Tricks Of The Trade: Quote Overload
Name withheld by requestAThis is one of the most dangerous areas for an fm, and unfortunately, it is encountered on a regular basis. If you estimate things to cost too much, you’re scoffed at as crazy and not willing to help those asking for it. If you estimate cost too low and the project gets done over budget, you’re deemed as unreliable. So the tendency is to shift the risk to our favored and most reliable contractors, thus burning bridges. The best way I have found to deal with this is what I call “shoot from the hip times two, sometimes three.” This means if someone needs a price for work that your department will need to support, you have to estimate the cost. Give your best educated guess, and multiply that by two or three. To use this technique you have to be a fairly seasoned fm, and you have to take some risk. When you provide the quote, state that this is simply a qualifier quote (i.e., can you afford it?) much like a real estate agent does with a prospective buyer prior to showing a lot of houses to prevent finding out they could not qualify for a loan, or that much of a loan. Sometimes you can ask your favored contractor to help over the phone by coming up with a “shoot from the hip price times two or three.” Don’t ask for outside quotes or bids until you have something in writing from the person who would approve the funding based on the in-house pricing you provide.
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