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Old 03-15-2011, 05:58 PM
baccart baccart is offline
 
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Default Free Estimates, How do you do it?

I am seeing a pattern of customers bringing in their equipment because I provide free estimates!

Once I tell them what is wrong, If it is something they can purchase themselves, they do, or shop around till they find the cheapest price and I am out of My time.

How do you provide free estimates. Do you tell the customer exactly what parts/stuff is bad? Or do you provide a price only?

e.g

Customer Brings in a laptop that will not power on, specifies that he needs an estimate first. He is using a universal laptop charger. At this point, it could be the laptop charger, or the power jack, or the motherboard.

Simplest thing to do would be to try another adapter, which I do not have. But if it turns out to be the charger, and I tell him, he will most likely get it himself.
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Old 03-15-2011, 06:07 PM
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I don't do any free diagnostics. I always tell clients, I charge a minimum charge depending on the nature of the complaint, and apply that to the repair, should they choose to let me repair. If not, they pay the minimum.

Always charge 1/2 hour, or an hour, and apply towards repair.

This weeded out all the cheapskates. Saved me lots of time and frustration.


Now, if it is an Estimate, like, How much would you charge to install a new 500gig hard drive, then that would be free to estimate. Never a free diagnostic.

Last edited by GoHighVoltage; 03-15-2011 at 07:28 PM.
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Old 03-15-2011, 06:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by baccart View Post
I am seeing a pattern of customers bringing in their equipment because I provide free estimates!

Once I tell them what is wrong, If it is something they can purchase themselves, they do, or shop around till they find the cheapest price and I am out of My time.

How do you provide free estimates. Do you tell the customer exactly what parts/stuff is bad? Or do you provide a price only?

e.g

Customer Brings in a laptop that will not power on, specifies that he needs an estimate first. He is using a universal laptop charger. At this point, it could be the laptop charger, or the power jack, or the motherboard.

Simplest thing to do would be to try another adapter, which I do not have. But if it turns out to be the charger, and I tell him, he will most likely get it himself.
I don't offer free estimates. Diagnostics take time and if the customer decides not to have the work done for whatever reason they pay a diagnostic charge. If they do have the work done then diagnostics are included in the price. I did offer free diags when I first set up but found people did exactly as they are doing to you so I soon scrapped it.
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Old 03-15-2011, 06:11 PM
ATTech ATTech is offline
 
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You have to be clear about offering free estimates, or free diagnostics. If you're providing free diagnostics, than people going elsewhere is something you're going to have to live with. If you're not, then just give them the price of what you think it will cost to fix it, don't tell them what needs to be done. If they push, tell them that you have to complete the diagnostics on it first before you can speculate.

On that note, do people charge for estimates? Seems a bit weird (probably illegal in some areas) to say Give me $20 and I'll tell you how much I think It will cost.

For your specific situation, it takes 10 seconds to hook up a multimeter to determine if it's the power adapter. At that point, you can sell them a universal, which you'll have to have in stock for any chance of making the sale, or say you can order it and it will cost $$.
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Old 03-15-2011, 06:13 PM
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I don't either but then I dont have a shop so my estimates cost me a lot of time and fuel so cannot afford to give them for free.

I guess you could not to instant ones but ask them to leave kit for estimates. Then diagnose and give them a price to fix it. Firstly some people will be too lazy to come and get it to then have to shop around for the fix. Secondly on the phone you can be vague about the exact nature of the repair and focus on the cost like "It's related to the power side of things. It will be 100 + parts" and not be drawn on the exact nature of the repair unless they agree to go ahead. You can say that estimates are free but diagnostic info costs. Obviously that would need to be handled well to avoid antagonising people.

I would imaging you'd need to accept that some people will do this but they are being paid for by the increased business the "free estimate" offer brings in. If it ISN'T paying for itself then clearly it's not worth doing.
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Old 03-15-2011, 06:16 PM
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"Free diagnostics" is really just a gimmick to get people in the door. People like "free" and once you have them in front of you it's then up to you to make the sale.

You can try and leave a little uncertainty in your diagnosis saying it will require further testing to be sure but at this point you believe it's going to be _____ which will cost $____ in labor and $_____ in parts.

If you are having more than a small percentage of people walk away from you once you have them in your store you need to practice up on your salesmanship. Either that or you just have good foot traffic by your shop and you are getting a few tire kickers, and you should change it from free diagnosis to a small fee,which is applied to repairs if they choose to go through with it.

If you shy away from people practice in a mirror and ask a friend to help you out once you think you have it down. You don't have to be Mr. Suave but be confident, professional and convince them that you are trust worthy. Some people have a natural talent for it, some have to work at it.
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Old 03-15-2011, 06:25 PM
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I charge 30 for a diagnostic and it's waivered if they go ahead with the repair or another service. So if it needs say a motherboard and they don't want to go down that road then it's 30 but if they want a data recovery instead then I waiver it.
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Old 03-15-2011, 07:25 PM
PhillyTech PhillyTech is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ATTech View Post
You have to be clear about offering free estimates, or free diagnostics. If you're providing free diagnostics, than people going elsewhere is something you're going to have to live with. If you're not, then just give them the price of what you think it will cost to fix it, don't tell them what needs to be done. If they push, tell them that you have to complete the diagnostics on it first before you can speculate.

On that note, do people charge for estimates? Seems a bit weird (probably illegal in some areas) to say Give me $20 and I'll tell you how much I think It will cost.

For your specific situation, it takes 10 seconds to hook up a multimeter to determine if it's the power adapter. At that point, you can sell them a universal, which you'll have to have in stock for any chance of making the sale, or say you can order it and it will cost $$.
I completely agree with you, there are differences between estimates and diagnostics.
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Old 03-15-2011, 07:38 PM
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I completely agree with you, there are differences between estimates and diagnostics.
There is but both kind of link to each other. In order to give an accurate estimate you need to diagnose the problem.
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Old 03-15-2011, 09:42 PM
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The way I do my diagnostics is: I state very clearly that I do diagnosis for $40 if the computer can be repaired and the customer chooses to have me do the repair then the diagnosis is free and I only charge for the cost of the repair.
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