Helping your clients understand the danger in a “ballpark price”

Let’s face it, most clients are not savvy about what is involved in manufacturing and installing a high-quality sign. So, sometimes, we have to “school” them on the particulars, when quoting the project, and it many times starts with a comment like this:

Client:  “I don’t have any details, I just need a ballpark quote for a new sign.”

Sign Company Response: Should be based on the following knowledge and information.

The ballpark price estimate is a lose-lose answer. They will always hear the lowest price you state, and to be encouraging you will inevitably use a lower price point to garner their interest. Don’t trap yourself into this no-win situation. Ask for the morning or afternoon to work up some numbers to be presented in a timely manner. Tell them it’s best for all concerned, especially them, as you want them to be happy and confident in your answer.

And then… proceed to establish some specifics for their project. At a minimum, they should include the following:
  • Materials to be used – aluminum, wood, steel, fabric, foam, plastic.
  • The total size of the cabinet or face.
  • Height overall if on a pole.
  • Lighting type – internal, external, fluorescent, LED. No lighting.
  • Travel distance from your shop to install.
  • Permits cost and acquisition cost.

Valuable information gathered in a brief meeting, and a few minutes time, in your home or mobile office can transform a possible contentious future discussion about a “bad” ballpark price, into knowing you are doing right by this potential new client – give them a price you can both be confident in.