Posted by Mike on April 13, 2006, 2:10 am
Is it standard for a solar installer to change for a quote?
I inquired with a solar installer for a quote on solar hot water. This
company responded that they would do a site evaluation for $00 +
$5.00/hour. If I purchase a system from them they will refund this
cost. This is the first time I have ever requested a quote from a
company and been charged for it. Is this standard? If I were to shop
around and everyone charged like this I could easily be out $,000
without ever even gotten anything installed.
Could anyone advise on this situation?
Posted by Morris Dovey on April 13, 2006, 10:16 am
Mike (in firstname.lastname@example.org) said:
| Is it standard for a solar installer to change for a quote?
| I inquired with a solar installer for a quote on solar hot water.
| This company responded that they would do a site evaluation for
| $00 + $5.00/hour. If I purchase a system from them they will
| refund this cost. This is the first time I have ever requested a
| quote from a company and been charged for it. Is this standard?
| If I were to shop around and everyone charged like this I could
| easily be out $,000 without ever even gotten anything installed.
| Could anyone advise on this situation?
From another perspective:
Did you ask for a quote on solar hot water or for a quote on a
specific product installed in/on a specific wall?
How close an estimate are you expecting (or does Minnesota law
require) them to provide?
Are you prepared to pay (as part of your purchase costs) the
installer's cost of previous estimates that did not result in sales?
DeSoto, Iowa USA
Posted by DJ on April 14, 2006, 9:25 pm
My company does, yes. Not just a parts quote, if you say "what's a
system made of X-Y-Z worth" I can tell you that right off, but a site
visit and evaluation report, we charge for that.
In the ballpark if it's a good quality evaluation and report.
Consider that generous ;-).
Here's the thing. Basically, you're asking someone to tell you exactly
what you should buy and where to put it, and whether it will work.
The 300$ isn't for the quote, it's for the knowledge. It wouldn't be
the first time a potential client used a quote as an internet shopping
Here's the thing. To do a site evaluation properly, it's going to take
probably a half dozen hours, both visiting your location, and working
up the data afterwards. And it's a few hours that if we weren't at your
place, doing the inspection and then sitting in the office crunching
the numbers, somebody else would be paying us our hourly rate to do an
install. And it's an awfully tired line, but our time is worth money.
However, once you've purchased one good report and had one reputable
company look at your site and give you a recommendation, you can then
"parts shop" with other dealer/installers, as in "so, what's a system
made up of X-Y-Z worth?" and atleast compare that.
I know, it sucks. But think how much more it would suck to put down
five or ten grand for a system that didn't work because you didn't get
an expert opinion in the first place...
Posted by dold on April 14, 2006, 9:41 pm
Is this only for a smallish installation, like a solar water heater?
I can see where your visit might be a shopping list... The guy could then
buy the few parts needed and install them without you.
But I have only had one person (attempt to) charge for a site visit that
was part of a presentation. And that was a poor quality IT outsourcing
proposal. We didn't pay. It wasn't mentioned before the meeting, we just
received an invoice.
My recent solar system installation is made entirely of parts that were
clearly defined in the first meeting. The sizing, usage analysis, and ROI
projections were all provided with no expectation of payment if I didn't
accept the proposal.
Coming out to my house is an expensive operation for them. I'm about a two
hour drive from the office. The installers stayed at a hotel in town
during the install. There were a few site visits before the contract was
Clarence A Dold - Hidden Valley (Lake County) CA USA 38.8,-122.5
Posted by DJ on April 14, 2006, 11:09 pm
Yes. Although I do the occasional industrial install, I prefer to do
residential and recreational property installs. They're more fun ;-).
Not so much with SDHW systems, because plumbing can be serious work,
but more with PV systems, yes, this happens.
Hey, the gall of some folks out there... but two points for trying, eh?
But no, I make it clear right from the first contact that if I need to
go to their site and "use my toys" (gps, pathfinder, etc) there will be
an invoice accompanying the report, and the price is agreed upon
beforehand. Usually a flat rate plus extra in extended travel
That stuff is easy. But did the guy actually see your roof, or ground
space? I can dish out a boilerplate quote with all the ROI stuff easy
as pie. We call that a "form letter quotation". Those are absolutely
Clarence, I love the site visits that only require a two hour drive
;-). In my neck of the woods, I'm finally able to put my snowshoes away
for site visits, and now they're going to start requiring 4x4 trucks
and boats ;-).
Thing is, that's another way to do it. Fact of the matter, SOMEBODY was
going to pay for those site visits eventually. Either the guy getting
them done, or the next client that buys a system has it buried in the
It's my preference to charge the guy getting the site visit.