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Posted: Feb 23, 2011 04:11 PM
Why is it that when someone does not get a job the first thing they think is "MY PRICING WAS TO HIGH" then on the next job they proceed to lower ((their pants around thier ankles))the prices on the next job they bid.

Today i had a customer call me looking for closed cell foam in a res. new construction. I drove 1hr to the job, took 40 minutes to measure and drove back to the office to do the estimate. Total of 3hrs+/-!! I gave the customer a fair price, the going rate in a market where we have 10 foam companies local in 70 mile radius.

Ten minutes after sending the estimate i get a phone call from the customer asking me if it was a typo in my estimate. He stated he had received an estimate for 75% less than my quote.(I am sure we are apples to apples because at every turn in measuring the home the customer was verfiying the scope and the dimensions to make sure i was being "fair". His words.

So when it comes down to it, He has an estimate from someone from the state of Indiana, that is driving his crew,rig and 10sets of closed cell to maryland that can do the job for 55% less than the going rate.****I cant make any money at the going rate *** how is he making any money driving thru 4 states staying in a hotel and charging 55% less. I cant even put gas in my trucks for $0.49/bf.

I just dont understand why contractors drop their prices so low. Even if it is to get the work, how are you making money to maintain your equipment??? Why cant we all just set a price and stand firm, let the quality of your work speek for your company.

So now i am sure that i was not the only local company bidding on this project. So now i have to worry that the 5 other local companies will be dropping their pants and grabing thier ankles to get the next job that comes along.
steven argus
Posted: Feb 24, 2011 06:16 AM
I feel your pain man. Happens around here all the time. It's like Walmart coming in and crushing the Mom and Pop stores. Minimum wage workers and cheap products. I believe it's these companies that sell/ install foam that are hurting us. They buy foam by the truck load. Hire cheap help. They don't care about the installation at all. They most likely also install/ sell: windows, doors, siding, fiberjunk, ground up newspaper, etc. The homeowner doesn't know the difference between a good job or a bad job. They come in, spray the job, leave the place a mess. Most of these companys hire peice workers. They get paid according to how much foam they spray. They also have slick talking salesmen that only care about their commission. Walk through the job after they are done if you can. Offer your consulting services to the customer after they are done, point out all the mistakes.

My advice is to just walk away, try not to loose sleep over it. When your dealing with a GC, they will call you again after they relize what a hack job the other company is. However, when you're dealing with a homeowner, it's a one time deal. The home owner is out of luck. An out of town company will not come back for any problems. Hopefully, these companys will go out of business, then I'm sure some oter butch will take their place.
Dean Nash
Posted: Feb 24, 2011 08:05 AM
Though trite, and I don't intend it that way, the answer lies in taking time to educate the customer. Sears called it "price conditioning," in their 10 step sales approach and the intent is to qualify a customer before exerting the time & effort on an estimate.

Set up a meeting and talk foam moving slowly into the cost to install. Educate the customer as to why you use a certain brand, your costs & concerns, the merits of your chosen brand, the user friendliness of your brand, and provide & explain the various reports. With most, you will teach them to recognize those so-called bargains and you'll gain respect your company for this effort. The caveat lies in the discovery; if the customer is truly interested, they'll take the time to listen & your estimate stands a higher chance of acceptance. If they seem bothered, walk away.

Foam pricing for truckload orders compared to small orders is realistically not enough to make a big difference in selling price. Distributors and manufacturers don't see the margins we'd expect them too so the trick is to use education on the consumer side & foam management on the applicator side.

Good luck
Lynn Mether
Posted: Feb 24, 2011 09:48 PM
Don't be so sure it was apples to apples. Couple weeks ago I had a guy ask me for a bid for 3 inches of closed cell to the ceiling of his shed. Drove and hour there measured it and gave him a bid. his reply "Your way higher than the other guy" then told me what the other guy bid came out to about .40/bd ft. I closed my briefcase and told him to hire the guy right away adn to also give him my number cause I would hire the guy to spray jobs for me and I would sell my rig. When I said that the customer figured there was something wrong with the picture and pulled the bid out. It was for 3 inches of open cell on a ceiling. I explained the diffence showed him samples and told him that 3 inches of open is not enough. Long enough story we are insulating the shed this summer.
Posted: Feb 25, 2011 05:26 AM
I can tell you there is no pricing war in NJ but rather a swing of 150 percent or more. I received quotes as low as 4k to as high as 12,500 all for a simple roof line (1500sq ft ranch) and the rim joist area of my crawlspace.

seemed the middle ground was 6-7k and even with that, there was such a difference in what was going to be performed. I finally settled on a contractor of whom gave me two ways of doing things. The second was being $1250 more then the first way. Because of the massive amounts of education I have received on sprayfoam over the past month, I opted for the second solution but asked a simple question.

1. Can you knock of $250 so I can be within my budget?

That contractor did not respond to my emails nor to numerous voicemails I left. My last voicemail was a simple question as to why I am being ignored but it no longer matters since obviously my business is not wanted.

