I`m not sure this is the correct forum to post this, but it looked like the closest I could find to the subject.
I have a business recovering seating for medical offices, mostly dentists. Having done this work for the past 18 years, I see very few seating that I`m not already familiar with. Many of my customers will trust me to come prepared on the first visit to install the covers I have prepared ahead of time based on their telling me the brand and model, or emailing me a few pictures. However, others don`t feel comfortable unless I first travel to their office (avg. time is about one hour each way) to see their chairs and show them swatches for color selection. I have, in recent years, been telling these customers that there is a consultation charge which is due at the time of my visit, but I give them 2 weeks to accept the quote I send (or a modification of it) for me to credit their consultation charge, After 2 weeks, or if they don`t order any work, they forfeit the charge. I find this does two things. One, it gives me some compensation for my time and gas expense and two, it creates a sense of urgency to not let the quote sit on someone`s desk and become forgotten. I have made repeated phone calls to some who wind up doing nothing, since they were just shopping, but since I started charging for the visit, it has helped get some to do something. Most are OK with the charge, some, during the initial phone inquiry, will reconsider and look for the brand/model info I asked for (to avoid the charge) and others think it`s inappropriate to pay for something they might decide not to order. Does anyone have experience with this type of situation? I`d be interested in hearing your opinions.