Cost Comparison Shopping for Professional Services
When you are shopping online for a product, finding comparative prices is easy. There are dozens of sites that promise scour the Internet for the best deals on almost any product that you can imagine.
But what about shopping for services, such as a medical test/procedure or for lots of other tasks that you might need performed?
For health care costs, the new site on the block is Healthcare Blue Book. It continues to increase its offerings but even now, you can obtain data representing typical costs in the following categories:
- Hospital admissions for selected surgical and non-surgical conditions.
- Physician charges for a wide variety of treatments and procedures
- Lab tests
- Cosmetic surgeries
- Dental procedures and treatments
Overall, I think that Healthcare Blue Book will likely work best for elective and non-emergent medical issues.
For estimating the costs of a wide variety of services in diverse (and growing) categories, there is What It Costs. This site is a good place to start your “cost for service” study, just to obtain ball park estimates. For example, if you are planning a wedding, What It Costs will lay out what you might expect to pay for a wedding planner or a wedding photographer. Want to hire a bodyguard or a personal chef? What It Costs has those numbers as well.
Finally, I’ve previously written about FairRepair.com which can provide cost estimates for many different car repairs, as performed by shops in your area. Unfortunately, a report from Fair Repair will set you back $10 but it may be worth it to evaluate a large repair estimate you have received.
An even newer online service for estimating car repair costs is RepairPal. This site is very easy to use and will refer you to local shops if interested. The best part – it’s free!
Mr. ToughMoneyLove encourages you to bookmark all of these sites and use them to become a more informed consumer of professional services.