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Topic:
The old "whats your budget?" question?
This thread has 41 replies. Displaying posts 1 through 15.
Post 1 made on Wednesday November 29, 2017 at 15:55
FunHouse Texas
Long Time Member
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Like always, most customers do not have a solid idea of what our "stuff" costs beyond amazon and best buy.
Take an example of a Media Room/Home Theater - When I ask the "what are you looking to spend?" question of a customer, the reply is generally "send me a good, better, best list of proposals and I can work from there." When my "good' media room is about $7K in electronics alone and best is (in their minds) - $15K!, I find my self more and more lately building various proposals, taking a lot of time and getting pushback on anything over $5K. These are people in $400K + new homes. They they tell me how this $800 Epson projector got all these great reviews and they are not Videophones and don't need to buy the best.

So i have started telling them in the consultation that my most popular package is $X,000, and consists of X, Y, Z, ect. The step down is $X,000 and the step up is $X,000 - whatever. I tend to avoid the good, better best conversation because range perception can be WAY off between us.

I believe some are hesitant because if they say "10k", they think I will somehow try to screw them. Maybe they watch too much Pawn Stars where Rick will NEVER give a price first..

What methods do you guys use to try to get the customer to give you an actual answer for budgets these days?
I AM responsible for typographical errors!
"We are just like Geeksquad - if Geeksquad knew what they were doing."
Post 2 made on Wednesday November 29, 2017 at 16:03
burtont62
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446
This happens to me everytime. I always ask for a budget that's realistic for them to spend. If they won't give me a number I'll start putting out numbers that I'd think reasonable for what they want. See how how they react. If they still won't come up with a number then ask for a design retainer. Something small like $250.00 or so.
Post 3 made on Wednesday November 29, 2017 at 16:15
osiris
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You should never ask them for a budget- because, as you said, they have no idea.

Your first consultation with them should be to discuss the various options, show them pictures of similar projects to what they are after, and YOU should be telling them what these things cost. Then, you say "based on what you are telling me, a system to deliver what you are after is going to cost about $X". Then, you shut up and let them talk next.

If their jaw drops, then you have just found out that their budget is much less than it should be, and you can part ways without spending any more of your time.

If they are comfortable near the price you specified, you can collect your deposit and start engineering their system.
Post 4 made on Wednesday November 29, 2017 at 17:11
Craig Aguiar-Winter
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On November 29, 2017 at 16:15, osiris said...
You should never ask them for a budget- because, as you said, they have no idea.

Your first consultation with them should be to discuss the various options, show them pictures of similar projects to what they are after, and YOU should be telling them what these things cost. Then, you say "based on what you are telling me, a system to deliver what you are after is going to cost about $X". Then, you shut up and let them talk next.

If their jaw drops, then you have just found out that their budget is much less than it should be, and you can part ways without spending any more of your time.

If they are comfortable near the price you specified, you can collect your deposit and start engineering their system.

That's exactly how I do it. I educate them on what similar system to what they've asked for cost and then charge for design and move on from there.

But I agree with you about them getting shy at a certain price point . Had a lady just this week that wanted me to do what I did at her neighbours house. Complicated (labour intensive) TV install with equipment located upstairs in a closet. But she wanted to add a HEOS 5.1 system. Even knowing what her neighbour paid and with me educating her on the cost of the HEOS system prior to doing the design, she was still shocked and wound up walking. I got paid for the design so nothing lost for me, but I'm not sure what people expect all this stuff to cost.



Craig
My wife says I can't do sarcasm. She says I just sound like an a$$hole.
Post 5 made on Wednesday November 29, 2017 at 17:12
charlieg
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Had a customer today tell us he has seen 4k on a $400 dollar screen and it looked good. Million dollar home.
OP | Post 6 made on Wednesday November 29, 2017 at 17:13
FunHouse Texas
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I just had a potential client let me know that after a 1 hour consultation, education on home theater equipment, layout, options and a bid, - he bought all his equipment online last weekend and found someone to install it for $350. Projector, 7.1 speakers, screen, all wiring and connections.
FML..
I AM responsible for typographical errors!
"We are just like Geeksquad - if Geeksquad knew what they were doing."
Post 7 made on Wednesday November 29, 2017 at 17:49
osiris
Long Time Member
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On November 29, 2017 at 17:13, FunHouse Texas said...
I just had a potential client let me know that after a 1 hour consultation, education on home theater equipment, layout, options and a bid, - he bought all his equipment online last weekend and found someone to install it for $350. Projector, 7.1 speakers, screen, all wiring and connections.
FML..

Used to happen to me all of the time. Now I never leave an initial meeting with a prospect without a firm, agreed upon budget, or an understanding that I'm not the right fit for what they're after.
Post 8 made on Wednesday November 29, 2017 at 17:50
goldenzrule
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7,275
On November 29, 2017 at 17:13, FunHouse Texas said...
I just had a potential client let me know that after a 1 hour consultation, education on home theater equipment, layout, options and a bid, - he bought all his equipment online last weekend and found someone to install it for $350. Projector, 7.1 speakers, screen, all wiring and connections.
FML..

You sir, luckily avoided working for a douchebag. What makes him a douchebag? The fact he had to make sure he let you know what he did and paid, as he undoubtedly wanted to let you know how much you were obviously ripping him off.
Post 9 made on Wednesday November 29, 2017 at 19:18
Audiophiliac
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On November 29, 2017 at 17:13, FunHouse Texas said...
I just had a potential client let me know that after a 1 hour consultation, education on home theater equipment, layout, options and a bid, - he bought all his equipment online last weekend and found someone to install it for $350. Projector, 7.1 speakers, screen, all wiring and connections.
FML..

