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Verbal quotes for painting and decorating work- no!!!!!!!

Listed under Blog, Marketing Posted Apr 20 2012

A local painter and decorator told me they give verbal quotes to customers, often over the phone. What?! It’s not that I distrust people, but there is way too much can go wrong with that approach.

Mondegreen is not a colour, it is a contractual disaster waiting to happen

“A mondegreen is the mishearing or misinterpretation of a phrase as a result of near homophony, in a way that gives it a new meaning. It most commonly is applied to a line in a poem or a lyric in a song.”

By all means phone through a verbal quote that you are reading from a written quote, but as a standalone contract, although legal, the spoken telephone word is not exactly a reliable bond.

£2250? I honestly thought you said…

Over the phone, a verbal quote can innocently fall foul of poor diction, or dodgy line connection or the customer’s dodgy earpiece or their line connection or ambient noise.

Even face-to-face, numbers can get lost in translation. A client was telling me how they found a bookcase, the perfect match for an alcove. They asked the salesman the price and they thought he said two-fifty. Very reasonable for the quality. But at the till he rang up the actual price, twenty-two-fifty. After blanching, they exited. Nothing spoilt in that case, because it was resolved there and then. But the misunderstanding did happen innocently, and imagine the same scenario, if you have painted a house and are expecting a cheque for £2250. Nothing in writing… nightmare

And then there are the not so innocent cases, where people remember the price, but conveniently forget what they were getting for that money. Oh, I thought you were painting the bedroom AND the ensuite for that money AND the outside of the windows.

I know what my response would be to that OTT cheek – Please check your written quote, Sir. I am happy to do the extras at the rate you agreed to.

Written quotes for painting and decorating

These sorts of misunderstandings and potential for communication breakdowns can all be easily avoided with a written quote. Itemised description of work; items priced for labour, priced for xyz materials; start date, approximate time scale for completion, terms of payment. Everyone is protected, and in the picture. Once agreed, it is up to the tradesman to deliver the goods and the client to pay on completion. That’s a good deal, fair to both sides.

Here is an example of my terms and conditions for painting and decorating work.

And for all you ageing Police fans: Sue Lawley

A good example of a mondegreen.

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