I have been in the contracting business for a long time and I have never asked for a fee for providing an estimate. It does add up driving all over town providing free estimates when I have to pay 120$ to fill up my truck every 3 days.
If I were to do estimates for an entire month out of my pocket I can see the increase in air miles or petro points but what kind of investment would it be in the long run? Last year I did 3 jobs in december and they were all from an estimate that was done in march and april. So it is an investment that pays off eventually and I shall never change that policy for offering free estimates within the Ottawa region. I have noticed some companies are trying to charge the customer 100$ for an estimate which will be deducted from their cost of the job but i think that is a cheap marketing technique. Pretty much you are offering that money back to the customer if they choose to go with you. If a company is not offering free estimates, they are missing out.
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