I just want to say thanks for all this excellent input. I really appreciate it.
I went on my second estimate yesterday, since starting advertising my business on Craigs List
about a week ago and, of course, I wasn't prepared. I mean, I'm still waiting for my business cards! I ordered them from VistaPrint.com and they should be here in about another week.
The first job I looked at is finishing what another woodworker couldn't finish due to a family emergency. His work was decent
but not really up to my standards (yep, I'm picky
), so I'm not really pushing hard to land that one. And besides, I'm not short of work by any means.
The one I looked at today, however, is one that I'm really hoping to land. It's a simple project, to make a built-in desk in a small nook, with a couple of file drawers and a pencil drawer, to integrate a slab of granite which is too small, so build a border around it, and a couple of simple drawers above the desk. Not only is this one right up my alley, but also the wife works at the Merchandise Mart here in Chicago, so she's in touch with a lot of designers and architects.
My showing up with just a pad of paper and tape measure (and my charming personality
) may or may not have been enough to land me the job. I'm going to put together some drawings and email to them, then follow up with a call later and see how it goes.
I gotta say you guys provided a lot of great advice for both what to carry with me and also how to conduct my first estimate for a potential new client. One of my favorites is the most recent, to bring a CD with samples and options, which I can leave with the customer for later viewing. That one is simply brilliant.
I know it will take me a while to get my package together, but thanks to the feedback here, I think I'm on the right track.