on some of their selections to show interest in them and not treat it as just an information gathering exercise. 3)Make sure you thank them for their input as “it’s helped me get an idea of what you’d like and how I can help”. 4)Then suggest you move to the dining or kitchen table. This tells the client that you’re now ready to get down to work for them. 5)If the husband is at the meeting, never sit at the head of the table. Either way, it’s always best to sit beside the owners and not opposite them. This continues the more comfortable at ease “let’s work together “situation that you just started in the lounge room, instead of the “them and you” situation if you sit opposite. If possible have them sit either side of you. You may need to suggest this so “you can both see the screen as I draw or cost”. Sitting across the table opposite them sets up a “them and you” position and is not conducive to selling them on your ideas and cost. 6)If the job is an addition, walk around the house taking notes. NEVER mention anything negative about the house such as drooping ceilings, or drummy render etc. By all means, take notes for later but don’t make a point of it as this can often be embarrassing to them and put them on the defensive, which is the last thing you want. 7)Start your laptop so it’s booting up while you talk with them.

 WEEK 5:  

DOING THE INITIAL ON-SITE ESTIMATE: This is where you start to do the estimate. 1) When your laptop has booted up, open the GTX software and show them that you already have their name and details entered. Go to their plan and start doing the easy parts of their estimate. If they have no plans, start drawing one up for them on the screen with SketchiT, asking them room sizes, window sizes, and door positions etc., as you go. In short, engage them in the plan drawing or costing, as this is the interesting part to them. Remember, the more time you spend here, the less time you’ll need to spend at home when you have more distractions to worry about….so don’t rush the process. 2) We suggest that you use GTX on your laptop as its interesting to the client to watch what you’re doing. Remember that you only need a ballpark figure here. Show the cost tallying up in front of them as you progress. It’s very important that several times during the costing you ask the client to : “Keep an eye on the total at the top of the screen, and as it approaches your budget, let me know in case I have to make changes to keep it within our budget.” When talking about the budget, use the words “our budget” not “your budget”. It’s a subtle way of making them feel that you are part of the team trying to help them. It’s a small change in thinking, but all of the small changes together have a big impact. This shows an interest in their financial situation as well. It shows that you’re willing to make changes to help them. If you’re doing the quote back in your office, you can’t really know if it will be anywhere near their budget, even if you’ve already asked them what it is. We all know that clients don’t like to tell their real budgets, and will often give you a low figure, thinking that the cost will probably go higher, or the builder will simply “come in” just below it anyway. Getting them to progressively tell you, is a far better way of knowing if the costing is within the real budget. 3) Do as much of the plan, and or costing with GTX, as you can there and then. If you’re using their plan and it’s complicated, it’s a good idea to have done the complicated part at home before you go to the meeting, as you’ll have to do it anyway at some stage. It’s always a good policy to pre-add a reasonable contingency into the price BEFORE you go to the meeting. This has several benefits. 4) You won’t be worried that you’ve forgotten some big item while you’re with the client and it’s always good to be able to come back and tell the client “it wasn’t quite as expensive as what we thought at the initial estimate”. This makes them feel that the fee for the quote they gave you was a good investment. Remember you MUST specifically remind them that if they decide to “go ahead” with you, as promised, the final quote will be FURTHER reduced by the fee that they paid. 5) Having to stop the flow of the meeting by going home to do the quote, and not doing all or most of it there and then (depending on the complexity of the job), loses you much of the advantage you’ve worked hard to build up. You already know that clients will say: “Can you give us a rough idea on the cost”? They do this because you’ve got them all excited about their job and then just left them up in the air….waiting. Most other builders will do this, and sometimes the last builder’s appointment is cancelled, because often clients think all builders will be the same. This is just another reason why it’s important to keep helping them BEFORE, and AT the meeting, and build up another Point of Difference. 6) Imagine if a car salesman took you for a test drive in a new car and showed you all the great features it had to offer, and then when you asked the price, he told you that he’d have to go back and ask the factory, and he would “get back to you in about two weeks”. What would you do? You’d go straight to another dealership….wouldn’t you? So whenever possible, never leave the client up in the air on cost. Sure you can just say it’ll be about “X” dollars, but to a client that’s just pulling a figure out of the air. They have no way of knowing if it’s anywhere near close. But to sit with them and start costing it in front of them, even if you can’t finish it completely, how much more are they going to trust both you and the figure you give them? If you do need to finish the “estimate” at home, it’s a sure bet they’ll be super keen to hear from you again, as not just “another builder who came to give a free quote”. 7) This approach also covers the problem when other builders come back with ridiculously low quotes just to get the job. It will always be a temptation for the client to go for the cheaper price but having sat through the costing process with you and built up a relationship of trust with you, the onus then falls back on the cheap builder to prove he’s right and you’re wrong with his low quote. This is very hard to do, when the client has actually participated with you in doing their own quote. No amount of trying to justify the low price can compete with the client having actually been involved in the quote and seeing the quote being prepared. This is so because they are actually being asked to trust themselves as opposed to another builder who they really don’t know, ……… and that’s a no brainer.

 WEEK 6:  

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