How low can you go?

Singapore 3rd August 2011

Negotiations, certainly in Asia, are probably the hardest thing to do. You need a kind of bluf poker attitude at times when negotiating your professional fees with a client who is determined to squeeze you to the last drop of juice. I am in the middle of two such fee negotiations and it has become really a matter of how badly do I want it. There are so many factors of influence that will determine the outcome of a project and many are unknowns, leaving it to our experience to assess the potential pitfalls.

First there is the client, I have not worked with either of them before but I have been refered to them by close business associates. Back ground checks (a bit of due diligence never hurts) also show positive results. They seem to be good paymasters…critical to have a good reputation in that department. Clarity in regards of scope of work is another issue of concern. One of the projects only lists the areas in square meters, without much further indication of the level of sophistication required. The more general the scope,
the higher chances are surprises will spring up along the way with expectations of work included in the scope. I have requested more details to get a better feel. Some renderings generally help to get a sense of the project proportions, rather then just a written area listing. Then there are the demands in terms of time, such as the construction schedule and attendance to meetings etc.,all this needs to be clear. It wouldn’t be the first time that a 2 year project ends up taking 5 years of your attention! If you further also have control of the delivrables then at least you are in a position to negotiate.

As professional designers we earn our living solely through our fees so the sum we finally agree with the client must be such that we can sustain our services over time. Sometimes however we may make a commercial decision to go below the profit line when the effort is likely to generate long term relationships or other spin off projects. The decision is a hard one, and generally you will only know when you have reached the end 🙂

In Light Watch today a project that I discovered through Traxon’s new Ipad application. Using a wind turbine as the canvas for LED lighting, the most interesting patterns can be created depending on programming and wind force. Check out the application movie on the Traxon website at

Light Watch 135: Project Hope, Munich Germany

03. August 2011 by Martin Klaasen
Categories: going green, Light and inspiration, lighting design, lighting of the future | Leave a comment

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