free estimates

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by AielLandscaping, May 10, 2002.

  1. AielLandscaping

    AielLandscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 302

    has this happened to any of you guys?

    i've had this happen twice so far, once a guy crashed through a fence and destroyed a backyard, and the other time two cars were chasing each other and drove through a front lawn and tore it up... i didn't do either of these houses on a regular basis. both times this happened i got called and the first thing i was asked "do you give free estimates?" .. of course i do... so i go to give an estimate, and then find out once i'm there that they only want an estimate so they can give it to their homeowners insurance so they can collect money... that kind of stuff burns me up...:blob2:
  2. anythinglawns

    anythinglawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 81

    It happend two weeks ago. People call me and say a storm had blown down some trees in there yard and would like for me to give the an estimate on cleaning it up. Not something I usually do but thought I would take a look. I give the estimate they say "thanks that is what we will tell the insurance company" they then cut the trees up them self, and collected the loot.
  3. Did a quote once for replacing sod. After quote was done customer said "Oh, I don't think I'll do the work I just need a price so I can sue my tennant."
  4. Tony Harrell

    Tony Harrell LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 739

    Some auto body shops charge for estimates for that very reason.
  5. dougaustreim

    dougaustreim LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 488

    As soon as I determine that there is a possible insurance claim or other legal matter involved, I tell them straight out that there will be a charge for the estimate. If they have us do the work, I'll credit them back. In most cases, the insurance company will pay that additional cost as part of the loss anyway.

    I do not make an insurance estimate, until I talk to the adjuster to determine exactly what is covered and is not. Many times the homeowner will try to pad the claim with additional items.

    I have always gotten along good with the insurance companies, and they know that I give honest unbiased estimates. In fact mnay times it is the insurance adjusters that call us first.

    I will give police officers rough estimates for their police report as a courtesy. They appreciate it and it never hurts to have them on your side. Sometimes we have to park illegaly for loading and unloading etc.

    Doug Austreim
    Austreim Landscaping
  6. John Allin

    John Allin LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,488

    We're with Doug on this one.
  7. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,876

    Honestly, I don't get that very much. I've given a few like that that we landed, and a few like that who probably just wanted the estimate only.

    But if it became a big problem I guess I'd have to adopt a policy that said "We charge for estimates for insurance work. But if we end up doing the job, the price paid for the estimate will be taken off of the job."
  8. Dennis E.

    Dennis E. LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 349

    Doug and Jim have the answer to that problem.
    I went thru that situation some years back. A yard that was all tore up from a vehicle. I went and gave them an estimate AND got the repair job.
    Like Jim,I don't get calls for that type situation any more.
  9. Samurai WeedWacker

    Samurai WeedWacker LawnSite Member
    Messages: 93

    Dougaustreim said
    "I do not make an insurance estimate, until I talk to the adjuster to determine exactly what is covered and is not. Many times the homeowner will try to pad the claim with additional items."

    If you give an itemized estimate, how could a homeowner use it to pad a claim? I don't see a necessity for talking to the adjuster first.
    Is there something I don't understand here?
  10. dougaustreim

    dougaustreim LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 488

    An itemized estimate usually cannot get to the detail level of every single plant and square foot of the area. The adjuster may have already determined the area to be included and the customer may try to expand the area to include beyond the boundaries of the casualty. I have worked on several cases of herbicide damage for instance where the trees etc were in such bad shape prior to the incident, that killing them would have been an improvement. Knowing what the adjuster and\or the policy will cover can keep you from wastting time on things that are not covered. Some policies also have $ limits per shrub or tree etc. If the plant is obviousely worth well in excess of the limit, there is no point in doing a full fledged valuation. I also have found that by talking to the insurance people up front and getting on the right track right away, I have many less follow up questions after the estimate. If you establish a degree of comfort up front, your evaluation is usually accepted at face value.

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