Poll - Do You Give Free Estimates? - Page 2 - General Discussion - Contractor Talk
View Poll Results: Choose one of the below:
I give free estimates for residential 57 66.28%
I do not give free estimates for residential 8 9.30%
I give free commerical estimates 17 19.77%
I do not give no free commercial estimates 4 4.65%
I believe estimates are a privilege, not a right 9 10.47%
All customers have the right to a free estimate 17 19.77%
None of the above options apply to me/my company 3 3.49%
Anarchy! 6 6.98%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 86. You may not vote on this poll

Poll - Do You Give Free Estimates?

 
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Old 06-05-2013, 11:45 AM   #21
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Re: Poll - Do You Give Free Estimates?


I'm thinking of reply as such:
Hi ******,

Thank you for contacting us to provide an estimate for the renovations on your condo.

We are unable to provide estimates without seeing the property in question.

We offer free estimates for the whole job which does not include an itemized break down for each project with the cost for labor and material separated.

The scope of work is quite large and will take a lot of time to price and prepare. We require a refundable fee of $500 (if we are awarded the bid) for a material/labor cost breakdown for each project.

Please give us a call at ***-***-*** once you take possession and we will be happy to schedule an appointment for **** to meet with you to discuss further.

Thank you,
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Old 06-05-2013, 12:51 PM   #22
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Re: Poll - Do You Give Free Estimates?


Sorry but if you told me there was a charge for the estimate you would get no farther. You could be Michael freaking Angelo and you wouldn't get in the door. Estimates are a part of doing business, are they a pita sure, but so are a lot of things.
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Old 06-05-2013, 01:08 PM   #23
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Re: Poll - Do You Give Free Estimates?


Spoken like a true FNG.

BTW, this thread, with the exception of the Doby's posts, is 6 years old. Not that it matters, of course...some things never change.
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Old 06-05-2013, 01:10 PM   #24
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Re: Poll - Do You Give Free Estimates?


Quote:
Originally Posted by ToolNut View Post
Sorry but if you told me there was a charge for the estimate you would get no farther. You could be Michael freaking Angelo and you wouldn't get in the door. Estimates are a part of doing business, are they a pita sure, but so are a lot of things.
So you think it is fair game to request a detailed breakdown for each project, even though they haven't taken possession of the property (and who knows if they actually will) and are only supplying 4 photos?

Of course, most of the info would have to be reworked once you get to the site and measure everything, thus taking up even more time to provide a more accurate estimate. Now if you try and re-coup double the time in the estimate, you will most likely be higher than other contractors.

Just trying to feel out what other contractors think of a situation like this. I haven't sent the replied above but I don't think $45 - $175 would be enough to cover time and travel spent to work all this out. I also don't appreciate someone not including their contact info. If a contractor spends the time to price a job, the customer has to accept a face to face meeting.

Thank you for your input.
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Old 06-05-2013, 01:26 PM   #25
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Re: Poll - Do You Give Free Estimates?


Quote:
Originally Posted by doby View Post
Yes, I do believe we should charge for estimates. I just received this email requesting a quote. Does he seriously think we will do all this for free? An "ESTIMATE" is free, not as shopping list. They didn't even provide their phone number.

How would you respond?

"Hello,

We would like to reno our condo (1300 sqft). Since we will be getting possession of the condo on the 21st, I am unable to give you precise measurements of the cabinets and areas. However, I have some photos which will hopefully give you an idea of the work involved.

We have a list of things we would like to have done.

