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John Sciacca Writes...

Features, Reviews and a Blog by John Sciacca

Random Thoughts (Blog)

Random Thoughts (Blog)

The (Big) One That Got Away...

Posted on March 22, 2010 at 9:26 PM

We've been working on getting this job for awhile, and  I don't need  to tell anyone how slow the construction industry is, so when a large project comes along, it is that much more crucial that you really do everything that you can to try and nail down the job.  And it isn't like Myrtle Beach is just rolling in 6-figure jobs even in the best of times, so, this was a job that we really went after. Well, we found out today that we did not get the job. And I'm not going to say that I was pinning all of the hopes and dreams of 2010 on this job, but it was a large project that would have taken a lot of pressure off the schedule.


But instead of choosing us, located about 30 minutes away from where his new home is, he went with a company located 3 1/2 hours away. Why? What went wrong?


This is a client that we had worked with before, and he specifically commented that he really loved our fit-and-finish, attention to detail, and on-going service after the fact. So, it wasn't that he went another way because he didn't know who our company was or the level of work that we do.


He also said our proposal was clearly a superior system. This was a client who purchased Runco Plasmas from us in the past, and understood that we were a Ferrari dealer, dealing in top-of-the-line gear. The other dealer was quoting things available through a distributor, mid-level gear at best.


It all boiled down to one, incredibly stupid thing: a discount percentage. He said the other company offered him a larger discount percentage, so he just felt he was getting more for his money with them. The thing that is so just soul-crushingly irritating about this is that pricing in this industry -- especially suggested retail pricing which no one sells at -- can be so arbitrary, that a discount percentage is absolutely meaningless. So, this guy was essentially taken in by a TV that would ALWAYS sell for $1000, marked up to $2000, then given a 50% discount to sell for $1000.

Several years ago I wanted to buy some diamond earrings for Dana. (Actually, *she* wanted me to buy them, so I went about looking for them.) And I went to one of those outlet diamond centers with giant banners proclaiming "75 - 90% Off!" (Basically the kind of place where you subconciously clean your hands after leaving and would feel absolutely no pride whatsoever about telling someone where your new earrings came from....) After I'd had enough education to know what diamond earrings in different sizes and grades should cost, I could tell that they were just discounting off an incredibly over-inflated price to begin with, to arrive right back where everyone else was selling the same item.


I just won't play these games. It just smacks of trickery and underhandedness and I would rather lose taking the high ground than "win" by inflating something just to look like I'm letting a litle more air out.


And if that is not the case, if they really were giving him some incredibly deep discount, it seems exceptionally short sighted of both parties. For the company (who we've heard from a mutual sales rep that they are struggling), this is essentially pricing yourself out of business. A 6-figure job takes a lot of manpower to pull off and support, especially when it is 3 1/2 hours from home. I see them taking a large deposit to try and fund other jobs, and then coming back asking for more money or fabricating changes to inflate the price.


For the client, this installer may be here today, but what about tomorrow when your system acts up? If they did this job at just over cost, how motivated are they to jump in a van and service your system?


My partner, Allen, and I have always felt that we would win out in the long run taking the high-road, doing the right thing by our customers. And for 15 years, that has been the case. But, I've got to tell you, losing this job really sucks.

Categories: Mar 2010, CTA

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1 Comment

Reply Rob Medich
4:51 PM on March 29, 2010 
You want i should go rough this guy up?