Many companies will tell you what you want to hear in order to book the appointment, or even lie about when they will arrive. As consumers it is our responsibility to ask the right questions and ask for a firm comittment before agreeing to a service call. If a service company comes to your home they will charge you. If you expect them to come to your home for free, think again. There is too much overhead to cover. To pay an employee and the cost of operating a vehicle, insurance and so forth to drive around and give free estimates would mean that the few jobs which are sold would be much higher priced and not competetive. Ask about service call costs. Many times if there is a large job, say several thousands of dollars, there is a chance that a free estimate is available. If there is a large amont of work and money involved, a customer will need to have a thorough understanding of all that is to be done for that money. A few hundred dollars is not enough margin to pay a man to drive to a location for a free estimate on the chance that the job will not be given to the same company providing the estimate. Often the service call money will be applied to the job if the company providing the estimate is eventually used to perform the work. Bottom line, ask the right questions, write them down on a piece of paper before picking up the phone to be sure you cover the basics. An informed customer is the best customer. We consumers have a responsibility to be equal participants in the information gathering and organizing activity. Be smart, be assertive, be thorough and be patient.