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View Full Version : Charging a Fee to get a Quote... Oh Lord!!!


csmlawn
08-18-2008, 05:32 PM
I just called a well known irrigation company in my area, got some background on their company, informed them that I'm looking to add several zones to my already existing irrigation system (mostly backyard) and to get some litature and/or quote on their service contract and what it entails. The gentleman I spoke with was really good to talk to and when he transfered me to the scheduler to set up the appointment, she informed me that there will be a service visit charge for this appointment. ;) I was like FOR WHAT!!! :confused: For us to come out and examine your existing system. I told her that I'm not looking for service at that time, that I'm getting ride of my current irrigation provider because he's an idiot and unreliable and I'm looking for better service and professionalism... This initial appointment is to get a quote for the additional zones and to talk to someone about service contracts. If I need service from your company it will be after I sign up for a service contract... not before. :nono: She was still insisting that there would be a service fee for the trip out to my house. Uhhhhhhh, no thank you and have a nice day.

I've never heard of this... what about you guys?

Scott

bcg
08-18-2008, 05:42 PM
We charge for every service call and for designs on new systems. If you install a system we design, we'll credit the design cost but it cost me money to come measure your lot, check your pressure and create a bid and I'm not going to eat that cost for tire kickers. If someone isn't willing to pay for a design, they aren't going to be willing to pay for the system we propose either, we're never the cheapest but our systems are better.

As a comparison, call a plumber, electrician or A/C tech and ask them to come look at something for free. They're all going to have a service call (or trip) charge as well. In Texas anyway, I have to have a license just like those guys and my time, gas and most importantly my knowledge is worth something so if you want me to share it with you, you're going to pay for it.

Kiril
08-18-2008, 05:46 PM
Time is money. If someone wants me to do a full system assessment and write up, it gets charged out, but I also will refund it if more work is done. Most residential systems only take about an hour to walk through and take notes. Many times I will throw in controller scheduling with that visit since 9 times out of 10 it is scheduled wrong.

csmlawn
08-18-2008, 05:55 PM
Okay, that makes sense to refund it back when you sign up for service. However, if you don't do a good job selling your service, product or your company, I'm not going to pay for that time. On the flip side, if you do a good job, I'll pay for the product and labor after I agree to the proposal, but not just to have someone do a dog and pony show. I guess there are a lot of tire kickers out there, so I can't fault you for charging... gas costs money.

Wet_Boots
08-18-2008, 06:01 PM
So, the price of the work will be increased to cover the costs of all those proposals that aren't accepted. Sort of a Catch-22. The guys least likely to charge for an estimate will be giving you just about what you're paying for.

bcg
08-18-2008, 06:03 PM
Well, you've already made up your mind. You'll probably find someone to come do it for free if you look hard enough but you said you called a reputable company. The person that does it for free won't be established and won't last long giving stuff away so you'll be looking for someone else before long. I'm sure the guys you called will still be around when your free guy disappears though...

Mike Leary
08-18-2008, 06:08 PM
I've never heard of this... what about you guys?

I'm not a "free estimate" kind of guy; the system has to be "surveyed"
before you even know what the add-on entails. If I'm taking you under my
wing as a service client, I'm going to provide a detailed call-out of any
problems, the costs and when we can get going on the add-on. Paying a
pro to come out and look it all over is money well spent. Plus, you get to
size him up and see if the relationship will work. If you're a existing client,
big deal, I'll see you in fifteen minutes; for free.

EagleLandscape
08-18-2008, 06:12 PM
We charge a fee every time we arrive at a property. They have to pay a salesman/tech to drive to your place. gas + wage for that employee, plus the cost of him potentially not doing something else to bill out money.

Free estimates = loss of money. He was not out of line, if anything I would be more willing to trust that company because it sounds like they know what they re doing. Schedule an appointment, probably money well spent.

DanaMac
08-18-2008, 06:22 PM
If you're a existing client,
big deal, I'll see you in fifteen minutes; for free.

Exactly. Everyone else will be charged a service call for me to drive, use fuel, spend time meeting them, using my knowledge to design and survey. If not I should be doing a repair and charging.

Although right now with the phone not ringing due to rain I've looked at a couple free when I am in those areas.

