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The be-all-end all of house wash estimating (and commercial)

Ken Fenner

Fuckhead
Many of you may already been aware of this, but many are not.

Google maps has a street view mode. Roving google subcontractors drive through towns and film streets in 360 degree circles. These are very current photos and in many instances give you a clear view of three sides of a home. Combined with a satellite view and a square footage quote from Zillow or a local assesment office, you don't have to visit the house to put together a very accurate proposal.

Has your street been done?

http://maps.google.com/help/maps/streetview/
 

Florin Nutu

New member
I use it alot. I look it up on those sites and then I give the customers a minimum range and I ask them if they would like me to come out and give them a FREE EXACT NON-OBLIGATORY ESTIMATE. Once they say yes the job is pretty much a sold deal.
 

Scott Davis

New member
We do all of our estimates by phone. And it is possible by using google for the street view and maps.live.com for the birdseye. There has never been a suprise when we got to a house, where we said to ourselves, "damn I wish I would have estimated this in person." Our avergae job is 40-60 miles each way, so onsite estimates that we may close only 20-30% of the time, would cost us more in gas than we would end up making. The google street view and maps.live.com are invaluble tools for estimating.
 

precisionpower

New member
Many of you may already been aware of this, but many are not.

Google maps has a street view mode. Roving google subcontractors drive through towns and film streets in 360 degree circles. These are very current photos and in many instances give you a clear view of three sides of a home. Combined with a satellite view and a square footage quote from Zillow or a local assesment office, you don't have to visit the house to put together a very accurate proposal.

Has your street been done?

http://maps.google.com/help/maps/streetview/
Fenner, i started a thread about this very topic months ago over at Bob's, with very little interest or reply. This tool alone more than likely saved me a few hundred or more in gas this past summer. Great topic.:yes:
 

Chad Johnson

New member
So how do you guys that use this method implement it?

When I get calls, Im usually working, so I cant just go online and pull up their address and give a rough estimate.
I wouldnt feel right telling a "potential customer" that I'll have to look up their property online and get back to them.
If it is something odd ball like a patio or deck, I have to look at it.
Problem to is that livemaps.com or google maps wont always show the property, so then your pretty much obligated to see it or use you best judgement and give a ball park figure.

Hows everyones success with this?
 

Ken Fenner

Fuckhead
Chad, I am going to use it in conjunction with my website leads. But I am also going to use it for all leads so I have a heads up before I go do the sale. I schedule estimates for weekends only so when someone calls during the week I tell them I'll be there on Saturday or Sunday depending how I route myself. This gives me the time to use the online tools.

How cool is it to show up with an estimate sheet with the customers name and a picture of their property on it? Just another way to notch up your professionalism in the eyes of the public.
 

Ken Fenner

Fuckhead
Fenner, i started a thread about this very topic months ago over at Bob's, with very little interest or reply. This tool alone more than likely saved me a few hundred or more in gas this past summer. Great topic.:yes:
OB, I think many of the rural areas haven't been mapped yet but over the last few months even the outskirts of my service area is now included. That's what prompted me to bring it back into the light.

I'm not a big fan of advocating not meeting with customers, but for some, that is their business model and this is an incredible tool.
 

Rob Huffman

New member
I used to use google...however had a lady on the phone and was explaining things when the question popped up..."where are you at?". I had made certain mentions of particular items in her yard / driveway and it made her VERY SCARED. I think she thought I was already outside.

Since then I have stopped and went back to the personal touch of actually meeting the customers.
 

Jim Chesmore

New member
I had a customer on the phone while I was looking at his property. Funny thing is, he was getting different seasons/views then I was getting and we were on the same site. After we hung up I started playing around and sometimes you can get 8 different pics for the same property just by hitting the rotate button. Pretty cool, huh
 

Florin Nutu

New member
So how do you guys that use this method implement it?

When I get calls, Im usually working, so I cant just go online and pull up their address and give a rough estimate.
I wouldnt feel right telling a "potential customer" that I'll have to look up their property online and get back to them.
If it is something odd ball like a patio or deck, I have to look at it.
Problem to is that livemaps.com or google maps wont always show the property, so then your pretty much obligated to see it or use you best judgement and give a ball park figure.

Hows everyones success with this?


I always want to go and actually see the property and be face to face with the customer but for the times that I cannot I will use it. Here is how it goes for me.... They call and explain what they have that needs cleaned. I get some basic info from them and then I mention my minimum or a price range for that type of work. If still interested I tell them to give me their adress and I will take a look at their property today or tommorrow. I then look it up and if it is a home that is easily viewable thru the map sites then I will call them later in the day and tell them that I looked at their property and the price will be such and such and I tell them about the company and processes.

Not as good of a closing ratio compared to doing it onsite but with these short daylight hours and busy times, it works.
 

