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Anyone Charge For

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by GREENTIMEJG, Sep 21, 2007.


    GREENTIMEJG LawnSite Member
    from Iowa
    Messages: 33

    Does anyone here charge for estimates? It seems like if you could do that it would kick out some of the clients that are not going to be serious. The fee could be applied to the first service that they receive. Just curious and thinking about trying it when I start. I do not like driving around for free. Time is money.
  2. Sweet Tater

    Sweet Tater LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,123

    I personally don't thinks its a good idea. Even if i were extremely serious about hiring some one to do the job, I am going to shop around, because until I meet some one I don't know anything about them or their business. I want to talk to several companies before I hire, I do not look for the cheapest work, but the best work for me. I wouldn't want to spend $100 before I even Hire anyone.
    Would you shop at a car dealer that charged for test drives?
  3. capetan

    capetan LawnSite Member
    Messages: 226

    i tell you what before i started landscaping i use to sell cars..... thats actually a good idea....but it would never work, you would lose business, and if an estimate takes up that much time plus driving to and from, you might want to think twice before giving an estimate, i will never do estimates taking more than an hour, which means i will not travel more than 15 miles one way for a job plus the time for the estimate plus time driving back ...... i just try to get the most information from the customer over the phone or email before i drive out and give an estimate, that way i know if their serious or not, it really boils down to asking the right questions the more you find out about the customers situation, the more jobs you get and the less wasted estimates.... charging for estimates is not the right way to get more business
  4. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    No, best I have found is streamline the method, make it fast and effective, you know it's free so the hardest part is don't waste time.

    It's just a numbers game in the long run, much as I hate that expression when I know we're dealing with people, but that's how I find I have to look at it. Way I usually do it is I reserve time for estimates, it's just like another thing to do. That is, unless all I have is one, usually I line them up like ducks in a row... Say I got 4-5 to give, map it all out then hop in my car and bad-a-bing bad-a-boom one after the other, knock'm out.

    Either first thing in the morning, then come back home and switch vehicles and run out to get the work done, or later in the evening works also. Of course you gotta call each one of the customers back with a price, but... I used to do it in the truck if it was en-route, but found sometimes I'd get caught in a funny way, hard to explain in short so lets just say I almost always go in my car.

    Look at the job, come up with the price, dial'm up and say what you gotta say + price, don't forget to leave your number, next!
  5. lawnpro724

    lawnpro724 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,201

    I offer free estimates if its in our local service area and free design work for landscaping if customer goes with it, if not they pay.
  6. Down2EarthLawns

    Down2EarthLawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 191

    No charge on estimates....unless it is a very large landscaping project.

    RICHIE K LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 647

    No charge for estimates bad biz just my 2 cents
  8. Common Ground

    Common Ground LawnSite Member
    Messages: 19

    be prepared to spend time and money and more time then more time to make some money
  9. txgrassguy

    txgrassguy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,083

    I charge for estimates beyond simple services offered.
    Re-design work, commercial design work, essentially anything beyond $5K worth of work is charged for.
    What I have found with this policy, especially with commercial jobs, is that I am included very early on in the planning/budgetary stage and more importantly am viewed in the same light as the other paid "professionals".
    I have found, however, that charging for residential estimates may create a bad feeling with the customer which is why any work valued over $5K, for instance a turf site tear out/replace or irrigation refit, I am paid for my planning regardless or I simply won't bid it.
    This stance has narrowed the niche market I am servicing yet I have benefited more than I would of lost by serving a more discriminating customer whom in turn often refers more work my way.
    Apparently this is working as my crews are scheduled out through November 2007.
    I will say, however, for an attitude like this to work, one does have to have a definable market presence and the ability to deliver.
  10. GroundForce007

    GroundForce007 LawnSite Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 32

    charging for residential estimates i would only do free estimates

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