Your first interaction with a gutter customer is crucial. Get it right, and you could continue to clean their gutters for decades – enjoying a steady stream of reliable income in the process. Get it wrong, and you might never have another chance to win them over. So how do you make sure your bidding process goes smoothly? How do you bid gutter cleaning jobs competitively? This is a key part of the gutters industry if you’re serious about winning more customers than the competition and ensuring excellent profit margins. So what makes a good gutter cleaning bid, anyway? How does this process work? And why are they so important?
We’ll answer all of these critical questions in this article – but first, let’s stress one point: It’s easier than ever to bid for your projects. Why? Because even the smallest gutter cleaning companies now have access to simple software that makes running the business easier. VIIZR is a top example of this kind of software. This mobile-friendly, trades-focused tool helps you streamline the estimating process and nail those early bids. Better yet, you don’t need to hire extra office staff to handle this paperwork. Instead, you can lower your labor costs and experience more free time at the end of each day.
Whether you’re running a small gutter cleaning company or a major contracting empire, you should strive to master the bidding process. Remember, even the most successful bidders tend to achieve a 5-to-1 conversion ratio. This means that for every 5 bids, they get 1 greenlit gutter job. This shows you how important it is to strive for the best possible results. This is also why so many contractors (including gutter cleaners) now rely heavily on software.
Whether you’re new to the gutter industry or not, it helps to review the basic definition of the bidding process. Essentially, bidding involves providing the client with a proposal to service their gutters. Contractors and sub-contractors both engage in the bidding process. If you’re subcontracting gutter cleaning, you would need to get your bid approved before you hire your contracted gutter cleaners for the job.
As the phrase implies, “bidding” involves a degree of competition. You are bidding alongside other gutter experts who are trying to win the contract. The goal is to convince the customer that you’re the best choice to clean their gutters. You can do this by offering better prices, creating a more professional bid, or providing services that your competition lacks.
A gutter bid includes a full scope of the project – including everything that needs to be done. This might include sealing, resealing, elbows, tie-ins, and much more. Perhaps most importantly, the bid should include the scale of the project. This is often measured in feet – as in how long the gutters are.
Your customers may approach you with an invitation to provide a bid for their gutters. This means that they are actively seeking gutter cleaning services – and they’re “shopping around” for the best deal. Alternatively, you might not receive an invitation at all. You may simply approach a customer and provide them with an unsolicited bid to clean their gutters.
You might not always need to bid for your next gutter cleaning service. As previously noted, you can try “cold-calling” customers with bids that are already prepared. For example, you could knock on a customer’s door and give them an estimate based on what you think is necessary.
You might have seen a number of clogged gutters in the neighborhood due to a recent storm, and you might be aware that most people need gutter cleaning services – even if they’re not actively searching for these services. In this case, you can provide a simple estimate rather than going through the bidding process.
But what exactly is the difference between a “bid” and an “estimate?” The main difference is the legally-binding nature of most bids. A bid is associated with a formal contract – or an agreement to provide services at a specific cost. In contrast, an estimate is not legally binding, and it is merely an educated guess of the final cost of cleaning gutters.
Bids are generally more detailed compared to estimates because of their legally-binding nature. More details reduce the chances of miscommunications and disputes between customers and gutter cleaning professionals. If you’ve ever seen a legal contract, you know that every little detail and eventuality must be covered. A bid is no different.
That being said, there is considerable overlap between these terms – and some might use “estimate” and “bid” interchangeably. Just remember that if you provide only an estimate, you don’t have to worry if your invoice is a little higher than the estimate at the end of your gutter cleaning service. But with a bid, you may run into legal issues if you provide an invoice that is higher than your initial quote.
One of the best ways to avoid the bidding process entirely is to create client relationships built on trust and positive customer experiences. If your customer knows what to expect and they love your gutter cleaning results, they’ll have no reason to jump ship. Instead of calling a competing gutter company, they’ll simply contact you and schedule a service for their gutters. No bidding is necessary if you’re their top choice.
Calculating costs is incredibly important when creating gutter cleaning bids. A simple miscalculation can easily eat into your profit margins and create legal problems down the road. One of the most important aspects of a gutter cleaning bid is the final price.
But this isn’t just an arbitrary price tag that you slap on your services. You need to take into account all of the various factors that affect your profit margins. You also need to make these factors as transparent as possible to your clients. This greater access to financial data gives them greater confidence in your services and encourages them to give you the green light.