Just so you know, the price of the second job was 7k and I was ready to do it for $6750. I doubt very much his margin was so thin it caused him to ignore me rather then man up and say he cannot go any lower and then let me make a decision.

Luckily there are still contractors out there I a interviewing and hopefully one of them (I have my eye set for a specific one) can do what is needed within my budget.

So again, at least in NJ there is no pricing war but rather what I feel is:

1. fly by night gypsies (on the super low end)
2. newbies that don't know how to price and are looking to get rich quick or are just misinformed on how to price
3. tenured SPF contractors that are within 10-15 percent of each other

I opt for #3 but still am very cautious on who I choose and who meets my criteria.

I don't mean to sound negative against SPF contractors but this is the hardest bid process I have ever been through for work to be done on my home. Because of that, I am learning as much as possible (Thanks SprayFoamMagazine.com and it's members) not only to help myself but also other homeowners and even contractors by getting an idea of what an informed homeowner thinks about and who they go about hiring.
Posted: Feb 25, 2011 06:18 AM
in todays economy this is happening in all the trades,,,and it is a formula for disaster,,,but desperate men do desperate things,,,

hold in there,,keep your prices where they need to be,,the cost of doing business is the cost of doing business,,,consider some of the things jag suggested,,then consider some of the things jag suggested,,,

i like to use these out of town calls as a promotional tool for the spf industry.
unless the customer specifically called for me,,
i will bid the project with my higher numbers,,doing my best to promote the continued growth of spf,,,that way the newbee who undercuts me can make some decent money more in line with what is fair and customary,,and he can pay his loan,,,maybe pay some on the lawncare equipment in the shed he's upside down on,,,and have some left over for his doublewide,,,
and more important,,he will stay out of my neighborhood cause he's makein what he should in his own hood,,

now we cant do a thing about the corporate supported houses,,,and they will spray for nothing to bust your chops,,,but their work
is speaking for itself,,,and the builders that
care are running back,,,

nj.. followed your thread,,another consideration in the price swing
1)we are busy enough with our regular work that we really dont need this (or want it)so we will return a bid(but make it high so we dont get it)

its a courtesy thing in a perverse sort of way,,,
otherwise peeps rail ya for not returning calls or not bidding or stuff like that...
Posted: Feb 25, 2011 04:14 PM
I am not sure I was bid high because a contractor did not want the job. That is the most absurd thing I have ever heard of in my life. If a contractor is too busy, then you bid it and give an estimated time of install and if it is 2 months out, so be it. Why toss your future bread and butter?

I personally think I was bid high because I have two nice vehicles and live in a nice neighborhood and the contractor who bid 12.5k wanted to take me for a large chunk of change. Sorry to sound a little upset but dealing with contractors as a homeowner for over 20 years, what I feel seems to be reality since it is the norm.

I also cannot believe contractors in the insulation sector (at least in NJ) are so busy they have no time for new accounts. I just had a new HVAC system installed 2 days after I signed the contract and a power vent HW heater 1 day after I signed. Why? Because there is no work (at least in NJ) for these contractors. Hence, the super low bids by some who most likely were home builders or some from other hurting sector and are now trying to break into a new area of contracting.
Dean Nash
Posted: Feb 25, 2011 09:21 PM
There are 3 personalities that contractors face each day:
1) clients who've earned their wealth,
2) clients who've inherited their wealth, and
3) clients who've figured out a way to "work the system", and I'm being kind with that.

You've taken one of the finer amongst us completely out of context which brings the question;
Which of the above referenced categories do you fall into?
Demand dictates price. that's economics. an ego however can easily change the mathematics.
Posted: Feb 26, 2011 01:37 AM
I am not wealthy so that covers one and two and as far as being someone who has figured out how to work the system? Not sure what that means because a simple request to reduce the cost was asked and that makes me a gamer, the so be it.

However, one category of consumer the contractor faces (which you did not list) is one that is educated in the service being sold. I think I fall into that category as I did my homework (still doing it) by using this site as my main tool and speaking with industry experts who range from contractors to consultants to SPF manufacturers.

Look at it from the perspective of the customer and things may be come a little clearer for both the contractor and consumer.
Dean Nash
Posted: Feb 26, 2011 06:36 AM
Well said but I urge caution in claiming that one knows or is educated in this industry as its ebbs and flows require if not demand continuing education. UnfortunAtely, the unscrupulous among us and their tactics damage not only themselves but the industry as a whole.

I apologize on behalf of the industry for failing to properly introduce you to what is a phenomenal product.
steven argus
Posted: Feb 26, 2011 12:31 PM

I can tell you from my experience that existing homes are sometimes very difficult to work on. 3/12 pitch roofs with cellulose everywhere, basement filled with 30 years worth of junk, no thank you. Then, an "informed" customer that shops 6 different foam contractors.... pass. When a potential customer askes me to work within their unrealistic buget, I decline, or ask them to eliminate $250 worth of foam/ work. It is true that a "polite" way for me to pass on a job is to throw the price to the moon. Good luck with your search.
Posted: Feb 26, 2011 02:18 PM
guiness -

why pass on someone like me who shops? I shop contractors for a couple of reasons.

