Fees, Budgets and prices

Perth- Singapore, 12th February 2014

As I make my way back to Singapore, I can’t but get saddened (perhaps frustrated) from the continuous urge from each and everyone in the chain of design from the first fee negotiations, the establishment of a budget for the project, through to the final price a client has to pay for the designed lighting installation, to always want to cut to impossible low levels. As it happens today I got hit by all three. First I got a call by a new potential client, who, recommended by one of our loyal hotel operators, had called me several times over the last few days to secure our services. I had given him my price (a rush job as so often), he had told me his budget, of course more than half my fees. As per Asian culture I did give him a little discount, but then had to endure a near half  hour phone call in which he tried all tricks of the book to try get my fees down. As I had really given him my best price I was prepared to lose the job, but in the end he accepted my little discount…frustrating as I really will not make much if any profit on this one, but it is a good project.

Later I had a long drawn meeting about the anticipated cost of the lighting in another project. They all want the sky but have a budget that does not come even close to what would be required to do a decent job. Really frustrating, because they keep pushing to get you to commit in doing what they would like for that little money. Why is it that no one seems to be able to accept that a certain design comes with a certain price tag. You don’t go into a Ferrari dealer and ask if you would be willing to sell the car for the price of a Toyota.

I had a third encounter of the same kind, when the QS of one of my projects sent around an email that tender returns he had received were way over his budget. Imagine this…we had already value engineered the lighting solution to the bare minimum. How low can you go? It seems that we are headed for a tough confrontation…L

Light Watch 5-21: Designs can be simple and yet beautiful, if you reduce everything to one colour it becomes breathtakingly simple and beautiful…

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13. February 2014 by Martin Klaasen
Categories: Light and inspiration, light watch, lighting and culture, lighting and the economy, lighting design practice, lighting standards | Leave a comment

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