Fast forward to today, and it's not uncommon for people to either request via email, phone, or social media for referrals for tradespeople (plumbers, electricians, handyman, etc.) that "do good work and are reasonably priced" (oh, and they usually need them right away!).
I always think that when hiring any kind of professional, whether it be a tradesperson, Realtor, auto mechanic, or surgeon, for example that one has to consider a variety of factors. How long did that person have to attend schooling, and/or how many years of successful experience do they have in that profession? Likewise, what is their investment (or their company's investment) in tools, machinery, physical space, vehicles, and insurance, and the investment in time to learn how to use the proper tools and machinery (where applicable)? Do they have to spend time to shop for and deliver parts for your project? No one wants to overpay for services, but likewise, there is a fair price to be paid for services to compensate that person or company for their investment in the above, and their expertise -- after all, that's what this person does to earn a living for them and/or their family. Paying a fair price also incents the vendor to do their best work, and to return if something wasn't done properly or to your satisfaction.
I've also never been a stickler, at least on small home repair jobs, to get firm estimates up front (of course for larger projects, that's a must). The tradesperson has to bake into the price their time for stopping by to provide an estimate, not knowing if they will get the work -- hardly worth the time, effort, and gas to earn $100. If you have a referral from a reliable source, then simply hire the person to get the work done. If you must have an estimate, take a few photos, and text/email the photos and a detailed scope of work to the vendor. In many cases they can generally provide a fairly accurate estimate this way, and will be appreciative of the fact that you didn't consume a large block of their time in doing so.
Like any human interaction, be good to them and they'll be good to you (in most cases!).