I love (hate actually) it when you try to get an idea of a "target" to shoot for, and cannot get an idea from the customer.
I had a situation recently in which I was asked to design the loudspeaker/amp/DSP system-the rest was already taken care of.
This was a kinda large room and the budgets for this size room are kinda all over the map. I was told the budget was a particular amount. I thought GREAT-I don't need anywhere near that to do a really great design-with lots of headroom-deep bass and so forth.
So I spent a good bit of time on the project and gave them the standard EASE maps-equipment list etc.
Then they told me I was waaayyyyy over budget.
But I came in well below what I had been told.
I was told I had "blown" the budget.
The Budget number i was given was for the ENTIRE system-including mixer-wireless-snake-recording-stage pockets and so forth.
I told them-again- what is the budget for JUST the part I was tasked to do. They told me-that I should be able to figure that out from the budget numbers and give them a system.
Well they would not tell me if they were looking at a $5,000 console or a $100,000 console or haow many wireless or what quality.
Some how that was up to me to "figure out" You all those things are "standard" in an install
When we finally got down to it. what was left (because the sound guys wanted all the "toys" to play with) for the actual loudspeaker system was about 10% of what it would take to do a halfway decent job-and nowhere near performing up to what the customer wanted.
And all of these numbers did not include installation charges. The customer thought the gear would be "put in" for free.
I told them -good luck- there was no way I could help them for that budget-I didn't want to get blamed when the system didn't work.
I got a call several weeks later with a new budget for just my part. It was actually enough to do a decent job. It all worked out well. It just took some time and realization on the customers part (and taking some toys away from the sound guys).