Why Free Estimates Are Unreliable and Why Butler Contracting Uses a Better Process

Serving Bastrop county and other surrounding areas in TX since 2015 and helping homeowners get closer to the perfect vision for their home.

Are you embarking on a project to improve your home and on the lookout for contractors who offer free estimates? While it might seem like an effortless way to compare costs, the truth is that free estimates on fencing, decking, pergolas or any outdoor living space amenities often come with their fair share of problems and unrealistic expectations. At Butler Contracting, we understand the significance of providing accurate and comprehensive estimates, which is why we have a process in place to give you a ballpark price upfront, but don’t deliver our pricing promise until we’ve done a detailed consultation. In this article, we’ll delve into the downsides of free estimates and explain why going through a thorough quotation process is the smarter choice.

Crafting a detailed and precise bid demands a substantial investment of time and resources from contractors. This includes site visits, meticulous measurements, and thorough assessments of materials and labor costs as well as the time and expertise it takes to create a precise design that will deliver exactly what you want. 


These endeavors come with significant expenses, which contractors must recoup through the project’s overall cost. By providing free estimates, contractors may inadvertently lower their commitment, resulting in less accuracy and attention to detail. Consequently, this can lead to potential misunderstandings and the contractor making a lot of assumptions about what the customer actually wants. 


During the free estimate process, it is common for a contractor to find ways to cut costs on projects to win the job all in an effort to make a sale. However, the customer would have gladly paid for the upgrade or the more premium option if it was presented up front. Unfortunately the customer generally gets the short end of the planning and design process and this often leads to conflicts down the line.

Issues with Free Estimates

Moreover, the value attributed to free estimates by homeowners may be diminished. There is a risk of perceiving these estimates as less reliable or less valuable compared to paid estimates, thereby creating misconceptions about the actual project cost. Furthermore, the provision of free estimates often encourages homeowners to prioritize finding the lowest price possible. This, in turn, triggers a price competition among contractors which can lead to cut corners and cheaper materials.

The Reality of Project Costs

It’s important to recognize that free estimates can be akin to a fantasy. Homeowners might mistakenly assume that such estimates encompass a comprehensive, fixed price for their entire project. However, numerous factors can influence the final cost, such as unforeseen complications, material alterations, and project delays. A free estimate is unlikely to account for these variables, leaving homeowners with an incomplete or inaccurate understanding of the actual project cost or hidden surprises and cost during the project.

The Benefits of Butler Contracting's Process

At Butler Contracting, we acknowledge that providing precise and comprehensive bids are pivotal for project success. This is precisely why we have developed an estimation process to ensure our clients receive the utmost accuracy and transparency. 


Getting an estimate with Butler Contracting can happen in the following steps:

Step 1: Get A Rough Idea Of Your Project Cost

The first step in getting a free rough estimate with Butler Contracting is to go to the website and browse our different projects to get a general idea of what your type of project usually costs.


Step 2: Submit A Project Request

The second step is to submit a project request on our website and send us videos and pictures explaining and showing your ideas and vision for your space.


After reviewing your project request, we will respond with a phone call to ask some important questions to get a better idea of everything that will be needed for the project. In this phone call, you will receive a ballpark price for your project based on our expertise and what others have invested in projects similar to yours. 


Step 3: Onsite Consultation

If you find the ballpark price acceptable, we will then proceed with an onsite consultation where we take final measurements and narrow the estimate down into a Pricing Promise. Some projects are more complex than others and may require our Planning, Permitting, and Design Package to ensure that you are getting exactly what you want and that we are meeting all of the permit and code requirements. 


Sometimes customers know they want to build something and have a general idea, but as a contractor it is hard to put a price on something until all of the details are worked out. We have found our process helps provide the best customer experience. Once you are ready to move forward, the next steps are easy – simply sign the contract and pay the initial deposit for the project. After that it’s time to get started!

BONUS: If your project requires a lot of details that are beyond your expertise, we offer design services that ensure all of the utilities, materials and structures can all co-exist and function without any trouble.

Get An Estimate With Butler Contracting

While free estimates may initially appear appealing to homeowners, the truth is, they often come with various drawbacks and unrealistic expectations. By understanding the underlying economics, the issues they may entail, and the potential for a distorted perception of costs, homeowners can make an informed decision to opt for a thorough and detailed estimation process instead. At Butler Contracting, we believe in providing accurate and comprehensive estimates to drive the success of our clients’ projects. Give us a call today and tell us about the project you’ve been dreaming about! (844) 628-8537


You can also send us your videos and pictures