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The Problem With Providing Clients Estimates

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[#1] Posted: 07/09/2015 - 01:38:48 AM
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I really don't like to provide estimates for repairs.

From my point of view, it's a can-o-worms waiting to be opened. If you're under, you get blamed; if you're over, you get blamed. It just ain't worth it.

I try to make clients understand that if they bring out 30 contractors for an estimate they'll probably only get a few that are within a few thousand of each other and the rest will be all over the place. I tell 'em to concentrate on finding reputable contractors that have references from very satisfied customers and go from there.

What got me started on this? The following came into my alerts box this evening and got me thinking about it. Maybe the inspector involved is completely incompetent; or maybe he's just an average inspector who is lousy at doing estimates. In any case, I bet he's regretting having given these folks a dollar figure right now.

Read more here

What do you think? Do you provide estimates with your inspections?

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The Problem With Providing Clients Estimates
[#2] Posted: 07/09/2015 - 06:40:21 AM
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The article sounds like a rodeo of incompetence. I don't see how it has much to do with providing estimates. It sounds like the usual lousy home inspection followed by the usual demand letter.

I provide estimates all the time. How that estimate is delivered depends on the particulars. All estimates are bracketed with descriptions of variables. Some stuff is impossible. Some stuff is easy. If it's easy, I do it.


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The Problem With Providing Clients Estimates
[#3] Posted: 07/09/2015 - 06:43:15 AM
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I do not give cost estimates for all the same reasons that you mentioned. Sometimes, if asked, I will verbally give a ball park figure, but never in writing.

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The Problem With Providing Clients Estimates
[#4] Posted: 07/09/2015 - 06:45:46 AM
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My suggestions re costs are usually expressed no more closely than by the number of figures, 3,4,5, or multiples thereof and only verbal. My clients are usually smart enough to know my figures are WAGs at best.
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The Problem With Providing Clients Estimates
[#5] Posted: 07/09/2015 - 06:55:00 AM
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Mistretta isn't a licensed home inspector.

Thanks Mike, I'll forward the article to our State Board. Maybe it isn't too late.

I presented an argument to our Board a couple years ago about why repair estimates were wrong, but I was railroaded. The lack of a motion was a classic case of agents influencing Board decisions, even with no agents in the audience. You could see it in their faces as they deliberated.

Did you know that actions against HIs involving repair estimates are excluded by E&Os? Read your policy. They all have it.

Marc

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The Problem With Providing Clients Estimates
[#6] Posted: 07/09/2015 - 10:02:54 AM
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Quote: [i]Originally posted by hausdok[/i
What do you think? Do you provide estimates with your inspections?

It's possibly the one thing the Alberta government got right regarding HI's, we are not allowed to give quotes. I actually think we are the only province with that law in Canada.

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The Problem With Providing Clients Estimates
[#7] Posted: 07/09/2015 - 10:24:31 AM
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If you tell someone there's no flashing and it can cause water damage, people are concerned.

If you tell someone there's no flashing, it can cause water damage, and on that particular building it will cost $75,000-90,000 to repair, people are informed.

I'm not so sure I like the idea of licensing prohibiting citing cost approximations. It reinforces the idea that HI's are functional morons with no understanding of construction, costs, or anything.

Which, of course, is true in a lot of instances.

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The Problem With Providing Clients Estimates
[#8] Posted: 07/09/2015 - 10:41:07 AM
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I spent the better part of 20 years writing estimates. If I am comfortable pitching a number I do it.
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The Problem With Providing Clients Estimates
[#9] Posted: 07/09/2015 - 6:47:15 PM
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The case has nothing to do with providing estimates. If the "inspector" never provided a single estimate, he'd still be in the soup.

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The Problem With Providing Clients Estimates
[#10] Posted: 07/09/2015 - 10:11:55 PM
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Quote: Originally posted by kurt


If you tell someone there's no flashing and it can cause water damage, people are concerned.

If you tell someone there's no flashing, it can cause water damage, and on that particular building it will cost $75,000-90,000 to repair, people are informed.

I'm not so sure I like the idea of licensing prohibiting citing cost approximations. It reinforces the idea that HI's are functional morons with no understanding of construction, costs, or anything.

Which, of course, is true in a lot of instances.

