My company charges for
such site visits. If we weren’t so busy, we might be willing to do some
of that without charging and call it marketing. Also, we don’t do a lot
of residential, so that could be a factor.
Sent: Thursday, September 08, 2005
Subject: Re: Idyllwild?--charging
for Initial Site Visits?
message dated 9/7/05 12:29:44 PM, dennis.wish(--nospam--at)verizon.net writes:
He would like to meet with the engineer on the site to go over the
history of the project and the scope of work.
I don't work in the Idyllwild area, but I'm curious how other engineers handle
fees (or not) for an initial visit to a site to scope out a project. (I'm
talking about residential addition & remodelings, such as this cabin
remodel sounds like.) Do you charge or consider it marketing? I
realize that such a visit could involve just meeting the potential client and
seeing that the situation is so you're able to submit a proposal for your
services, but more often--almost invariably--it becomes a professional
consultation, where I evaluate the existing structural conditions, make general
recommendations for the direction the project should go, etc. In other
words I almost always provide a lot of useful structural guidance for the
owner. I dislike doing that for free, since it's often a half-day down
the drain, and I dislike the idea that someone could call up a few engineers
and get a *lot* of useful/valuable information without putting out a penny.
Of course many owners are unwilling to pay for such services. (By the way
IF I charge I *always* do it on a Fixed Fee basis, so there's no quibbling
about minutes, and it's generally in the $200 - 500 range. Remember this
is the San Francisco Bay Area. YMMV)
When questioned about charging for such visits--"contractors do it for
free!"--I ask if they're able to get several doctors to come to their
house, examine them, and make a proposal for how they'd cure you--for free--and
*then* you decide which one you'll hire as your MD. Or I sometimes
factiously ask if they take bids to find the cheapest brain surgeon for their
Obviously this is all about what the market allows.
Just curious what others do,