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Does anyone charge for estimates?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by nobagger, May 19, 2005.

  1. nobagger

    nobagger LawnSite Gold Member
    from Pa
    Posts: 3,065

    Recently there was a post in here and he stated that he never did "free estimates", thats awesome! I was approched by a painting contractor and he noticed we give free estimates like everyone else does. He asked me how can we afford to give them out? I told him it's pretty much the indusrty standard, I then said I'm guessing you don't give out free estimates, and his reply-Hell no! or I would be in the poor house. He was booked into the end of August!! I was thinking of charging $10-$15.00 and if they sign giving double that back towards their bill. Any thoughts?
  2. BRIMOW525

    BRIMOW525 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 215

    I'll tell you what, I'm seriously considering charging for estimates. The busier I get, the more of a waste of time it is to drive around and give estimates to MAYBE get the job. Half the time the people just want free advice and will do the lawn or whatever by themselves. And lord help me if its for landscaping and I have to plan it for them and they end up saying no. I had one woman want me to design a landscape, looked at it and said let me show my husband. Never to hear from them again.... I drove by they're house the other day, Gee, whose landscape design is in they're front yard. That was a bad move on my part, so never again.
  3. MarcSmith

    MarcSmith LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,157

    If they are current customers, then leave the plans, if they are possible new clients, then make your pitch leave the prices, but take the plans home with you when you leave the house....Plans are your time and effort.....Make sure all decision makers are home when you make your pitch, so you don;t need to leave plan behind so that could get copied.....
  4. Jay Ray

    Jay Ray LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,510

    I hope you start a trend that catches on fast Nobagger. Free estimates are a big shot of overhead.
  5. ColePyck

    ColePyck LawnSite Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 208

    I am seriously considering this for next year as well, it will help weed out the tight wads, I will charge a 25 dollar fee for estimates other than lawn maint and fert.
  6. HighGrass

    HighGrass LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Z5 MA
    Posts: 1,237

    For an estimate...no. For advice? Yes.
  7. gunner27

    gunner27 LawnSite Member
    from ohio
    Posts: 243

    I would love to charge for an estimate. Whait, laugh, laugh,...........
  8. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,112

    I don't charge for an estimate but I do charge for what I call an..."Evaluation/consultation fee.That means when I give you the estimate you get it free.
    If you start asking for free plans or have other questions involving installation of the landscape and have not hired me yet,then I tell them that to answer any other questions like that,
    they are getting into "Evaluation/consultation fee of $45.00 and if that fee is ok with them then I will be glad to answer any questions they may have,if they need a plan
    and have not hired me yet,I tell them it is so and so amnt for the plan,make one up
    and if they decide to hire me for the job ,that amount will be credited on the final bill.
    But if I leave a plan,then I leave with the $ for the plan hired or not.
    And if they are playing the "doit ourselves game"then I get a $45.00 fee.
    It's not charging for estimates,it's charging for your knowledge and experience in evaluation /consultation
  9. Eddie B

    Eddie B LawnSite Senior Member
    from gone
    Posts: 859

    If I begin charging for estimates, potential customers will be lost, they will call the other 35 people who are readily available, and free.
  10. GarPA

    GarPA LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Posts: 2,585

    If you try to charge for an estimate before you give it to a potential customer, I doubt you'll have many new customers. However, what I do is build the time I spend on each estimate, inside the total dollars for a given landscape project. So, for those who approve our estimate, I am paid for my time. For those who dont accept our proposal, then I do it for "free".

    At least half of our estimates turn into revenue so I recover most of my time to prepare them.

    Now if someone wants a full blown landscape design plan, the must pay us the design plan fee before we put pen to paper.

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