That is rough. But honestly, some people do not have very high expectations about how a system like that should perform or function. They may be perfectly happy with a mix of gear from Monoprice and Alibaba. Throw in a Harmony remote and some wiremold, and it is super fancy!

Just about any time someone asks me how much a theater system is, my normal first response is "Around $10k unless you want something really nice.". This usually gets either of the responses I am looking for. Either their jaw drops and they haul ass outta there, or they ask "ooooh, what's a really nice one?" Either way, I almost instantly weed out any of "those guys", or instantly upsell to something a bit nicer than the basic package. :)
"When I eat, it is the food that is scared." - Ron Swanson
Post 10 made on Wednesday November 29, 2017 at 21:05
buzz
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On November 29, 2017 at 17:13, FunHouse Texas said...
I just had a potential client let me know that after a 1 hour consultation, education on home theater equipment, layout, options and a bid, - he bought all his equipment online last weekend and found someone to install it for $350. Projector, 7.1 speakers, screen, all wiring and connections.
FML..

He just wanted to impress someone and make sure that he got the best price. He already knows more about this stuff than you do. The only thing that you could offer is price.
Post 11 made on Wednesday November 29, 2017 at 21:25
Fins
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Start telling people at the initial meeting, discussing prices is always awkward for everyone involved. If you would be kind enough to just write down the number of your black card, I guarantee you I will give you a system that will leave you speechless and amaze your friends.


Expect a lot of rejections, but all you will really need is one yes and you can retire after the project.
Civil War reenactment is LARPing for people with no imagination.

Post 12 made on Thursday November 30, 2017 at 05:15
Brad Humphrey
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On November 29, 2017 at 17:13, FunHouse Texas said...
I just had a potential client let me know that after a 1 hour consultation, education on home theater equipment, layout, options and a bid, - he bought all his equipment online last weekend and found someone to install it for $350. Projector, 7.1 speakers, screen, all wiring and connections.
FML..

This is exactly how I handle this every time:
I laugh as they tell me that.
Then say "Sir, there is NO way that was a professional that installed that".
"Just because your speakers make noise, there is color on the screen, and lights blink; does not mean anything was done correctly".
"Is there a bunch of wires visible everywhere?"
"Did you see him use a bunch of different test equipment to adjust everything?"
"Did he program a control interface for you, that is easy to use - anyone in the house could use without instruction?"

"Keep my number sir". "And if you ever want me to come re-install everything properly, so you can get your money's worth out of the equipment - I'll be glad to give you a quote".
Post 13 made on Thursday November 30, 2017 at 08:16
Mac Burks (39)
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16,264
I met with a guy twice...then passed him to another dealer because we didn't have enough man power to do the job...they met with the guy and sent a proposal for like $20k.

Client flipped out and didn't do the work...thought that hiding wires in 5 rooms and installing a couple of surround+TV zones would be a "couple grand". TV's were more than a couple grand.

Same guy had an interior designer walking through talking about fur for some of the walls. To be fair...the ID was really pitching in and trying to help sell the hidden wire thing.
Post 14 made on Thursday November 30, 2017 at 08:45
buzz
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Designers have a skill that that our industry lacks milking customers. And the designers dont leave money for us on the table. Part of the problem is that there is a whole ecosystem supporting the designers. There is a huge markup on their goods and the designer can get the customer a discount while making a good commission for themselves. Designers expect a commission from us, but our margins are often less than the commission expected by the designer. Weve all had experiences where the customer finds a product out on the Internet for less than our cost from a distributor, including free shipping and no sales tax.

All of this undermines our credibility and makes it difficult for us to get a fair deal.

Our tact is to provide a painless experience for the designers and GCs. A group of them know that we solve problems and will not hesitate to recommend us. Its interesting that we are the only sub on the job that is allowed onsite, unsupervised.
Post 15 made on Thursday November 30, 2017 at 09:05
highfigh
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5,952
If interior detonators are involved, they want our stuff to go away and when style is given a seat at the adult table, we end up with the little kids. It's hard to do what we need to unless we can make them understand that they need the good stuff if they want the theater/system to do what they said they want. There's no compromising with some people (designers), so I usually recommend something up front that makes them happy, even if I say it as a joke only because I knew where she had worked before going out on her own (light bulb speakers in the master bath, when she turned her nose up when I said I wanted to use in-ceiling speakers).

I have the luxury of getting most of my business from a small group of clients, through repeat business or referrals, without needing to worry about whether they can afford the work- they can. Even people who I had done work for in the past eventually meet, so I need to be careful to do things well and make sure everything works easily because I know the topic will come up. One of my equipment reps referred someone to me and I got three more jobs out of that but those were about fixing operational problems, organizing cables/streamlining the systems and adding some functionality by feeding network cabling & hard wiring, rather than relying on WiFi in homes that eat the signal.

In qualifying the client, I start by asking them what they want the system to do- what they watch/listen to and where they want this. I don't get into budget until I have an idea about the scale of the work because they won't know how much it will cost to do distributed audio the right way, but I also ask how important it is to have great sound and video, rather than 'good enough'. It's important to be realistic in our proposals- not everyone wants or needs the best even as much as we think it's important. I went to look at the wiring and check out some problems yesterday- I have written about a client who sends me the most work- it's his wife's parents. They asked if the receiver and speakers could go away, since they're OK with small portable speakers that can play Spotify from their phones and tablets. These speakers are in the living room and they just don't sit there to listen to music- it's mostly the office, kitchen, dining room and sun room, which has their main TV. Sound quality isn't as important and he even said "Well, I'm not Tom (the son in law), who has Dynaudio speakers as the 5.1 system and others throughout the main areas of the house.

Last edited by highfigh on November 30, 2017 09:22.
My mechanic told me, "I couldn't repair your brakes, so I made your horn louder."
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