Many contractors offer free estimates and make it a prominent feature on their business websites. While it’s an effective way to draw potential clients in, there are some downsides. Free estimates can lower your value in the eyes of customers and may not be the best option for all projects.
Using the word “free” in your marketing and advertising can commit you to giving a free estimate to everyone who calls, even if they aren’t a fit for your company. This can lead to a lot of time spent on low-profit projects. Instead, a better option is to offer a free consultation and only provide an estimate when the client is ready to move forward with the project.
Free estimates can be helpful for smaller, simple projects like washing windows or painting a room. They’re also easier to put together if you’ve done similar jobs before. However, larger projects that require a team of service techs or detailed designs might be more difficult to estimate. In this case, charging for an estimate might be more practical, especially if you’re a general contractor overseeing several specialties such as plumbers and roofers.
Whether or not to charge for an estimate depends on the industry, your company, and your clients. However, it’s important to be clear about your terms from the beginning and to set them up as a policy. If you’re unclear about your terms, you might lose a project.
Some clients are accustomed to receiving free estimates, and they may be confused if you decide to start charging for them. To avoid this confusion, you can explain that your estimate is based on the cost of materials and labor, plus your overhead and profit margin.
A well-written, professional-looking estimate can help you close more deals. However, creating and sending these documents takes time. Luckily, online estimating software allows you to generate accurate and professionally-designed estimates in less time.
When preparing an estimate, you should include your business logo and all of the necessary information to clearly identify your company. You should also state the client’s company information in the “To” field so that the estimate is sent to the correct person. It also reduces the chances of misplacing the estimate.
Some jobs require an in-person assessment of the site before a quote can be made. This will allow you to inspect the problematic areas, take notes of the job’s requirements, and ask critical work-related questions. Using online estimating software makes it easy to prepare these assessments and send them to your clients. You can even track the status of your pending estimates so that you’re never missing a beat. This way, you can avoid losing a deal by being late with an estimate. Preventivi gratuiti