EagleLandscape
08-18-2008, 06:30 PM
hows that van working out for you? got any updated pcitures?

Mike Leary
08-18-2008, 06:58 PM
They have to pay a salesman/tech to drive to your place. gas

It was a cold day in hell if I pulled my lead off a 8 hr. job to go look at
a "may or may not job". I did that, while money was made elsewhere.

Wet_Boots
08-18-2008, 07:03 PM
Another factor that hasn't been touched on, is that the existing system can be a miserable pile of crapola, and lacking in proper backflow protection, and the retrofitting of the system plumbing might (if an RPZ is used) wreck the coverage of the existing zones. That is one reason that existing systems aren't on the radar for free estimates.

Mike Leary
08-18-2008, 07:08 PM
Another factor that hasn't been touched on, is that the existing system can be a miserable pile of crapola, and lacking in proper backflow protection, and the retrofitting of the system plumbing might (if an RPZ is used) wreck the coverage of the existing zones. That is one reason that existing systems aren't on the radar for free estimates.

Which happens with 99% of cold calls. :hammerhead:

Without A Drought
08-18-2008, 07:41 PM
If i have to turn on a system or take out a tool or touch a valve or controller, there's a fee. If not, sure free. but you're going to get a very high estimate, if not the time/material speech, just so i can cover my butt.

Bottom line is time is money, and the qualified guys aren't cheap.

pg

bicmudpuppy
08-18-2008, 08:07 PM
You might get an "estimate" w/o charge for a NEW system. You still won't get a true BID for a system w/o some money upfront (well, there are guys who will, but........pay now or pay later). You have a system. You HAD a service contractor that your firing for not being professional, AND you want someone to come out and tell you what the last guy didn't do right.......for free? And while we are there, could we bid adding on to the system that hasn't been maintained properly and is in who knows what kind of shape?

What do YOU do for a living? I'd like you to estimate/bid/spend some of your time for me for free. IF I really like how you do it and what you do and I can't do what you show me needs to be done, I might hire you to do something in the future...........

Now, read your question again. Think about the company YOU told us was reputable said. Now, have you called them back and agreed to pay for the initial visit?

DanaMac
08-18-2008, 08:11 PM
If i have to turn on a system or take out a tool or touch a valve or controller, there's a fee. If not, sure free. but you're going to get a very high estimate, if not the time/material speech, just so i can cover my butt.

Bottom line is time is money, and the qualified guys aren't cheap.

pg

Which is why there will always be crappy systems out there. Because there will always be guys willing to do the bid for free. And they are rarely the qualified guys.

If I take my truck to my mechanic, ask him to drive it around, and check this and that, then tell me what the cost will be to fix this and that, HE CHARGES ME. otherwise he should be making money doing the tranny rebuild or the brake job that is already up on the lift. Now if he is already doing some work on this truck, and I ask him to also check the brakes, he will do it free.

DanaMac
08-18-2008, 08:15 PM
hows that van working out for you? got any updated pcitures?

No new pics. Works great though, I think. One of the guys (tech #2) drives it and loves it. He was used to driving a service van in Arizona. Also gives him a place to "use the facilities". Couple empty water bottles in there to take care of business.

Mike Leary
08-18-2008, 08:23 PM
::::homeowner wonders if a trip to Hawaii + sprinklers is in the cards:::::

csmlawn
08-18-2008, 09:08 PM
Okay, you all convinced me...LOL *trucewhiteflag*

When I was accepting bids on my new irrigation system, I had three to four companies out and all provided a free estimate. Now Knowing more about irrigation systems in good part due to you guys here, I realized that two of the companies weren't the best, but were far from the worst. One of the companies TLC Irrigation and Landscape Lighting is one of the largest irrigation companies in the area, however, I didn't use them (mistake I realize now). Now that I'm shaking my current irrigation company due to shitty service and crap Weathermatic rotors, I find myself in a little bit of a different situation then if I was looking for a completely new system installer.

Also, the company I spoke with early today is solely RB. They use to install Hunter, but switched to RB.

