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Charging a Fee to get a Quote... Oh Lord!!!

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by csmlawn, Aug 18, 2008.

  1. csmlawn

    csmlawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 106

    I just called a well known irrigation company in my area, got some background on their company, informed them that I'm looking to add several zones to my already existing irrigation system (mostly backyard) and to get some litature and/or quote on their service contract and what it entails. The gentleman I spoke with was really good to talk to and when he transfered me to the scheduler to set up the appointment, she informed me that there will be a service visit charge for this appointment. ;) I was like FOR WHAT!!! :confused: For us to come out and examine your existing system. I told her that I'm not looking for service at that time, that I'm getting ride of my current irrigation provider because he's an idiot and unreliable and I'm looking for better service and professionalism... This initial appointment is to get a quote for the additional zones and to talk to someone about service contracts. If I need service from your company it will be after I sign up for a service contract... not before. :nono: She was still insisting that there would be a service fee for the trip out to my house. Uhhhhhhh, no thank you and have a nice day.

    I've never heard of this... what about you guys?

  2. bcg

    bcg LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Tx
    Messages: 1,865

    We charge for every service call and for designs on new systems. If you install a system we design, we'll credit the design cost but it cost me money to come measure your lot, check your pressure and create a bid and I'm not going to eat that cost for tire kickers. If someone isn't willing to pay for a design, they aren't going to be willing to pay for the system we propose either, we're never the cheapest but our systems are better.

    As a comparison, call a plumber, electrician or A/C tech and ask them to come look at something for free. They're all going to have a service call (or trip) charge as well. In Texas anyway, I have to have a license just like those guys and my time, gas and most importantly my knowledge is worth something so if you want me to share it with you, you're going to pay for it.
  3. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    Time is money. If someone wants me to do a full system assessment and write up, it gets charged out, but I also will refund it if more work is done. Most residential systems only take about an hour to walk through and take notes. Many times I will throw in controller scheduling with that visit since 9 times out of 10 it is scheduled wrong.
  4. csmlawn

    csmlawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 106

    Okay, that makes sense to refund it back when you sign up for service. However, if you don't do a good job selling your service, product or your company, I'm not going to pay for that time. On the flip side, if you do a good job, I'll pay for the product and labor after I agree to the proposal, but not just to have someone do a dog and pony show. I guess there are a lot of tire kickers out there, so I can't fault you for charging... gas costs money.
  5. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 50,557

    So, the price of the work will be increased to cover the costs of all those proposals that aren't accepted. Sort of a Catch-22. The guys least likely to charge for an estimate will be giving you just about what you're paying for.
  6. bcg

    bcg LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Tx
    Messages: 1,865

    Well, you've already made up your mind. You'll probably find someone to come do it for free if you look hard enough but you said you called a reputable company. The person that does it for free won't be established and won't last long giving stuff away so you'll be looking for someone else before long. I'm sure the guys you called will still be around when your free guy disappears though...
  7. Mike Leary

    Mike Leary LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 23,155

    I'm not a "free estimate" kind of guy; the system has to be "surveyed"
    before you even know what the add-on entails. If I'm taking you under my
    wing as a service client, I'm going to provide a detailed call-out of any
    problems, the costs and when we can get going on the add-on. Paying a
    pro to come out and look it all over is money well spent. Plus, you get to
    size him up and see if the relationship will work. If you're a existing client,
    big deal, I'll see you in fifteen minutes; for free.
  8. EagleLandscape

    EagleLandscape LawnSite Platinum Member
    Male, from Garland, Texas
    Messages: 4,350

    We charge a fee every time we arrive at a property. They have to pay a salesman/tech to drive to your place. gas + wage for that employee, plus the cost of him potentially not doing something else to bill out money.

    Free estimates = loss of money. He was not out of line, if anything I would be more willing to trust that company because it sounds like they know what they re doing. Schedule an appointment, probably money well spent.
  9. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,219

    Exactly. Everyone else will be charged a service call for me to drive, use fuel, spend time meeting them, using my knowledge to design and survey. If not I should be doing a repair and charging.

    Although right now with the phone not ringing due to rain I've looked at a couple free when I am in those areas.
  10. EagleLandscape

    EagleLandscape LawnSite Platinum Member
    Male, from Garland, Texas
    Messages: 4,350

    hows that van working out for you? got any updated pcitures?

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