1. weed out the bad ones the best I can according to a criteria I have developed over the years

2. try to get an acceptable price for the type of job I want done. I will and have paid for quality service and in a situation like this, quality service does not mean 12k

I have a 4/12 pitch roof and I know the issues it presents but somehow expected to understand why some contractors would not want the job due to that just blows my mind. While extra cost maybe involved for certain types of jobs, pricing it to the moon (just so you don't get it) does a few things.

1. You will never get a positive recommendation from that home owner because you did not get the job.
2. You will get a negative recommendation from that home owner due to the *polite* over charge that was quoted.

There are contractors (in general) that price right, do quality work and want business. I look hard for those contractors and will tell you, for my plumber, roofer and HVAC contractors, they have all fit the bill for me.

I do want to apologize a bit for coming across with strong feelings to contractors but it is a good thing for them and me. Wrong me and people will know about it. Right me, and I can almost guarantee additional work from me in the form of my friends and family.
Posted: Feb 26, 2011 03:31 PM
You might have a new "Contractor" that owns a business, put in a full staff, does not spray himself and figured true mark up vs making more then over a days wages.

He might have all his people dressed in full Moon suits as dictated by the EPA which can slow attic work down.

In my contracting days I would have been the guy 12K higher. There is nothing wrong with profit. You have self admitted you had other things done inexpensively and got the price due to a bad economy.

I think it is a bad practice to tell people to bring prices down in a bad economy, it will never let us have a good economy.
John Shockney
Posted: Feb 26, 2011 04:14 PM
I have seen a lot of contractors out there complaining about being undercut by out of state contractors and I may be able to help you understand how some of us are doing it.

First of all I live in a depressed county in Indiana I paid $40,000 for a 2000sqft farmhouse on 2 acres with a 1500sqft pole barn so my housing costs are very low and yes I have had to do a lot of work on the house. But I do have very low overhead that’s no business secret keep overhead down.

Second we are a small mom and pop business with no employees and no plans to grow to that point of needing them. I have had employees and at this point in my life I don’t need the headaches anymore.

Now I figure that we can live on about $50,000 per year and put $25,000 per year back into the business that means that if I spray only one set per week (50sets per year and have time offto have fun) I can sell it for $3500 per set installed (plus job prep and cleanup) now that’s a 75% markup. The only problem is that I only sold 10 sets in the local (50-100 mile) aria. So we advertise on the internet to help DIY’ers get the best insulation value they can so we travel as much as 500+ (and charge for it) to get work and keep busy. But I always tell the potential customer to shop the local contractors first! And ask if they can do some of the work to get a better price.

I always try to provide the best info I can and I only spray name brand foams, but I have been told about local contractors that want to only spray 5 inches of open cell under roofs and charge what it costs for us to spray 10 inches where 5inches just isn’t enough or some contractor spraying foam that I have never heard of with no testing at high prices.

I know that most of you can’t live on $50,000per year but I can and have lived on less. But at $3500 per set that’s over $100 per hour profit and if you are spraying every day or so you can make a good living, the lawyers around here are the only ones getting $100per hour.

In the HVAC business we have used a sliding scale markup for years if a part cost less than $100 we would mark it up 100-200% and the more the part cost the less the markup and making a 75% markup on a $2000 item is pretty good. But even by selling foam for an installed price per drum-set that still makes closed cell cost around $0.80 per board foot and open cell around $0.25 and from what I have heard most contractors are around that price.

Now we have out of work factory workers here installing furnaces for $200 over my cost with a $100 in tools and it’s a good thing that they don’t have the money to buy a foam rig or there would be more of them out there spraying foam. Just remember that spraying foam isn’t a get rich quick scheme it’s a hot, nasty, dirty job that requires some skill and not everyone can or will do it!! We now have equipment and foam suppliers renting spray rigs to homeowners or selling them junk like the fast-kick gun, and most of these homeowners are running back to us the contractor after finding out what it takes to spray foam.

To some this up every business has to find its niche and adapt to an ever changing market or let the business die. I have installed 10 foot satellite TV systems with a $2000 profit each, repaired VCRs for $100per hour both these markets are gone, if I didn’t adapt and change with the market I would starve. Maybe in the future something will make spray foam obsolete and we all will be flipping burgers (not Me), but every good business man will have a plan and will succeed!! That is unless the government stops us, oh right we are supposed to be the government of the people but some don’t want us to have a say.

Posted: Feb 26, 2011 04:32 PM
Airpro, LOL, now that has to hurt calling the FastKick Gun Junk.

Did you want to take a shot at my "The Foamer" Hot High Pressure machine as well?

In contracting my Foam Mechanics made over 50K per year with bennies.

