Sizing Up a Buyer | DomainInvesting.com
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Sizing Up a Buyer

19

Since moving to our home, my wife and I have undertaken various home improvement projects. I am far from a “do it yourself” type of person, so we’ve had a number of contractors come to our house to give estimates for the different projects.

Here’s how the process has gone. The contractor will look at the area that needs work, and we’ll bring the discussion about the job and pricing to the kitchen table. More often than not, there will be some small talk before getting to business, and invariably, the contractor will ask what I do for a living, followed by more probing questions about my business.

Generally speaking, I try to downplay my business as much as possible for obvious reasons. The first time it happened, I had a painter who thought I owned a big Internet company (my “you’ve never heard of my company” line fell on deaf ears). His price was almost 3x the price of the painter we selected who ended up doing a fantastic job.

I can’t criticize contractors for trying to size me up to see how much I can afford and quote a price accordingly. I do the same thing when a buyer inquires about a domain name, although my methods seem far less intrusive, and most buyers wouldn’t even know I am seeking out this information. Sometimes I feel a bit guilty about doing it, especially because there are many people with great jobs who are looking for a particular domain name to go out on their own, but it’s a part of doing business.

If you want to get the most for your domain names, you need to do your research on the buyer, just like most other businesses.


About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of DomainInvesting.com. Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has sold seven figures worth of domain names in the last five years. Please read the DomainInvesting.com Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest.


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Comments (19)

    Randall Cooper

    Hey Elliot,

    Congratulations on the new house. I love moving to a bigger place. This is a kinda off topic from domaining and more on the contractor part.

    Although, I am a DIY person from plumming to roofing, I do not do electric anything.

    Now, I do not see why contractors do this, they should do an hourly rate followed by the cost of materials. It would be alot better for them. Say they want to make 20/hour and the job will take 1 person to do at 5 hours $100, materials will cost $200, and tax and waste will be $100. Then Quote you $400, It would just make life better and they would get more money from more jobs.

    June 20th, 2013 at 10:36 am

      Elliot Silver

      Thanks!

      Anything would have been bigger than a 750 square foot apartment will lived in when we were in NYC :)

      The problem with the hourly rate is that contractors (and everyone else for that matter) have a way of stretching a 2 hour project into a 4 hour project. I’d rather know the estimate than rely on contractors who may be incented to work more slowly.

      June 20th, 2013 at 10:38 am

    Dave

    You need to watch contractors, we usually put money with every job :) We try to bid low and make it up on volume.

    The last doctor I heard about wanted the job finished fast and cheap. Oh, by the way, did the contractors have insurance or a license?

    Now, back to work on the house estimate and then later working on making it big with domain names … LOL

    June 20th, 2013 at 11:09 am

      Elliot Silver

      Fast and cheap… that’s how Karen describes me 😀

      June 20th, 2013 at 11:11 am

    Abdu

    That’s one reason why I don’t sell domains to domain investors…They’re CHEAP!!!

    LOL :)

    June 20th, 2013 at 12:36 pm

      Elliot Silver

      They may be cheap, but they usually pay quickly and you don’t have to deal with a rookie when it comes to domain transfers.

      June 20th, 2013 at 12:38 pm

      Abdu

      Absolutely.. But for the most part that means lower price tags…

      June 20th, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    Adam

    Some people find that “shady”

    June 20th, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    m

    Elliot, you are a Player…with a capital “P”. Well on your way to becoming a Mogul.

    June 20th, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    Raider

    Contractors usually do NOT ask your occupation before quoting the job, because they don’t want the homeowner to think what your thinking Elliot, that the estimate was padded..

    Contractors DO in fact pad jobs, but they do it according to how busy they are and what zip code the homeowner lives in.

    If you want a quality job, always go with a referral, NEVER pull one out of the phone book or online, ever.

    June 20th, 2013 at 11:12 pm

      m

      Dude, no offense, but somebody is way too in love with himself. Give a rest…geesh.

      June 20th, 2013 at 11:51 pm

      Elliot Silver

      I’ve had a number of different contractors here and almost all have asked. The first question of the deck guy was asking if I’m in finance.

      June 20th, 2013 at 11:56 pm

    Anon

    I’m pretty much unintimidated by any sort of building, repair, etc. I built my vacation house myself with a couple family members a few years back. One of the best times of my life. When stuff breaks in the house, I have no fear of a soldering iron, if needed.

