Charging for estimates?

WarriorLandscaping

LawnSite Senior Member
Hey guys, hope everyone's Summer has been good!

We are in a slow period due to the drought up here, going back to daily estimates which is a nice change.

We are a growing company with two crews so I feel free estimates may be a thing of the past.

Does your company charge for estimates? How do you reconcile this? Flat rate? Drive time?

Does charging for estimates ever turn customers away from you? Or does it attract them to you because it makes you look more professional,

Interested in your experiences.

Thank you
 

EricC

LawnSite Bronze Member
again, i'm no pro, just a homeowner. BUT, what is the service? an entire landscape design? mulching trees and mowing grass? For "most" services I'd have to say if someone charged me to have them come out and audition for a job I wouldn't even have them come out.

Now if it was come out and go over plans and design like architecture or something that's a different story.

for the most part, if you have someone that drives around and makes contact with perspective clients, just build it in to the cost of doing business and spread across all jobs. I think initial contact should always be "free". Come out and look, get an idea, talk to home owner, but after that level of service required for estimate may change if it's "free" or charged.
 

rclawn

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
Kansas City
Do you apply the charge for estimate towards the total bill if they accept the work? That’s the only wayI think this would be reasonable. There’s a local guy that charges for estimates, I think something like $5 to give you a bid for mowing, $20 to measure for mulch or rock, more to suggest plants and edges for landscape etc. I kind of think it’s a rip off but if you are busy enough to be able to do it, why not
 

Wolfgang

LawnSite Member
Location
Ireland
We used to do free estimates and would always have a shed load of them to do but not a lot of take up, We now have a fixed charge for the call out deductable from the total price of the works if the quote is accepted. This has cut down on the enquiries but those who are willing to pay the callout usually are serious about getting the work done, we do less quotes but have a much higher takeup of quotes.
 
OP
WarriorLandscaping

WarriorLandscaping

LawnSite Senior Member
We used to do free estimates and would always have a shed load of them to do but not a lot of take up, We now have a fixed charge for the call out deductable from the total price of the works if the quote is accepted. This has cut down on the enquiries but those who are willing to pay the callout usually are serious about getting the work done, we do less quotes but have a much higher takeup of quotes.
Interesting, this is what I am leaning toward as well. Sort of a filter from the cheapos to the real deal.
 
OP
WarriorLandscaping

WarriorLandscaping

LawnSite Senior Member
Can you explain this furthermore?

"We now have a fixed charge for the call out deductable from the total price of the works if the quote is accepted"

So essentially we charge $50 for an estimate, if the person accepts the bid and hires us we would add the $50 to the $1000 job per say?

If they don't accept, no charge?
 

BigJlittleC

Banned
Location
Chicago
Why not try more advanced pre qualification before making the trip.

Estimates can be given somewhat without making a trip. I always give a rough estimate

A job like yours usually falls in the $xx-xxx range. Does that match your budget?

How soon do you want to start this project?

The answer to those questions will determine if I even schedule an on-site visit. Most calls never get this far.
 

weeze

LawnSite Fanatic
i try to do all estimates on the phone now. i give a ballpark figure and then a final figure when i come out to mow the yard the first time or whatever the job may be.
 

Wolfgang

LawnSite Member
Location
Ireland
Can you explain this furthermore?

"We now have a fixed charge for the call out deductable from the total price of the works if the quote is accepted"

So essentially we charge $50 for an estimate, if the person accepts the bid and hires us we would add the $50 to the $1000 job per say?
If they don't accept, no charge?
No, The charge is made at first meeting say 50.00. Quote is prepared and tendered for approval, say total 1000.00 and client agrees to the works, we then deduct the 50 already paid from 1000 leaving a balance of 950.00 due. This way we are paid for our time and advise to the client and the initial meeting.
 

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