I appreciate it though, if people are not talking about you, your not doing anything.

I will be doing a Press Release on some of our new formulations next week that will make all other fire ratings shiver.
Posted: Feb 26, 2011 04:39 PM
Tom Hay-

Not true what you say about requests for a lower price due to economic factors causing no growth in the economy.

I look at it this way, if I hire someone and they take the job then I am helping the economic growth of my region. How much? how knows but it helps.
I am not looking to take a 8k job and ask for it to be done for $4k. That is utterly ridiculous. However, a few hundred off the top is what negotiation is all about. Did you ever buy a new car and NOT negotiate?

As fare as getting a good price on the HVAC system, yeah the economy had something to do with it and FWIW, I am glad because I know for a fact HVAC residential work has been inflated for years and also filled with unscrupulous contractors..

All in all, I want a good job for a decent price (so I have more money to spend in this economy if the negotiated price allows) and can't wait for this job to be done (cause I want good insulation)
Posted: Feb 26, 2011 04:47 PM
NJ, the problem sometimes maybe the written word is not as understanding as the spoken.

The asking for better price has no effect, the the contractor lowering his price so he does not profit does.

You posted you asked the contractor to shave $250.00 off his price. You did not however say, if you can take $250.00 off you have the job.

Unlike other profesions an SPF Contractor only has so many machines but more importantly only so many that can run them proper.

It seems you have a lot of people wasting gas. You could more describe the job, materials you want used, referances (minumum 5 in local area) and your budgetary figure right from the start. This might save you a lot of time and contractors a lot of money.
Posted: Feb 26, 2011 05:36 PM
C and R, no one can install closed cell foam for .49 a bd ft and not lose $$, not even Otto Bayer himself if he was around! Alot of homeowners do not know the scope of the work that one contractor is proposing over another. I walked an 11,000 sq ft house last week with one of my customers and the homeowner. The contractor told me to speak openly about pricing as they were only going to give a price on the labor. To do the house properly using 3" closed cell foam in the walls and 5" in the roof and the ignition barrier was about $38k in materials. The homeowner told me that he had a price from another contractor for $45k but wanted to use my contractor as they were "friends', but he wanted it a little cheaper. I politely told hime that there was no way he would have the job done properly for $45k. Without going into all the details of the house construction, I can tell you that the job would take an experienced crew 15 days to spray. I talked to the homeowner more and come to find out he didn't know the difference between open and closed cell foam and couldn't give me any specifics on the other bid. Maybe he had an unscrupulous contractor bid and that contractor was going to use a 1lb foam and pass it off as closed cell foam. Maybe he was using .5lb foam and the homeowner just thinks foam is foam. Maybe the homeowner is just a liar, you never know.

As far as pricing goes, the insulation business has always been cut throat, lowest bid wins. 3 or 4 years ago, you had to educate the customer, you could sell your company and your work to get the job. Now, foam is more common and you don't have to explain so much. As this happens, it comes more down to price. Unfortunately, lowest price isn't the best job. Newbe's that can't spray, voids in the foam, off ratio foam, etc. I have seen foam jobs that look like someone mixed a and b in a bucket and threw it on the wall with a shovel from 10 feet away. But they were the low bidder. By now, most contractors see this and know what a good foam job looks like. They will pay a fair rate for a good job.

Just as you guys are getting beat up on price in the field, we get it as distributors as well. You have walmart out there selling foam. No training, no tech support, no building science knowledge, no parts, just a bunch of box trucks and warehouses all over the country full of foam, fiberglass, fireplaces, underware, whatever. Most guys I deal with are fantastic, walmart calls them and they tell them to beat it, they understand the value of having someone they can call with any question or any equipment issue and get immediate help. Others have short memories. I get calls once in a while from a customer who say they can get foam at walmart for $25-50 cheaper per set. They want to stay with us as they like our support, but they want the walmart price. They forget how you trained them for free, how you answered the phone to help them, nights, holidays, weekends. They forget how you let them use a spray gun, drum pump, supplied air pump, etc as theirs was broken. They forget how they had a big job and you let them take a complete spray rig for free. Then there are others that call who aren't even our customers but need help. They are having issues with their equipment and they called walmart, but no one was there to help. I always try and help the guy on the other end of the phone, but how much tech support is too much? Had a guy call me 6 times over the course of 4 months with different issues. Never bought foam or parts or anything as walmart was cheaper. I finally had to tell him that by helping him, I was helping walmart and if he called me again it needed to be to place an order. I love what I do, but at the end of the day, I do this to make a living and support my family.

NJ, don't take this the wrong way, but no amount of research that you do is going to allow you to understand the issues that a 4/12 existing attic is going to present for the guy pulling the trigger on the spray gun. The harder a job is, the higher the price. How many square feet is your job? Just out of curiosity, how many contractors have you had out to look at your job? Some contractors get annoyed if they find out that they are the tenth guy there. Spraying foam is not like buying a used car. If you have a fair price for a difficult job by a qualified installer, then why should he take even $1 out of his pocket? He has a budget too. Now I don't think that not answering your calls or emails is the way to handle it either, he should have politely told you that his price is the price. While alot of trades are slow, the spray foam industry is strong and the quality guys who have been at it for a year are busy.

