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who really charges for estimates

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Kingbman1, Nov 17, 2004.

  1. Kingbman1

    Kingbman1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 176

    I see a lot of people advertise free estimates, does any one actually charge people for estimates for grasscutting?
  2. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Messages: 10,178

    no, but you should. i try to quote them on the phone, with knowledge of thier location and property sizes in the area. this will keep you from running around ragged quoting to the never ending $1-$2 dollar price shoppers
  3. desert rose gardening

    desert rose gardening LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 387

    When I had my house built two years ago a contractor charged me $250.00 to come out to look at my land to put a house in for me. Back to your quieston, I do %100 residential, so I never charge, maybe if you do major property's, homeowner associations, shopping centers, and it takes a half day to come up with a price for them it seems fair to charge for your time. I don't know if the big company's charge for a estimate.
  4. Tonyr

    Tonyr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,973

    Wish I could, would save a lot of time and effort wasted on bargain hunters and time wasters!

    Be nice to say, Quotes are $20, hire me and you get it back after 1st invoice....or something, just something to get commitments instead of the ol', 'I'll talk to husband, or I'll get back to you, or I have more lawnwho.es comin', might call ya later...And Oh, thanks for that, we are looking at a ride on ourselves and were just wandering how much we will save doin' it ourselves! etc, etc.

    I live in a country area, ride on service only, the amount of miles wasted on unwinable quotes is amazing, wish I could quote acreage jungles over the phone! Some people just have no idea! So many people just think we work for beer money it amazes me, and those that do just stuff it up for everyone anyway.

    This is good work, it's the people that get to me LOL!
  5. Tonyr

    Tonyr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,973

    a properly tuned business plan should have these costs built in and covered in the quotes, but it doesn't always work!

    I definetly put quote time into commercial bids, probably the reason I don't win many...blokes here work ultra cheap on commercial because of the 12 month security, I'm the opposite because commercial should look great and always something eats up more time, and businesses can claim my services on tax, why work ultra cheap especially when a lot of commercial is out of hours or around cars, traffic etc...

    We have community volunteer groups doing commercial lawn care now, work for a donation, workers are scab volunteers, lost my biggest commercial not long ago, can't compete with that mentality!

    Thats the way it's going now though, any idiot can push a mower, trim bushes, trim an edge, maybe not greatly, but cheap work isn't expected to be good though.
  6. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,685

    For fall clean ups I will not do estimates anymore We tell them over the phone we charge by the hour these are our rates if your interested we will put you on our list. Now that pisses them off but screw them I am working 7 days a week at this time of year and I am not wasting a day to go drive to these peoples homes to rack my brain on a clean up estimate. I am loving this year since I have over a hundred customers to do clean ups for I no longer need to play that game which always bites you in the ass. Now I charge by time nothing worse then bidding 200 dollars and finding you should have bid 350.
  7. Jackman

    Jackman LawnSite Member
    from Zone
    Messages: 231

    My estimates are free except when it comes to accident repairs (LIKE CAR CRASHES THRU FENCE WRECKS LAWN)...... I have found that these calls are made mostly by do it yourselfers who want to get the insurance money based on your estimate while you work for free with them I charge and get the check as I hand them an estimate.......

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,981

    Like bobby said, I usually give em an idea of the price over the phone first, to week out the riff-raff.

    One guy I know that just does landscape installs charges $50 per estimate. He takes it off the final bill if they signup. He should probably charge more since he has to go and meet with the clients, discuss everything, go home and draw up plans, etc.
  9. YardPro

    YardPro LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,570

    for mowing, free
    for detailed landscape design--- charge
  10. charlies

    charlies LawnSite Senior Member
    from earth
    Messages: 587

    i think the 'free estimates' thing used to hold value. not anymore though. everyone knows you don't have to pay for a lawn estimate. in fact, most probably realize that the phrase 'free estimates' means you are desperate for business or noob, in which case, they can probably take advantage of you. i will probably be blasted for this, but in my mind, free estimate means you have a craftsman pushmower and trimmer thrown in the back of a pick-up (or el camino). these days, i think most lco's who utilize the word free in their ad are hoping to catch someones eye. we aim for a more affluent clientel (ones who are not so moronic or tight-with-money that the word free catches their eye) we are not the cheapest and we are not interested in building a tightwad clientel (we have enough cheap bastards as it is). in this world, you get what you pay for and i believe smart consumers know that.

    in summation: if a customer is on the look out for free, please, please, please, do not be on the lookout for me. (i think i'll put that in our ad next year, you know, to separate us from the 50 or so 'free estimate' ads we are running against, lol).

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