Task Area
Replace tiles with laminate Foyer
Change main door locks Foyer
Paint walls Foyer
Adjust entrance door level / frame Foyer
Paint walls Laundry
Change laundry piping to braided piping Laundry
Kitchen Cabinet refinishing / re-glazing Kitchen
Install new hardware (door handles, slow close hinges and sliders) Kitchen
Update appliances (fridge, dishwasher and range) Kitchen
Install over the hood microwave Kitchen
Install backsplash / reglaze Kitchen
Replace countertops (cut out for undermount zero degree sink- sealed and finished) Kitchen
Replace garburator Kitchen
Replace sink with zero degree double SS sinks Kitchen
Replace undersink plumbing fittings Kitchen
Replace Flooring with Porcelain tiles Kitchen
Replace light fixtures Kitchen
Install GFCI Kitchen
Paint walls Kitchen
Reglazing tub + surround Main bath
Reglaze Wall tiles Main bath
Paint walls Main bath
Refinish / reglaze vanity Main bath
Install counter tops (cut out for undermount zero degree sink- sealed and finished) Main bath
Install sink + faucets Main bath
Install toilet Main bath
Reglaze floor tiles Main bath
Install GFCI Main bath
Replace light fittings Main bath
Reglazing tub + surround Guest bath
Reglaze Wall tiles Guest bath
Paint walls Guest bath
Refinish / reglaze vanity Guest bath
Install counter top (cut out for undermount zero degree sink- sealed and finished) Guest bath
Install sink + faucets Guest bath
Install toilet Guest bath
Reglaze floor tiles Guest bath
Replace light fittings Guest bath
Install GFCI Guest bath
Paint walls Living room
Replace carpet with laminate + underlay Living room
Replace light fittings Living room
Replace fireplace tiles Living room
Replace electrical fixtures (sockets, dimmer switch) Living room
Remove fireplace mantle and replace with brick tiles for the entire wall Living room
Replace fireplace glass Living room
Replace blinds Living room
Paint walls Den
Replace carpet with laminate + underlay Den
Replace blinds Den
Adjust door / door frame Den
Paint walls Master bedroom + closet
Replace carpet with laminate + underlay Master bedroom + closet
Replace blinds Master bedroom
Paint walls Bedroom
Replace carpet with laminate + underlay Bedroom
Replace blinds Bedroom
Replace door and adjust Bedroom
Replace electrical socket with Outdoor outlet Decks

Please provide estimates of the cost and time that would be required for each of these projects. Also quote with and without materials. Does the cost include removing and disposing the old fixtures/cabinets etc?

Do let me know if you have any questions that I can help with."
That email does not warrant a response.
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Old 06-05-2013, 01:30 PM   #26
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Re: Poll - Do You Give Free Estimates?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sar-Con View Post
That email does not warrant a response.
They just say Hello, so you know it's a generic mail out to a bunch of different contractors on craigslist and most likely looking for cheap cheap cheap.

I am thinking of not responding.

Received a call yesterday from someone who first started off saying the subjects just have to be removed followed by "I am definately buying it". That gives a clear indication that it's not bought YET. He would like us to come on Thursday so he can arrange with the realitor to have a bunch of contractors come at the same time to quote the job. I'm thinking we'll pass on that one as well.
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Old 06-05-2013, 01:32 PM   #27
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Re: Poll - Do You Give Free Estimates?


Quote:
Originally Posted by jproffer View Post
Spoken like a true FNG.

BTW, this thread, with the exception of the Doby's posts, is 6 years old. Not that it matters, of course...some things never change.
Hi JP,
Is there a way to start it off as a new thread?
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Old 06-05-2013, 01:38 PM   #28
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Re: Poll - Do You Give Free Estimates?


Certainly

"Post New Thread" at the top of the forum. It's up to you, naturally...I am nobody special on this board...just another member, but if you did start a new thread it would elliminate people having to read thru 25 posts that are 6 years old....like I did, lol.

EDIT: Sorry, it's "New Topic"
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Old 06-05-2013, 01:47 PM   #29
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Re: Poll - Do You Give Free Estimates?


I've started a new thread just for this one.
http://www.contractortalk.com/f11/ch...5/#post1783918
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Old 06-05-2013, 01:49 PM   #30
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Re: Poll - Do You Give Free Estimates?


Quote:
Originally Posted by doby View Post
So you think it is fair game to request a detailed breakdown for each project, even though they haven't taken possession of the property (and who knows if they actually will) and are only supplying 4 photos?

Of course, most of the info would have to be reworked once you get to the site and measure everything, thus taking up even more time to provide a more accurate estimate. Now if you try and re-coup double the time in the estimate, you will most likely be higher than other contractors.

Just trying to feel out what other contractors think of a situation like this. I haven't sent the replied above but I don't think $45 - $175 would be enough to cover time and travel spent to work all this out. I also don't appreciate someone not including their contact info. If a contractor spends the time to price a job, the customer has to accept a face to face meeting.