George Spanos
John Shockney
Posted: Feb 26, 2011 05:44 PM
Tom Hay,

I didn’t know the fast-kick gun was yours, but last summer I was on two jobs where there were fast-kick guns lying on the floor and the customer didn’t have anything good to say about them!

But I guess it has its place in the market but it should come with a money back guarantee.

I did say that I can live on 50k per year but we do make a lot more than that with foam, HVAC and general contracting, but I don’t put all my eggs in one basket ether.

Posted: Feb 26, 2011 05:52 PM

It does come with a money back warranty.

To date we have over 2,000 of them out there. I would venture to say if you surfed the WWW you would find nothing bad said about it and especialy compared to other DIY kits.

The main purpose is for smaller jobs where a contractor cannot afford to bring a rig out, ie room addition etc

I have quite a few customers that have full equipment set ups that still use the Fast Kick for small things rather then drag the Big Boy out.

I am now semi retired but stay on part time to consult.

I will be in SPF and Polyurea till my dieing day, to me it has been a good life and formulations are getting more exciting every year.
John Shockney
Posted: Feb 26, 2011 06:50 PM

I can see the fast-kick gun may have a place out there but the homeowners that I was working for were lead to believe that they could spray a whole house with it and didn’t know that they could send it back.

Posted: Feb 26, 2011 06:54 PM

If all they had was the gun left they could have also put it on ebay as we suggest to users who buy.

To date I have only seen one listed and it sold first day.
Posted: Feb 26, 2011 07:44 PM

I agree with you about making sure you ask the contractor for specifics. All I can tell you is that I did. Maybe I just scare the contractors because I know (or at least I think I do) know much more about SPA the the average home owner.

And here is a snipit of my email to the one contractor I wanted. This request is $249 less then he quoted.

Can we do the attic line, gable walls, intumescent paint on gable walls, garage ceiling and sill plate perimeter solution for $6750?
Don't forget me as I want to sign and seal this so we can start ....!

I think I covered all the bases you speak about Tom but I think I really am a rare home owner and that scares or annoys some contractors.
Bryan Kwater
Posted: Feb 26, 2011 08:26 PM
Is that the foam that is advertised that is .6 pound closed cell? lol
Posted: Feb 27, 2011 10:49 AM
"I am not sure I was bid high because a contractor did not want the job. That is the most absurd thing I have ever heard of in my life. If a contractor is too busy, then you bid it and give an estimated time of install and if it is 2 months out, so be it. Why toss your future bread and butter?"

NJ...on vacation,,carona's goin down good,,sun bakin my already baked brain,,,so here goes,

#1) my customers also know alot about spf 2,,most are pretty highly educated and know how to get the info,,and what they dont get,,guess what,,i provide them with the sourses so they can make an informed decision,, much like you! you are not the exception in this market,you are the norm,,,ours is an "upgrade" market much like the old bemster out there,,and education is tantamount..

#2) now then,,to the "absurdity",,repectfully,,or not,,,
in a previous life nj,,we had a little saying,,
10% of your patients give you 90% of your problems,,,and the key is to keep those 10% in someone elses waiting room..lol
maybe some of those guys were putting you in the 10%,,right or wrong,,,
remember what is said,,,they have enough on their plate at home..and the scope of your work and the scope of your demands,,well
(doc i want my appendix out but could you do the incision thru my butt so i dont have a scar on my belly?)
now nj,,take a breath,,,sheet,,,i'd spray your work,,your my kinda eccentric clientel i work for every day,,i just hope you can handle the hugs on the job site :)
you have done a good job as a consumer,,,you have educated yourself well and will get the most value for your $$
but dont confuse the consumer side of spf
with the owner side of spf,,,
Bob Silverman
Posted: Feb 27, 2011 01:04 PM
Tom, are you going to be able to back up your press release with the proper documentation? I think someone else already mentioned your .6lb closed cell foam. LOL. Do you have any independant testing on that product?

Posted: Feb 27, 2011 02:05 PM

Don't get insulted because a contractor wouldn't drop his prices. I try to never drop my price once it has been given. I feel like that would be an insult to the client if I am giving prices that are 10% high to leave room for negotiation.

You give the haggling with a car salesman example, but have you ever haggled over a meal, or a tv, or the price of oil, or fuel? Just because you can haggle over a car doesn't mean you can haggle over SPF.

Now I don't blame you for trying, nothing ventured nothing gained, but if you get insulted when I don't lower my price to you, we simply aren't gonna do business.

Good luck to your on your project.
Posted: Feb 27, 2011 04:01 PM
caddis -

I am not upset for what you think I am. I am upset these contractors just go into ignore mode or price out of a respectable range for anyone. None of these guys explained anything about their pricing to me so I then countered and they did not. They just ran away for <$250 ??? What is wrong with that picture.

