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Sound Reinforcement - Forums for Live Sound Professionals - Your Displayed Name Must Be Your Real Full Name To Post In The Live Sound Forums => SR Forum Archives => Installed Sound/Contracting FUD Forum Archive => Topic started by: Rain Jaudon on October 07, 2008, 10:20:17 pm

Title: BidMagic - Anyone use it?
Post by: Rain Jaudon on October 07, 2008, 10:20:17 pm
Anyone here using Bid Magic or are we all still using Excel spreadsheets and Word documents when writing bids and proposals?

What else is out there ?

Thanks
Rain

fyi - if you don't know of Bid Magic -
http://bidmagic.com/

Title: Re: BidMagic - Anyone use it?
Post by: Hal Bissinger/COMSYSTEC on October 08, 2008, 02:56:17 pm
The range of our projects and clients would make a product like that impractical. I'm sure you can customize it but that would be almost each time. Our proposals are based on Word templates that are easily edited and changed as necessary.

-Hal
Title: Re: BidMagic - Anyone use it?
Post by: Rain Jaudon on October 08, 2008, 03:33:11 pm
Just got to thinking about the time I spend checking my price lists, the manually typing the info into an Excel spreadsheet, making sure tax is added when needed, and then going back over to make sure the labor is right, enough it allotted for wire, cables and materials, .. etc etc
And then printing up the slicks for the client so they have a basic spec sheet of each piece getting installed..

That wouldn't it be nice to just drag n drop the pieces into a work space and have all of those forms automatically created. (well, with my limited programming skills, it would be all done via pull down menus)

But just considering writing a program to do this.  Agreed - Lots of set up time on the front end.  My mfts. will send me list and  map pricing in a spreadsheet so I have my price list updates covered.  Sure they will send a file full of their pdf spec sheets I can place on a database.  
Instead of putting it all on your desktop like Bidmagic I think a web based package makes more sense.  (keeps the installer from having to constantly wonder if his pricing and model data is up to date)

just a wild thought - thats all

Thanks Hal
Rain
Title: Re: BidMagic - Anyone use it?
Post by: Hal Bissinger/COMSYSTEC on October 08, 2008, 11:37:59 pm
Actually we stay away from itemizing prices for several reasons. One is that it gives the customer reasons to nickel and dime. "We don't need all those speakers if they are that much." We want the customer to consider the installation as a whole, not give them a way to pick apart what we designed to work as a whole.

Second, itemizing prices gives the customer amunition against you by allowing them to compare your prices to another bid or even on the internet. Even if your bottom line is the same as another bid, if they see that your competitor quoted some equipment for less it's going to be a point of contention.

Third, a proposal with itemized prices can be used as a shopping list for a project you designed. It can also be used to shop bids. "This is what the last guy gave us. Can you do better?"

In this day and age of trunk slammers, do-it-yourselfers and the internet, the less information you give as to the exact equipment and labor you are providing the less chance there will be of haggling and of someone stealing the job from you.

-Hal
Title: Re: BidMagic - Anyone use it?
Post by: Don Boone on October 09, 2008, 01:32:25 pm
I have received through a third party my own itemized proposal to bid against.  Mad

Don
Title: Re: BidMagic - Anyone use it?
Post by: Adam Kane on October 09, 2008, 04:18:12 pm
We've tried that in the past, but nearly EVERY time, the client/customer shoots back the requirement that there be an itemized equipment list w/ pricing or they don't even consider us. Many times we land the job, others we don't.  YMMV...that's what it seems to be like around here.  Wish we could do it your way all the time.
Title: Re: BidMagic - Anyone use it?
Post by: Hal Bissinger/COMSYSTEC on October 09, 2008, 05:12:08 pm
Not saying you can do it that way all the time, certainly it depends on the job as well as the client. Sometimes it's just not appropriate.

