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Bidding on Projects

Discussion in 'Sales, Marketing, Pricing Etc.' started by CanuckSigns, Dec 3, 2020.

  1. CanuckSigns

    CanuckSigns Very Active Member

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    I'm hoping to get a few opinions on how other shops handle when a client approaches you to quote on a large scale project.

    For example, we were approached by a committee looking after the construction of a new community centre, they are looking to get a donor recognition display wall, along with a bunch of individual plaques for certain rooms recognizing various donations to the construction of the centre.

    They have asked us to quote on the job, along with a few other shops which is understandable considering the size of the project. However they will not provide a budget (they say they don;t know) and the only design brief they gave was to use wood and black hardware to tie in with the building interior.

    Now I'm not going to put the hours into coming up with designs for them before I have the job, but at the same time it's impossible to provide a fair quote without knowing what I'm quoting on. I have some nice ideas in my head, but they're not going to get them without paying for them.

    Is it common practise to give a ballpark price such as "these plaques will be between $150 - $300 each depending on materials and options selected"

    Anyone have any methods they've used in the past?
     
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  2. Billct2

    Billct2 Major Contributor

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    I will try to get them to find samples of what they are looking for...they are all over the internet. I hate these types of jobs because you never end up bidding apples to apples.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  3. CanuckSigns

    CanuckSigns Very Active Member

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    Yes that is my concern, with an extremely loose spec of what they want, some shop is going to put in a lowball quote that just meets the minimum.
     
  4. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    Happens all the time... and especially lately. They don't have the means to do an in-house survey and they don't wanna pay to have someone put a project together, so they let it up to all the individuals involved. They'll get a Heinz 57 variety kinda quotes and go with the cheapest. However, the cheap guy knows, once he gets his foot in the door, he'll/she'll raise their prices til its up where they really wanted it. Ohh, we didn't know that going in..... ohh, you never mentioned that. Oops, that's not allowed by code, we'll have to upgrade it. Big projects always have a lotta slippage in the quote to the final invoice.

    Ya either need to insist on standards or just willie-nillie it.​
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  5. ColorCrest

    ColorCrest Active Member

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    No, it's not common and it's not common for a "committee looking after the construction" of a community center. (In my neck of the woods, anyway. )A neighborhood committee might voice some wants and wishes but an architect and interior designer will ultimately decide along with what the budget affords, and it's always a good, better, best factor. (All things being fair.)

    In your case, "good" is what you determine to choose to minimally, yet proudly, perform a decent service with sureity to make money and show as a reference later. "Better" is a bit more than twice that amount. "Best" is usually five times the amount. You should be able to find each of these levels in your local area to determine what it would take for your shop to do each.

    The "proudly" part is important for obvious reasons. Know that most will choose the "better" tier. You may be surprised how many will choose the "best" tier. Your shop will grow exponentially each time that happens early on.

    A community center demands value-based pricing, in my opinion.
     
  6. Notarealsignguy

    Notarealsignguy Very Active Member

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    It's fairly normal in construction. Think about the guys that bid on these huge design build projects. How do you price that?
     
  7. Zendavor Signs

    Zendavor Signs Member

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    It depends how bad you want the job. I know a lot of people like to hold their cards close to the vest until they get a deposit. With this kind of project, you are probably going to have to stick your neck out a little to get the job. Meaning mock up and samples. It's a risk, but could pay off if you prove helpful. I disagree that price is guaranteed to be the top consideration. This is where reading people is really important. Being helpful doesn't mean being taken advantage of.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. ColorCrest

    ColorCrest Active Member

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    I'd like to learn how this wall of plaques came about. The building itself is well documented.
    plaques.jpg
    building.jpg
     
  9. visual800

    visual800 Very Active Member

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    Give them 2 tier pricing. I would not go too top quality on a community center. maybe quote some laser plaques vs vinyl. make a notation in quote you can can less expensive or more depending on their needs. Making bids is a chance, you waste your time or you may get the job, you wont know til later. Id say if you have time take the chance
     
  10. FireSprint.com

    FireSprint.com Trade Only Screen & Digital Sign Printing

    This is where a good salesperson on the team is worth their salt. From their point of view, it's understandable. They want to honor their donors, but have no idea how to do it or what it would cost, and that's where your expertise should come in.

    One idea might be to charge them for a couple of mockups or sketches. "I have 2 or 3 ideas that I think would look great here. I could sketch them out for you and help you plan the project for $xxx. This would give you a rough set of plans that we could then get bids on or we could bid for you."

    Architects and designers will often do the same thing.

    Just a thought.
     
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