Nine times out of 10 you are calling us with a version of this question. You might warm us up a little with some small talk, but “how much” is the primary reason for your call.
I know you think that when you contact a place that builds gates for a living that price should be an easy question to answer. But, have you ever started a project with someone where they quoted you one thing, then the final bill shocked you? That is the nightmare we want to avoid.
Please allow me to explain why estimating is not that easy for us. Then, keep reading so I can tell you about the process we use answer your question and avoid any ugly surprises.
OUR PRICING CHALLENGE
We design+build Custom iron gates that are one-of-a-kind pieces of art. When we say “custom”, we really mean it. The gates are designed to capture your style and personality. Then, our metalworking expert handcrafts it.
We are proud of the workmanship and details on each one.
You won’t find a stack of pre-built gates waiting to be sold at our shop. In fact, we rarely build the same gate twice. If you want us to copy one of the gates we have done before, we suggest a little something different to make it an original.
What I’m trying to say is that since we treat each piece like an individual piece of art, we have a hard time nailing down the price until we have drawn up your gate to yours and our satisfaction.
However, we do understand your pain. You need a place to start to wrap your mind around this project and you don’t want it to take all day. That’s fair. We have created some broad categories with budget ranges. They are really very general, but it is the best we can do before you give us a call.
OUR PRICING PROCESS
Once you are ready to contact us, we’ll set up a free consultation over the phone or in our shop with Heather or Kris. Both will give you a lot helpful advice on your project based on our building experience.
As part of this consultation, you will discuss the following and whatever tangent you want:
By the end of this meeting, we should have enough information to help us develop a better “guestimate” than our online resource. However, it will still be rather rough budget range. The next step is a start contract that includes a design agreement or feasibility study.
To move past the free consultation, we are going to ask you for a design agreement that will include a site visit (if in our area), a concept drawing and a formal estimate. If you already have a drawing, we’ll still ask for a contract and use your drawing to work up a feasibility study and formal estimate. Jeffery got the idea for a start contract after reading Markup & Profit by Michael Stone. That book helped us understand margins and markups and how to use them in the construction business.
The cost of our design agreement (or feasibility study) will depend on the scope of your project, but it will likely be between $500 and $1,500. If you proceed to job completion, this fee will go towards the entire project budget. It just covers the time we spend initially on developing your drawings and a detailed and more accurate estimate – the one thing you have been after this whole time!
We’ve been delightfully surprised that most everyone understands this part of our process. But some still think or say, “Why pay for a quote when someone else will do it at no charge?” For those folks, let me breakdown the numbers that lead to our decision to start handling business this way: