Is A Free Estimate Really Free?
July 24, 2010 12:37pm CST
My landlord and I had a discussion about this subject when he was receiving bids to have his chimneys repaired. In order to be in compliance witht the local building codes. Three contractors submitted bids to perfom the work. They all advertised that the bid or estimate of the job cost was free. Is it really free or do they make up for the cost of their time do the estimate in the final cost of the job they will perform. One of the contractors was driving a brand new Humvee. He said he did not pay for it as it was a tax write off for his business. I wonder if his free estimates are really free?
• Adelaide, Australia
25 Jul 10
I'm not sure about your case, but when my company quotes, it's always free. Competition is quite tight & especially the bigger companies will compare their prices to those of their competitors on a daily basis, more or less. We never build the cost of a quote into the work we do, even though it takes time & money to prepare a quote. I doubt if the new Humvee has anything to do with charging for quotes; he probably gets more work, works longer hours or has more staff under him & probably a pretty good accountant as well. Hope it all goes well :-)
24 Jul 10
well when our car needs to be fixed we have those free estimates before. And we were going from place to place (of course without the car but we have detailed pictures of the accident, we were hit in the back.) and it varies but after coming back in the same place the price increased and such. cant really blame them because its just an estimate but its pretty bad looking for the customer if the price isnt constant. well dont know if this will relate to the problem with a chimney.
24 Jul 10
It is definitely free when you only ask for a quote for the job, if you don't ask for them to come back then there is no way for them to charge you anyway. However, for the company that you choose, they might still charge you for the time they spent evaluating the job, only that they get this money back through doing the job, so the costs are absorbed into the whole project, which they would get all the costs incurred previously anyway....
• Puerto Rico
24 Jul 10
Well I truly believe they are because you are asking three different companies and for bids that two of them gave you will not be getting a dime from you. The one who you hire will be getting paid but I don't really think the estimate is played into the price. That would not be good business ethics plus the bill should have a breakdown of everything and what the cost is. So I truly believe its free estimates when they say free.