CHARGING FOR YOUR ESTIMATES
Welcome back to Thirsty on Thursday.
I recently went to the dentist (which I despise) for a quick consultation for a loose tooth. As I was signing in at the front window the receptionist responded to me that it will be $95 for my visit today. I asked her if insurance would cover and she said no it was just a consultation. I sat there infuriated that I spent $95 to a guy that I didn’t even want to see. Then I began to question, why are kitchen designers not charging people who want to meet with them for a consultation? I am meeting my dentist for 45 minutes when I usually meet clients for a couple of hours. Then work on their estimate for 10 hours or more. My time is just as valuable as the dentist’s. In my mind.
So let me ask – do you charge for estimates? If not let’s look at how you can in the future. Interior designers get paid for visits as well as architects – why shouldn’t you? Here are the things that you will be getting paid for: meeting with the clients, measuring the jobsite area, preparing design drawings, meeting with the clients again, making revisions, copies, gas money, telephone and email points of contact. But if they do not buy from you then all these things done for free? I don’t think so.
Now you never have charged a fee before so how do you tell the existing clients now that you charge a fee. Start in believing in yourself and your self worth. Quit worrying about losing the job over a design fee. If they don’t want to pay it, they don’t respect your time anyway. Just like comparing yourself to the dentist or doctor, your time is valuable and the homeowner or contractor should understand that. Another option you could use is to charge the client but tell them if they do sign the contract you will credit this amount to their account. Your main goal is to get the homeowner to give you some kind of money. Once they spend money with you, they are off the market and will be your client only. When someone makes an investment no matter how much the amount, they are inclined to stop looking elsewhere.
So in closing, people who demand free estimates usually choose the cheapest, or one of the cheapest contractors. If you have a premium product or service, giving people a free estimate is simply a signal to the marketplace that you don’t really believe that you are any good at what you do. After all, if you don’t value your time, why should they?
See you next week