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  • Writer's pictureSean Lewis

All Quotes Are Not Created Equal.



Last week, I got two quotes… The first, from my regular (and historically outstanding) vendor, was a range (a 42% swing), and the dig was described to be localized to the area directly through the walkway—where the collapse had been found, and which would have incurred significant additional repair costs). The discussion process took approximately 10 minutes.


I delayed...I had to think about it. The second, from a referred vendor, was exact in number, it described a process starting from “the cast-iron exit from the house, dig to the walk, start from the other side to the street, and tunnel under the walkway.“ Incidentally, I had not had the chance to ask about preserving the walk because, from the first quote, I had assumed that there was no way to preserve it.


He continued, “we could do just this area for $XX, but since we’re here, I’d say for the extra $1,500, you might as well just do the whole thing…We’ll come back in the spring and level and topsoil.” I asked, “when could you start?” He replied, “It would have to be tomorrow, because I’m going away for 2 weeks.” I said, “OK, let’s do it.” – and the deal closed on a handshake. The conversation was also 10 minutes. It occurred at 2pm on a Monday afternoon. At 8am Tuesday morning, from my living room window I saw many people buzzing around—3 different agencies coordinated to do the perfunctory markings and the crew setting up. It was a choreographed masterpiece. I took this picture at 2:30pm Tuesday…and it was exactly as described.

My three takeaways: 1) Past relationships should not be assumed upon to close deals based on past performance 2) If it’s not your wheelhouse – say so.

3) When you inspire confidence in your work, a handshake is enough. Vendor Professionalism = Customer Confidence + Delight. Is your wheelhouse good enough to inspire handshake-level confidence?

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