Yes, I've run into customers that talks like a little bird ("cheap! cheap!).
I just run the other way.
Had a woman who bought an old house, her insurance co would not issue a homeowners policy because it had K&T wiring. I did a thorough inspection (on a fee-for-service basis) and recommended a few selective upgrades, as the K&T was in good shape. She pressed for an estimate to do a total re-wire. I bid it on the high side, as it had a tight crawl space and the living space itself was overfilled with furniture and clutter.
I FAXed a written bid to her, and didn't hear back. I left a followup message about a week later and another three weeks later. Heard nothing back.
Six months later, she calls and wants to schedule the re-wire right away, but what can I do to lower the cost? You know, the Wal-Mart customer mentality.
I tell her to check the bid, the price was valid for 60 days, and prices have gone up because materials prices are soaring. I'm busy for the next two months, and the price has gone from $11,500 to $14,000. I haven't heard back from her, and that's fine with me.
I usually weed out the cheapskates by telling them "no free bids". I'll talk to them for a few minutes to get an idea of the job, and give a rough estimate (non-binding)of the cost over the phone. Anything more detailed, like a written bid for fixed-price work, I charge for. Usually I map the circuits and do some safety checks (branch circuit voltage drop measurements, GFCI performance checks, both with the Ideal Sure-Test) if I'm there to survey a job to write up a bid. The client feels they're getting something of value in addition to the bid, and they are.
If someone doesn't want to pay me to work up a bid, I tell 'em that I do it so that my clients don't pay for window shoppers and lookie-loos, because I have to recover the cost of that time and effort one way or the other.
For an extablished client, of course, I don't charge for estimates.
I'm interested in doing work that's high-profit, rather than high-volume, low-profit work. So far, so good.