View Full Version : Charging for estimates

Paradise Landscapes
06-18-2003, 12:32 PM
I believe we should start charging for estimates. Putting just so many estmates out and not getting jobs? Too much wear and tear, Gasoline, ETC.

I might start charging for estimates. What about you fellow members?

06-18-2003, 04:43 PM
I haven't, nor will I, charge for estimates. It smells of greediness. Just my opinion, though.


06-18-2003, 04:56 PM
I dont charge for an estimate unless it is further than 20 miles away from my office...then its $40.00 just to get me out the door...

06-18-2003, 06:53 PM
It would make it difficult to compete with others not charging for estimates.


Rex Mann
06-18-2003, 10:38 PM
I do not charge for an estimate, however I do charge for a design. A design I have to sit down and invest time into. My usual design is to put paint lines down and mark the areas pretty well. then I'll do a sketch, which they do not get a copy to keep.



06-18-2003, 11:41 PM
I think a minamal charge should be requested, since you are going to consult about a job. The estimate( a written piece of paper with prices) should be free, not your expertise.

I've been charging non-referred calls a consultation fee of $20 which I apply to an awarded job. Yes I get people that say forget it, but once i explain that you want me to spend anytime with you discussing work, I am now a consultant rather than a contractor.
It has stopped the shoppy loos dead in their tracks.


Paradise Landscapes
06-19-2003, 09:32 AM
I was thinking about maybe a few bucks just for gas. And maybe it will stop the shoppy ones in thier tracks. Every call I gotten they ask for FREE estimates.

What Exactly is a Free Estimate?
We have the overhead expense just to get there and it costs.

What about a Write-up Proposal?
Some want a written proposal, two days latter they cancel. (In OHIO, Contract law is 3 days until customer is under binding contract. Many people know this.)

B. Phagan
06-19-2003, 02:10 PM
If you really want to separate yourself from all the competition out there, start charging for estimates.........trying calling the AC guy or an electrician or CPA or any other professional.....they realize they have expertise and will charge for it!!

Advanced Lawncare
06-19-2003, 03:07 PM
I do not and doubt that I will start charging for "simple" estimates. Examples would be for mowing, seeding, etc. Estimates for more involved work, landscaping, installing etc will have a charge.

06-19-2003, 05:47 PM
I don't charge for estimates, but like other I do charge for a design or for consulting.

I know that I personally would never pay for an estimate from any company in any industry. There are enough businesses out there looking for work that I don't have to do that.

I think charging for an estimate would repel many potential customers. I know that I'm not in the position to be doing something to purposely keep people from calling me.

Of course anyone that does charge for an estimate should credit that amount back if the estimate is accepted.

Then again, try telling a commercial account that you want to charge them for bidding on their property :D

Haley Lawn Care
06-19-2003, 11:39 PM
The last estimate I gave cost me over an hour of time and about 30 miles total driving. Then the lady said "I might call you" I will not give another "free" estimate. I am going to tell them a minimun of $20.00 for an estimate and then if I get the job the total price will include everything. That should stop all the loafers and price shoppers. I will give a price for mowing over the phone but I tell the customer that it might be more once I get there and see the property. They will usually say okay.

David :)

06-20-2003, 12:30 AM
on some things we should charge.. like this guy wanted me out to asked about weed control.. when i got there he wanted suggestions to overseed and renovating his yard.. at the end of the conversation he told me he has been reading on turf management.. i think he just wanted my ideas to see if he can go and do it his self.. that ended up being a half hr. of my time.. driver there, walk around and talk, drive to my next destination... things like that there should be a fee.. but for someone calling just to get a price to cut there lawn it shouldn't be...just my option

06-20-2003, 10:49 PM
My advice as well as my estimates have been and always will be FREE.

broken leg
06-21-2003, 10:01 PM
I do not charge for estiments but I tell customer over phone my minimum charge which is 45.00. This does away with the 20.00 dollar customer real fast and saves me the gas.You might want to think of ways to qualify a little over the phone but you do not want to scare away a good customer. The way i do an estimate is to give a customer a price on work they want done but I charge for advise that is a consult.

B. Phagan
06-22-2003, 10:21 AM
Hey Broken Leg,

You have hit upon two of the secrets to charging for estimates, those being qualifying the customer and setting a minimum fee. Let the customer know the above and you will eliminate the tire kickers and get the most profitable accounts.

A great point!!

broken leg
06-22-2003, 02:14 PM
I sat in your course in burlinton NC and also have all your books

06-22-2003, 08:52 PM
I have had people ask if I charge for estimates. I tell them if they are local, no..so they make an appointment with me. I get out there and they start picking my brain for advice, ideas,etc..then they show me a drawing that some other poor soul created for them...but they felt that their "estimate" was too high.... so they were shopping around using the other guy's design.

I told that person, that I didnt want to do business with them.

Free estimates within a reasonable distance are one thing...but many people try to take advantage of us once we get there. They do not put landscapers and horticulturists in the same category as lawyers, consultants, etc.... these types of people think we "owe" them free advice and free estimates. These are the people that I get through the phone book..and that is why I do very little advertising in the phone book.

06-28-2003, 12:34 AM
we don't charge for estimates, but we do charge for consultations