Episode 295: Escaping the Free Estimate Trap and Indoctrinating Your Clients

Do you ever wonder if you can get paid for estimates even when doing small home building, remodeling, or commercial projects?

In today’s episode, we’ve invited one of our Masterclass students, Bobby Williams, president and CEO at BGW Construction in Indiana.

Today, Bobby shares his personal experience after joining our Get Paid for Estimates Masterclass. 

He talks about some of the biggest problems that come with giving out free estimates, why it’s high time you start charging for pre-construction work, and the transformative ripple effects it can have on your construction business.

The Biggest Problems with Free Estimates

While providing free estimates is still widely practiced by some in the construction industry, they come with their fair share of challenges.

Here are just a few of the biggest problems with free estimates.

The Tire Kickers

Let’s be honest. When you give out free estimates, you’re bound to attract a fair share of tire kickers – the curious souls who have no real intention of hiring a contractor but still want a free quote. 

These tire kickers can be a really frustrating hurdle for any construction professionals as they take up valuable time and resources that could be better spent on genuine clients.

While it’s impossible to weed out all the tire kickers, one potential solution is to establish a pre-estimate screening process to identify serious prospects and focus your efforts on those who are truly invested.

As one of my clients said…

“Switching over to the pre-construction services agreement process allows us to filter out the crazies, the drama queens, and find out if they’re Google warriors, closet attorneys, retired OCD, and anal-retentive engineers that we just don’t want to work with.”

The Lowballers

Aside from the tire kickers, free estimates also inadvertently invite the lowballers. These individuals seek multiple estimates and pit contractors against each other to secure the cheapest bid possible.

While healthy competition is highly encouraged in any industry, excessive bargaining can lead to compromised quality, rushed work, and unrealistic expectations.

That is why charging for estimates not only avoids the lowballers, but you are also indoctrinating your customers that you are an expert.

As Bobby Williams, our guest for today, has said…

“It immediately sets you as the expert contractor. I love the word I’ve already told you, Todd, the indoctrination, that, ‘Hey, we’re the experts. You’re getting on the train we’re driving, and you’re going to be a passenger; now you’re paying for the train, materials, and gas. You’re paying me to drive the train, but we are in charge.’ And you get them ready for that. Now, if you’re putting yourself on that pedestal, you better frickin’ deliver. And that’s the company that we want to run.”

Start Charging for Estimates

Now you know the challenges of providing free estimates; the biggest question is: won’t people be put off by paying for estimates?

Sure, there might be some initial resistance, but those who truly value your expertise won’t bat an eye.

By charging for pre-construction services, it sets the tone and establishes that you’re a pro who deserves compensation for your expertise.

You can also dedicate the time and attention needed to provide thorough evaluations instead of just rushing through to keep up with the demand that comes with providing free estimates.

And last but not least, by charging estimates, you’re encouraging potential clients to commit, even if it’s small. This creates a stronger sense of partnership and moves the relationship forward.

So, how do you start charging for estimates?

I’m inviting you to reserve your seat on our FREE How to Get Paid For Estimates training this coming 13th of July and be one of those contractors already earning $30,000 or more on a pre-construction services agreement alone. Sign up HERE!

To know more about the ripple effects of charging for estimates and why you should sign up for our How to Get Paid for Estimates training, listen or watch the full episode HERE.

Additional Resources:

– FREE training on how to get paid for estimates HERE

– Hear success stories from our clients HERE

– Book a FREE call with our team HERE

– Visit Construction Leading Edge for more HERE

The Construction Leading Edge Podcast helps construction business owners maximize their revenue, eliminate chaos, systematize their work, and win back their time.

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