Etiquette School is in session! > "What an interesting assumption."

You can't afford this

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Outdoor Girl:
What I've done before, with contractors, is asked them to give me a ballpark figure so I know whether or not I can afford the work I want done.  I've even done this part over the phone.  If the ballpark is reasonable, to me, I then get them to come out and give me a firm quote, with a breakdown of all the expenses.

I *really* hate the whole "you can't afford it" attitude (and the "if you have to ask, you can't afford it")

I had a client who was a multi millionaire (I was dealing with his (very amicable) divorce) Looking at him, and his wife, you would not have guessed they had money at all - and they lived in a pretty understated way, too - their kids went to non-fee paying schools, and were expected to get Saturday jobs.

I would find someone telling me, based on my appearance, that I can't afford something to be very insulting. I know exactly what i can and can't afford.

When we bought our home 11 years ago, the assessor came out to do the assessment. Our home is in a middle-income suburban neighborhood of -- at that time -- all new houses. We had hardwood put in our upper level. I happen to know from visiting my neighbors that a LOT of them put hardwoods into their homes, so our flooring choice was hardly unusual. The assessor came in and said, "I can't believe you put in hardwood in a home in this sort ... sniff... neighborhood. Why didn't you buy a house in [more expensive] neighborhood if that's what you wanted? Oh let me guess, you couldn't afford a house in that neighborhood. heeheehee."

I told him that our choices were none of his business and he'd be wise to stop making assumptions about people's income or reasons for making their choices.

He later went on to run for local  public office.  Our local paper gave a synopsis of one of his Q&A sessions and apparently I was not the ony one he offended with comments like that because person after person got up and said, "Why should we vote for you for this position given how you behaved in our home when you did the assessment - making all sorts of rude comments?" He didn't win that election.

shhh its me:

--- Quote from: lowspark on June 20, 2013, 03:00:08 PM ---This is a classic error made by many salespeople and contractors. I had it happen to me when I was buying a new car many years ago. The salesman flat out told me that the car I was interested in was expensive and wouldn't I be interested in these other (cheaper) cars? I bought the car I wanted... from a different dealership.

When I was remodeling my kitchen, DH and I did about 9 months worth of shopping and researching before we even talked to the first contractor. I got several quotes and I would hand them a list of materials, a list of tasks they were to complete, and a layout drawing. So it was pretty clear that I knew exactly what I wanted and that I'd done my homework.

And yet I still had a couple of these guys say "do you realize how much this is going to cost?" or "wow, that's a lot. It's going to be expensive to do all this."

Ummm... yeah. I kinda figured that out when I was doing all this research and shopping.

What gets me is they bothered to show up, they bothered to listen to everything I had to say, they bothered to take notes and ask quesitions, and then, without the benefit of actually giving me an estimate, they threw away all that time and effort by making my decision to not hire them for me.

I did do the remodel. It did cost me a bundle. I had saved up for it and paid for it all at that time. And the contractor I hired never once doubted what I told him or asked for.

Why throw away business before you even have it?

--- End quote ---

I think in part because you can be a great contractor but a lousy salesperson or you can just be both a lousy contractor and sales person.

People really underestimate how much of a skill qualifying customers is and how important and difficult it is.  But there is no way " you cant afford it " is effective.

"whats your budget?" rarely works as people often think whatever number they say will end up being the price even if its 10xs more then it should be.

"people in your shoes" I would find offensive but if someone was way over typical, I would ask " this will be around xxxx are you willing to spend that much" very quickly.

This reminds me of a time about 30 years ago when my sister and I were on a trip to England.  It was sponsored by the local Friends of the Public Library and was quite reasonable.

We decided to buy our husbands pipes and went into Dunhill's, a tony tobacco shop.  The guy who waited on us was extremely snotty and actually NEVER spoke a word while he sneeringly brought out pipes from the case for our perusal.  Either he didn't like Americans or he only wanted to wait on Lady Smythe-Rivington or he thought we couldn't afford any of the merchandise.  When we asked the price of one of the pipes my sister said, "What is that in dollars?"  which was a dumb thing to say.  (It's not his job to covert pounds to dollars.)  Of course he ignored the question and just stared at us like we were scum. >:(

I would have liked to complain to the manager but I don't think it would have been of any use.  Needless to say we left and got a laughing fit when we got outside. ;D


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