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I hear a lot of contractors these days talking about charging for services that we used to give away without a second thought — services like estimating and design. This trend is healthy, but some of the talk is shortsighted when it obscures more profitable goals. Remember that the estimate is one small step of many in the whole construction process. In my experience, you will make more money selling construction than you will ever make selling estimates. So if you view charging for an estimate as a victory in and of itself, I think you're shortchanging yourself. Selling Estimates Do this exercise: Calculate the gross profit you need in a year, then divide by the number of sales