TomHay -

I am not eccentric rather want the job done right and for a decent price. Decent means for both myself and the contractor not just one sided. I deal with customers everyday in my position and when some may balk at a price that was quoted by a department in my company (except sales since sales in company gives things away) I am asked to get involved. I usually explain why the delta in prices the customer has received and FWIW, that is what I would expect from any business owner/contractor. If you cannot tell me why you are more money and not only think I am eccentric but expect me to be clairvoyant as well, you fail at good customer service. If you can explain in detail the costs associated with my specific job and why it cannot compare to a simple high pitched roof on a cape cod (if that is simple) then you will most likely win my business.


As far as haggling for TV's and appliances, damn skippy I do but concerning food, usually no need to haggle since there are store brands much cheaper then name brands but I hate store brands and do not buy them cause they are not always as good. There are reasons name brands cost more and they can be spelled out in taste or features but with SPF, it seems you just spray it on and your are done to most laymen. Explain a little and things will g along way. Don't want a job because yuo are too busy, god bless you and let me know what region you are in cause I may come done and start up an SPF biz myself in your area (just kidding)

All in all this is a great thread with alot of good up front and behind the lines information and I am really glad to meet all of you and converse as we have been.
Brian Bothun
Posted: Feb 27, 2011 05:33 PM
When I give out an estimate and people respond "is that the best you can do?" I reply with a simple "the price stated is the best i can do" I also don't feel like I need to explain why my bid is lower or higher then the next guys. For what? Say I have more overhead then the other contractor therefore charging more labor to make ends meet. It basically comes down to some people need more money to get by then others. They charge what they charge and if they can make a living off of it then so be it. In this industry and most others theres always going to be these low ballers. No way around it.

NJ -
As you say, its only $250 then why ask for it?

I'm a contractor that stands my ground. The almighty rule is that the homeowner or consumer is the boss. But you wont dictate what i charge.

If you don't like the price and service im offering then thanks for your time and have a good day.
Posted: Feb 27, 2011 05:46 PM
BrianB --

Only $250 to him who is charging a multi thousands of dollars but that same $250 is alot to me when I am the one shelling out that cash. Some are missing my point which is. That contractor blew me off as like I did not exist. No reason anyone can tell me that would be acceptable. (in my situation)

You have to realize put put their faith into contractors and because there is a large percentage of contractors that are lousy and or unscrupulous, the "good" contractors need to explain things to the wary consumer and if they choose not to, fine but understand there is one that will and that contractor will get the job.

I am not toying with these contractors as some may feel I am doing but rather trying my best to understand their product (which most of them do not explain), their pricing and their commitment to the customer. I need that as a consumer to as best I can, protect myself and FWIW, when it is written in the contract (itemized) it protects the contractor as well.
richard sucher II
Posted: Feb 27, 2011 06:38 PM
Boy, my head hurts from following this thread. Can't wait for this guys house to get sprayed. Funny thing, this story is not over. Now someone has got to do this job and make this guy happy. Probably probing every square foot for zero negative tolerance on thickness. My prayers go out to the unlucky stiff who gets this job.
Brian Bothun
Posted: Feb 27, 2011 07:38 PM
I may have come off as being negative which I didn't intend. Dealing with customers wanting more (or less) is a daily thing. I run my business firm and try to spend as little time as possible on each lead giving me more time to work at the next. Not saying I don't care about the job its just that if I get tied up with a consumer 3-4 times that i'm NOT getting paid for then why should I feel that I need to drop my price as requested?

Some of the guys here probably think that's not the way to go about things but so be it. When your off with a consumer for umpteen hours clarifying things over and over i'll be onto another lead.
Posted: Feb 27, 2011 08:03 PM
I try to do things via email and expect after hours response so as not to interfere with the contractors daily duties to their business (beyond me) I am very respectful to them and their time and while it seems this is a big drawn out procedure I go through with contractors, it is not. It is fast (faster now that I know more) and just needs to be redone when the contractor ignores things I asked for or gives no or poor explanations to anything in their quote.

I should give you references as a customer.. LOL .. You can call my contractors that do work for me and that I trust. No hassle with them ever but they know I am detailed and want the best job they can do. Even when they do something wrong, I deal with it professionally with them and strive for a quick, easy and acceptable resolution.
Posted: Feb 27, 2011 08:14 PM
My apologies to the OP. I stole this thread and did not mean to take it off track.

Again I am sorry
steven argus
Posted: Feb 27, 2011 10:09 PM
Someone hurry up and spray this guys attic. But make sure you tell us all about it so we can all have a good laugh.
Posted: Feb 28, 2011 08:03 AM
NJ- How is the $250 worth less to the SPF contractor than to you? $250 is $250, if I gave you a customer a price, and that customer is a pain in the ass (not saying you are one, just saying), and then he asks me to take money off my price, I will walk.