But for those times when you can, it is really something that needs to be practiced by everybody otherwise it loses effectiveness. If you are bidding against someone who itemized their prices the customer is sure to want the same from you. If nobody does it it becomes accepted and you have a better argument for not doing it if they ask.

I'm also not saying that you shouldn't have an equipment list, you need to show what you will be providing. Just keep it as basic as possible with as few details as possible. Let them see what you are going to do, not how you are going to do it.



-Hal
Title: Re: BidMagic - Anyone use it?
Post by: Brad Weber on October 09, 2008, 07:20:29 pm
I do somewhat the same with my budgeting, if a client asks I will usually give them the equipment list used in preparing the budget but the only pricing is for the system.

I had one Federal bid where they actually tried to award the bid line item by line item.  So one bidder was awarded the rack, another the projector and VCR, another the speakers and so on.  We were awarded the engineering and installation, which we immediately declined.
Title: Re: BidMagic - Anyone use it?
Post by: Hal Bissinger/COMSYSTEC on October 09, 2008, 08:25:20 pm
I had one Federal bid where they actually tried to award the bid line item by line item.

Betcha there was a line on there for the study of the mating habits of gophers too...

-Hal
Title: Re: BidMagic - Anyone use it?
Post by: Blake Courtney on October 13, 2008, 11:45:31 am
Question -

When you do a bid without doing it as a line item bid -

Do you - Include Quantity, Description , Manufacturer, Model # and simply leave out the price

If you do not include enough detail how are you able to assure clients that they are recieving high quality products?

I generally do my bids as a line item with detailed pricing and information.

I find it easier to explain why a background sound system for a resturaunt costs $20,000 if there is a breakdown.

Also I have had a client shop my prices on the internet. I generally charge MAP prices for items that are readily available.

When this happens I ask who will handle waranty issues with the product if it fails?
And many times I simply tell them that in order to continue to be able to sell that line of product I have to sell it at that price.

If I do choose to give a discount or price break I will do it as % of the total and not on the line items, since this encourages them to find other ways to beat me down.



                                                                                                 Blake
Title: Re: BidMagic - Anyone use it?
Post by: Hal Bissinger/COMSYSTEC on October 13, 2008, 12:47:13 pm
Do you - Include Quantity, Description , Manufacturer, Model # and simply leave out the price

Yes, and I only include major items. If there is equipment that requires something like plug-in mods I will give the Description , Manufacturer, Model # and just say "configured for _________ rather than go into the details.

Our proposals are arranged first with a description of the system, then an equipment list then a description of the installation. The installation section is prefaced with:

"Installation includes all labor, permits, inspections and all other material and equipment not specified above which is necessary for a complete and working system as specified. A description follows:".

-Hal

Title: Re: BidMagic - Anyone use it?
Post by: Brad Weber on October 14, 2008, 07:00:09 am
Hal Bissinger/COMSYSTEC wrote on Mon, 13 October 2008 12:47

Our proposals are arranged first with a description of the system, then an equipment list then a description of the installation.

I think that is a good approach.  Too many times I've been asked to help review bids that were simply an equipment list with no description of the system functionality or of the installation services and documentation being provided.  I am always amazed at how many people seem to care more about knowing the brand names or models being provided than they do about knowing what the system is (or is not) capable of or how it will be installed and what support they will be provided.  I am even more amazed at how many contractors seem to share or support that focus in their proposals.

I still have to laugh at the one client who decided they because they were technically savvy, they could prepare their own bid package.  They did a great job of identifying the specific equipment right down to the model and quantity of connectors.  When the successful bidder, based on their own review of the bids, dropped off all the equipment they asked him if they could look at the system design and when they'd be back to install everything.  Apparently the vendor looked at them with a blank stare and asked what they meant.  It seems they had assumed that it would be obvious that they wanted an installed system and neglected to actually define that expectation and to identify that no design or installation services were included in the bid tendered.  So they had spent all their money and instead of a functioning system they received exactly what was proposed, a big pile of very nice equipment sitting in the middle of the floor.