To free estimate or no free estimate that is the ?

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zappy

Senior Member
Location
CA.
It's kinda hard to ask for money for a estimate when they have staring in there face from some other guy FREE ESTIMATE.It seems like you just got to make it up somewhere else?What do you guys do?Thanks.
 

HighWirey

Senior Member
zappy said:
It's kinda hard to ask for money for a estimate when they have staring in there face from some other guy FREE ESTIMATE.It seems like you just got to make it up somewhere else?What do you guys do?Thanks.
I have done 'free estimates' all of my life. The cost went to overhead.

Work'in For That Free Tee . . .
 

ultramegabob

Senior Member
Location
Indiana
If I give a free estimate, it is verbal only, I will put it in writing on a contract they can sign when they agree to hire me. If they want to have a written estimate, I charge for it and offer to deduct it from the price when I get a contract, because they can show it to my competition or turn it in to the insurance company and collect the money and do the work themselves.
 

bikeindy

Senior Member
Location
Indianapolis IN
ultramegabob said:
If I give a free estimate, it is verbal only, I will put it in writing on a contract they can sign when they agree to hire me. If they want to have a written estimate, I charge for it and offer to deduct it from the price when I get a contract, because they can show it to my competition or turn it in to the insurance company and collect the money and do the work themselves.
Good point, I do the same. When someone asks if they can get it in writing, I ask when do you want me to start the work.
 

cschmid

Senior Member
free estimate is just that..that does not state and thing except this is an apporimate price no details nothing..because they are design building my estimate in my design..can not use it to show to anyone as there is no detail in it..shown to an insurance company all they get is a check for amount minus depreciation and from an amount specified by the ajuster..Unless you sign a contract and provide a contract you wont recieve depreciation off the price..Issurance companies are not in the give money away business..its hard to compare apples to apples unles you have the goods to compare..
 

ultramegabob

Senior Member
Location
Indiana
cschmid said:
free estimate is just that..that does not state and thing except this is an apporimate price no details nothing..because they are design building my estimate in my design..can not use it to show to anyone as there is no detail in it..shown to an insurance company all they get is a check for amount minus depreciation and from an amount specified by the ajuster..Unless you sign a contract and provide a contract you wont recieve depreciation off the price..Issurance companies are not in the give money away business..its hard to compare apples to apples unles you have the goods to compare..

I wasnt real clear on the insurance thing, the customer needs two estimates for the insurance company, they will take your written estimate, have thier brother-in-law write one for $50 less and turn it in and have him do the work for 50 bucks and a case of beer, or not do the work at all and keep all the money. either way, a waste of my time....
 

cschmid

Senior Member
ultramegabob said:
I wasnt real clear on the insurance thing, the customer needs two estimates for the insurance company, they will take your written estimate, have thier brother-in-law write one for $50 less and turn it in and have him do the work for 50 bucks and a case of beer, or not do the work at all and keep all the money. either way, a waste of my time....
You are very correct..but it is a sin in the insurance game to give out money freely..I would only give a t&M estimate due to the fact it is insurance and after a catastrophy and there are to many unknowns..
 

ptonsparky

Senior Member
Location
NE (9.06 miles @5.9 Degrees from Winged Horses)
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
I have always given free estimates but am starting to rethink it. Drove 50+ miles the other day in 12 mpg vehicle to give advice & estimate to a possible customer. We are doing the job but to many just like it have been a waste of my time.

I have been leaning to the $s for a written estimate with credit back if awarded the job. Not sure how that will fly in this area.
 

emahler

Senior Member
one of the biggest hurdles to making money in the resi market is to stop thinking like a customer, and start thinking like a business owner....
 

Sharpie

Senior Member
Location
PA
If it's near by, I'll stop and look at the job. Then I'll give an estimate.

If it 50 miles away, I'll try to get details from the customer on the phone, then I say "based off of what you told me, it will probably be between $X and $X." (I try to keep that range fairly broad). I also let them know the price may be different once I see the job. If they want me to do the work, I usually know it by the end of the conversation.

It work for me. Especially since most of the work I get is by referrals.
 

Tiger Electrical

Senior Member
I don't do estimates, but I provide firm quotes with written contracts to a limited group for free. The group consists mostly of previous clients with an occasional other lucky winner. I also do free bids for anyone who delivers a decent set of plans to my office. I stopped chasing after work from everyone that calls a couple years ago.

A service charge...any service charge will get you away from the group that gets six estimates and then decides all the estimates are too high for their budget, or they'll have their neighbor or brother do it. The only way I'd go back to free bids is if I got my sales percentage over 50% with that group. As it is my sales percentage is a little over 80% without that group.

IMO the average residential service invoice is too low to allow for the time and expense of chasing low percentage leads.

Dave
 

Rewire

Senior Member
ultramegabob said:
I wasnt real clear on the insurance thing, the customer needs two estimates for the insurance company, they will take your written estimate, have thier brother-in-law write one for $50 less and turn it in and have him do the work for 50 bucks and a case of beer, or not do the work at all and keep all the money. either way, a waste of my time....
I always get the adjusters name and fax my qoute directly to them.If the HO will not give me the adjusters name I leave. If they baulk I walk thats my moto when dealing with insurance estimates.
 

ultramegabob

Senior Member
Location
Indiana
Rewire said:
I always get the adjusters name and fax my qoute directly to them.If the HO will not give me the adjusters name I leave. If they baulk I walk thats my moto when dealing with insurance estimates.
That a pretty smart practice, it insures that you have a fair chance at the job without the home owner showing your quote to your competitors.
 

petersonra

Senior Member
Location
Northern illinois
Occupation
engineer
As a HO, I would not be averse to paying for a detailed written estimate to repair the damage from some kind of catastrophe. A lot of insurance companies will pay for it as part of the settlement, but they often do not volunteer that information.
 

tmbrk

Senior Member
Location
Illinois
Tiger Electrical said:
A service charge...any service charge will get you away from the group that gets six estimates and then decides all the estimates are too high for their budget...
Last year around Christmas a woman called and said they were building a new house. She lived about 15 miles from me and asked if I could meet her half way to pick up the prints. We met in a parking lot half way and she pulled up and handed me the prints through the window. She then told me she had EIGHT different ECs giving her bids. I handed the plans back to her and told her sorry.

I'm not the most expensive guy around but odds are too high at 1 in 8 that I was gonna be the cheapest.

ptonsparky said:
Drove 50+ miles the other day in 12 mpg vehicle to give advice & estimate to a possible customer.
I drove 40 miles last Saturday to look at an addition. 80 mile round trip at 12 mpg. $3.85/gal. Cost me $25.00 in gas plus my Sat. afternoon.
 

480sparky

Senior Member
Location
Iowegia
tmbrk said:
I drove 40 miles last Saturday to look at an addition. 80 mile round trip at 12 mpg. $3.85/gal. Cost me $25.00 in gas plus my Sat. afternoon.
What really burns my toast is you make the drive, there's no one there, and no answer when you call them. :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad:
 

aline

Senior Member
Location
Utah
480sparky said:
What really burns my toast is you make the drive, there's no one there, and no answer when you call them. :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad:
Or the one I went out to that was an hour drive away. When I got there somebody had already started the wiring over the weekend. When I asked her about this she said oh yeah my husband had someone go ahead and start it already. I guess he forgot to call and tell you not to come out. He really just wanted an estimate to see if the price of the guy who's doing the work was reasonable.
 

ultramegabob

Senior Member
Location
Indiana
I always call to confirm that someone is home and they know Im on my way, if no anwer, I skip them and go to the next service call and either call again when Im free, or wait for them to track me down next.....
 
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