I have been in the business long enough to know the the red flags of a bad customer. I have also been burned enough to know that I do not need to deal with these people. That is one advantage to this business, if I don't want to deal with someone, I don't. If I get a bad vibe from you and I am not hurting for work, I will simply not do business with you.

It works the same way on the consumer's end as well.
Bob Silverman
Posted: Feb 28, 2011 08:39 PM
I think that nj is here to stay. He is answering questions on other threads, after all, he has been reading these boards and knows all about spray foam. It will be interesting to see how his job pans out after he interviews every contractor in NJ and gets a fair price for the job, less $250 of course. He has earned it.
Posted: Feb 28, 2011 11:02 PM
buyin a rig in a week or 2??lol??
Posted: Mar 01, 2011 05:26 AM
Posted: Mar 01, 2011 11:09 AM
Posted: Mar 01, 2011 02:52 PM
caddis has a good point on that one. I know every person that has asked me to drop my price has also been the biggest pains. They are the ones who then follow you around, try to come and watch while you spray when you keep having to stop and tell them to leave because of the dangers and who then go over every inch looking for anything they think is wrong even if it is not and will hold the check until you fix it. same with demanding you come back and fix things other contractors screw up.

Anymore that is fast turning in to a way to have me ignore you too out of fear you will still hire me if I reply and say I won't drop the price. I may add a pain in the rear clause to the contracts on a sliding scale of inceases based on people making these kinds of demands. especially those who think open cell should be as smooth and even as closed cell!
steven argus
Posted: Mar 01, 2011 06:30 PM
Do you think he's gone yet? He's probably picking out his favorite sharpie marker to mark all the low spots.
Todd Baxter
Posted: Mar 02, 2011 04:00 PM

ON your fast kick gun, I called to ask about it, and even if they had any demo to sell, and never got a return call. so i will never know how well it works or not. not good customer service in my book. any way just my 2 cents.
maurice richter
Posted: Mar 03, 2011 09:04 PM
Been doing a lot of reading here. Learning a lot. About spray foam. About contractors and customers. Before I signed up, I thought I'd be able to buy low priced equipment and do it myself. Heck, I've done everything else at home. Reading on here, its become clear that spraying foam isn't easy, so I thought about hiring it done. I started realizing that by reading posts here, a person might be able to judge the quality and character of a contractor. And I see quality people here.

Has anyone else realized that what is posted here could be an advertisement for your business?
Paul Covert
Posted: Mar 10, 2011 10:25 PM
NJ - No offense, but you should "suit up" once, and crawl/lay on your side over the ceiling joists in an attic while spraying foam to make your day's pay. Standing firm on a quote might make more sense to you then.
Paul Covert
Posted: Mar 10, 2011 10:34 PM
Maurice - Spray foam is a very hard way to make a living. In the summer it's too hot, in the winter it's too cold. A lot of consumers want something for nothing. I just got burned for $9,000 because I trusted the customer to be honest, and didn't make them sign anything up front. I had talked to the guy on the phone a dozen times in the months before he was ready for foam, him calling me with questions. On payday, he sends his bulldog wife and her goon brother out to meet me, insisting that I sign guarantees before they will pay me. They goaded me into losing my temper, and I told them to keep their money... I don't want their filthy money. So, I am a fool for trusting John Q. Public. I have been doing this for 6 years, and it is my first time getting burned.
steven argus
Posted: Mar 10, 2011 11:00 PM
Rowdy, walk away from 9K? What are ya nuts?? Send me the papers, I'll sign em. Filthy $$$ is fine by me as long as it's still green.
Paul Covert
Posted: Mar 10, 2011 11:38 PM
You would have to have been there. I sprayed over half of the attic myself, and the brother-in-law accused me of lying when I said it. They wanted me to sign a guarantee that their attic would never get over 82 degrees, and wanted to know what my plan was if it did. They kept saying that I had promised a 6 inch minimum depth, which I did not. I asked them where they got that from, and they said that I mentioned it to some guy that was working there on a Saturday, who had never seen foam before, and was asking me about it. When I said I don't know that guy and it was none of his business, they called me a LIAR. Like I said, their game was to make me lose my temper - that's why the husband wasn't there, he is too much of a chicken****** to fight his own battles.
Like I said, it's my fault for not making them sign my contract upfront. I'm too trustng of people...
By the way - this is a roofdeck job that I would be proud to show any fellow foamer. It is a very good job.
Posted: Mar 11, 2011 04:40 AM
if you dont have a lawyer on retainer,,,
get one,,,
i'd pay a couple franklins for the letter to
get my 90 franklins anyday..
politely smile at br0-in-law and say...
it doesnt matter what you think,,,
my contract is with brunhilda here and
chickenschinola wherever he is,,,
so,,shoo fly,,,otta really get him goin
and pleez,,take the first punch,,lol..
but serious..
on your bid/quote have a place at the bottom with your terms and a place for the customer to date,sign and return,,they never do..
in that closeing paragraph,,you word,,,when application begins without this contract being signed and returned, said application warrants acceptance of the above bid quote specifications and terms by owner/contractor....
or sumpin like that,,
steven argus
Posted: Mar 11, 2011 12:12 PM
Rowdy, I'm currently trying to collect money from a few guys. Nothing was signed. But my lawyer informed me that if we're doing the job and a proposal was submitted to the customer before we started, it's assumed that the customer agreed to the proposal. I give my lawyer a $500 retainer. She makes a few calls to the customer. I get my money from the customer and the lawyer gets 2 -3 hundred bucks. Case closed. I would spend $8900 in lawyer fees to get $9000 out of a dead beat customer. I also rely on an old friend who runs a collection service. He calls dead beats on Sunday mornings when their getting ready for church.
maurice richter
Posted: Mar 11, 2011 09:09 PM
Rowdy - I am learning that! By reading SprayFoamMagazine.com, I can see good contractors.
Paul Covert
Posted: Mar 11, 2011 10:50 PM
I got the lein forms today, found out that some of the legal hurdles do not apply when you are dealing directly with the homeowner.
Terrance Harris
Posted: Mar 12, 2011 01:17 AM
Think more about collecting than leining. A lein may never recover the money due you. Retain a lawyer. I could go into this in more depth but your state laws are sure to be different than where I am located. But I can say that after retaining a lawyer I never failed to collect in full. Research a lawyer that is familiar with collecting in your type of situation.
ricardo aguilar
Posted: Feb 08, 2013 06:42 AM
Ok I have an answer I worked for almost all of houston spray foam companies.