So how exactly do you calculate the cost of your gutter cleaning service? You can start by calculating your expenses. Your expenses may include things like:
Your expenses may vary depending on the unique gutter cleaning job at hand. Make sure you calculate your expenses for each cleaning job instead of using the same numbers every time. Making these cleaning calculations as accurate as possible helps you achieve higher profit margins.
Once you have calculated your total cleaning expenses for the gutter job at hand, it’s time to set your price. You can do this in a number of ways. One option is to figure out how much money you want to take home when the gutter job is finished. This is your “profit margin” or “markup.” It usually takes the form of a percentage, such as 25%.
You can multiply labor cost and expenses by your markup to find your total price. This calculation takes the form of a very simple formula:
Price = Expenses x Markup
Let’s say that the total cost including your labor is $100. If our markup is 25%, the formula would look something like this:
Price = $100 x 1.25
This would leave us with a total quote of $125. Our profit for this cleaning job would be $25, not including your wage.
Note that this is just one method for calculating prices. We can also start with a target price and work backward. For example, your gutter cleaning business might be competing with two other companies that are offering certain prices. Let’s say that one company is offering to clean the gutters for $200, while another company is offering to clean the same gutters for $185. Based on these prices, we might want to set our bid at around $175. This lets us compete with the other companies without massively undercutting anyone.
If our target price is $175, we can substitute this value into our equation to make important calculations:
$175 = Expenses x Markup
Let’s say that we still want an average 25% markup:
$175 = Expenses x 1.25
We can rearrange this formula in the following manner:
175/1.25 = Expenses
This means that if we want to compete in our bidding war and charge a 25% markup, we need to spend less on our expenses.
But what if we can’t possibly lower our expenses any further? Maybe we’ve already cut everything down to the bare minimum and expenses will be $150. In this case, we could write our formula in a different way:
$175 = $150 x Markup
175/150 = Markup
Markup = 1.17%
This means that in order to charge a competitive bid of $175 with our fixed expenses of $150, we would need to settle for a lower profit margin of 17%.
Calculations such as these help us determine whether or not a bid is truly worth making. Sometimes, it’s better to exit the bidding process entirely in order to work more profitable jobs. The general rule is to avoid lowering your profit margin simply to clean more gutters. Losing money is never ideal, and there’s no need to sacrifice fair payment just to compete with low-ball gutter cleaning companies.
Even though the bidding process might not provide you with a gutter cleaning job, it can help you qualify your leads and pick only the most lucrative gutters. The only way to accomplish this is to make accurate cleaning cost calculations.
With all that said, a bid doesn’t contain only calculations and price breakdowns. It also needs a number of other details, such as:
As you might have guessed, it helps to have some experience in the gutter industry before you start submitting bids for gutters. It is very difficult to predict how much a gutter job will cost if you’ve never done one before.
It is equally difficult to figure out how long a gutter job will take if you’re new to the gutter cleaning industry. If this problem sounds familiar, consider getting in touch with a mentor or hiring professional, experienced gutter workers for advice. To make your bids even more accurate, visit the worksite and visually inspect the gutters before starting. It’s all tempting to send over a quick PDF bid, but the gutters may be much more difficult than you realize.
Experience is even more important in the bidding process when you consider the various factors that may affect the cost of doing business in the gutter cleaning industry. Here are a few examples of unseen factors that you might be missing in your calculations:
All of these unpredictable factors show how important it is to make your calculations as accurate as possible. If you simply use a pre–determined template or set of numbers for each set of gutters, you might lose money faster than you thought possible.
Another important factor is the difference in cost between cleaning residential and commercial gutters. Residential gutters may be more difficult to access due to sloped roofs. Commercial buildings generally have flat roofs, allowing for easier access to gutters. There is often a set of stairs that lead to the roof of a commercial office building. The cost of safety equipment and the time needed to access roofs should be taken into account with each bid. You should also know that commercial gutter cleaning tends to pay more by default, as major companies generally have more to spend.
The cost of labor is an important calculation when bidding for your gutter cleaning services. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to say with any degree of certainty how much this might cost for your specific gutter company. Each state has its own unique cost of living, along with specific (or non-existent) minimum-wage laws.
That said, Zip Recruiter states that the average cost of a gutter worker in the United States is an average hourly pay of about $17.50 per hour for gutters. Hire these workers, and you’ll find that the general range is between $15 and $20 per hour.
Bidding is a truly competitive process, and you can ensure high demand for your gutter services by following a few easy tips:
VIIZR doesn’t just help with bidding. It also offers features that help with CRM, invoicing, tracking, scheduling, and much more. Take it for a test drive today for 14 days without paying a dime.