Straight from the Boss' Desk

Straight From the Boss’s Desk: “Free Estimates”

Hello Friends,
This is the first letter in a series I will write in order to inform you about different plumbing-related subjects and to give you a chance to ask me questions. I am calling this “Straight From the Boss’s Desk.”

For today’s subject, I would like to address the concept of charging service fees versus free estimates. Many companies advertise “Free” estimates in order to get their foot in your door.

My mom always told me that nothing in life is truly free. Although I somewhat disagree with her, based on the fact that I have found a few things such as love and happiness are free, I get what she was trying to say.

Let me use my own company as a reference. I have certain costs that I have to pay as a business owner. Whether I get the job or not, I have to pay wages for the technician to come to your house. I have to pay office staff, employment taxes, fuel, insurance, vehicle payments, fees for telephones, utilities, advertising, insurances, licenses, and more.

Yes, we are fully-licensed and insured, and I will address that and all the other mundane daily blah blah blah in a later edition. We have figured that the amount that will help us cover some (not all) of our expenses and still be reasonable to our customers would be $89. Some people object, get angry, and sometimes just plain ugly about this being unfair.

We have been accused of running some kind of get-rich racket by driving around and charging everyone $89 and doing no work. So here is how that really works. We have established that it costs $89 every time I send a technician out to look at a job. Let’s say that my technician goes to four homes before they get to your house: $89 x 4 = $356 in expenses that I have to pay before we even get to your home.

If I do not charge each customer a service fee, when we come to your home and you allow us to do the job, we would need to charge enough money to complete the job, cover our losses from the previous customers who did not pay, plus make a small profit.

Our losses would have to be figured into your job, and that is not fair to you. So, we are not being unfair by charging to come to each home. We are being extremely fair to all customers who allow us to be their plumber, because you are not paying for another customer’s service.

At Sanders Plumbing, we strive to always be as transparent and straight-forward as we possibly can. If you have any questions about this, or any other plumbing-related issues, please email us at

If we use your question on any upcoming “Straight From the Boss’s Desk” letter, we will send you a gift card to buy your lunch. For tips and more, follow us on Facebook!

Thank you,
Pete “The Boss” Sanders