QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Serial Quote Syndrome

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Posted by Heidi Schwartz

This Question of the Week comes from the Ask The Expert link on Today’s Facility Manager.

I’d like to gain some insight on dealing with what I call “serial quote syndrome.” My experience with a prior company as well as with my current organization is that I’m asked to obtain quotes for work that was never really in the plan to get done. Quotes are requested for electrical changes, lighting upgrades, and HVAC modifications by other departments solely out of curiosity. In other cases, three or four quotes received would come back within a couple hundred dollars of each other. The issue there is that the quoted cost (which seems to be quite reasonable) is two or three times what the department wanted to pay. In other words, the departments in many cases weren¹t willing (were never really willing in reality) to pay what it would take to have the work done right. 

While it may seem logical to use the quotes for future planning in terms of “can I afford to do this work next year,” the most frustrating issue for me as the facility manager is that it eventually tends to burn bridges with my preferred contractors. While they certainly would love to have the work, routinely bringing them in to quote work that never comes to fruition is frustrating to them and can be a significant waste of their day.

What advice can you offer in dealing with situations such as this?

Name withheld upon request
Facilities Manager
Chantilly, VA

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