Why do some foundation repair companies charge for estimates and others don’t? Is there any advantage to either option? Why would anyone pay for a foundation inspection? Good questions.
Sounds like you’re spinning in worry and indecision about how to get your foundation fixed and who should do it for you, starting with how to even get started with estimates. At Anchor Foundation Repair, we have been inspecting and repairing Brazos Valley foundations for 35+ years, and we can break down the pros and cons for you on free vs. paid estimates.
Full disclosure: we charge for foundation repair estimates. But we promise to fairly present the advantages and disadvantages of paying and not paying for your inspection by presenting equal numbers of pros and cons for each.
This article will discuss what a foundation repair estimate typically includes and talk about some reasons why some are paid and some are free. We will also list out the pros and cons of paid vs free estimates so you can decide which sounds right for you.
What Is a Foundation Repair Estimate?
First, let’s just make sure we are all on the same page with what the term “foundation repair estimate” means. A foundation repair estimate is done by a foundation repair professional who comes to your house, looks at the foundation for issues, and tells you how much it will cost to fix those issues.
This act of foundation repair estimation goes by a lot of different names that all mean the same thing. Besides “foundation repair estimate”, you might also see or hear things like this:
- Get a Quote for Foundation Repair
- Foundation Repair Bid
- Foundation Inspection
- Home Foundation Assessment
- Repair Quote for Foundations
- Foundation Consultation
At Anchor Foundation Repair, we officially call it an In-Home Assessment but also use all these other terms interchangeably. All these terms mean nearly the same thing, but every company has its own style.
What Is the Purpose of a Foundation Repair Estimate?
The purpose of something and the definition of something is a tiny bit different. So just to make sure we cover everything, there are two main purposes of a foundation repair estimate for the homeowner:
- To Identify, Assess, and Confirm (or Deny) Any Foundation Settlement Issues
- To Give You the Price to Fix the Foundation Problems
A really important part of someone coming to look at your home is that they confirm that you actually have a problem, or will honestly tell you that you don’t. I’m just guessing here, but it seems like you probably don’t want to get repairs that are not needed, amiright?
A visit for a foundation repair estimate should at least include these essential parts:
- Reviewing the Inside and Outside of the Home to Identify Issues
- Questions and Discussion
- Getting a Plan and a Price to Repair Your Foundation
For more details on the estimation process or what happens at a foundation inspection, check out: What Happens In a Home Foundation Inspection? 3 Common Steps.
Paid vs. Free Foundation Repair Estimates
There’s the cost for the actual repair project to contend with, but the foundation estimate could have a cost too. Some companies offer *free* foundation estimates. The cost might be built into the repair costs and they are counting on you to accept their bid by being competitive.
Other foundation repair companies choose to charge a fee for the home foundation estimate. These visits can take several hours. That time and expertise has value, especially if you are counting on a contractor for their professional opinion on your foundation situation.
Free inspections have no upfront cost to the homeowner, and the cost of paid foundation inspections varies but typically ranges from $200 to $350. Free and paid estimates have pros and cons for the homeowner that you might want to consider.
There are no good or bad choices here, just paths and companies that work better for some people over others. That’s why pros and cons are so helpful so that you can weigh out the options for yourself.
Pros and Cons of Free Foundation Repair Estimates
We are listing 5 pros and 5 cons for the option of free foundation repair estimates. Free estimates are very common and not inherently “bad” or anything. A free estimate could be just as good as a paid inspection and meet all your needs. But there are some pitfalls to watch out for and things to keep in mind. Let’s break down these pros and cons.
PRO: No upfront cost to the homeowner
PRO: Could take less time, as little as 15 minutes
PRO: Easy for homeowners to agree to a visit
PRO: If you don’t choose the company, you’re not out any money
PRO: Could be just as good as a paid estimate
CON: They are trying to sell you something to make their time worth the *free* visit
CON: Might not be impartial, won’t tell you if you don’t have an issue
CON: Might try to upsell or sell you things you don’t need
CON: Might not be willing to take time with you to answer all your questions
CON: Repair plan might not be very detailed or only a price range offered
The foundation repair industry is a sales-based industry, but most homeowners tend to think that they are just repairmen coming to fix an issue. We talk about this issue further in, “Foundation Repair Contractors: Avoiding 4 Top Problems of Hiring One.”
We just want to make sure that homeowners understand that ultimately, the person coming out is *selling* their services, and they are hoping that you will buy from them. Be wary of any sales pressure or *buy now* tactics that you might feel.
Pros and Cons of Paid Foundation Repair Estimates
To be completely fair and unbiased, here are also 5 pros and 5 cons for paid estimates. Most everything we do in life has advantages and disadvantages, including something like paying for an estimate for home repairs.
PRO: Paying for expert, professional opinion, more likely to be impartial
PRO: No reason to lie as you are paying them for their time already
PRO: Dedicated block of time spent with you and your concerns
PRO: Detailed repair plan and diagram of issues, more accurate cost quote
PRO: Estimate costs are often applied to final bill if the company is used for the repair
CON: There is an upfront cost to you
CON: Could take more time than you want to spend
CON: You would be out the money if you don’t choose the company
CON: If you don’t have a problem, you would still need to pay for the contractor’s time
CON: Not a free option if you are only looking for a negotiating tool or to reduce your tax bill
Some people are just not down with a paid estimate and that’s okay. If you’re not actually planning to get the foundation repairs done and just need a price for negotiation purposes in a home sale, then a paid estimate might not be preferable.
We always suggest that homeowners ask themselves this question, “Why do you think the other guys do the estimates for free?” The bottom line is that it’s a sales hook and they are hoping to easily get their foot in the door to begin working their *sales magic* on you.
Anchor Chooses Paid Foundation Repair Estimates
Now that you know all about the pros and cons of free and paid inspections, are you ready for one? If you would like an estimate from Anchor Foundation Repair, we charge between $225 to $275 depending on the type of home you have and its location. When you choose Anchor for the repairs, the cost of the inspection is applied to your bill.
In other words, it doesn’t cost anything extra beyond the repair total – the estimate ends up being free if you use our services.
At Anchor Foundation Repair, we don’t fix things that don’t need fixin’, and we don’t try to sell you stuff you don’t need. After 35+ years in business, that’s what’s best for our Brazos Valley community and for exceptional homeowners like you. We’re here to help guide you through the foundation repair process, but you’re the one in charge.
Need a few more reasons to understand why we have a cost for inspections? Here’s a whole article on why we do: Why Does Anchor Foundation Repair Charge for Inspections?
Or if you’re already convinced that paid, unbiased inspections are the way to go, let’s get started by heading to our Get a Quote page to tell us about your repair project.