Do all estimates have to be free?

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by gkell88, Dec 27, 2001.

  1. Kent Lawns

    Kent Lawns LawnSite Senior Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 870

    We offer this:

    Option 1: Standard weed & feed program: free estimate based on sf.

    Option 2: Lawn inspection: Includes visual inspection, soil probe, core sampling & lab analysis, interpretation of analysis, recomendations and prices.
    Cost $55.00
  2. kris

    kris LawnSite Bronze Member
    from nowhere
    Messages: 1,578

    I'll do maintenance estimates for free.
    Anyone interested in construction is referred to our design department. They charge a consultation fee ( hourly ) and have for the most part , set fees for drawings.

    The odd time I will quote for free on small caliper trees .

    The worst people I found(and never got any of the work) were ones looking for written quotes for their insurance companys because of damage.. one last burnt down so shrubs etc were toast ...another...kid drove his car over the lady's lawn.. I charged them for the estimate.
  3. Lanelle

    Lanelle LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,361

    Quotes for insurance claims should not be free. You are providng a business service. Also, be careful when trying to place a value on a destroyed tree. There is a very involved 'science' in doing professional tree valuation that is outside the realm of most people's knowledge and experience. Also, the chances of getting the quoted work is very low. Most people want the highest estimates possible and then don't have any work done (pocketing the money) or go with a low-ball solution (pocketing most of the money).
  4. kris

    kris LawnSite Bronze Member
    from nowhere
    Messages: 1,578

    Yes Lanelle and it is ouside the realm of my experience. What I did last year was told them that all I could do was offer a quote on the largest caliper tree that we could plant for them ... I know this wasn't the true value of this tree.
    Can you share any insight on this process?
  5. Charging a fee for soft services will not only cut out the price shoppers , but also 95% of the non price shoppers.

    Like Kent Lawns said:
    That would be acceptable.

    But for hard services, an estamte or consultasion fee should be introduced. Nothing like spending 1/2 hour to 45 min. to price a job you know you wont get.

    BTW I wont bid INS. claim jobs without having customer sign a contract before a bid is given. You would be surprised at how many will sign it. You are letting good money fly away without doing so.
  6. kris

    kris LawnSite Bronze Member
    from nowhere
    Messages: 1,578

    Im sorry LGF I don't quite understand what you are saying.
    What exactly does this contract say?
  7. bob

    bob LawnSite Platinum Member
    from DE
    Messages: 4,260

    In a related note, my friend was in need of a tenent for his rental house. He charged a $25 rental application fee. This keep out the rif-raf and window shoppers. I don't think in the Green Industry you would be able to practice this.
  8. Lanelle

    Lanelle LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,361

    I think part of the reason there is so much variance of opinion on this topic is the wide array of services that we are talking about here. Some are quoting lawn services and others are doing landscape designs---big difference in time investment on the part of the estimator. I will have to do some research about the training for tree valuation. Possibly ISA has info on this. I just know that when I listened to an expert explain the procedure, it was similar to having an appraisal done on a house. Lots of factors go into the final number.
  9. kris

    kris LawnSite Bronze Member
    from nowhere
    Messages: 1,578

    Lanelle ,

    Please don't go to any trouble over this ... The Customer was satisfied with the way I did the estimate as was the insurance company. It is the first and only time I have run into this. Im sure you are right that many factors go into a tree valuation .. I betcha even sentimental value comes into this... you know... my daughter planted that tree when she was 4 years old.

    I have wasted many a 1/2 hours giving maintenance quotes...I feel it is much differant than Landscaping and harder to demand a fee for it....Landscape side, for starters ....there is a 2 hour consultation fee min. For that they get a rough, not to scale sketch and shoot the breeze answering questions and giving suggestions.... If they want a drawing, they start around $600.00.

    Lanelle, can you share how the design end works where you are?
  10. Kris, I know a roofer that based their entire biz on ins. claims. The customer signs a contract stating that the bidder is the contractor performing the job minus deductable.

    So i thought the same when bidding ins. claims. That's how I do them. Customer signs a conract that when ins. co. pays claim that the work will be perfomed by us.

    This way when a detailed bid is given to submit to ins. co. the money doesn't get "pocketed" and you didn't waiste your time bidding a job you knew you were not going to get. This is one sure fire way to weed out the "pocketers" on ins. claims.

    As Lanelle said:
    I don't get very many, but it does garuntee that if I was to bid it, it gets done, and we do it.

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