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Armed for bear

We recently got a call form a couple who wanted a computer desk built into a closet. David and I went to their house to check it out. It was one of those big two story tract custom houses and was filled with the kind of things I always see and think "who buys this stuff?" So it was pretty apparent that, while these were not wealthy people, there was at least some discretionary income that could be tapped for the project.

As we discussed what they envisioned, it became pretty apparent that although it was not a large project, it was going to be fairly complicated with pullouts, specially sized cubbies and the like.

David worked up a drawing and we came up with a price that seemed pretty high for the size of the piece. We felt confident that we could justify the price based on the complexity of the piece but we still felt that it might be a hard sell. So David went back to the drawing board and designed a similar but much simpler version that we could build for around half the cost. Then we wrote two separate proposals and he went back to the customers with both in hand.

As it turned out, they were totally OK with the higher price and said that it was right around what they had expected. Of course, my first reaction was "rats....should have bid it higher...". I always like to see just a flicker when I share the price with the customer. That tells me that I am right at the limit of or just over what they are willing to spend. I always figure I can sell people on spending just a little bit more for something they really want.

But in this case, the price was solid so we did not worry too much about how much more we might have been able to charge. The alternate drawing and proposal were never even brought out. But if things had gone the other way and they had choked on our bid, we were prepared to offer them a lower priced version that would still meet their needs.


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