What are some of the biggest problems when comparing price estimates on Austin insulation installs?
Be cautious. Let’s say you go to a fiberglass insulation manufacturer’s website. You use their “calculator” on how much insulation you need. You will probably be oversold. That’s right.
Recently I had a client, Mark, tell me that he felt I underbid how many bags of insulation would be needed for his home’s attic insulation in Austin TX.
I dug a little deeper to find out that he had gone to the manufacturers website. Johns Manville told him he needed twice as many bags as I estimated. Why? Ultimately they told him how many bags were needed to achieve an R-60 in his attic.
The problem is they were recommending an R-60 and Johns Manville did not provide an option to lower the R-value in the estimate. Mark had asked me simply to bring the building up to City of Austin code compliance which is R-38. Mark already had an R-10 in the attic so I was only estimating adding R-28.
In other words, manufacturers can be deceptive, and so can insulation salespeople. If my quote looks low or high compared to other installers, it is probably because…
You Are Comparing Apples to Oranges.
In another case, there was a problem when a client, Rick, had asked me to estimate the price for a new construction job with spray-foam throughout. I did, and he said my price was 50% higher than a competitor.
I told Rick that if that was the case, my competitor was not even charging him the cost of materials. So Rick dug a little deeper to find out that the competitor was bidding spray foam only in the attic, and that they bid fiberglass batts in the walls for the rest of the house.
So I sent Rick another estimate worked up the same way the competitor had it done with fiberglass instead of spray foam. Then of course we were finally comparing apples to apples, and my price was significantly less than before because fiberglass batts are often about 1/2 the price of spray foam.
Avoid The Inches / R-Value Insulation Pricing Trick!
We run into this gimmick almost every day. Here is a recent example with Chris, an awesome Irish carpenter. I was bidding installing spray foam insulation in his woodworking shop. He told me that a competitor was about 10% less than I was.
I reminded Chris about how all of the insulation installers charge basically the same amount. I said, the only way my competitor is less than me is if they are installing less insulation. He pulled out the written estimate from the competitor. We held the competitor’s quote up next to mine and compared. Guess what?
The other guy was bidding 10% less insulation than I was. It is called the Inches / R-Value Gimmick. I was giving Chris the price to do what he asked for, 7 inches on the roof-decks. My competitor’s bid specified only 5 inches on the roof decks. Big difference!
I told Chris that if he only wanted to have 5 inches installed, I would be happy to do it for him. I also told him that if I only installed 5 instead of 7, my price would actually be the same as my competitor’s price.
Now that Chris understood the gimmick, he was no longer fooled by the competitor’s “low price” trick. Chris hired us, and has been showing off our work to all of his friends. I believe it is best to be transparent and do the right thing.
What does it all mean?
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