How to More Consistently Close the Deal on the Estimates You Write

Actively following up with potential customers and not just waiting for a callback could be the secret to turning more estimates into actual jobs

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Does this scenario sound familiar?

You’re called to a potential customer’s home and asked to write an estimate for work that they want done. After you write the estimate, they say, “I’m getting estimates and will call you if we choose you.” You shake their hand and leave for the next appointment knowing that only a fraction of the prospects you write estimates for will ever call you back.

But what if there was a way to leave those meetings with increased confidence that you’ll get the job?

When most plumbers think about how they can close more estimates, they focus their attention on strategies they can do during the estimate-writing time to help them. Maybe they work on improving their sales skills; maybe they add some urgency (“if you buy today…”); maybe they succumb to the temptation of lowballing the estimate so the prospect doesn’t find anyone cheaper.

But many plumbers overlook something that could lead to them closing on a job, even after the prospect has said they are collecting more estimates — following up.

Many plumbers will write estimates and never follow up. They simply move on to the next potential customer. A rare few plumbers will follow up with a quick phone call a few days later.

But how many people reading this article will follow up daily? Weekly? Monthly? An entire year?

That might sound crazy. After all, surely the prospect will have chosen someone else if they didn’t call you, right? Don’t be so sure.

Here’s Why Prospects Respond To Follow-Up More Than You’d Think

Consider the life of your typical prospect or customer (and perhaps you are like this too).

Life is busy. There are a million competing priorities for your time, your attention and your money. Unless something is an emergency, you move forward on it at a snail’s pace:

  • That oil spot in the driveway? Ignore it for now but you’ll bring the car in to the mechanic when the engine light goes on.
  • That weird noise in your HVAC system? Ignore it for now until you smell smoke.
  • That tickle in the back of your throat? Ignore it for now until you wake up one morning with a full-fledged sore throat.

While not every prospect or customer is like this, there are many who are. They move forward on the things they need to do in life — including the plumbing services they know they need — but they face a constant barrage of competing demands. Instead of calling you — or any of the other plumbers who provided estimates — the prospect spends money on their kid’s Little League sign-ups and equipment purchases. Then they run out of time because of demands at work, and then they have to travel for a relative’s wedding.

Suddenly they find themselves six months down the road with a couple of dust-covered estimates that they haven’t taken action on. Since they haven’t heard from either of the plumbers, and they don’t think these estimates are even valid anymore, they call up new plumbers to provide new estimates. But they may not call you because they’re embarrassed to admit that the work hadn’t been done, and they don’t want you coming in with a higher estimate.

Life can be like this in many different areas for all of us. It’s just what happens because of how busy life can get.

Unfortunately, many plumbers don’t consider this and simply move on to the next estimate and the next one and the next one.

But the rare few plumbers who follow up diligently on estimates can win those jobs —  even on estimates that they wrote months ago.

How To Win More Business With Follow-Up

If you want more business, simply do this: Follow up with your prospect. Send them an email, a phone call, a text, or a letter every week for the first 90 days. Then every two to four weeks after that. Ask them about the project; offer them something of value; engage them and ask what other plumbing work they need done around their home.

What will happen? Probably one of the following:

  • Some prospects who hire someone else right away will tell you and ask you to stop contacting them. No problem.
  • Some prospects who hire someone else right away will not say anything and will get your follow-ups regularly. They might call you the next time they need some plumbing work done.
  • Some prospects won’t hire anyone for a while and they’ll call you when they are ready because you are the only one who followed up.

No matter what, you’ll stay in contact with more prospects and you’ll win more business because of it.

Does this sound time-consuming and costly? It doesn’t have to be. You’ve already done the heavy lifting by writing the estimate, so why not stay in contact with your prospects and let them know that you care about them? You may not get their business today or tomorrow or even next month. But you’ll show them that you care about them even when they’re not customers. How much more will you care about them when they are? That level of caring with just your follow-up will close more estimates. 

About the Author

Mike Agugliaro is the “Business Warrior” and founder of CEO Warrior, a business consulting, training and mentoring firm, providing tested and proven methods to defeat the roadblocks that prevent small to mid-sized businesses from achieving their ultimate success. He has played a key role in building and selling Gold Medal Service, New Jersey’s largest and most respected home service company. For more information about CEO Warrior, visit


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