Design Bid Quote
Good rainy morning from Rhode Island.
I want to run something by you all and get some input/ feedback.
Last Monday, I was called by an architect at a firm with which I have an over 20 year work relationship with. I was asked to come the next day to a luxury, urban apartment/retail complex and meet to go over a lighting project.
I was told there would be others in attendance who would also be bidding on this project. At the meeting, there was one other contractor, who I know from the area, who uses one brand of lighting and from what I've seen of his jobs, they are all pretty much cookie cutter ( and he uses Quick Discs for his connections).
We walked the project with the architects and owners and had a sit down to discuss what they wanted and that they wanted it done a week after you were awarded the job, which I found to be an overly ambitious expectation.
Nonetheless, I took the plans home, and designed the project with brass and copper fixtures, citing that the aluminum had the potential to corrode from the lawn chemicals and road salt used in the area.
I also specified most fixtures with drop in LED's as they could be replaced down the line with the later technology of LED lamps. I came up with some unique solutions to some of their issues and presented a comprehensive 8 page design proposal within which, I mentioned that there could be cost reductions to opt for aluminum fixtures and also to revert to standard lamps.
They were supposed to get back to us on Monday afternoon, which was especially critical due to the fast track of this project. Having heard nothing, I emailed yesterday morning with a request to hear something.
This morning, I got an email thanking me for participating and letting me know that they chose a contractor who's price more closely matched their budget.
I wrote back, thanking them for the opportunity and making a statement as to in retrospect, I should have focused on price instead of quality, efficiency and sustainability.
Yeah, I know.. it was a little sour grapes, but I spent several hours doing that work, I went back at night to evaluate the site, gave them a comprehensive analysis of their existing lighting- ie- mismatched colors in their cfl fixtures, a mix of sodium and metal halide on their signs etc. I would have expected to be called in for a discussion on cost savings or any other modifications which would have brought my price down. Instead, I heard nothing until 2 days AFTER they said we would hear by.
I have the feeling I was used as a SHILL.
1. Has anything like this happened to any of you?
2. Have you been call in to competitively bid on a project where YOU are creating your own design for? ( ie.. not bidding apples for apples)
3. How do you protect your ideas in a case like this.? This is one of the aspects of my 24 plus years doing this is the need to come up with the great ideas for someone's lighting, but, that they don't end up educating my competition.
4. I am thinking that in the future, I want to charge a design fee in a situation like this. Has anyone ever done that successfully? How? On one hand, you'd think that if a client was serious, they would pony up a few bucks for your time and the design, yet on the other, why pay me, when the others are design/bidding for free?
Thanks for your insights to this posting..... your feedback is appreciated.