Recently, we were called out to an apartment building to provide and estimate for decomposition cleanup. We showed up, met with the owner and were let into the apartment to take a look at it.
The decedent had died in his bedroom, his legs on the bed and his top half on the floor. There were some body fluids on both the bed and the floor where he had died. Other than that and the odor, there wasn’t a whole lot that needed to be done.
I told the owner to give me 5 minutes and I would have an estimate typed up for him. He was very shocked and asked me, “Are you sure?” Which then threw me off! Of course, I was sure! I’ve been doing this long enough to know what needs to be done and how much it’s going to cost. Why would I need a whole bunch of time to figure it out?
So, I assure him it’ll only take a few minutes, go to my truck and type up an estimate. The total price was about a third of what they were asking, which included removing the decedent’s belongings and the carpet from the apartment. I gave him a detailed and professional estimate. He was very surprised that I had presented him with something – in writing – so quickly. He said, “That’s it? Are you sure you don’t need a couple of hours to do something up?” I assured him that was it. That’s the final price; no more time is needed.
(Now, this is where we learn the source of his confusion) He proceeded to tell me that before I had come out there, he had another company come out and provide him with an estimate. He then went on to describe their process which involved about an hour or so of just reviewing the scene. Once this was finally completed, the representative asked for another 3-4 hours to get an estimate typed up. Being new to this type of situation, the owner figured this was standard and gave him all the time he needed.
Once he finally received the estimate, he was almost knocked off his feet! They wanted about $11,000 just to remove the biohazardous material! I couldn’t believe him, and wouldn’t have… until he showed me their estimate. Sure enough, it was just over $11,000. Now, let us remember that our estimate was about a third of what they were asking! Not only that, their estimate was very hard to understand what exactly they were charging so much money for (no itemization). It was simply a vague “Biohazardous waste” (or something to that effect). And the icing on the cake? Their estimate didn’t even include the company’s name, logo, phone number, address or any sort of contact info!
Needless to say, he was incredibly happy with our bid and chose us to do the work, which we did it all in about 4 hours.
Let’s review: The other guys took 4-5 hours to provide a vague and sloppy estimate for an astronomical $11,000 to do half the work being requested by the client. (A separate bid was to be submitted for the remaining work once the first half was done.) Oh yeah, their bid said it would take them 9 hours to do the first half.
Cendecon took about 10 minutes to review the scene and provide a professional and itemized estimate for almost a third of what the other guys were asking, which covered all of the work required and being asked for.
This other company (which I will not name) is a well-known and nationwide company who has well developed relationships with police departments all across the country. Our client was actually referred to them by the local police department. Lucky for him, someone else had one of our cards and gave it to him.
Cendecon is a family-owned and -operated business. We service all of Central and Southern California. We may not have offices around the country, but we have excellent rapport with our clients. We delivery high-quality service and we treat all of our clients with the same level of care, respect and fairness that we would treat our own family with.
I have had very little dealing with this other company, but each time, it’s been the same story. I don’t say this to slander a competitor; if I were going to do that, I would have said their name. I say this to illustrate that just because some company has “nationwide” status, it doesn’t always mean they’re the best (or even close).
Another thing to know, this job was being paid for by insurance. Take that and add to it the fact that this company has been previously known for insurance fraud (intentionally padding bids when they are covered by insurance) and are actually red-flagged by many insurance companies. I’m sure you can do the math and figure out why their bid was so high (and possibly why their name wasn’t on their bid).
In summary, don’t be fooled by the bells and whistles and “status”. You should only hire someone you’re comfortable with because there are sharks out there, and they won’t hesitate to bite.