When do you do your estimates?

For those of you doing residential work, when do you prefer to do your estimates? Do you do them here and there on your way home or on your way to another job, or do you set aside specific time to do it?

Myself, I work Monday thru Friday, and do my estimates on Saturdays. I work in a rather broad area (about 25 mile radius). I will stop and do an estimate if I find myself right in the neighborhood, but for the most part, I wait till Saturday. I usually end up logging about 40 to 90 miles each Saturday, and I use my personal car, not my truck. My truck is not all that good on gas, as I'm sure many of you can relate to.

Mike Hughes
Souderton, PA
I've been pressure washing houses for the last three years. What I have found out is, potential customers want an estimate as soon as possible. I live in a small town so the word of mouth factor plays a big part. Once I have received a call for an estimate, the 48 hour rule goes in effect. I don't waste any time. I want the job. Like I mentioned earlier, I live in a small town. I have driven as far as 70 miles for a estimate. Most of the time I am able to book the job the same day. I always call a day before just to remind them.

I tend to agree with the 48 hour rule and work them in with my scedule even if I have to drive extra. I find most customers want to make a prompt decision and will give the job to the first contracter that makes a good impression( not the first on site) unless they are just shopping price (in which case I probably don't want it) The only exception is referals I get from my previous job, 50 miles away I put them off til the weekend.

One other thing I've found is if I do an estimate always give it to the customer in person or by phone to explain or clarify any details. I wouldn't leave them laying around under a mat or in the door for the competition to study or mysteriously blow away. : )

I try to keep Monday's as my administrative day.
Mondays are usually for banking, advertising modifications, and contacting potential customers. If a potential customer is not available during the week day, I'll try to get them in the evening after dinner, when their belly is full and they are comfortably relaxed. Most of these close easily!

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