Free lunch?

By
Residential Home Builder with A&A Design Build Remodeling, Inc.

www.aadesignbuild.com, free,Bathroom remodeling,basement remodeling contractor,green remodeling,home remodeling,washington dc,design build,chevy chase, bethesdaI am wondering why people are so attracted to the word FREE? We are all in business, many of our clients are in business, and we know quite well that nothing is free. And yet, a lot of people are so addicted to getting something for nothing.

I personally don't expect to get anything for free. I also don't give much for free either. Being a remodeling contractor, I cringe when the first question people ask when they call us is: do you give free estimates? It is an immediate disqualifier for me. So, why do people expect it from me, but not from their doctor?

When I tell them that we don’t give free estimates, they are surprised and confused. The nicer ones ask: we are going to get three estimates, are you telling us that we need to pay you and other contractors too? To which I usually reply: when you visit a doctor and ask for his/her opinion, you pay for it, right? Oh yes. Now, if you don’t like the opinion or would like to get another one, you go to a different doctor and pay again, right? Of course you do.

So, how are we, the contractors, different from doctors? I, for example, am a civil engineer by education. In addition, I have 18 years of experience doing residential design-build remodeling. I think my experience is worth something. Or take real estate agents. Why do people expect that someone will spend 10-20-40 hours showing them the houses for free? Did we create this ourselves? And if yes, how do we change it? Or, do we need/want to change it?

 

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Topic:
ActiveRain Community
Location:
District of Columbia District of Columbia County
Groups:
America's Best Agents
Ask the Contractor
Club Chaos
Local Expert
Maryland Home Inspectors
Tags:
free
bathroom remodeling
basement remodeling contractor
green remodeling
home remodeling
washington dc
design build
chevy chase
bethesda

Comments 13 New Comment

Rainmaker
418,163
Marcy Moyer
CDPE
Keller Williams Realty Palo Alto Probate & Trust Specialist

My clients need to meet and trust me and learn what I have to offer before they committ to me. Are you suggesting that after the committment they should pay us to see property?

Marcy Moyer Intero Real Estate Menlo Park Ca

December 13, 2008 09:38 PM
Rainmaker
657,393
Pacita Dimacali
Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA
Alain Pinel

"Sell the same way you shop" ...I haven't heard that one before.

I think everyone wants good value. Presentation may determine whether or not you get the job. If you reveal too much at the initial consultation, there may not be any more need for your service.

However, there's nothing wrong with getting a free service either --- for example, I use a free version of AVG antivirus, free version of Cache Cleaner, etc. We blog on ActiveRain for free. What do we get out of it? Market presence.

 

December 14, 2008 03:15 AM
Rainer
80,540
Alex Shekhtman
Design Build Remodeling, Washington DC, Bethesda, Chevy Chase
A&A Design Build Remodeling, Inc.

Pacita, the actual quote is "we sell the same way we buy".

The issue is in details. It is true, we blog on ActiveRain for free for a reason, I just don't know what it is. The Google is free as well, but I know at least some of the reasons it is free - data mining. They know you and your habits as well as you do or even better. I am sure someone is interested in having this information and it is going to be sold. So, while Google is "free" we give a part of our privacy for it. But, this is a completely different subject.

I am sure you would not mind to talk to a potential client, give some tips on how to get the property ready etc., you may even be willing to show a house or two without a firm commitment. Bur after that, you must get paid for your services or at least get a commitment and sign whatever the Realtors sign to represent the client.

With me, it is similar. I will meet and talk to a potential client and give them "complimentary" consultation. But after that, if the want details, drawings etc. I need to get paid for my expertise and time.

You are also correct about presentation. When I present, I only present myself and my company. If they like what they see, the next step is signing paperwork and getting paid.

December 14, 2008 08:04 PM
Rainer
282,164
Pete X-GRI, CDPE
Orange County, CA Investment to Luxury Property-

Alex,

I agree and do offer a complimentary consultation and will when I represent real estate, if I cannot convince them to a BBA than I don't deserve to work with them.

December 02, 2012 11:13 AM
Rainer
80,540
Alex Shekhtman
Design Build Remodeling, Washington DC, Bethesda, Chevy Chase
A&A Design Build Remodeling, Inc.

Thank you for your comment Pete. Most of the people are just conditioned to ask for "free" services. Unfortunately, many service providers will do it.

January 24, 2013 04:12 AM
Rainer
80,540

Alex Shekhtman

Design Build Remodeling, Washington DC, Bethesda, Chevy Chase
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