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FREE estimates!

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by haybaler, Mar 25, 2007.

  1. haybaler

    haybaler LawnSite Senior Member
    from ma
    Messages: 511

    I know this has been discussed before, but Why should i give free estimates. my time is worth money. any tv repair place or small engine place charges to give estimates wether you end up getting the work done there or not. I never advertise free estimates, but haven't charged for one either. I think I should charge a clear set fee for estimates and then if I do the work it would be appied to the bill. it would weed out the cheap people looking for the best price on a small job. please everyone feel free to rant and rave.
  2. Ford Guy

    Ford Guy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 36

    the only estimates that are free are the jobs that i bid on and don't get, i don't show on the invoice a charge for it but I hide it in the labour that I bill for the job
  3. haybaler

    haybaler LawnSite Senior Member
    from ma
    Messages: 511

    ya, but it's the job's you dont' get that kill you. so my ? is do you charge for the estimate or just try to weed out the ones that dont' sound worth it and just say your to busy. I'm not talking about commercial propertys that you know what is involved, I mean the one time customers that call and try to explain what the want done on the phone.
  4. cantoo

    cantoo LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,910

    We try to weed them out on the phone if possible. We also don't take on many new customers so the numbers are pretty low anyway. We don't do hardly any advertising so the ones who do call usually know one of our existing customers so they know the deal already. If we go to the place and the job looks like something we don't want I have a list of other companies we can give to them.
  5. DBL

    DBL LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,219

    the only thing is everyone and their mother will do a free estimate so no one would pay to come out and price a lawn however the thought has crossed my mine to charge for large estimates with plant desgins and showing samples and big stuff but ive never charged
  6. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 7,961

    The free estimate is a meet and greet sales job.

    I don't design for free.
  7. Gaturf

    Gaturf LawnSite Member
    Messages: 128

    DBL is right, nobody charges for estimates. i just put in new hardwood floors in my house so i got 4 estimates. but i called about 7 different companies, the ones that charged for an estimate got put to the side. and i found someone one out of the 4 other guys. i quess my point is, is that LCO are a dime a dozen around here and its easy to find a qualified company that doesnt charge.
  8. LB1234

    LB1234 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,208

    I hate free estimates but I don't think I'd generate any meetings with the potential clients if I didn't have a free estimates. I don't know about your phone calls but one of the first questions after they state what their need is is "Do you provide free estimates?" and the answer is always yes.

    I went on 5 estimates this past week. Two are absolute wastes of time but I'm sending the 'free estimate' anyway. One is interested but feels we are a little two high...I'll place a followup phonecall tomorrow. The fourth I landed a signed lawn account at 50/cut with a spring cleanup on the account at 175, and an 1800 mulch job. Needless to say, the mulch job/spring cleanup I'll recoup our other four 'free' estimates. Our 5th one is a potential landscape job estimated between 3-3.5k. I'm very optimistic about this client. But you never know.

    I wasted about $50 in fuel and about a full days worth of time if you consider the estimates and the time those took.

    I dunno complaining about free estimates is like complaining about fuel costs...your options are don't pay it and don't work and lose money or rub your neck and write the check.:dancing:
  9. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 7,961

    I don't drive a truck to estimates. I have a 25 MPG sedan for that. I also don't mow, I sell and do the paper work.
  10. LB1234

    LB1234 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,208

    I've tried that...but the customers were always asking questions and giving my wierd looks about why I'm not in a worktruck of somekind. If it works for you great...I didn't land any of those bids.

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