Texas foam insulators from willis tx does not pay overtime they pay straight time they only have illegals working for at the most $12/hr they also do nlt pay theee workers drive time there or back (except the driver).They also pay every1 as a contractor so they even save money on workers comp/insurance/social security etc.

Energy guard was the same way don't pay drive time or overtime .they had a couple of friends working there for $500 week salary but had to work mon-sun 6am-10pm.

Many others I could keep going Advanced INsulation Solutions from Alvin tx as well.

I have 9years experience spraying open and closed cell. Knowledge on graco machines /guns valid drivers license /medical card very hard worker and beautiful spraying application. Bilingual etc (I have pics of my work)
I just laugh when I get offered $10 as a crew leader. It seems that the max here is about $15 which is nothing compared to what I got when I worked in atlanta. I'm mexican and hate to say the illegals and there needs with opportunist spray foam companies are really hurting every1. I
Posted: Feb 08, 2013 02:42 PM
Pelon, One of my pet peeves is low wages paid to experienced sprayfoamers. I often tell folks how much better folks sprayed foam in the 60s and 70s compared to today. One of the reasons is the pay. In the early 70s, my dad paid his experienced helpers $7/hr. experienced applicators $9/hr and rig foreman $12/hr. If they worked a union job the applicators got $17/hr

Our crews typically consisted of college educated workers and even a few guys with masters degrees.

The biggest reason I stayed in the foam business after college was I could earn twice as much spraying as teaching school.
Matthew Gowin
Posted: Jun 20, 2013 09:03 PM
I wish I had the problem that some people seem to with $1 s board foot quotes. I recently got a quote for just under 1200 board feet at about $2.90 a board foot. They guy was very nice and polite but I cant justify that when I am reading people getting it for $1 or less.

As for a home owner following you around and making sure things are fair, sounds like he has been burnt before. I paid a contractor to do my addition over a year ago. I gave him the 20% downpayment and he had plenty of time clauses in his contract saying when I had to pay and what would happen if I didnt. I paid in May and they did not start work until September. They worked everyday for about two weeks. After that they started taking days off. They then started requesting progress payments. The job looked good so I did it. A little bit later the siding crew jacked up my heat pump and he was very good about contacting them and making them have it fixed. Then around January he requested the final payment. So I paid him. Well after that he showed up once. I even had to schedule the final inspection and fix the deficencies. To this day there are still things that were done wrong or not finished that has never been fixed. He keeps telling me he will come out next week and then cancels. So, I see why some people are careful.
Jesse Michalski
Posted: Nov 09, 2013 01:37 AM
Posted: Aug 12, 2017 08:09 AM
Friends. Don't worry about what others are doing so much. People who are good at what they do are valuable. If you are a smaller operation, you will never want to match pricing to compete with a bigger High Volume/Lower margin outfit.

Figure out what Gross Margin works for you and stick with it. Sell yourself. If you loose some jobs so be it.

Anyone who is a professional knows that the Closed cell material and Open cell material cost a certain amount. If you aren't a clown you have employees who at the very least make a good wage and you are taking their taxes out and matching it. You have overhead. Why on earth would you try to compete with someone who is bidding work at rates that reflect no profit? Just move on and trust God to provide for you.

There's no reason to be in business if you aren't making a profit. That's the bottom line. If you are competing with someone and you know it doesn't work for your model, walk away and go after the next opportunity.

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