INDIANAPOLIS - If you're a homeowner looking to start a project or in need of a repair, you may be lured to some contractors who offer free estimates or consultations.
Angie's List founder Angie Hicks said homeowners should be cautious because every "free" offer isn't free.
"When it comes to free estimates, the general rule of thumb is small jobs that don't require a lot of investigation or work to figure out the problem will typically be free estimates," Hicks said.
Ashpaugh Electric in Westfield offers free estimates on new installations, but in most cases, not on actual repairs.
"Say in your home you have two bedrooms that the outlets don't work. You checked the breaker panel and all the breakers appear to be on and working but the outlets are no longer functioning properly. We can't give a free estimate on that because we have to come into the home. We actually have to do some physical electrical testing," Brian Ashpaugh said.
Every company has a different policy so it's important to ask what each estimate entails, Mike Angle with Window Genie said.
"Typically we always offer free estimates. Sometimes we can talk to a couple of customers about the price on the phone by giving them a price of per window of what we charge and the type of windows they have. If they feel more comfortable with us coming out and giving an estimate, we can certainly do that," Angle said.
"Make sure you understand any type of charge that might occur with an estimate. Some companies might offer a free estimate, but make sure they don't have a trip charge or a fuel surcharge that you'll be hit with instead," Hicks said.
For example, one Angie's List member said she was charged a $45 fee for an estimate she thought was free.
It's always best to ask for a line-by-line price breakdown before hiring a contractor.
Make sure your vacuum is ready to clean
It's time for spring cleaning and experts at Angie's List have tips on the best ways to get dirt and dust out of your home.
Target to pay $10 million settlement in lawsuit
Target has agreed to pay $10 million in a settlement to those who lost money in the data breach, although not everyone affected will receive money.
Angie's List: DIY custom closets pay off
Experts with Angie's List say investing in where you hang your clothes could pay off down the road.
Pinterest is worth $11 billion
It's profitable to pin. Pinterest is now valued at $11 billion, and the company still has time to make more money.
Free ice cream at Dairy Queen Monday
Dairy Queen is offering customers free ice cream on Monday, March 16 to mark its 75th anniversary.
ShopSmart: Fresh deals just in time for spring
As the season changes from winter to spring and the temps begin to warm up, check out these fresh ShopSmart deals!