We get these requests all the time. Free estimate, ball park, quote…they’re all about as good as you can get for “free”. Until we know what our client wants, we can’t begin to put a price to the project.
Also, have you ever really thought about those “free” estimates? How accurate are they really? And, if the person giving the “free” estimate has gone out on 10 estimates before he lands a job and you hire him – well guess what – you’ve just paid for all those “free” estimates! So are they really and truly free?
I think the best example of ball parking without knowing exactly what the client/homeowner wants can be seen in the lawsuit currently in court now – between a musician and contractor – check this article out – http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/02/AR2009060201173.html – it really is unfortunate for both parties that the exact scope of the project was not determined before construction began.
Regardless of whomever you choose, remember that you get what you pay for and that it is always very important that everything is detailed up front – use 3D designs, samples, specifications, etc., so there are no surprises down the road. Make sure that your contract documents are very detailed, that the change order process is laid out, that you know what happens if something unforseen comes up in the project…I could go on and on, but I think you get the drift. Once you find the remodeling contractor that you feel comfortable with, hire them, the worst thing is having someone in your home for days, weeks and months that you absolutely hate!