Question about "free estimates" from ...

Question about "free estimates" from contractors

Posted in the Coopersburg Forum

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contractor

Sellersville, PA

#1 Mar 27, 2013
Since I am a contractor I'm curious what you think about companies that charge to come out to give an estimate.

Me being a 1 man business I charge a $25 fee to come out that covers fuel costs and my time. This fee will be waived if I am not awarded the job. I see this as being very fair because nothing is free in life.

The big companies can offer free estimates because they charge a lot more. A one man shop like mylself can not go around driving all day giving away free estimates and getting nothing in return.

I win some and lose some just like all contractors but I get some just wasting my time shopping for prices calling everyone they can looking for the lowest price.

So how do you feel about a fee to come out? I know lowes and HD charge to come out and it's $40+ and they don't waive the cost.

More and more contractors are charging. With gas prices this high and most trucks get about 10 mpg we can't afford it.
contractor

Sellersville, PA

#2 Mar 27, 2013
Oops I meant the fee will be waived if I AM awarded the job.
samcro

Newtown Square, PA

#3 Mar 27, 2013
contractor wrote:
Since I am a contractor I'm curious what you think about companies that charge to come out to give an estimate.

Me being a 1 man business I charge a $25 fee to come out that covers fuel costs and my time. This fee will be waived if I am not awarded the job. I see this as being very fair because nothing is free in life.

The big companies can offer free estimates because they charge a lot more. A one man shop like mylself can not go around driving all day giving away free estimates and getting nothing in return.

I win some and lose some just like all contractors but I get some just wasting my time shopping for prices calling everyone they can looking for the lowest price.

So how do you feel about a fee to come out? I know lowes and HD charge to come out and it's $40+ and they don't waive the cost.

More and more contractors are charging. With gas prices this high and most trucks get about 10 mpg we can't afford it.
I would not pay it if other contractors are not charging for estimates. I know a contractor tat told me he could spend hours working on an estimate and pricing materials and the not win the bid for the job. It is tough out there.
use your head

United States

#4 Mar 27, 2013
contractor wrote:
Since I am a contractor I'm curious what you think about companies that charge to come out to give an estimate.

Me being a 1 man business I charge a $25 fee to come out that covers fuel costs and my time. This fee will be waived if I am not awarded the job. I see this as being very fair because nothing is free in life.

The big companies can offer free estimates because they charge a lot more. A one man shop like mylself can not go around driving all day giving away free estimates and getting nothing in return.

I win some and lose some just like all contractors but I get some just wasting my time shopping for prices calling everyone they can looking for the lowest price.

So how do you feel about a fee to come out? I know lowes and HD charge to come out and it's $40+ and they don't waive the cost.

More and more contractors are charging. With gas prices this high and most trucks get about 10 mpg we can't afford it.
Legit contractors DO NOT charge for estimates. One who does raises a RED flag. Always turn out over priced. The demand for a paid estimate is rude and makes you come across arrogant. Makes it seem your so great you really don't need the business. Anyone who pays for estimates is either stupid or desperate.
use your head

United States

#5 Mar 27, 2013
contractor wrote:
Since I am a contractor I'm curious what you think about companies that charge to come out to give an estimate.

Me being a 1 man business I charge a $25 fee to come out that covers fuel costs and my time. This fee will be waived if I am not awarded the job. I see this as being very fair because nothing is free in life.

The big companies can offer free estimates because they charge a lot more. A one man shop like mylself can not go around driving all day giving away free estimates and getting nothing in return.

I win some and lose some just like all contractors but I get some just wasting my time shopping for prices calling everyone they can looking for the lowest price.

So how do you feel about a fee to come out? I know lowes and HD charge to come out and it's $40+ and they don't waive the cost.

More and more contractors are charging. With gas prices this high and most trucks get about 10 mpg we can't afford it.
This also goes for repair garages and especially body shops. NO WAY.
use your head

United States

#6 Mar 27, 2013
contractor wrote:
Oops I meant the fee will be waived if I AM awarded the job.
Now if course if the estimate requires tear down or actual shop time them a fee is expected but not for your walk around and looking at the job. FREE.
contractor

Sellersville, PA

#7 Mar 27, 2013
use your head wrote:
<quoted text>
Legit contractors DO NOT charge for estimates. One who does raises a RED flag. Always turn out over priced. The demand for a paid estimate is rude and makes you come across arrogant. Makes it seem your so great you really don't need the business. Anyone who pays for estimates is either stupid or desperate.
Many legit contractors do charge for estimates small and large. I'm sorry that upsets you. Your viewpoint on things seems severely skewed.

Bottom line is...someone who expects something for FREE is extremely rude. Why should I waste my gas and time on someone like you to tell me "ok thanks for coming out" and never call me back?

