Should I charge for site meetings prior to providing a quotation for a project?
So the excitement hits a high when the email arrives in your in tray filled with dozens of pdf attachments. You diligently sift through every sing word of text, site rules, NBs specs, Boq’s, work schedules – all prior to printing off dozens of drawings and scaling to ensure the correct dimensions have been calculated.
You then have an idea so you contact the contracting company or client and point them in the right direct and say the loading for their spec, joist or beam spans are wrong or the dimensions of the decking are not a standard size – in short you put them on the right track.
Before you then spend hours providing a detailed specification and presentation you need a sight visit. So you drive an hour or so, spend a couple of hours on site followed by your journey home.
Having inspected the sight you are then ready to provide a detailed quotation presentation.
1 month later you follow up and say “Were we successful”? “Sorry mate, we went for some cheap, they didn’t want the Ipe it was too expensive, sorry”
What a complete waste of time that was, exactly when should you provide your services for free and when should you start the metre.
How many projects do I have to put up with this “the client only wants the very best, high end – its central London you know” and end up with “well, they just didn’t have the money so we went for this cheapo’ instead”.
We now recommend that we are brought in at the first stage of the project to outline the very many different materials, construction techniques and budgets there are. We then provide a basic outline spec as to what would best suit the clients budgets, once every one is in agreement we can then cost the project exactly so everyone is in a clear picture as to cost and delivery of the project.
If they don’t ask us from first principals we charge for all site visits, this way no one loses. The site gets the best advice and if they don’t use us we have been paid for the advice offered.
Where do you draw the line?
offer and demand, we are a hardwood mill located in the Bolivian Amazon just accros the Brazilian border and NEVER send samples by Fedex on our expense (USD 60/ sample), nowadays we just need to spend this money in order to get the orders (hopefully). This is called the PITCH and depends on how needy you are. The more needy, the more you need to invest
Not quite where I was going with this, perhaps yes for a timber supplier, the thread was concerning the commercial installation.
Site meetings as I see it should be seen as 'promotional expenses', so in principle for your account. Anyhow, it depends on supply and demand, if you are in need and there are many competitors around it will be quite unlikely to chrge for your meetings.