This is a great questions. With gas prices reaching “all time highs” everyday it obviously gets more and more expensive to drive all over town to give customers “free” estimates. Let me tell people something….they are not free. Estimates never have been. Someone has to pay for the gas and time it takes to do estimates. Contractors have built this in as part of their price of the job. With the prices of gas going up so does the price of the goods and SERVICES. Here are some things you as a homeowner can do to help or should consider.
- If your not serious about getting the work done ask for a number you can use for budgeting purposes. (I still would like to get in front of these people. As a contractor I always thought it was good to start working with people on their project from the earliest stage possible).
- Be patient. Don’t expect the contractor to drop everything to drive across town for your estimate. Everybody is trying to be a little more efficient.
- Be present for the appointment. This is one of my pet peeves. “Can you swing by and put the estimate in my mailbox?” If you can’t take 10 minutes out of your day to meet the contractor they won’t spend the time to drive across town (unless they are real hard up). Early on in my career we would do be willing to write something up and drop it off without seeing the customer. We never got one job by this, and most of the time the customer was unresponsive to any follow up. What a waste of time and money.