Tag Archives: comparison shopping

Comparative Building Shopping

Comparative Building Shopping: The following was originally blogged about in July of 2011. It is a conversation we have with our designers regularly.

On Fridays, Hansen Buildings holds an internal informational teleconference for our Building Designers. These sessions provide our designers with the best possible tools to assist clients in designing ideal dream buildings.

Last Friday’s discussion was centered around comparisons between our pole buildings, and those offered by others. As is usual, in this type of discussion, the topic of “price” gets thrown onto the table.

Honestly, it’s impossible to sell any product, based strictly upon being the lowest price. There is always someone who is willing to compromise quality or service (or both) to get to a lower price. And when price becomes the definer, then products become seen as a commodity  – which causes true product benefit to be thrown out the door.

In comparing our buildings, against those offered by others, we can eventually take enough features off our buildings (sacrificing quality) so we will be the least expensive. But why? Why subject clients to a less than satisfactory permanent solution. A poorly designed building is not like a car, it can’t be traded in for a new model.

My advice was – instead of “dumbing” our buildings down, have the competitors  add in features to bring them up to our standards. I assisted one of our clients in the not too distant past. He had gotten quotes from us, as well as from a fairly large lumber chain. Both buildings were of the same dimensions, number and size of doors, and the initial prices were approximately the same. There is where the similarities ended.

By the time our competitor had added all of the features provided in the pole building solution we had proposed, the building was over double the price and did not include a structural warranty or a manual of instructions on how to build!

Rather than price or cost, the most appropriate term for clients is value – to always offer the absolute best possible value, for the least possible investment.  Make sure you are comparing apples to apples, or oranges, when building shopping.   In other words, make sure you know what you are buying!

Pole Building Detailed Quote

I’m a member of several discussion groups on LinkedIn. One of them involves lumber dealers and one of the other group members posed the question, “What do other dealers do when a customer demands a detailed quote, then price-shops the quote to competing lumber dealers?”

The best response I read was from Pat Smith, “I learned this a long time ago when doing cabinetry design – if you don’t put a value on your time neither will the customer. Now regardless of what I am supplying nobody gets a detailed list without a signed contract or a signed letter of intent. I will give detailed descriptions of products & options because I want the customer to know that I understand the specifications as written but never individual prices or quantities. Total is always given “per design”. This has a value – my customer does not have to spend their time going line item by line item seeing if each detailed quote they get is apples to apples or doesn’t leave something out. It takes a lot of time for them to go over each quote to make sure they are equal & time is money. My quote is “per design”. If I miss a door or tempered glass somewhere that is my problem & comes out of my profit – not my customers & I take a minute to explain that to them. The key word I see here is the word “demand”. Is your time better spent with another customer that will value your services? Or would you be better off spending time marketing your business at a Chamber meeting, etc., then printing this one customer out a detailed list of your hard work. Don’t do it. All you have to say is “A detailed list will be provided to you free of charge as part of the signed contract – we appreciate your business & value your time. Have a safe day – goodbye.”

I agree totally with those who quote an entire project and guarantee what is provided will indeed meet the stated objectives. Anything else is merely a list of pieces.

In our particular case, there are tens of thousands of person-hours and over 25 years of development in the production of our proprietary software. This software is so sophisticated, it does a code conforming verification of every component which will be included in your new building. Certainly, it could spew out a list which could be handed to a client for them to “go shop”. The list would be worthless, without the building specific blueprints, which spell out where every piece is utilized, as well as the Construction Guide, to lead through proper installation techniques.

For astute consumers, the best path to satisfaction, when investing in a new pole building kit package, is to make certain the design solution is clearly spelled out. What are the dimensions – width, length and eave height? What features are included? Doors, windows, enclosed or open overhangs, etc. And most importantly (and least often listed) – what Building Code is the proposed building designed to meet, and what loads will it be designed to withstand.

And if you really want to compare a Hansen Pole Building kit to other quotes, let us do the comparison.  We know how to compare size, features and will honestly tell you which one is the better “value”.  When customers try to do a comparison, too often they miss important things, like several doors which the other quote failed to include in their quote. Or that the two buildings they are “comparing” aren’t even the same size! But that’s a subject for another blog.

I agree wholeheartedly with Pat Smith.  We will do the work to create a custom design…with a fair price, but then give us the credit…and consideration, for having done it.