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Consultation Fees - for the 1018th time!

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by DVS Hardscaper, Mar 1, 2011.

  1. 2ndNature

    2ndNature LawnSite Member
    Posts: 147

    DVS- I feel your pain man, but no way i can charge for it around here unless it is a big, involved design. Just too many competitors.
  2. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,417

    Not all of us contractors are there to "chat" LOL

    We're there to educate and share experience and most importantly.....knowledge.

    We all have tricks up our sleeves to intrigue folks so that they call us. And usually we exhibit our competency and experience and our knowlegde in our advertising and marketing. So, with that said, folks are not just picking a name off of a black and white list. They found interest in us via the content used in our advertising.

  3. punt66

    punt66 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,538

    it goes both ways. No way would i pay contractors at a first visit when i dont know if their qualified.
  4. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,417

    That's kinda a scarey mentality.

    Because as a consumer, I would NEVER call upon anyone that I wasn't sure of their qualifications. Again, the days of pulling names out of a hat are long long long long gone. I think this goes for most of the general population.

    I was seeking legal representation back in July. So I spent about about 6 hrs researching firms that specialized in what I needed assistance in. I didn't just pull a name out of the yellow pages.

    And I think thats how most intelligent people shop :)
  5. FLCthes4:11-12

    FLCthes4:11-12 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 284

    In your statements I think you did the best you could in pre-qualifying them. The $30 bucks or so up front may have made the difference especially if they were just checking yo versus a competitor. And ones like that always leave us a little bitter cause we like to think that we are the best in our area in what we do, are the easiest to get along with and how could people not like us. Thats my thinking I normally try to get some scope of the project before going out. But I 'm still kinda new in this this side of it so I generally chase a led we it presents itself.
  6. punt66

    punt66 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,538

    For a lawyer? yes. For a quote? maybe. But most people get a tip on a contractor through word of mouth or advertising. Part of doing the research is meeting you. A consumer should not have to pay for that.
  7. vtscaper

    vtscaper LawnSite Member
    Posts: 159

    we dont. However I have thought of this many times DVS and agree with you that it would be perfectly fair to charge a modest fee for an initial consult. I also think most half serious people - probably even the folks in your story would cough it up.

    But for me there is just no class in it. If the prospective client on the other line has made it through my casual screening, im getting a good feeling that they are serious and its a project that we would want. It would just kill the flow of enthusiasm and raise a bit of a red flag. It just doesnt fit into how i start building a relationship from t hat first phone call.

    Dont get me wrong. If I am even slightly on the fence about how serious folks are I will throw out all kinds of scary numbers about design fees, permitting how we did a similar sounding job that was X amount.

    If I called a contractor about a large scale project and he said he was going to charge me $30 refundable or not, it would put a real bad taste in my mouth. I couldnt help but wonder is he cheap? Will he nickel and dime the whole project. I just think it starts the subject of money/compensation off ont he wrong foot.
  8. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,776

    Commenting on your initial post DVS:

    I don't charge for a consultation fee when doing estimates. Where I do retrieve that expense is through my design charge.

    The design for me is also my way of seeing who is serious and also refunding that cost if we get the job.

    Even if 1/3 of my consults don't progress into a design, ultimately between all the designs I do, I end up breaking even on fuel/time.


  9. punt66

    punt66 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,538

    yes, that is what i do as well unless they already have a drawn design.
  10. tadpole

    tadpole LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,216

    That sounds to me as if you are making your legitimate clients bear the expense of giving free estimates to 'dead ends'. Is that fair?

    Charging for estimates/consulting has neither increased or diminished my business. What it has done has reduced operating costs and freed up time to devote to more productive matters.

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