Thank you for your input.
No I would not respond to a request like that period. But if someone calls me for an estimate And I go out to meet him and see what he wants I'm sure not going to charge him.
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Old 06-05-2013, 01:52 PM   #31
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Re: Poll - Do You Give Free Estimates?


PLEASE RESPOND IN NEW THREAD HERE...

http://www.contractortalk.com/f11/ch...onable-135845/
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Old 06-11-2013, 05:35 AM   #32
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Re: Poll - Do You Give Free Estimates?


Think with the state of the economy right now, you need to give a free estmiate these days just to keep up with the competition. Also, I also put myself in the shoes of my customers and I too would want a free estimate
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Old 06-11-2013, 01:35 PM   #33
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Re: Poll - Do You Give Free Estimates?


So you would ask someone to come to your house to give you money?

I mean literally.

Company: "Thanks for calling XYZ construction. Can I help you?"

Caller: "Yes could you come by my house and give me some cash...I'm not sure how much I need yet, but I think it will be between $100 and $500, but ya never know...could be more . As you know, there's no more than a 5% chance I'll end up paying that back because I've called no less than 10 contractors to come give me free money, and I'm only 50% certain I'm going to pay ANY of you back. Anyhow, I live at 123 Main St. - Anytown, USA."

Company: "We're located in Othertown, about 20 miles away so it will be later this afternoon."

Caller: "That's fine...just don't forget the cash though...$100-$500...ok?"


Do ya see the point there?
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Old 06-11-2013, 02:03 PM   #34
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Re: Poll - Do You Give Free Estimates?


I see both points of this argument. I am willing to give a ball park as to scope and budget for free. But to spend a day to write up a propsal on that laundry list of items and cross my fingers-forget it.
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Old 06-11-2013, 07:18 PM   #35
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Re: Poll - Do You Give Free Estimates?


Its hard enough to get people to pay the final invoice i cant imagine getting someone to pay for an estimate!

Anyone can get a ball park estimate which is within a million or 2 dollars.

PS how much should i charge for the estimate?? :
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Old 06-11-2013, 11:39 PM   #36
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Re: Poll - Do You Give Free Estimates?


Quote:
Originally Posted by doby View Post
Yes, I do believe we should charge for estimates. I just received this email requesting a quote. Does he seriously think we will do all this for free? An "ESTIMATE" is free, not as shopping list. They didn't even provide their phone number.

How would you respond?

"Hello,

We would like to reno our condo (1300 sqft). Since we will be getting possession of the condo on the 21st, I am unable to give you precise measurements of the cabinets and areas. However, I have some photos which will hopefully give you an idea of the work involved.

We have a list of things we would like to have done.

Task Area
Replace tiles with laminate Foyer
Change main door locks Foyer
Paint walls Foyer
Adjust entrance door level / frame Foyer
Paint walls Laundry
Change laundry piping to braided piping Laundry
Kitchen Cabinet refinishing / re-glazing Kitchen
Install new hardware (door handles, slow close hinges and sliders) Kitchen
Update appliances (fridge, dishwasher and range) Kitchen
Install over the hood microwave Kitchen
Install backsplash / reglaze Kitchen
Replace countertops (cut out for undermount zero degree sink- sealed and finished) Kitchen
Replace garburator Kitchen
Replace sink with zero degree double SS sinks Kitchen
Replace undersink plumbing fittings Kitchen
Replace Flooring with Porcelain tiles Kitchen
Replace light fixtures Kitchen
Install GFCI Kitchen
Paint walls Kitchen
Reglazing tub + surround Main bath
Reglaze Wall tiles Main bath
Paint walls Main bath
Refinish / reglaze vanity Main bath
Install counter tops (cut out for undermount zero degree sink- sealed and finished) Main bath
Install sink + faucets Main bath
Install toilet Main bath
Reglaze floor tiles Main bath
Install GFCI Main bath
Replace light fittings Main bath
Reglazing tub + surround Guest bath
Reglaze Wall tiles Guest bath
Paint walls Guest bath
Refinish / reglaze vanity Guest bath
Install counter top (cut out for undermount zero degree sink- sealed and finished) Guest bath
Install sink + faucets Guest bath
Install toilet Guest bath
Reglaze floor tiles Guest bath
Replace light fittings Guest bath
Install GFCI Guest bath
Paint walls Living room
Replace carpet with laminate + underlay Living room
Replace light fittings Living room
Replace fireplace tiles Living room
Replace electrical fixtures (sockets, dimmer switch) Living room
Remove fireplace mantle and replace with brick tiles for the entire wall Living room
Replace fireplace glass Living room
Replace blinds Living room
Paint walls Den
Replace carpet with laminate + underlay Den
Replace blinds Den
Adjust door / door frame Den
Paint walls Master bedroom + closet
Replace carpet with laminate + underlay Master bedroom + closet
Replace blinds Master bedroom
Paint walls Bedroom
Replace carpet with laminate + underlay Bedroom
Replace blinds Bedroom
Replace door and adjust Bedroom
Replace electrical socket with Outdoor outlet Decks

Please provide estimates of the cost and time that would be required for each of these projects. Also quote with and without materials. Does the cost include removing and disposing the old fixtures/cabinets etc?

Do let me know if you have any questions that I can help with."

I got a bid SORTA like this the other day... Altho they never asked for a break down...when they start asking for that info I don't bother with it. I feel like they are just fishing for the cheapest guy out there and that ALWAYS leads to problems.

I got a random e-mail with a photo of their bath and a photo of a bath they wanted. I spit back a "heavy handed" estimate about an hour later. Granted I think almost any idoit could have bid this one...

Long story short, the e-mail estimate lead to a face to face meeting and then a signed contract.




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Old 06-12-2013, 08:52 PM   #37
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Re: Poll - Do You Give Free Estimates?


Here's another one... Can you quote this one?

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Tuesday, June 11, 2013 10:37 PM

Hi looking for a rough estimate on a cedar deck , no pouring involved , old posts and half the joists can be reused, . 400 sq ft . No railings .
Ballpark ?
Thanks

(No name or phone number included so you know a generic email to a bunch of contractors).

Hi,

Thank you for contacting us.

If you can provide a detailed drawing with measurements and pictures of the area and existing deck along with a list of all materials needed to do the job, I may be able to attempt to provide an ”estimate" for the deck - sight unseen. Also indicate who would be removing and disposing of the old deck posts, joists etc. and how much is to be removed.

Please include where you are located.

Thanks,
D

The email came back as undelivered. Oh well, at least I tried.
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Old 06-12-2013, 09:17 PM   #38
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Re: Poll - Do You Give Free Estimates?


Quote:
Originally Posted by doby View Post
Here's another one... Can you quote this one?

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Tuesday, June 11, 2013 10:37 PM

Hi looking for a rough estimate on a cedar deck , no pouring involved , old posts and half the joists can be reused, . 400 sq ft . No railings .
Ballpark ?
Thanks

(No name or phone number included so you know a generic email to a bunch of contractors).

Hi,

Thank you for contacting us.

If you can provide a detailed drawing with measurements and pictures of the area and existing deck along with a list of all materials needed to do the job, I may be able to attempt to provide an ”estimate" for the deck - sight unseen. Also indicate who would be removing and disposing of the old deck posts, joists etc. and how much is to be removed.

Please include where you are located.

Thanks,
D

The email came back as undelivered. Oh well, at least I tried.
"Well if you're such an expert on what can be reused and what can't, you surely don't need me. Good luck on your project."...

Neeeeeeeeext
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Old 06-12-2013, 09:35 PM   #39
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Re: Poll - Do You Give Free Estimates?


Quote:
Originally Posted by jproffer View Post
"Well if you're such an expert on what can be reused and what can't, you surely don't need me. Good luck on your project."...

Neeeeeeeeext
Exactly.
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Old 06-12-2013, 11:18 PM   #40
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Re: Poll - Do You Give Free Estimates?


Or if you want the job: "I don't reuse materials, so that part is out of the question, I'm afraid. However, if you realize what a post costs...and what a joist costs, in relation to the entire project, you'll realize that my price to completely replace every part of your deck won't be much different than my price to try to salvage the old materials. Material costs are traded for labor costs."

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