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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    6,714

    Default Can You Charge a Customer a Fee to Estimate Repair Costs

    My question involves insurance law for the state of: NJ

    I'm getting a little tired of being asked by potential customers for estimates to submit to their insurance company only to later find out that they give the job to a fly-by-night operation at a fraction of the cost. The legal business, with all the licenses and insurance, getting permits and inspections can't price compete with illegal businesses.

    It takes a lot of time to make an inspection and then put together the estimate. All that time is lost if you don't get the job. The customer likely wants the highest estimate they can get from a legal business when they have no intention of giving the business the job.

    So is it a legitimate practice to charge a fee for the estimate and then give a credit if you get the job. Or would that be considered shady in the insurance industry?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    15,996

    Default Re: Can You Charge a Customer a Fee to Estimate Repair Costs

    Quote Quoting budwad
    View Post
    My question involves insurance law for the state of: NJ

    I'm getting a little tired of being asked by potential customers for estimates to submit to their insurance company only to later find out that they give the job to a fly-by-night operation at a fraction of the cost. The legal business, with all the licenses and insurance, getting permits and inspections can't price compete with illegal businesses.

    It takes a lot of time to make an inspection and then put together the estimate. All that time is lost if you don't get the job. The customer likely wants the highest estimate they can get from a legal business when they have no intention of giving the business the job.

    So is it a legitimate practice to charge a fee for the estimate and then give a credit if you get the job. Or would that be considered shady in the insurance industry?
    I think that the insurance industry would have a problem with that.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Posts
    127

    Default Re: Can You Charge a Customer a Fee to Estimate Repair Costs

    It is 100% legitimate to charge for an estimate and common practice to apply the cost to the final bill. Offering free estimates is a marketing strategy nothing more. You can choose to work for free, but the law can not require you to.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    806

    Default Re: Can You Charge a Customer a Fee to Estimate Repair Costs

    Quote Quoting puppybreath
    View Post
    Offering free estimates is a marketing strategy nothing more.
    100% agree with this. TINSTAFL - there is no such thing as a free lunch. There is no such thing as a free estimate. You are going to get paid for that estimate one way or another (i.e. in your billable fees, etc.). Speaking only from personal perference, I would not solicit an insurance quote from someone who wanted to charge me simple for providing the "bottom line" number.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    17,628

    Default Re: Can You Charge a Customer a Fee to Estimate Repair Costs

    Quote Quoting llworking
    View Post
    I think that the insurance industry would have a problem with that.
    The insurance industry doesn't care because an estimate fee is not covered.

    It's up to the homeowner to decide to pay an estimate fee or not.

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