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Estimates

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rhw
rhw Member Posts: 49
After reading Dan's book and digesting some of what has been written on this site I realize that my steam system needs some adjustments. I located an "expert" in the contractor search and explained that I would like them to come and take a look at my system and give me an estimate to improve what I have. However they would like several hundred dollars just to take a look, and they are local. Is this routine? Before I start calling others I would like to know if it this charge, not so much the amount, is common to the industry. Thanks.

Comments

  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
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    Depending on how much analysis comes with the "look", yes. We are not in the business of providing solutions at our expense for other contractors to implement. We charge for the analysis, then credit some or all of that fee back against work performed to remedy the situation.
  • Robert O'Connor_12
    Robert O'Connor_12 Member Posts: 728
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    In fairness to all, we don't discuss pricing on the Wall.
    If a contractor says "Free Estimates", then that's what you get.
    If they charge for estimate, typically that charge is incorporated into the price of the job.
    All too often, I'm sent out on silly estimates on jobs I seldom get that take quite a bit of time out of my day. I say "silly", because the jobs are small, and then I come to find out that customer is using my estimate against me. In one case, the customer had 12 estimates on a job only worth only about $300.

    Robert O'Connor/NJ
    Robert O'Brien
  • STEAM DOCTOR
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 2,002
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    Ditto to Swei.
  • rhw
    rhw Member Posts: 49
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    Thanks for the feedback. Our job requires repiping near the boiler and adding vents to the main as well as replacing a 5' to 6' section of pipe.

    I am not looking for anyone to estimate or provide an estmate price here. I understand the rules. Just trying to get a handle on procedure.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,768
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    Some charge for estimates some don't.

    The most important part of the procedure is finding someone that knows steam well and will do things properly. IMO, the price of the estimate doesn't reflect this. Maybe the highest bidder will do it right, maybe not.

    Make sure everything you want done is in writing before the work begins. It will save you and the contractor a whole lot of heartburn and headaches later.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,741
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    Where are you located? We may be able to make a recommendation. I don't think charging you for "I would like them to come and take a look at my system and give me an estimate to improve what I have" is unreasonable. If you called and said I need an estimate for a boiler replacement that might be different. The way you worded it may involve evaluation for tuning and specific recommendations which they might not want to give away for free and to me that makes sense. Just the opinion of another homeowner.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • rhw
    rhw Member Posts: 49
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    Thanks Mr. jones. There are a few more names on this site that are in my area and I will try them with better wording.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,741
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    FYI just because they are listed doesn't mean they are good with steam. That's why I asked where you are located. We know all the good steam men on the site.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • rhw
    rhw Member Posts: 49
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    Right outside of Newark, New Jersey.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,741
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    @Dave0176 or @EzzyT both work in NJ and both do fantastic work and post in here often. You would be in good hands with either one.
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/dl-mechanical-llc
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/corrado-p-mastropaolo-inc
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    SWEI
  • FranklinD
    FranklinD Member Posts: 399
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    I went through a similar situation with my boiler replacement 2 years ago...one company said that they charged their flat hourly rate for doing estimates. I did have them come do one for me, and it was by far the most in-depth, comprehensive estimate that I received. They performed a heatloss calc, measured all the radiators so they could compare EDR to the heatloss, calculated avergae water temps compared to outdoor temps, and so on. It was a gorgeous estimate and I wish I had waited for them to be able to do the job....but it would have required nursing my dying boiler through another subzero winter (they are a 2-man shop and ALWAYS totally booked). I thought getting estimates in July for a September replacement would prevent those issues, but apparently I wasn't the only one with this idea!

    I'm sure there are also places that charge for estimates and do just an adequate or even a terrible job, too...
    Ford Master Technician, "Tinkerer of Terror"
    Police & Fire Equipment Lead Mechanic, NW WI
    Lover of Old Homes & Gravity Hot Water Systems
    EzzyT
  • EzzyT
    EzzyT Member Posts: 1,296
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    Free estimates are long gone and days of the past. We charge for heating consultations but if we end up doing the work then that consultation fee is credited.
    E-Travis Mechanical LLC
    Etravismechanical@gmail.com
    201-887-8856
    SWEIRich_49TinmanPaul Pollets
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,888
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    KC_Jones said:

    @Dave0176 or @EzzyT both work in NJ and both do fantastic work and post in here often. You would be in good hands with either one.
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/dl-mechanical-llc
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/corrado-p-mastropaolo-inc

    These are two very good choices.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Rich_49
    Rich_49 Member Posts: 2,766
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    Estimation and diagnosis by experienced , qualified individuals is and should not be free . Those that recognize that their time is valuable are the contractor you want in your home . Free Estimates have put many people under in the past . All those free estimates cost a contractor money , can you guess where he will make that lost money up ? I guarantee it will be on skipped steps , cheaper material and an unreasonable time frame for your job . Many of the companies who perform FREE ESTIMATES now employ salesmen . Salesmen should not do estimates using rules of thumb from some book , they should be performed by a technician whom knows what is needed and who will more often than not perform or oversee your job . This man's time should never be free .
    PRICE IS ONLY AN ISSUE IN THE ABSENCE OF VALUE !

    The recommendations given above are good ones , don't know Dave but I do know Ezzy and you can count on the job being done correctly .
    You didn't get what you didn't pay for and it will never be what you thought it would .
    Langans Plumbing & Heating LLC
    732-751-1560
    Serving most of New Jersey, Eastern Pa .
    Consultation, Design & Installation anywhere
    Rich McGrath 732-581-3833
    TinmanMark Eathertonjonny88