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View Full Version : FREE estimates!


haybaler
03-25-2007, 05:31 PM
I know this has been discussed before, but Why should i give free estimates. my time is worth money. any tv repair place or small engine place charges to give estimates wether you end up getting the work done there or not. I never advertise free estimates, but haven't charged for one either. I think I should charge a clear set fee for estimates and then if I do the work it would be appied to the bill. it would weed out the cheap people looking for the best price on a small job. please everyone feel free to rant and rave.

Ford Guy
03-25-2007, 06:00 PM
the only estimates that are free are the jobs that i bid on and don't get, i don't show on the invoice a charge for it but I hide it in the labour that I bill for the job

haybaler
03-25-2007, 07:20 PM
ya, but it's the job's you dont' get that kill you. so my ? is do you charge for the estimate or just try to weed out the ones that dont' sound worth it and just say your to busy. I'm not talking about commercial propertys that you know what is involved, I mean the one time customers that call and try to explain what the want done on the phone.

cantoo
03-25-2007, 08:28 PM
We try to weed them out on the phone if possible. We also don't take on many new customers so the numbers are pretty low anyway. We don't do hardly any advertising so the ones who do call usually know one of our existing customers so they know the deal already. If we go to the place and the job looks like something we don't want I have a list of other companies we can give to them.

DBL
03-25-2007, 08:34 PM
the only thing is everyone and their mother will do a free estimate so no one would pay to come out and price a lawn however the thought has crossed my mine to charge for large estimates with plant desgins and showing samples and big stuff but ive never charged

Duekster
03-25-2007, 08:35 PM
The free estimate is a meet and greet sales job.

I don't design for free.

Gaturf
03-25-2007, 08:53 PM
DBL is right, nobody charges for estimates. i just put in new hardwood floors in my house so i got 4 estimates. but i called about 7 different companies, the ones that charged for an estimate got put to the side. and i found someone one out of the 4 other guys. i quess my point is, is that LCO are a dime a dozen around here and its easy to find a qualified company that doesnt charge.

LB1234
03-25-2007, 09:30 PM
I hate free estimates but I don't think I'd generate any meetings with the potential clients if I didn't have a free estimates. I don't know about your phone calls but one of the first questions after they state what their need is is "Do you provide free estimates?" and the answer is always yes.

I went on 5 estimates this past week. Two are absolute wastes of time but I'm sending the 'free estimate' anyway. One is interested but feels we are a little two high...I'll place a followup phonecall tomorrow. The fourth I landed a signed lawn account at 50/cut with a spring cleanup on the account at 175, and an 1800 mulch job. Needless to say, the mulch job/spring cleanup I'll recoup our other four 'free' estimates. Our 5th one is a potential landscape job estimated between 3-3.5k. I'm very optimistic about this client. But you never know.

I wasted about $50 in fuel and about a full days worth of time if you consider the estimates and the time those took.

I dunno complaining about free estimates is like complaining about fuel costs...your options are don't pay it and don't work and lose money or rub your neck and write the check.:dancing:

Duekster
03-25-2007, 09:32 PM
I hate free estimates but I don't think I'd generate any meetings with the potential clients if I didn't have a free estimates. I don't know about your phone calls but one of the first questions after they state what their need is is "Do you provide free estimates?" and the answer is always yes.

I went on 5 estimates this past week. Two are absolute wastes of time but I'm sending the 'free estimate' anyway. One is interested but feels we are a little two high...I'll place a followup phonecall tomorrow. The fourth I landed a signed lawn account at 50/cut with a spring cleanup on the account at 175, and an 1800 mulch job. Needless to say, the mulch job/spring cleanup I'll recoup our other four 'free' estimates. Our 5th one is a potential landscape job estimated between 3-3.5k. I'm very optimistic about this client. But you never know.

I wasted about $50 in fuel and about a full days worth of time if you consider the estimates and the time those took.

I dunno complaining about free estimates is like complaining about fuel costs...your options are don't pay it and don't work and lose money or rub your neck and write the check.:dancing:

I don't drive a truck to estimates. I have a 25 MPG sedan for that. I also don't mow, I sell and do the paper work.

LB1234
03-25-2007, 09:35 PM
I don't drive a truck to estimates. I have a 25 MPG sedan for that. I also don't mow, I sell and do the paper work.

I've tried that...but the customers were always asking questions and giving my wierd looks about why I'm not in a worktruck of somekind. If it works for you great...I didn't land any of those bids.

AGLA
03-25-2007, 09:55 PM
The time to charge for meeting new clients is when you have more job calls than you can handle. Then it thins them down to a more committed smaller group that you an manage and have higher closing percentages on.

It only works if you are already in demand. It has nothing to do with how much you value your time and everything to do with how much the prospect values the chance of having you do the job over the guys giving free estimates. It does not make sense to a lot of prospects and it will not work without being an established high profile company.

If your phone is ringing off the hook and you have plenty of work then go for it. If you need more work and not enough people are calling you and signing up, it would be foolish.

Duekster
03-25-2007, 10:04 PM
I've tried that...but the customers were always asking questions and giving my wierd looks about why I'm not in a worktruck of somekind. If it works for you great...I didn't land any of those bids.

With Gas Prices I have no problems at all. :usflag:

haybaler
03-26-2007, 08:23 AM
I drive my 30+MPG jetta to existing customers to talk about jobs, but potential new clients I take the truck, First impression is everything. I basicly don't "bid" for non commercial accounts. Meaning I don't want any customers that are only looking for a good price. If someone wants me to do the job and wants a ballpark figure of what it costs fine, but I want to weed out the people that go through the yellow book and are getting 8 estimates for a $200 job.

PatriotLandscape
03-26-2007, 09:16 AM
Estimatating time should be billed into your overhead you estimate the amount of time a year you spend on it divide it out through the year and you recover the cost on jobs you do get. You can't charge for them people won't call you. If it is a big deal then you are not charging enough on your other jobs.

GreenN'Clean
03-26-2007, 01:20 PM
the only estimates that are free are the jobs that i bid on and don't get, i don't show on the invoice a charge for it but I hide it in the labour that I bill for the job

Well said!!!!!

AbsoluteH&L
03-26-2007, 02:24 PM
What really sux is to give them a design, not get the bid then see your design installed by someone else:realmad: :gunsfirin :angry: :blob2:

yamadooski
03-26-2007, 07:19 PM
What really sux is to give them a design, not get the bid then see your design installed by someone else:realmad: :gunsfirin :angry: :blob2:

Well, that kinda is your own fault. I show them the design point everything out and then cover it so they cant see it. Plus I use all botanical names on all the pics and drawing.
The chance they can remember all that is very slim.
If they ask to analize it a little more, out comes the design price. I usually close the deal by that time.