    Worked my way through college contracting. Now that I’m in a white collar profession and the demands on (and ultimately, value of) my time is such that I just can’t really expense the time needed to do bigger jobs, I too have to occasionally hire out.

    Look on Craigslist. Lots of capable, professional tradesmen looking for cash sidework.

    To be perfectly honest, yes, you are going to get high quotes from some dumber contractors. Fairly or unfairly, a young professional with a Jewish last name is immediately categorized as someone who doesn’t know the difference between a nail and a screw and who has more money than sense. You’ll be able to weed these idiots out pretty quickly. Now that I live in a nice area and wear suits and ties, the types of guys I used to work with all try to scalp me, too.

    Of course, the irony here shouldn’t be lost on any domain reseller. Whether its fixing your plumbing or selling a domain name, its all a game of trying to get the most money out of the counterparty and using subtle, imperfect information cues to determine where you stand.

    June 21st, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    Dave Roberts

    @Anon … Some contractors might be dumb, but we are not all the same.

    Since I only have a high school education, I have continued to increase my knowledge after returning from the USAF as an air traffic controller. I usually build Energy Star homes and I am a Certified Green Professional from NAHB as well.

    Some people think we give high estimates, but we do have to make a living and take educated risk when we build for people who do not understand everything that goes into a new home or remodeling project.

    The domain field has the same types, but we are all on a learning curve. As a builder, I buy domain names, build websites, understand HTML and a little JavaScript with some WordPress on the side.

    Elliot … If you want to delete this post, feel free.

    June 21st, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    Anon

    Dave: Sometimes, it isn’t about ‘knowing what goes into’ tradework.’ It’s just an idiot tradesman shooting for the moon on his quote, hoping you’ll bite, because he estimates that a ‘rich guy’ isn’t going to bother to shop his price. Ironically enough, he’s usually the same guy who’s found bitching about how bad the economy is and how hard it is to come by work.

    As noted, we see this same sort of thing in domain names too where, over a lifetime, people will leave $10 on the table for every $1 they take off, because they’re not trying to make money as much as they’re working for the internal satisfaction that they got some exorbitant price and ‘won’.

    So, when my property needed some bush hogging work on the back half and I asked the young man down the way- who owned a tractor with a bush hog- what called me back the next day to let me know it was $70, all I could do is chuckle and promptly put him in the category of fools who’d rather lose it all for fear of leaving a single dollar on the table.

    June 21st, 2013 at 9:44 pm

    Anon

    (that’s $700)

    June 21st, 2013 at 9:45 pm

    Dave Roberts

    @Anon … Good insight and as I have done with trying to buy domain names. I have offered a low price, thinking that I might find somebody willing to sell. It is not much different then over charging for the job or domain name.

    Have a great weekend!

    June 21st, 2013 at 11:49 pm

    Raider

    “sometimes, it isn’t about ‘knowing what goes into’ tradework.’ It’s just an idiot tradesman shooting for the moon on his quote, hoping you’ll bite, because he estimates that a ‘rich guy’ isn’t going to bother to shop his price. Ironically enough, he’s usually the same guy who’s found bitching about how bad the economy is and how hard it is to come by work”

    You realize you just described the typical domainer, perhaps this was your intent.. One who sits on his butt in front of a computer screen eating donuts and hoping to strike it rich.

    At least with the contractor, he puts in a hard days work busting his butt and producing something of value, something real that people can use and look at, that both the contractor and homeowner can be proud of.

    NOT dumping on domainers, but if anyone’s going to trash a industry, it’s the trademen who should be last on the list.

    June 22nd, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    Raider

    “sometimes, it isn’t about ‘knowing what goes into’ tradework.’ It’s just an idiot tradesman shooting for the moon on his quote, hoping you’ll bite, because he estimates that a ‘rich guy’ isn’t going to bother to shop his price. Ironically enough, he’s usually the same guy who’s found bitching about how bad the economy is and how hard it is to come by work”

    You realize you just described the typical domainer, perhaps this was your intent.. One who sits on his butt in front of a computer screen eating donuts and hoping to strike it rich.

    At least with the contractor, he puts in a hard days work busting his butt and producing something of value, something real that people can use and look at, that both the contractor and homeowner can be proud of.

    NOT dumping on domainers, but if anyone’s going to trash a industry, it’s the tradesmen who should be last on the list.

    June 22nd, 2013 at 1:02 pm

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