Top 5 Mistakes When Getting 3 Quotes

Considering a big project? For many people, the first thing that comes to mind is to "bid it out" – that is, get 3 (or more) quotes from different firms before deciding which one to hire. Here, we'll cover the 5 biggest flaws with this approach, and how not to end up getting less and paying more when price-shopping the most important projects.

Mistake #1: Limiting your Options

Many of the best vendors in any business just won't enter into bidding wars. Experienced, honest and skilled professionals often have all of the work they need. Requiring someone to submit a bid is asking them to do work without pay in the hopes of having the right price and "winning" the job. The very best in the business may simply move on, thinking that all you're concerned about is price. Do not disqualify a vendor because they won’t submit a “bid”.

Mistake #2: Viewing Everything as a Commodity

For most projects, you want craftsmanship, experience, quality, skills – the kinds of things that are not easy to compare side-by-side. When it comes down to a quote, all of that is reduced to a number. Few things are truly commodities, and when they are, price differences are negligible. Don’t view a project as a commodity.

Mistake #3: Buying the Wrong Solution

Sometimes, the right thing is not the cheapest thing. Nor is it the most expensive. When considering a big, important project, the focus must be on getting it right. Often, this has little relationship to whether the price is low, medium or high. Chances are that any bids you receive are in fact for different things. Make sure to get the best solution that the budget allows.

Mistake #4: Ignoring Total Cost of Ownership

The last thing most people want to think about when starting a project is the long-term cost of maintaining it. A major project is likely to be a part of your life for years, even decades. Carefully consider the ongoing cost of any major project when considering potential vendors.

Mistake #5: Hidden Fees

In order to win projects, vendors are forced to submit their lowest price. Often, this means cutting corners, omitting features or reducing scope. Most of the time, quality suffers as a result. In the end, the cost balloons out of control with extra charges for work that should have been anticipated from the start. The high cost of a low price is often paid with missed deadlines, frustration and ultimately a project gone horribly wrong.

Getting it Right

All of these mistakes are easily avoided by taking a different approach. When it comes to choosing a partner for your most important projects, don’t reduce vendors to a single number. Talk to several firms, for sure. Evaluate proposed solutions. Assess their honesty and integrity. Will they be there over the long run? Can they help you change and grow with the passing years? Choose a vendor that can be trusted to provide the right solution at a fair price – even if that isn’t the “middle” one. In the end, the initial price is just a small piece of the picture when it comes to the success of a project.

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About Steve Szettella

Love to Jeep, Ski, Golf, and Travel. Living near Boulder Colorado. Founder and president of 4word Systems - among other things.

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