We don't have time nor can we waste money to play games. A quality customer has no problem with an estimate fee because they know they want to hire the company and did research beforehand. So If they do hire them the fee is waived. Very fair to me.

So tell me what else do you expect contractors to provide free for your entitled attitude?
contractor

Sellersville, PA

#8 Mar 27, 2013
samcro wrote:
<quoted text>
I would not pay it if other contractors are not charging for estimates. I know a contractor tat told me he could spend hours working on an estimate and pricing materials and the not win the bid for the job. It is tough out there.
What does it have to do with other contractors? Other contractors charge for estimates too.

To me if someone is balking over a $25 fee that is waived if they hire me most likely they don't even have the money to pay for my services. So right there they did me a favor by not wasting my time.
use your head

United States

#9 Mar 28, 2013
contractor wrote:
<quoted text>Many legit contractors do charge for estimates small and large. I'm sorry that upsets you. Your viewpoint on things seems severely skewed.

Bottom line is...someone who expects something for FREE is extremely rude. Why should I waste my gas and time on someone like you to tell me "ok thanks for coming out" and never call me back?

We don't have time nor can we waste money to play games. A quality customer has no problem with an estimate fee because they know they want to hire the company and did research beforehand. So If they do hire them the fee is waived. Very fair to me.

So tell me what else do you expect contractors to provide free for your entitled attitude?
The entire system of business conduct revolves around the guy who gives the best service at the best price not the arrogant contractor who will not even attempt to see new business without charging a fee. If you have that attitude you will always be looking for work. There are lots of guys out there more than willing to give a free estimate. THAT HOW IT WORKS. If the customer is willing to accept the arrogant behavior from the point of the estimate onwards then chances they are either stupid or desperate. Paying with plastic and not concerned with getting a decent job at a fair price. You keep track of how many calls you get for work and how many of them go for your NOT FREE estimate. My guess is a large % say thanks hang up and never call back !
Daniel

Avondale, PA

#10 Mar 28, 2013
contractor wrote:
<quoted text>Many legit contractors do charge for estimates small and large. I'm sorry that upsets you. Your viewpoint on things seems severely skewed.

Bottom line is...someone who expects something for FREE is extremely rude. Why should I waste my gas and time on someone like you to tell me "ok thanks for coming out" and never call me back?

We don't have time nor can we waste money to play games. A quality customer has no problem with an estimate fee because they know they want to hire the company and did research beforehand. So If they do hire them the fee is waived. Very fair to me.

So tell me what else do you expect contractors to provide free for your entitled attitude?
Your nuts!!
Troll Alert

Broomall, PA

#11 Mar 28, 2013
This guy is a troll. If you don't agree with him, he calls you stupid. This thread is just bait for him to start an argument.

If this assclown really is a contractor, I'd love to know his name. His arrogant comments would most certainly shut him down.

Friggin troll.

Ignore it. Don't feed the troll.
OMG

Souderton, PA

#12 Mar 28, 2013
contractor wrote:
Since I am a contractor I'm curious what you think about companies that charge to come out to give an estimate.
Me being a 1 man business I charge a $25 fee to come out that covers fuel costs and my time. This fee will be waived if I am not awarded the job. I see this as being very fair because nothing is free in life.
The big companies can offer free estimates because they charge a lot more. A one man shop like mylself can not go around driving all day giving away free estimates and getting nothing in return.
I win some and lose some just like all contractors but I get some just wasting my time shopping for prices calling everyone they can looking for the lowest price.
So how do you feel about a fee to come out? I know lowes and HD charge to come out and it's $40+ and they don't waive the cost.
More and more contractors are charging. With gas prices this high and most trucks get about 10 mpg we can't afford it.
I personally wouldn't pay for an estimate, it shows the company is too small to absorb the cost. I'm not saying the contractor won't be able to do a good job.
use your head

Sellersville, PA

#13 Mar 28, 2013
contractor wrote:
Since I am a contractor I'm curious what you think about companies that charge to come out to give an estimate.

Me being a 1 man business I charge a $25 fee to come out that covers fuel costs and my time. This fee will be waived if I am not awarded the job. I see this as being very fair because nothing is free in life.

The big companies can offer free estimates because they charge a lot more. A one man shop like mylself can not go around driving all day giving away free estimates and getting nothing in return.

I win some and lose some just like all contractors but I get some just wasting my time shopping for prices calling everyone they can looking for the lowest price.

So how do you feel about a fee to come out? I know lowes and HD charge to come out and it's $40+ and they don't waive the cost.

