The Client Bidding Game


(Photo via Google Books)

I often wonder how our clients decide who to hire. What’s more important to them? Quality or cost? Sometimes, I think they care about both. But what I find disturbing is how often cost works to the disadvantage of the vendor.

I know a planner who has a very upsetting practice. This planner insists on getting two bids for their clients to choose between. First, this planner goes to a vendor who pays commissions and gets a bid — and then comes to me for a bid, knowing I don’t pay or accept commissions.

Now, there is no question that my team and I are more expensive that most vendors. And the reason is very simple. Most, if not all the elements of our designs, are custom made from scratch. Naturally, this means we’re going to have to charge more.

Anyway, the planner gets a higher bid from me, and then goes back to the client and presents the two bids. The client, who doesn’t realize there’s a difference in quality between these two bids, quickly chooses the cheaper option.

Written bid proposals, of course, are simply part of doing business. I recognize they’re unavoidable and, for the most part, the practice makes sense.However, when a planner has already decided I’m not going to get a job, it’s frustrating to waste all that time writing a bid! Not to mention I end up wasting my vendors’ time, because I have to ask them to submit proposals, too.

But how do you avoid writing bids for jobs a planner will make sure you never get? That’s tricky. So tricky, in fact, that I’d like to continue this discussion in my blog posts for both Wednesday and Thursday.

Dear Readers, do you care whether clients hire you because you’re good or because you’re cheap? And how about this ten million dollar question: is it possible to offer clients good quality and also be inexpensive?

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