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Old 04-23-2013, 08:15 PM
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OKSooner OKSooner is offline
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How to handle bid for prospective client?

All,

I got bit by something last time I was in this situation and I want to handle it better this time.

This is the deal: I got a call from a lady who wants to talk about lighting. So I go out to talk to her for the first time. I set up the demo kit in her nicely done front flower bed and agreed that we'd touch base this week sometime.

While we're talking, she mentions that she's "getting bids". Fair enough.

However - I want to avoid what happened the last time I was submitting a bid to someone who said they were "getting bids". What happened was they proceeded to come back to me with stuff like "Another contractor said he could reuse these old lights", and "another contractor said he could do the project for $300 less than you"...

As a contractor it seems that people can take advantage of a competitive bid process. I offer them an apple for a dollar, and then Dave offers them an orange for $.95, then Mike steps up with a peach for $75...

I'm open to suggestion, but I'm thinking I'll tell her this with the bid:

"I probably will not be the low bid but my intent is to offer you the best lighting system and support after the sale. If you want me to modify my bid, I'll be happy to discuss that with you after you've informed me that you've chosen me as your contractor."

Is that too direct?

Or suggestions about something different to say?

TIA

Oh yeah one other thing... I'm going to bid LED only. No Halogen.

TIA again.
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  #2  
Old 04-23-2013, 08:41 PM
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not a lighting guy but I get this all the time with people who call me for a paver driveway, balk at the price and get the second guy to give them a price for black top.

I tell them word for word, "make sure its apples to apples, and spec out a, b, and c are included" they will call back and say x,y, and z but at least they keep it in mind.

I would hold out on the "not the lowest but the best speech" until the call back happens. Just sell yourself and your company. this is what matters most to the best type of customers. Of course you need to be in the market, but I say its a $10k driveway that will be here for 30/50 years, does $300 matter? I want you to have the best, not the cheapest
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Old 04-23-2013, 10:18 PM
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I would find a diplomatic way to state my position depending on the specific client but my thought is this: A "bid" implies specifications. There can be no bid without exact specifications to be bid upon.

I rarely have faced this situation probably because of the way I market my business i.e. that I am the best at what I do. That is the usual reason that potential clients seek me out.
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Old 04-24-2013, 05:36 AM
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INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting is offline
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Phil you are right on the money with your approach. Inform them that no two designs and systems are the same and that this is largely a creative and artistic interpretation. It's only a bid f each contractor has been handed the same design and specs. Contractors bid, designers create.
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Old 04-24-2013, 09:51 AM
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Thanks for the replies.

So... should I charge her for the design?

Or... how do I reconcile the facts that a) there must be specs b) this is a creative process...

??

If I wish to make the point to the client that this is a creative process, do I do a design for her pro bono and then let her show the design, i.e. specs, to other "contractors"? That seems contradictory to me.

Or do I do a design, show it to her but not allow her to keep it to show other "contractors", hand her a written bid with a dollar amount and ask her to call me?

Or do I do a walkthru of her property and just ask her where she wants a light placed, etc?
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Old 04-24-2013, 10:07 AM
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INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting is offline
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. oK sooner, you need to better identify who you are if you are going to ask for high level advice.

I am off to Lightfair today, but may continue this with you in a private message or email. No point educating the entire web on how to do this right, I have had enough of training the lurker s.
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Old 04-24-2013, 11:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting View Post
. oK sooner, you need to better identify who you are if you are going to ask for high level advice.

I am off to Lightfair today, but may continue this with you in a private message or email. No point educating the entire web on how to do this right, I have had enough of training the lurker s.
OK Sooner, I remember you on this forum occasionally. I think you are primarily
an irrigation business and dabble in lighting? It is hard to give you detailed answers to all your questions. If you want to operate a landscape lighting business, it is necessary to educate yourself not only on the technical aspects and the design aspects but also the business aspects which includes how to present yourself to clients. Maybe you ought to read some books such as "The Blue Ocean Strategy" which explains how to set yourself apart from your competitors.

James, Enjoy yourself at Lightfair. Are you also part of the Illumicare team there? That show is beyond my capabilities at this time but maybe I will be smart enough in the future to gain something from attending.
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  #8  
Old 04-26-2013, 12:08 PM
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OKSooner OKSooner is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by starry night View Post
OK Sooner, I remember you on this forum occasionally. I think you are primarily
an irrigation business and dabble in lighting? It is hard to give you detailed answers to all your questions. If you want to operate a landscape lighting business, it is necessary to educate yourself not only on the technical aspects and the design aspects but also the business aspects which includes how to present yourself to clients. Maybe you ought to read some books such as "The Blue Ocean Strategy" which explains how to set yourself apart from your competitors.

James, Enjoy yourself at Lightfair. Are you also part of the Illumicare team there? That show is beyond my capabilities at this time but maybe I will be smart enough in the future to gain something from attending.
Yes, I do irrigation service but I am serious about lighting. I much prefer it to irrigation service but I've not achieved the consistency with it yet that I find in irrigation service. I think I'm good at it.

Thanks for the tip on the book; I'll check it out on Amazon.
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Old 04-24-2013, 05:22 PM
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INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting is offline
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Lightfair is wild this year! Just awesome. Of course it should be called LEDFair and the story this year is LED lamps! Imagine that. No I am not here on behalf of Illumicare. Just me being me.
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Old 04-24-2013, 11:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting View Post
Of course it should be called LEDFair
That was the case last year as well.

I thought the plasma arc stuff was wicked cool, can't wait until they can get the drivers for it in a small enough form to be used for something other than street lights.

I'll be there next year, Vegas is an easier trip for me to make than Philly and I can extend through the weekend to bring the wife.
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