Charge for an estimate?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by redfox033, Oct 6, 2008.

  1. redfox033

    redfox033 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 54

    I don't normally charge for an estimate, but I want your feed back on this one. I picked up this ladies yard at the start of the season, in April she asked for a price on fertilizing her yard 4 times over the year. I gave her a price and didn't hear anything else, about 3 weeks later a ask her if she still wanted it fertilized, she said her son would do it when he comes in town every other month... I said ok sounds good. In June she asked me about trimming her bushes, again I gave her a price. A few weeks later, same thing... her son is going to do it. (bushes are still not trimmed) Then at the end of Aug, she wants a price on aerating, over seeding and fert. Ok I didn't want to, but I gave her a price. She said it sounds good, but she wants to wait a maybe have it done next year. Now she wants an estimate on landscaping around her house, I would say a ball park of $4200.00 to $4500.00. It will take me some time to get prices on everything and draw up some plans. I'm thinking about telling her I would have to charge her $250.00 for an estimate and if she wants it done I will take the $250.00 off the price. Is this fare? Would you charge for an estimate in this spot. I almost know when I give her the estimate she will just say ok and then never want it done.

    I also want to say that I like mowing her yard because its an easy flat yard I can ride and she always pays me on time. What should I do?
  2. newtostone

    newtostone LawnSite Senior Member
    from NY
    Messages: 681

    Yes, very fair, if someone is serious it wont matter to them once you let them know that you'll take the cost of the estimate off the price of the job. If she is just a talker she will shut up.
  3. lawn crafters

    lawn crafters LawnSite Senior Member
    from RI
    Messages: 440

    yea i would charge for a estimate of anything over a lawn cutting. but you dont want to pressure her into it if she doesnt have the money
  4. redfox033

    redfox033 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 54

    Thanks lawn crafters, and newtostone; I will tell her $250.00 for a detailed estimate.
  5. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    Yep. And let her know that the estimate cost IS credited when she purchases the install service.
  6. david shumaker

    david shumaker LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 721

    I've had people that want me to drive 20 miles to give an estimate on about 1 or 2 hours work. Also, some people just want an estimate so they will know how much to pay their kids or the neighborhood kids to do the job (like leaves). If it's not on my route and a small job, I try to give an estimate on the phone and tell them it could be more or less depending on how long the job takes. If it's on my route, I will stop by their house and leave an estimate. I don't know of any other contractor's or service companies that give free estimates on an hours work. They charge for a service call to just come and look. The lady you are talking about, sounds like she just wants alot of estimates and will wait until she finds somebody that will work for food until she has the work done.
  7. sweetz

    sweetz LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,599

    I've run into the same problems. That is the number I have chosen myself. $250.00. We CAN'T give FREE estimates out for landscapes, etc. It just doesn't make any sense at all.
  8. yes, def charge for that. It's not just giving a quote for a a lawn of doing shrubs....

    if she is SERIOUS, she will have no problem paying. It will save you time in the end

    good luck and let us know what happens
  9. capetan

    capetan LawnSite Member
    Messages: 226

    Before you just say $250 for the estimate...i would first go over the whole estimate process, and expectations from you and her ...... good luck but dont invest to much time and energy
  10. Kennedy Landscaping

    Kennedy Landscaping LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,597

    Charge, she is wasting your time. I she is serious she won't fuss over it. If she isn't she will turn around and run

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