Scam or fraudulent estimating services can be difficult to spot, but there are some red flags you can look out for. Here are some things to consider when evaluating a construction estimating service:

  1. No online presence or limited information: Legitimate companies typically have a website, social media pages, and other online profiles that provide information about their services, experience, and expertise. If a construction estimating service has no online presence or limited information, it could be a red flag.
  2. Lack of credentials or licensing: A reputable estimating service will have the proper credentials and licensing required by the state or local government. Check to see if the company is registered with a professional association or is accredited by a reputable organization.
  3. High-pressure sales tactics: Be wary of companies that pressure you into making a decision quickly or offer you a deal that seems too good to be true. Reputable companies will give you time to consider your options and won’t push you into anything.
  4. Vague or incomplete estimates: A legitimate estimate will include a detailed breakdown of the costs involved in the project, including labor, materials, and other expenses. Be cautious of estimates that are vague or incomplete.
  5. Unprofessional communication: Watch out for companies that communicate in an unprofessional or unclear manner. This could include poor grammar or spelling in emails or documents, or unprofessional behavior during phone calls or meetings.
  6. Unrealistic timelines or promises: Be wary of companies that promise unrealistic timelines or make guarantees that seem too good to be true. A legitimate company will give you a realistic timeline and be upfront about any potential delays or complications. There has to be an adequate amount of information for you to be comfortable with bidding. If you have been in the business any length of time, you probably already have an idea of how long it takes to generate an estimate. The problem for many is there just isn’t enough time in the day to do everything needed to run your business. With that said, it can be advantageous once you find a trustworthy company, to outsource some or all of your estimating so as to free up your time for other issues.
  7. Suspicious pricing: Scammers may offer unusually low prices or quotes that are significantly lower than those offered by legitimate companies. This is often a tactic used to lure in unsuspecting customers. However, low prices could indicate poor quality materials and workmanship or hidden fees.

To sum up, it is crucial to do thorough research and due diligence before hiring a construction estimating service. By being vigilant and aware of the red flags, customers can avoid falling victim to fraudulent or scam services and ensure the success of their construction projects.

Tom is a construction estimator with over 35 years of experience in the industry from field work to general contracting.

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