Do you have a design project in mind? Are you planning on getting competitive quotes? Be sure that your suppliers are quoting on the same job! Here are a few things to consider.
One of the first steps you should take after explaining your request to a prospective design house is to ask for a time and cost estimate. At the beginning, project descriptions often lack the specific details necessary for determining actual costs. One way your designer can bring the project into focus for you is by preparing a spreadsheet of tasks and their estimated costs.
They can then give you a price range based on available information. Having this breakdown in hand helps you make informed decisions up-front, and enables you to compare apples with apples should you shop for competitive estimates before deciding on a firm. Along with considering qualifications, services and fit, this cost breakdown can help in the final decision making – you’ll be able to see where estimates are competitive, or where costs and tasks don’t match up.
Once your choice is made, use your estimate sheet as a tool to effectively track your costs as the project progresses or if the scope of the job changes. With this at-a-glance breakdown of tasks, you’ll be able to see where costs are falling within budget or understand where additional costs may be incurred.
So, when you’re ready to plan and budget your next project, ask your designer to sit down and work with you on a task-based estimate. It will help ensure your suppliers are competitive and that your budget is realistic to achieve an effective end product. The time invested up-front will be well worth it!