John Orr

UAMCC Treasurer
My "Be all, end all" of house wash estimating was my creation of per (heated) sq/ft pricing. It allows me to give estimates immediately on the phone. Very high closing rate. It allowed me to survive the higher gas prices last year and customers absolutely understand that the cost of an estimate is actually included in the price, so not having to use the fuel and time for every estimate, it has allowed me to keep my prices down and my P/E about the same - if not better. I also never increase price for existing customers - since the cost to obtain that customer was paid the first time, I'm able to pass the savings on...and my customer's appreciate it.

The market for house washing remains uncertain for this year, but if "WHAT GOES AROUND, COMES AROUND" is true, I look forward to a good year. Historically, my season starts around March 1 - and the phone has already started ringing. We'll see. Referrals are the lifeblood of my business, but the Yellow Book as well as my local Community Phone Book, with coupons in each, help get the phone ringing and they are delivered in the Sping...right on time for me.
 

Ron Musgraves

Past President
Many of you may already been aware of this, but many are not.

Google maps has a street view mode. Roving google subcontractors drive through towns and film streets in 360 degree circles. These are very current photos and in many instances give you a clear view of three sides of a home. Combined with a satellite view and a square footage quote from Zillow or a local assesment office, you don't have to visit the house to put together a very accurate proposal.

Has your street been done?

http://maps.google.com/help/maps/streetview/

Its a great tool, I cannot use it.

I'm not putting the idea down, some guys I respect use this. I just have guys that measure and i like to be acurate.

I have looked at jobs via photos from Google. Its a great tool to take a peak at the job. I have found because my industry has so much growth that its not a very accurate representation.

Buildings get put up and added on overnight. Googles photos are old and getting older.

Its great for alot of other uses to measure. Just not good for commercial buildings in my area.
 

Jeff Wible

New member
I don't think I'd do it ,...takes the personal contact out of it. Maybe would make the customer just feel like another number. Or maybe you don't have enough motivation or interest to actually go look at the "THEIR" job. I think I would like to know my competition was doing this, seems like I would be more likely to get the job because I simply showed more interest and wasn't sitting at home on the couch trying to bid jobs.
Also, I think customers like to meet the person who will be coming to their property. Especially the way things are these days.
Jeff
 

Ken Fenner

Fuckhead
Its a great tool, I cannot use it.

I'm not putting the idea down, some guys I respect use this. I just have guys that measure and i like to be acurate.

I have looked at jobs via photos from Google. Its a great tool to take a peak at the job. I have found because my industry has so much growth that its not a very accurate representation.

Buildings get put up and added on overnight. Googles photos are old and getting older.

Its great for alot of other uses to measure. Just not good for commercial buildings in my area.
Ron, I do agree that there has to be certain numbers measured but you know as well as I do that prequalifying a property has its value. You can look at photos of a property and get an idea of square footage the put your own spin on getting your foot in the door.

As far as the age of the pictures, this is pretty new to Google. These are camera images taken within the last two years. The picture of my house has my niece at the front door with holiday decorations from 2008 in the yard.

Jeff, I have been advocating the same thing for years. I like to be on a property to upsell and to meet and greet the customer to form a long term relationship. I think it pays way more in the long run. For me, this is a tool. A prequalification if you will. For many guys that are not inclined to sales, this is the ticket for them.

Even if you don't use it to when people call you, look at the value of it in creating a direct mailing campaign. You can see exactly what the house is covered with (vinyl, aluminum, etc) and if roofs in the area are dirty. For businesses you can see who has their concrete cleaned and who doesn't.
 

Scott Stone

New member
I looked up my house, and that picture is at least three years old. I also know it was taken on a sunday, because of where my truck was. Not super current, but it also did not provide a street view, either.
 

Jeff Wible

New member
To many variables ,...like "Artillery Fungus",...if that's not pointed out to the customer they may think that is part of the cleaning. Or worse yet, that is the whole reason they want their house washed. So you go and wash the house and leave a bill and they say you didn't do as expected. And to no fault of theirs,..simply because everyone isn't aware of that particular problem,....or they think a pressure washer was the answer and they never mentioned any special circumstances,...such as the little black specks!!

Also what about very oxidized paint on any aluminum trim that may be on the house. This stuff needs to be pointed out and explained in person.

We're always worried about this business not being perceived as a true profession done by professionals,....so bidding in the shadows and the pitfalls that go along with it aren't gonna do our image any good.

Jeff
 

Chad Johnson

New member
I always want to go and actually see the property and be face to face with the customer but for the times that I cannot I will use it. Here is how it goes for me.... They call and explain what they have that needs cleaned. I get some basic info from them and then I mention my minimum or a price range for that type of work. If still interested I tell them to give me their adress and I will take a look at their property today or tommorrow. I then look it up and if it is a home that is easily viewable thru the map sites then I will call them later in the day and tell them that I looked at their property and the price will be such and such and I tell them about the company and processes.

Not as good of a closing ratio compared to doing it onsite but with these short daylight hours and busy times, it works.

Excellent. Thanks
 
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