Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Southeast Wisconsin
Thanked 1,208 Times in 536 Posts
I do free written estimates for steel roofs and composite decks. Regardless of who the customer is.
Repeat customers get free written estimates, although most don't care and just tell me to start and send a bill for what they owe.
I do free verbal estimates for homeowners and home sellers, depending on what kind of vibe I get from them. If I get a bad vibe (insert tire kicker), I only type up a written estimate if they are prepared to sign and place a deposit on the spot.
Only one realtor gets an estimate. Others I don't waste my time.
I don't do estimates for other GC's unless its composite decks or steel roofs. I'm not cheap and I don't buy into the famous P&P line, I have tons of volume if you can hit my price point. I'm no Walmart and volume doesn't mean squat to me.
Any home buyer, flipper, investor, wannabe investor or landlord doesn't get any estimate unless they pay. If they pay, and surprisingly some do, its $80 for a roof. $80 for siding. $80 for windows, etc. Each major component is $80 that will be credited toward the job, if I get it. Most pay the $80 and I never hear from them. I guess its cheaper than hiring a home inspector.
Free estimates is the biggest crock of **** ever. It isn't free to me. It costs me gas and more importantly time. Every minute I waste on a crappy 'potential' lead is money I'm not making from my paying customers. What's even worse is that overhead has to get billed to the people who are paying for my services. It's not fair to them and I've made a conscious effort to quit wasting my time this year.
Its a tough mindset to get out of (kind of like P&P) . However, once you come to the conclusion that everyone can't and most importantly shouldn't be your customer, it becomes easier.
If I had to guess, I return less than 30% of calls and many emails get a "I'm not accepting new clients at this time" reply. Anyone who starts with a text first gets deleted.