More and more contractors are charging. With gas prices this high and most trucks get about 10 mpg we can't afford it.
Are you one of those "contractors" always in lowes buying the cheapest supplies and paying with some oversized business check out of some oversized check book? Holding up the line ? Then loading your generic truck and giving all the other parking customers a hard time? Then practically running over the grandmother with her grand kids crossing the lot? We know you. You don't have to obey stop signs either because your a "contractor "and charge a fee.
the higher road

Quakertown, PA

#14 Mar 28, 2013
It's "u funny" contractor...
27 Years

Perkasie, PA

#15 Mar 28, 2013
contractor wrote:
Since I am a contractor I'm curious what you think about companies that charge to come out to give an estimate.
Me being a 1 man business I charge a $25 fee to come out that covers fuel costs and my time. This fee will be waived if I am not awarded the job. I see this as being very fair because nothing is free in life.
The big companies can offer free estimates because they charge a lot more. A one man shop like mylself can not go around driving all day giving away free estimates and getting nothing in return.
I win some and lose some just like all contractors but I get some just wasting my time shopping for prices calling everyone they can looking for the lowest price.
So how do you feel about a fee to come out? I know lowes and HD charge to come out and it's $40+ and they don't waive the cost.
More and more contractors are charging. With gas prices this high and most trucks get about 10 mpg we can't afford it.
I understand your reasoning, but it’s flawed. I tried that years ago, and it doesn’t work. When you tell a customer you charge for estimates, most of the time they’re not going to set up an appointment (unless you were referred by someone they trust). Free estimates are a way of life, and as long as some contractors don’t charge, you greatly decrease your chances of getting in the door.

The first thing you need to do is to sell yourself to a new customer. You normally can’t do that without a face to face meeting. If they don’t even like you, you won’t get the job, no matter what. You also need to change your feelings that customers are “wasting your time”. They very well might be, but customers will sense that, and you probably won’t get the job. Find something you have in common with the customer and talk about that first. Develop a genuine interest in the customer and ask questions, but never talk politics or religion. If the customer likes you and you're both are on the same page, you have a good chance of getting the job.

I suspect some of your frustration comes from customers “picking your brain”. When looking at a job, don’t give too many details about how you’ll do an installation. Call the customer with a price, but still do not give too many details. If a customer seems to like the price, give some details over the phone. If they're interested, tell them you'll deliver a proposal, answer any specific questions, and get a down payment. If they tell you over the phone they need time to think about it, or they want you to mail a contract, tell them you'll draw up the proposal when you have time. When writing a proposal, don’t give too many details in the proposal. Customers will often give the proposal to a competitor and say "beat this".

If you’re looking to charge $25, you might as well not be charging anything at all. When you figure in what you pay yourself, plus and worker’s comp, social security, health care, sick days, unemployment compensation, vacations, paid holidays, non-productive time, company overhead, and taxes, you come up with a lot more than that.

The big companies aren’t charging for estimates up front, but they’re adding it into each estimate. Figure out what percentage of the jobs you actually get. If you get one out of every four, multiply your true hourly costs times four and add that to each estimate.
Lehigh Valley Resident

Philadelphia, PA

#16 Mar 28, 2013
I have had about 8 estimates in the past two weeks for landscaping, and power washing and not one of them charged me a fee to show up. I wouldn't even consider using a contractor who wanted to charge such a fee.
Agree

Broomall, PA

#17 Mar 28, 2013
Lehigh Valley Resident wrote:
I have had about 8 estimates in the past two weeks for landscaping, and power washing and not one of them charged me a fee to show up. I wouldn't even consider using a contractor who wanted to charge such a fee.
I've had estimates for electrical, plumbing, roof cleaning/powerwashing, carpentry, and concrete work over the past 18 months for various projects around the house--all were free estimates.

If someone said they charge for an estimate, I'd tell them thank you, but I'm not interested.

This "contractor" is a joke, in my honest opinion.
Agree

Broomall, PA

#18 Mar 28, 2013
the higher road wrote:
It's "u funny" contractor...
If i remember correctly, wasn't 'u funny' one of the biggest trolls on here?
Lehigh Valley Resident

Philadelphia, PA

#19 Mar 28, 2013
Agree wrote:
<quoted text>
I've had estimates for electrical, plumbing, roof cleaning/powerwashing, carpentry, and concrete work over the past 18 months for various projects around the house--all were free estimates.
If someone said they charge for an estimate, I'd tell them thank you, but I'm not interested.
This "contractor" is a joke, in my honest opinion.
Do you have a company you recommend for roof cleaning/power washing?
OMG

Souderton, PA

#20 Mar 28, 2013
Agree wrote:
<quoted text>
If i remember correctly, wasn't 'u funny' one of the biggest trolls on here?
Why are you posting under so many names? We got your opinion when you were "Troll Alert", "the higher road", and now "Agree". Will you shut-up already! Damn, some people are idiots!

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