Charging for Estimates?


Have any of you guys ever thought about charging for estimates. I am starting to throw the idea around. I feel like if the person does not want to pay for the estimate they are shopping around for the lowest price or just prices in general and I do not want to waste time doing that. There are certain cities I do not even bother going into because I know that they will not pay my prices. I also find it annoying that nearly every other type of contracting charges for estimates but we dont.

I ran into a guy yesterday at a seminar who told me what he charges for a sq off and on. It was about $70 less than what I charge and way under what most everyone else charges. I told him thanks for being the a$$hole who lowballs and makes my job harder. He did not like that.

That is why I feel charging for estimates will really weed out who is actually going to spend the money on there roof to get it re-done rather than just price it for the lowerst number. Then of course offer the money back to them if they choose to go with us.

What do you guys think about this crazy idea of mine?


I like the idea and most others will to. However your seminar friend and his crowd won’t. Big picture wise nothing is free and we do get paid for estimates, when we get the job we get paid. Estimating is part of our overhead and a certain percentage # is figured into every job to cover our overhead. The word free is deceiving. We offer free estimates but in the end someone pays for it. Sometimes it’s the company.


The guy from the seminar is not a friend of mine and neither is his crowd. I do have all of that stuff figured in and the majority of the people I target would contact him or his crowd. I just got to thinking how it takes time out of my day to go do it and I schedule it when the homeowners are home so I can type up the estimate there and go through it with them. All I know is when I call a plumber it costs me money just to have him drive to my house, even if I do not go with him or his company. Why not the same for roofers? (I am pretty sure I know why but I am just saying)


was this “seminar” in jacksonville florida? :mrgreen:


1 company in my area was charging 150.00 for the estimate.All he did was measure the roof,and send them a proposal in the mail.He worked 3 days a week.He had a bunch of guys on the books,and subbed what he couldn’t handle.Now things got slower he is doing them free…he was huge for the area,now there are a dozen trucks and dump trailers littering his parking lot,and he is actually working himself with 3 mexicans…and I haven’t seen 1 of his trucks on the road for 6 months,lol…he could drive a different 1 every day for 3 weeks,lol…


we somtimes will charge depending on the area and the qualifing process. If they dont own the home or are a realtor they always are charged. we will rebate 50%.


Hi Jwoolfsroofing,

You find that hilarious???

He is doing what everyone would like to do??? Charge for estimates.



We charge realtors.


Lefty…I found it funny that if you knew this guy you would have to laugh too…He had such a swollen head and an attitude that he was GOD to thee roofing world.He had a ton of call backs…and when you are selling roofing for 450.00 a sq. for a 1 layer walker, you can afford to do a free estimate…at 150.00 for estimate 5 a day, you could make a living only working 3 days a week…
I guess that I find it funny (ironic) that you reap what you sow…I stopped to see him when things were a little slow for me(fill in work) and he couldn’t give me the time of day…Greed will catch up to you…paying Mexicans 45.00 sq. labor for Tear off…Now he has no yellow pages add(from Full page)is no longer in home imp. mag.(from 2 full page add)and no news paper add…and trucks sit idle…Swallow the pride and do what it takes to get work and be realistic in pricing comparable to the area…
He was charging 450.00 when the area was polluted with 150.00-200.00 sq. pricing. It is 1 thing to charge for quality,IF YOU CAN DELIVER…


Hi Jwoolfsroofing,

Do not throw out the baby with the dirty bath water.

I would try to learn how he could charge for estimates and get those prices.

Laughing at what he did wrong, we keep you where you are. Complaining about low-ballers.


Lefty…you are not getting what I said. I am not complaining about lowballers,I am saying that when you charge TOP dollar for a job,you should deliver TOP quality…Not sub it to Mexicans at the BOTTOM dollar price…THAT WILL CATCH UP TO ANY COMPANY…that is the primary pitfall of 2 companies in my area. That is a fact…
I also recall asking you for work, that is swallowing my pride and doing what I have to do to make money…I have been self employed for 22 yrs., and I have subbed plenty of work from other guys to keep busy.I never subbed a job to another to make money without working though…


Hi Jwoolfsroofing,

I understand completly what you are saying.

Try to hear what I am saying.

You did not complain about low-ballers in this particular post. I am not saying that you did.

I have no interest in proving you wrong. I do not get into pissing matches. You come here asking for help. I come here to learn and also share what I have learned. Bitching and complaining about others will not improve your lot in life. You will not see me doing that.

Do not throw the baby out with the dirty bathwater.

Let the way he installs shingles go.

Now look at the topic subject. “Charging for estimates” You stated that this guy charges $150 for estimates and gets top dollar with his sales ability. This is obviously something he excells at.

Leave his other business pratices go. If you focus on his bad practices, you will not learn the things he is good at.



Have a different thought,look at the glass thats half full.Pride and greed will knock a business down,but so will badmouthing.What did he do that you could do?


I started charging 2 years ago. I take it off the final invoice.


My point was, where charging for estimates got him…
Sorry I got off topic…


I think we should be charging for est. knock off bill if we get job within a certain amount of time,I mean roofing use to be one of top paying trades,What happened?I mean bottom line what the hell is any building without the roof?We roofers should take a stand,do’nt ya think?



Charging for estimates did not get him there.

Sloppy use of his money, maybe?

You said that mexicans and sloopy work did that.

Can not see the forest for the trees.

I am done.