Thanks for the feedback. :usflag:

Scott

DanaMac
08-18-2008, 09:12 PM
Okay, you all convinced me...LOL *trucewhiteflag*


Thanks for the feedback. :usflag:

Scott

Thanks for understanding :)

csmlawn
08-18-2008, 09:21 PM
Thanks for understanding :)

Not a problem... We all have to eat. :D

txgrassguy
08-19-2008, 01:23 AM
My practice has been, admittedly in the past, to rush out and visit with the prospective client.
I don't/won't do that now.
As others here have correctly posted, time = money, either on this job or elsewhere.
Now I charge a fee depending upon several factors, namely being:
-distance to the site visit
-type of system
-who actually installed it, professional or homeowner
-type/purpose of site visit
Should the client accept my proposal for the work I may discount the initial visit depending upon the scope of work. However, I do not mention this unless it becomes a
selling point wherein I can recoup the visit charge throughout the project.
The biggest impact this has had is to eliminate the "tire kickers/shoppers" yet some of the responses when explaining the site charge has been priceless.
I don't care who you are or what service you represent - there is no such thing as a free lunch.

AI Inc
08-19-2008, 06:33 AM
Okay, you all convinced me...LOL *trucewhiteflag*

When I was accepting bids on my new irrigation system, I had three to four companies out and all provided a free estimate. Now Knowing more about irrigation systems in good part due to you guys here, I realized that two of the companies weren't the best, but were far from the worst. One of the companies TLC Irrigation and Landscape Lighting is one of the largest irrigation companies in the area, however, I didn't use them (mistake I realize now). Now that I'm shaking my current irrigation company due to shitty service and crap Weathermatic rotors, I find myself in a little bit of a different situation then if I was looking for a completely new system installer.

Also, the company I spoke with early today is solely RB. They use to install Hunter, but switched to RB.

Thanks for the feedback. :usflag:

Scott

Keep in mind , to do an estimate for a new system one just has to measure and check pressure / volume. There is a lot more work involved in estimating an add on.

Mdirrigation
08-19-2008, 09:09 AM
Okay, you all convinced me...LOL *trucewhiteflag*

When I was accepting bids on my new irrigation system, I had three to four companies out and all provided a free estimate. Now Knowing more about irrigation systems in good part due to you guys here, I realized that two of the companies weren't the best, but were far from the worst. One of the companies TLC Irrigation and Landscape Lighting is one of the largest irrigation companies in the area, however, I didn't use them (mistake I realize now). Now that I'm shaking my current irrigation company due to shitty service and crap Weathermatic rotors, I find myself in a little bit of a different situation then if I was looking for a completely new system installer.

Also, the company I spoke with early today is solely RB. They use to install Hunter, but switched to RB.

Thanks for the feedback. :usflag:

Scott





You realy should freestate outdoor , they have been installing in your area since 1981 . They are in pasadena 410 360 1146

csmlawn
08-19-2008, 11:05 AM
You realy should freestate outdoor , they have been installing in your area since 1981 . They are in pasadena 410 360 1146

Thanks... I'll look them up. Where in Maryland are you located?

Mdirrigation
08-20-2008, 09:21 AM
Thanks... I'll look them up. Where in Maryland are you located?

In Pasadena , Its my business

DanaMac
08-20-2008, 09:23 AM
I have told a few prospective customers that if they want to bring their system to me, I will diagnose it for free.

csmlawn
08-20-2008, 09:59 AM
In Pasadena , Its my business

Ohhhhh didn't realize it was your business.

csmlawn
08-20-2008, 12:42 PM
In Pasadena , Its my business

I left you a message. :)

Mike Leary
08-20-2008, 03:19 PM
Take pics so we can tear it apart, I mean critique.

csmlawn
08-20-2008, 09:35 PM
Take pics so we can tear it apart, I mean critique.

You changed your picture. :D

DanaMac
08-20-2008, 09:38 PM
You changed your picture. :D

He does that from time to time, once in awhile, every now and then......

He thinks we won't know who he is :)

Waterit
08-20-2008, 10:29 PM
He does that from time to time, once in awhile, every now and then......

He thinks we won't know who he is :)

I like this latest one best, got tired of looking at the Silver Bullet.

csmlawn
08-20-2008, 10:30 PM
I like this latest one best, got tired of looking at the Silver Bullet.

Ditto. :laugh: