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Thread: Free estimates?

  1. #1
    Does anyone do a free estimate for a new system these days? Or do you charge a minimal site visit fee? I'd like to get some prices together on a system soon, but want to know if I can get an expert to visit the site to make sure it's as accurate as it can be.

    If you're interested I'm in Alexandria, VA, 22301.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    S.W. PA
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    3,298
    I do give free estimates but I do not size house unless i get the job. if home owner wants me to do man j or any other technical work then there is a charge that i credit to the cost of the install

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Kingsport, Tennessee
    Posts
    649

    Sizing

    How do you do estimates on an install without running a heat/gain, heat/loss study???? What size do you price?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    S.W. PA
    Posts
    3,298
    i can guess on the size and be close to where i need to be
    if i am one size off its not a big deal because i charge enough to make a profit

    if you need to know exactly what sixe unit so you can bid it then you may want to raise your prices to cover a fudge factor JMHO

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    2,633
    I'm interested. But you'll have to pay one hell of a trip charge.

    Almost everyone does free estimates. And since you get what you pay for, you'll get a whole lot of free propaganda. If you're lucky you might get something useful.

    You might want to check out the first link in the sig for some useful information to gauge the bids you get.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
    Posts
    66,766
    No one does a true size and design for free.

    If you want a soze and design, to compare, you'll have to pay.
    Contractor locator map

    How-to-apply-for-Professional

    How many times must one fix something before it is fixed?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    SW FL
    Posts
    5,990

    Estimating Accurately

    My FREE Estimate:
    2 x What you Thought might be "your budget"!

    AND That's Accurate Estimating.
    I also sell JUMBO Shrimp
    Designer Dan
    It's Not Rocket Science, But It is SCIENCE with "Some Art". ___ ___ K EEP I T S IMPLE & S INCERE

    Define the Building Envelope and Perform a Detailed Load Calc: It's ALL About Windows and Make-up Air Requirements. Know Your Equipment Capabilities

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Derby City
    Posts
    3,957
    This topic has come up before on this site. Since this post is accessible to homeowners, I will try to be discreet, but you homeowners need to acknowledge this as well. Advice is worth what you pay for it, for the most part. I speak to hundreds of homeowners and business owners every year, and not to my surprise, their knowledge is somewhat limited to whatever the individual in front of them at any given moment is providing them.

    This is one area in which we can truly distinguish ourselves. I agree, that because of the time (although minimal) and effort, a load calculation should not be made available unless it is part of the approval process to do the work. What I do, is perform a load calc, for MY benefit, as well as the homeowners. But, at the close of the project, that is one of the close out documents that I provide. OEM information, including warranty info, and the load calc. are given the homeowner at the conclusion of the project, and upon receipt of payment! (minor detail)

    If your expertise has no value, then don't even think of charging for it. But, if you distinguish yourself from supposed competition by taking a sincere approach to the customer's best interest, including performing a load calc, then a reasonable charge is not unfair. I always credit this back against the proposal if accepted. IOW if I charge $50 for an estimate, I have covered my basic cost for doing the estimate, without trying to make a living from it. They have an installation estimate say of, $2000. If the job is accepted, then they know up front their total invoice will be $1950.00. If they accept on the spot, then I simply modify the proposal to reflect a $50 credit.

    IMPORTANT: Be sure folks know up front what you plan to do, and what your charge is for doing it! As long as you are willing to give away your expertise (which has value doesn't it?) then don't even think of complaining.

    Anybody, and I mean anybody can be the cheapest, but are you up to being the best!!??

    Look at various service industries. Most if not all, charge for estimates, and we accept it without question. We get charged for estimates on autos and WE TAKE IT TO THEM! We're going TO THE CUSTOMER. Why is it such a difficult concept to charge a FAIR AND REASONABLE amount for an estimate when your time and expense (gas if nothing else) has a dollar value associated with it?

    Until we get over this idea that we'll lose more than we'll get by getting compensated for our expertise, then we'll continue to address this question of free estimates without making any effort to change.

    I know you homeowners aren't getting a real warm and fuzzy feeling from this, but let me ask you to try this experiment: Next time you go to your Dr., and he makes a recommendation for treatment, tell him that you're going to think about it, or talk to a couple of others to get their opinions, and recommendations. Next, inform them that since you may not follow their recommendations or have them perform the treatment, you don't feel it's fair to pay for their expertise and time.

    Just curious how far that will fly!

    I could go on and on and on and on and on..............

    Everyone has a purpose in life..........even if it's to be a bad example.

    Seek first to understand, before seeking to be understood.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    S.W. PA
    Posts
    3,298
    john

    like I said I do give free estimates but man think of how good it would be for the industry as a whole if we could all charge

    I would be willing to bet that the cheapskate customers (not all, just the ones who only shop on price) would not be getting 10 estimates any more

    there would be very little reason to sell on price alone

    and as you mentioned it would be good for the bottom line

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    40
    free stimates, its a joke right? H.O. my a/c is down can you come ou and tell me whats wrong with it, its over 20 years, and give me a free estimate to rplace or check into it and tell me how much to fix, ya right. Gas for truck $236 gallon, get $100 hr. straight time, and of course the h.o. wont be home until sfter 6:00pm, or do you do free stimates on Sat. or Sun. (O.T> $150/hr. and of course Id rather be giving a free estimate taht 5-other guys are also giving them, them be home with my young children who onlyy grow up once) as you can tell I dont do them anymore. Best one to another one giving work away. I ran into a guy I worked with 20 years ago like eeverone out on his own, he put in an entire 2-1/2 ton Bryant system for under$3,700, christ I do a larger condneser change out for that price, keep giving it away guys, this is the only trade I now thats almost giving it away for free, the system I listed above the guy was doing Bryant (new construction) IT AMAZES ME!!! He was also complainning how much his comp. was, so hes insured, whats he making after its all said and done? As I staed in another post the plumbers here in Boston are having meetings at local supply houses there trying to make a standard (lowest labor price a co. can charge or they get flack from everyone else, as I siad I few times we should be naming are price to h.o's, and bybuildersI know its not a perfect world, but it would be nice to get most of the legit co.'s and meet do the same, and tell techs working for companies, you can do work for family very close friends (repairs and installls, after that your caught doing alot of sidework see find another job talk to othaer guys here in Boston, they said there loosing alot of work to low ballers too, somone told tin knockers around here alot are laid offf, thats effecting too, I dont know if its here say or truth.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    Vancouver Canada
    Posts
    996
    Will provide free estimates during regular working time, if your unit is broke and you decide to replace it and we get the job. no charge. If we don't get the job and I came out for a service call and not an estimate, then you are getting billed for the service call wether I fix your unit or not. Time is worth money, not to mention gas and the money you are losing by not doing a paid call.
    "Go big or Go Home"

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    159
    Marauderx,

    You are dealing with the cheapest, most arrogant people on earth on this site. Sure you may get a free estimate, but man the attitude you also get is embarassing. These contractors are larger than life (in their own mind), and as such they have no idea what it is like to be a real consumer. Their first priority is hvac which is why they charge $100-$150 an hour. Thus they think our #1 priority should also be whatever they think, but to most of us it's a very low priority subject. I just can't get over how full of themselves hvac techs are. Yeah, that's right, they are techs. You don't get this kind of treatment from electricians, plumbers, or even builders. I have a builder who puts his customers first, and makes suggestions based on my priorities. Did you see that, makes suggestions. He won't push his own agenda on me to make money. This is why I'm doing my own hvac work, and when it's all said and done, I will NEVER give these guys the satisfaction of knowing if I did it right or not. I gaurantee most of them are thinking "he'll screw it up for sure". Well you know what, if I screw up, I'll still have saved about $6,000 which I'll have to make fixes. I'd much rather fund a corporation that makes products than an arrogant contractor that provides a service. Sorry to have ranted right in the middle of your thread marauderx, but this is my advice: don't bother to try to get any information from these jerks. Just spend a couple weeks researching the subject and you'll probably be better off.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Northeast Missouri
    Posts
    172
    Just my thought here but, last time I checked, we are all consumers. I am a homeowner as well as a business owner.

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