What if you see a south facing roof slope which is loosing most of its granules the other roof slope is in much better condition, you've checked the sheathing underneath and it is in good shape so you suggest that just the south slope could be reshingled for under $4000 ( I would be doing it myself ). Then the 4 contractors that they talked to would only redo the whole roof at $8000 because they couldn't get an exact match of the shingle colour.( never mind you can't see both sides at the same time, and the contractor wants the work.) Who pays the difference?

I'm trying to be more functional.


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The Problem With Providing Clients Estimates
[#11] Posted: 07/09/2015 - 10:32:11 PM
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Quote: Originally posted by Leighton Jantz

. . . What if you see a south facing roof slope which is loosing most of its granules the other roof slope is in much better condition, you've checked the sheathing underneath and it is in good shape so you suggest that just the south slope could be reshingled for under $4000 ( I would be doing it myself ). Then the 4 contractors that they talked to would only redo the whole roof at $8000 because they couldn't get an exact match of the shingle colour.( never mind you can't see both sides at the same time, and the contractor wants the work.) Who pays the difference?

I'm trying to be more functional.


Well, yeah. If you say a dumbass thing, you're going to get in trouble.


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The Problem With Providing Clients Estimates
[#12] Posted: 07/10/2015 - 05:19:03 AM
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Quote: Originally posted by Jim Katen

Quote: Originally posted by Leighton Jantz

. . . What if you see a south facing roof slope which is loosing most of its granules the other roof slope is in much better condition, you've checked the sheathing underneath and it is in good shape so you suggest that just the south slope could be reshingled for under $4000 ( I would be doing it myself ). Then the 4 contractors that they talked to would only redo the whole roof at $8000 because they couldn't get an exact match of the shingle colour.( never mind you can't see both sides at the same time, and the contractor wants the work.) Who pays the difference?

I'm trying to be more functional.


Well, yeah. If you say a dumbass thing, you're going to get in trouble.





Seller would pay.

You quoted 1/2 the roof to replace not the entire roof. Matching color was not a criteria for cost estimate you made.

Recently had 6 contractors quote a roof replacement for someone. I wanted to demonstrate The world of competitive bidding . The range was from $10,500 to $30,000. You will get quotes based on needing the work to I don't want the job, but if you pay me enough I will do it. Another example is with Sears vs roof contractor. Sears will be 50% or more greater. The difference is how Sears marks up labor and materials and their business model.

In the article there was not a differentiation on the level and methods of the two inspections. No mention of what was contracted for in the inspection. Giving cost estimated needs experience too be done correctly. We do not live in a flat rate society with few exceptions like except for medicine and insurance.

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The Problem With Providing Clients Estimates
[#13] Posted: 07/10/2015 - 05:48:43 AM
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No, wait....back up to what Jim said. That's not how cost approximations are delivered and no one knows "who pays" because the whole thing is up for grabs with that kind of statement.
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The Problem With Providing Clients Estimates
[#14] Posted: 07/10/2015 - 08:16:04 AM
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I provide estimates in writing sometimes and always vebally if I think I know. My boilerplate:

Estimates provided for repairs are based on a limited visual inspection. The actual costs to correct problems may be more or less depending upon a more detailed professional analysis. Mike Lamb and Inspection Connection, Inc. is an inspection and consulting service only. We do not provide repairs of any kind or recommend contractors.

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The Problem With Providing Clients Estimates
[#15] Posted: 07/10/2015 - 09:28:12 AM
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You can give a ballpark price per sq foot. Or better, refer them to a website that gives ballpark figures.
If someone asks me for a specific quote, I will ask them how many square? That puts it back to their estimate of quantity, not mine. Never get an answer to that one, so then we move on.

I recall one time i measured the roof for a young couple buying a POS and gave them an accurate estimate for a new roof. The clients walked and I never saw the agent again.

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The Problem With Providing Clients Estimates
[#16] Posted: 07/11/2015 - 1:29:22 PM
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Quote: Originally posted by Mike Lamb

I provide estimates in writing sometimes and always vebally if I think I know. My boilerplate:

Estimates provided for repairs are based on a limited visual inspection. The actual costs to correct problems may be more or less depending upon a more detailed professional analysis. Mike Lamb and Inspection Connection, Inc. is an inspection and consulting service only. We do not provide repairs of any kind or recommend contractors.



The only person who knows exactly how much this work will cost is the person who will actually do the work. That said, you should be able to find a good person to do the work properly for about $X to $Y.

   
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