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How Best to Quote Estimate Home Theater Projects for audio video products and cost to install each ?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Edited by newenglandtv - 3/18/13 at 7:43am
post #2 of 10
Originally Posted by newenglandtv View Post

I even considered quoting full retail plus 10% markup on each product and no labor itemized making it easy to understand and sending a message that I must supply the product if they wish me to install it. Thank you in advance. !

This forum is predominately visited by DIY guys who hate paying Retail let alone plus 10%. Bid your electronics at cost even use owner supplied materials but quote them a labor cost for your services. If you can get product at a discount off of Retail promote that to your clients. Once your prospect gets your bid they will research the cost of an item on the internet, MSRP is usually a joke, it is a new era.
Edited by BIGmouthinDC - 9/14/12 at 4:10am
post #3 of 10
Charging your customers a markup on electronics they can easily purchase themselves is not a good way to "(send) a message that I must supply the product".

Add your margin on your labor, not on the parts.
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
So I know all of you come to this forum to self install. But there are people out there that seek professional help and pay top dollar to do so, i went to CEDIA last week, let me just say that Creston and others are not giving away labor or product, programmers are charging $125 per hour here in Westport for install and remote addressing. So, I need a way to help clients get away from an overpriced custom industry and into affordable home a/v without loosing my shirt as i have a handful of times, example, to save a sale on a new home rebuild finish I installed five rooms ceiling speakers, sonos and amp, hung a tv, setup all wiring and harmony programming for a total of $600 labor. I gave up much more revenue of tv repair work i could have done in that time. I can show cost of products and add a 10% handling fee + Either Flat rate labor or Hourly Labor.
post #5 of 10
If you are asking for a customer's opinion then IMO there is no such thing as too much detail in a quote - on the contrary, if I am comparing quotes usually the one with the most detail wins out, it demonstrates a higher level of care and thought put into that estimate.
post #6 of 10

What you aspire to do isn't all that difficult....but as you've already discovered it has to be done right......on every level or someone / something will suffer some type of consequences.

There exist a wealth of resource here on the Forum. Most you have to dig for...and discover / read up to get a handle on. That can be time consuming, and confusing considering the various opinions and advice your bound to receive. For certain. if you dwell among the High End of the scale, the end results almost always merit the effort and expenditures. But these days, such systems and designs often meet with considerable Buyer's resistance. In truth, in the DIY genre, that's where people usually take advice and turn it into really advantageous "Cost to Performance to Design". That's what the Forum is essentially here to provide, although some do use it pretty flagrantly to promote services. But those individuals are also consummate Pros, so that kinda makes up for it a bit. wink.gif

Personally speaking, your going about it somewhat correctly....but it might not be as effective or as prompt a method as you need / hope for.

But let me assure you that there exists products, methods, and procedures, as well as designs and implementation that when combined do in fact deliver extremely high "Bang for the Buck" ratios for Customers....and when presented with such options as compared to higher priced alternatives, more often than not they bite.....hard. It's up to you to feel the tuggin' and reel 'em in. biggrin.gif
post #7 of 10
Being a database designer, here's how I would tackle it..

Create categories and possibly subcategories of install items, based on type and item and list out general (but sticky) time to complete for each and your retail cost associated. If grouped together based on quantity or type (ie: whole house install, audio/video for 1 room, etc.) offer % discount on standard 'retail' cost of install, if your desire is to upsell.

You could BASE the pricing model on item (ie: stereo speakers, 2 locations) or square footage.. not sure of industry standard?? I think the major benefit of a price model on item is being able (in writing) to easily and specifically list the items you are to complete, so there's no generalizations and unkown expectations going in.

Use Excel, or retail/online software to input your data and it should be fairly quick (once initial setup is completed) to enter a client's needs when back at office, or at job site with Ipad to spit out quote based on simply 'checkboxes' or pre-inputed choices.

The right setup will make you look like a real pro, if you spend a little bit of time upfront, ask all the pertinent questions and use software to 'answer' them with your costs associated, and it will save you headaches down the road. If you know your variables (all install options, customer add-ons, unexpected variables that usually show up, etc.) it can be done and you won't be screwing yourself or your client.

Probably the real trick is knowing as much as possible from the client BEFORE/DURING QUOTING, so there's not much in "can you run a extra wire for that" after it's all quoted or in progress.

I have an online software company which can incorporate a custom pricing model into both a website and backend CRM (customer relationship management) module. Basically, login online, create customers and quotes by choosing your custom pre-defined options, enter client notes, etc., and convert those quotes to invoices when ready (with changes, if required). If you need a front-end (website) to have potential clients fill out 'quote request' forms, that's available as well. I'll PM you more info if your interested.
post #8 of 10
Originally Posted by newenglandtv View Post

I can show cost of products and add a 10% handling fee + Either Flat rate labor or Hourly Labor.

So I want a $2000 AV Receiver, I can order it on the Internet at the best possible price or have you get it for me for an extra $200? IMHO the time you invest in gathering up what you need should be built into the labor rate. Have your clients order big ticket items themselves and you avoid financing the float. It also removes you from the loop of handling returns and warranty issues.
Edited by BIGmouthinDC - 9/16/12 at 5:28am
post #9 of 10
There are plenty of people who will pay the extra $200 for a receiver to have someone they can rely on for local service in the event of trouble. People dread having to deal with off-shore "tech support".

I think a pricing model of fixed prices for tangible parts of the job (the parts the layman can easily visualize), cost plus pricing for the hardware, and hourly rates for more advanced work.

For instance, a quote might be broken down:

Fixed pricing on
prewire and install in-wall speakers
prewire and install projector
install and set up AV receiver with basic audio calibration
Basic system setup
Basic remote control programming (have a standard control package that your client can touch and see)

Cost plus on
Projector mount

Hourly on
Advanced remote control programming (macros)
Display calibration
Audio calibration (Audyssey pro, etc.)
Troubleshooting, adds, changes (after successful initial installation)
post #10 of 10
I ALWAYS add 10% to any best price I acquire equipment for my Customers. In return they know that if during the warranty period it goes kaput, I'll return and remove it. send it in, then reinstall it at N/C
also, as BigmouthinDC sez, I have the initial installation of all equipment acquired in such a manner already factored in my overall bid.

They see the original Invoice, so they know they got the best price + 10% I find that sort of thing removes the "Internet shopping" syndrome from the picture 98% of the time.

The other 2%?. Well they order it themselves, I charge extra to install such, and it'll cost 'em to have me handle any / all warranty issues for 'em.

Just the few people who have opted to go that route helps keep me in Premium Beer ...I'll tell ya that!

Candidly speaking...and I'm always candid with my "Folks"....all I have to do is mention how they DO NOT want to be told "You had your chance..." or "You'll have to ante up..and devote some time of your own ." and they almost always acquiesce. Just the same, I'm perfectly happy to let'em take their chances, because once again, as BMIDC states, if your out of the service loop, your usually the better off for it.

.......as long as they do take my advice on what to buy, that is. Nothing is worse than having to say, " You should have asked me first!" Very few cotton up well to that sort of thing. wink.gif It always sets things up for a bit of acrimony, and Crap......I have too much fun doing what I do to let that sort of thing take prevalence.

BigmouthinDC, I'm anxious for you to hear / see RedTopDown's Theater. Your one of the people I would greatly respect hearing of their resulting opinion....good, bad, indifferent....or OMG! biggrin.gif

Give him a shout. wink.gif
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