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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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?

Scott
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
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.
 

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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.
 

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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...
 

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

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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.
 

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If you're a existing client,
big deal, I'll see you in fifteen minutes; for free.
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.
 

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Another factor that hasn't been touched on, is that the existing system can be a miserable pile of crapola, and lacking in proper backflow protection, and the retrofitting of the system plumbing might (if an RPZ is used) wreck the coverage of the existing zones. That is one reason that existing systems aren't on the radar for free estimates.
 

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Another factor that hasn't been touched on, is that the existing system can be a miserable pile of crapola, and lacking in proper backflow protection, and the retrofitting of the system plumbing might (if an RPZ is used) wreck the coverage of the existing zones. That is one reason that existing systems aren't on the radar for free estimates.
Which happens with 99% of cold calls. :hammerhead:
 

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If i have to turn on a system or take out a tool or touch a valve or controller, there's a fee. If not, sure free. but you're going to get a very high estimate, if not the time/material speech, just so i can cover my butt.

Bottom line is time is money, and the qualified guys aren't cheap.

pg
 

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You might get an "estimate" w/o charge for a NEW system. You still won't get a true BID for a system w/o some money upfront (well, there are guys who will, but........pay now or pay later). You have a system. You HAD a service contractor that your firing for not being professional, AND you want someone to come out and tell you what the last guy didn't do right.......for free? And while we are there, could we bid adding on to the system that hasn't been maintained properly and is in who knows what kind of shape?

What do YOU do for a living? I'd like you to estimate/bid/spend some of your time for me for free. IF I really like how you do it and what you do and I can't do what you show me needs to be done, I might hire you to do something in the future...........

Now, read your question again. Think about the company YOU told us was reputable said. Now, have you called them back and agreed to pay for the initial visit?
 

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If i have to turn on a system or take out a tool or touch a valve or controller, there's a fee. If not, sure free. but you're going to get a very high estimate, if not the time/material speech, just so i can cover my butt.

Bottom line is time is money, and the qualified guys aren't cheap.

pg
Which is why there will always be crappy systems out there. Because there will always be guys willing to do the bid for free. And they are rarely the qualified guys.

If I take my truck to my mechanic, ask him to drive it around, and check this and that, then tell me what the cost will be to fix this and that, HE CHARGES ME. otherwise he should be making money doing the tranny rebuild or the brake job that is already up on the lift. Now if he is already doing some work on this truck, and I ask him to also check the brakes, he will do it free.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Okay, you all convinced me...LOL *trucewhiteflag*

When I was accepting bids on my new irrigation system, I had three to four companies out and all provided a free estimate. Now Knowing more about irrigation systems in good part due to you guys here, I realized that two of the companies weren't the best, but were far from the worst. One of the companies TLC Irrigation and Landscape Lighting is one of the largest irrigation companies in the area, however, I didn't use them (mistake I realize now). Now that I'm shaking my current irrigation company due to ****ty service and crap Weathermatic rotors, I find myself in a little bit of a different situation then if I was looking for a completely new system installer.

Also, the company I spoke with early today is solely RB. They use to install Hunter, but switched to RB.

Thanks for the feedback. :usflag:

Scott
 
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