Estimates: over the phone and in person

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Ecoscape01, Mar 12, 2007.

  1. Ecoscape01

    Ecoscape01 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 375

    I got an email from a guy on Saturday that wanted an estimate for a total property maintenance package for the whole season for his 1/3 lot. So I know the guy's lot is 1/3 acre and it's in an upscale golf community but that's about it! My phone number was posted in the ad that he replied to but he chose to email instead of call, which is fine, but I think he was looking for an estimate without me ever stepping foot on his property. Is that normal? Even if he just wanted his lawn mowed, not every lawn is the same. It's my first season and I don't really jack about the business and I'm trying to learn as much as possible. But I can't even fathom giving a bid like that without seeing is property.....Am I crazy or was he just price shopping. He did reply to a craigslist ad so that's what I'm afraid of.:dizzy:
     
  2. StBalor

    StBalor LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 798

    Got my 1st email this week from someone wanting an estimate on spring clean up. Sent her a reply asking exactly what she wanted and got the address from her.Also gave her my phonee # in the email. Went and looked at the property this morning And emailed her back with the total and my phone number again. Waiting on a reply, if she likes the estimate, we will have to set up an appointment for her to sign a proposal.
     
  3. Ecoscape01

    Ecoscape01 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 375

    But not giving me his address to come look at his property doesn't make any sense. I would love to email customers their estimates if they prefer....makes my life easier but giving an estimate without seeing the property.......that's what I'm confused about.....There's no reason I should really ever have to do that right?
     
  4. Woody82986

    Woody82986 LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,128

    No, just e-mail him back and get the address so you can run by and take a look at it. I very rarely ever give an estimate over the phone site unseen. The only times I EVER do this is when I can indentify the property in my mind in it's exact location and I feel comfortable doing so. Normally I can ballpark an estimate for the neighbor of a client over the phone but I tell them it wont be an official estimate until I actually look at the property.
     
  5. HOOLIE

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,981

    Never hurts to throw out a good ballpark based on the lot size. Could very well end up saving you a trip...someone that you quote around $35 and they were thinking more like $25. My first year I didn't know enough to pre-qualify people over the phone, and I chased down a lot of worthless estimates.
     
  6. Ecoscape01

    Ecoscape01 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 375

    Problem for me is.......this guy wanted the whole "shebang" including fert and weed control (which I can't due)......I blew some smoke up his you know what in the email and told him that I could sub it out to a another local company that I've been working with...not true since it's my first season so I haven't worked with anyone yet but it's just a little white lie. I feel like I gotta due a little BS'n with it being my first season. Maybe next time I'll try and come up with a ball park figure but somehow carefully making no promises for a specific price.
     
  7. TXNSLighting

    TXNSLighting LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 6,462

    Email him back and get his address. i wont ever give an estimate unless i see the prop. And yes you will get alot of people asking for estiamtes over the phone and or email. i had one guy ask for an estimate over the phone just the other day, i told him i would have to look at the place, and he said no i just am looking for an estiamte thanks an hung up!! i was shocked! but you will have some interesting people in this business! dont be suprized!
     
  8. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,076

    The guy is simply price shopping to leverage his present company. So why would you spend time running to the property:dizzy:
     
  9. Cracker Station

    Cracker Station LawnSite Member
    Posts: 66

    Had a lady e-mail me for my prices about 10 days ago. I thought it highly unusual to ask for prices without a callback number and address. Had her name on the e-mail so I went to the county tax site, found her address, went to look at, and left her an estimate on the door. Then came home and e-mailed her back the estimate, stating her address. I was out cutting yesterday, went by, yard not cut yet. Definately needed to be already cut. Not sure what to think of this one. Later. Cracker
     
  10. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,587

    while you really need to see the property to give a good bid, if you get the address, many county auditor web sites have areal photos, you can see how much trimming there is, how many tress etc.., and sizes of the lots are listed too..... you could ball park it on the high side as hoolie said, and if he isnt price shopping, then go out and give a full estimate....
     

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