Why would a contractor charge to do a site visit?

Offering reliable landscaping services to homeowners in British Columbia since 2013

Picture of Natasha Maerz

Natasha Maerz

Owner/Office Manager

Having a project done at your home can be overwhelming and stressful, especially if you have never done a renovation of any sort before. There is a lot of planning that goes into both outdoor and indoor projects, and you want to make sure that you are hiring the right company to work on your job.

If we haven’t met before allow us to introduce ourselves. We are Back 40 Landscaping and our expertise lies in retaining walls and hardscaping. We also like to bring education to those looking to get landscape projects done and try to answer homeowners’ questions.

When searching for the right company to do your project, you have probably seen that most contractors will come out right away as soon as you call and do a site visit free of charge. This is the way that it has been for as long as we can all remember.

So, if this is the way that most companies operate, why are there companies out there that charge for site visits?

First let’s talk about what a site visit is

A site visit is when the contractor that you are considering doing your project comes to your home and sees if they are able to do the project, and what price they are able to do it for. During site visits any questions that you, the homeowner ask, should be answered, and you will get a feel of whether or not you think that this contractor is going to be a good fit for you and your project.

 

 

Why would a contractor choose to charge for a site visit?

Imagine how many people call a company per day to inquire about getting their landscaping project done. If a contractor went out to every single person’s home that called them, they would have no time to actually complete a project.

Now a days with the internet and our phones, a lot of information that needs to be told to see if a contractor and homeowner are a good fit for one another can be done via phone call.

Pictures of the space you are looking to have done can be sent to the contractor to look at.

Things like access to the space, what they need to remedy before starting the project, and how they are going to implement the project can all be answered without having to step foot on your property. This cuts down on having the contractor come out to the site, set up a time that works with the homeowner, (usually interrupting their day off) and realizing that the access is unusable, or that they cannot perform the job for some reason or another.

 

As well, do you really want a contractor that you hardly know to come onto your property without properly getting to know them and their company? (Things like google reviews and about us videos help you learn more about the person you are inviting into your home, and when you see their face and speak to them on the phone you are able to form a connection with them before meeting them in person.)

Another huge part of a project is how much it is going to cost. This is the make or break for most homeowners.  Each project is unique to each homeowner and their property, and there lots of things that need to be taken into consideration when coming up with the price for a project.

It can be a huge waste of time for both the homeowner and contractor if price is not talked about on the initial phone call together. Price for landscaping projects are what they are, they cannot be negotiated.

Now you may disagree that there are ways to cut price for a project, such as changing the type of material being used, and that is true, however, most of the time the materials used stay the same and the amount of time it takes to complete the job does not change.

 

If a contractor is not upfront about how much a project is going to roughly cost (ballpark price) then the site visit can be over very quick when the homeowner hears a price that is way out of their spending budget.

A site visit should really only take place when:

  • Price has been discussed and the homeowner is comfortable with the ball park price the contractor has given them
  • All parties involved are on the same page (husband and wife both know everything about the project)
  • Pictures have been seen by the contractor and they know what they are dealing with
  • The contractor knows what is important to the homeowner and why they are getting this project done
  • Project timeline has been discussed
  • Both parties feel comfortable with each other and are ready to move forward

Charging a site visit fee ensures that all parties are on the same page and ready to get the project done. It shows that both the homeowner and contractor are serious about moving forward, and are ready to get the project scheduled on the books. This site visit fee saves time for everyone involved.

If you as a homeowner are worried about paying a site visit fee, ask yourself why? You are getting ready to spend a lot of money and you must have trust with the contractor you are hiring. All of the information you need to make a decision on who to hire should have already been dealt with on your phone call with them, and you should know roughly what you are going to be spending, what their process is, and who they are as a company and person.