Discuss electrician wages and earnings. Pros and Cons of the trade

Free estimates. Do you do free estimates?

Do you do free estimates for small jobs?

Electrical contractor, the author of this post never goes for free estimates if the expected price of the job is below $2000. And I think it is fair not to waste time on small job estimates.

Especially taking into account that some customers invite more than five Electrical Contractors, or electricians who are not ECs and even handymen to quote. Together those estimators waste 10 - 20 hrs giving quotes for a $400 job. And sometimes you can do ten estimates, spend two whole days and get no jobs.

Hourly rate is a life saver for small jobs or when the exact scope of the work is not known. So I offer customers my hourly rate for short jobs and never do free estimates.

I found this post about free estimates written for customers. Is a free estimate really free?

Do you do free estimates?

How do you handle this problem?

Or should we discuss how to stop wasting time?

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  1. I am a plumber having the same problem with free estimatesMay 14, 2015 at 1:51 PM

    I am a plumber. An average plumber makes 3 to 7 "free" estimates to get one job. Then that plumber silently adds the cost of all "free" estimates to every job he gives a quote for. Simply because no one works for free.

    I try hard to avoid site visits just to give a free quote.

  2. Free site visits in order to give an estimate is like digging your own grave, unless it is a big project.

    Here is a sample of my email to customers. Free for anybody to use:

    A site visit is necessary and my partner or I will have to spend several hours on site investigation, finding, ordering, buying, delivering parts and materials, driving back and forth, and preparing a quote. If you would like us to do everything, my partner or I can come for a $180 paid estimate that would probably cover only about 20% of our time spent on the preceding.

    This way or another, directly or indirectly you and all other customers always pay for the "free estimate". Because no one works for free.

    If the deposit is paid we will invest time, visit the site, find and calculate the costs of materials, figure everything out and get the ball rolling on this job.

    The estimate will include this fee. You will NOT pay $180 extra.

    If you are not willing to pay $180, we need you to kindly email us pics, drawings, all details, plans, diagrams, etc. of what exactly you would like us to supply and to do. And what will be done and supplied by others. Only after that we can give you either a quote or an estimate. This approach cuts our wasted time. We work less and you pay us less! You save money! Does this makes sense? Of course it does!

    If you did not pay the deposit and if we did not get all the necessary pics, docs and info for every step or part of the job, we can take the job strictly on the hourly rate basis plus materials. This option is the fairest to both the customer and contractor. It is the most flexible one at the same time, allowing any changes and adjustments as we go!

    Please advise.


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