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tdewitt

Quoting installs

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My company does a few installs for some local print shops, I often get the quote request that goes something like this...

Print shop: Hey can you install a 5 x 10 alu-panel sign for us?

Me: Sure, Details?

Print shop: It's on the side of a building in town...how much are you going to charge us?

Me: Details? Location? Height to sign? Fastening method? Do you have a layout for me to look at?

Print shop: This is just a quote, we were not going to do a layout until we sell it.....How much?

Am I the only one that sees this as asking a home builder to build you a house with no blue prints??? I know what we do is not rocket science but c'mon!!! The devil is in the details and that is where you loose money!!

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(me) Well that will be no problem it will be under $1000.00 (click)

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My response is always the same. $4 million dollars, and we have room to negotiate.

For a real answer to folks who do not give details. T/M, and give a range of time.

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I mostly make interior neon signs for the end user -- business owners, artists, or homeowners. So I deal with a lot of people who are on the far ends of their comfort zone in terms of the work that they're asking me to do. They also usually have a vague idea of what they want, but no clear expectations of what it will cost. So my sales conversion rate is pretty low (I'm happy to pass on the "make this crazy thing for $200" customers). As a result, I've put a lot of thought into getting quotes out the door really fast.

My solution on the installation front is to ask questions, and if the answers get vague I just tell them: here's a firm quote for the neon fabrication, but the actual installation is going to be time + materials. Here's a rough estimate: $xxx, based on my hourly rate for on-site work ($xx) and the following assumptions: xxx. Here's a few obstacles that, if present, will increase the price.

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My response is always the same. $4 million dollars, and we have room to negotiate.

For a real answer to folks who do not give details. T/M, and give a range of time.

I like the "$4 million dollars..." and will borrow that!

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My response is always the same. $4 million dollars, and we have room to negotiate.

For a real answer to folks who do not give details. T/M, and give a range of time.

We do the same thing! I think ours is up to $7 million now, if you're gonna go, go big right? You only need to sell one lol. We do some work for local print companies as well and it can be a challenge getting the necessary info to make a full quotation. Alot of times we provide a $ range for install if we still are unsure about the scope. Big thing is to be specific about what you are quoting so it is easy to understand what is included and what is not and that the client understands that there might be a change moving forward. We have had the luxury of working on multiple projects with alot of our clients so our efforts to educate them about what questions to ask their customers and what info we need to provide accurate quotes have helped out alot. It's hard to make money on small, quick quotes. It's better to pad the install and not get the job then to get stuck working for free! Having a good relationship with the middle man is super important too. We had one shop who fed the end client a bunch of BS just to sell the job and we got stuck in the middle, we just don't quote for them anymore.

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And the latest version is, please price the following list of sign types. You get about a dozen versions of signs for a customer, with no other info. Is it in a mall, is it in the middle of downtown, 150' up, 5' up, is it a concrete wall, EIFS, etc. You call and ask for info and they say, we're trying to sell this project to a potential client and just need some "budget" numbers based on "average" conditions. Oh, and can I include what the average permit cost would be and lead time?

I think from now on I think that I'll send this kind of client a quote for "estimating advice" before even looking at those things.

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yep. survey, $375 per location.

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