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They Ask You Answer: Why Doesn’t Livewire Offer Free Estimates?

The reasoning behind charging prospective clients for sales consultations.

We started charging for sales consultations this week at my CI business, Livewire. This move had been a long time coming and we’d resisted flipping the switch for many years out of fear. We ultimately made the call to further reinforce our commitment to qualifying our prospective clients. We’re not for everyone and it’s best for all concerned to arrive at that conclusion sooner rather than later to avoid wasting time on both sides of the conversation.

In-Home Estimate
Getty Images

In the spirit of previous articles I’ve written around answering customer questions online (most based on reading Marcus Sheridan’s book, They Ask You Answer), I’m sharing our new FAQ document meant to answer some of the most common questions head-on by addressing each one and then offering candid and open responses. Our previous articles where we discuss pricing, product comparisons, and common issues have all produced amazing results for the company by filling the top of our sales funnel with qualified leads.

Here’s the unabridged version. Feel free to copy and modify to suit for use inside your business:

Why doesn’t Livewire offer free estimates?

“Nothing…is ever so expensive as what is offered for free.” ― Viet Thanh Nguyen

Free estimates are a staple of the home services world. Why doesn’t Livewire just go with the flow? Great question! We’ve been around since 2002 and learned mostly through making mistakes. One of these early gaffs saw us jumping at every opportunity. We’re not for everyone. Livewire is obsessed with simplifying lives and ultimately saving you time with the solutions we offer. By charging a nominal retainer that is fully creditable toward your project, we eliminate the possibility that we’re not making the best use of each other’s time.

Also by Henry Clifford – They Ask You Answer: Filling A Power Vacuum

What if I just want a ballpark?

No problem! We’ll happily speak with you over the phone to generate a rough budget number, but anything involving an in-home or virtual visit to your home or business falls under our paid service offerings.

What do I get for $199?

We’ll meet with you on-site or virtually to discuss your project and requirements in depth. From there we’ll either recommend a solution on-site or discuss our design process after refining a budget range with you. We’ll then collect a 4 percent design retainer to engineer your detailed proposal (check out our sample engineering drawings). If you decide to work with us, we’ll credit back the 4 percent design retainer and your $199 initial investment. If we’re a fit, that’s good news. If you’re shopping for three bids, you might consider making us your first stop so we can document the project the same way you might first visit an architect before asking a bunch of builders to price a new home project. Having a solid set of plans in hand will mean your bid process will run smoothly, keeping you firmly in control. If you decide to engage Livewire to complete the project, we apply all retainer fees to the project.

Don’t take our word for it, check out some of our residential and commercial case studies to hear more from our clients about challenges we helped them overcome.

What are you waiting for? Schedule your in-home or virtual consultation with us today.

Also by Henry Clifford – They Ask You Answer: “Are your cameras hackable?”