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How to compare vendor quotes?

Updated: Sep 24, 2022

As a property manager or business owner, you’ve done your due diligence and requested quotes from multiple vendors. Now that all the quotes are in, you might be feeling overwhelmed comparing the amounts from different vendors to decide the best solution for your property. It can feel like a daunting task when comparing the costs of different products, models, manufacturers, and even service charges.

Some may assume that each quote is similar and equal to the others with the only difference being the final cost or bottom line. The truth is, it takes more than a glance at the bottom line to know what you are getting and what you might be missing out on!

Today we are going to answer the question: How to compare vendor quotes? At Loc-Doc Security, Our Mission is to help you protect your people and your property. We continue to share information like this to help you be informed so you can know the best solutions for the security of your property. Let’s start by giving you a few Tips to help you compare a vendor quote!

Tip 1: Make Sure You Are Comparing Apples to Apples Comparing apples to apples is a term most everyone is familiar with and a great way to kick off the tips! This slang term, known from a popular party game, means in a business sense that you are comparing things that are fundamentally the same.

The most important thing when comparing quotes from vendors is to make sure you are comparing apples to apples. Make sure to confirm the materials in each quote have similar functions and features. Be sure to check that the manufacturer of the products are the same or if different, compare them so you know the quality of each brand matches.

A great example that comes to mind is comparing the pricing of several different quotes in regards to Door Closers and Lever Sets.

In this example, we see that Vendor A’s quote was significantly cheaper than Vendor B and Vendor C’s quote and at a glance seemed like the best deal. However, by digging into the products quoted, the customer can realize the products aren’t the same. Vendor A was quoting Standard Duty Door Closers instead of Heavy Duty Door Closers for high traffic doors and Residential Grade Lever Sets for Doors instead of Commercial Grade Lever Sets.

Take a look and check that the installation hours quoted are in the same range. Oftentimes, some larger project quotes are priced with the intention of multiple people working on them at the same time to ensure an expeditious installation. If you need your project completed within a certain time frame, it could take more manpower to complete it and not run over.

Tip 2: Get your Calculator and Do the Math When Comparing Quotes Whether you use a spreadsheet to compare or just a notepad and pen, you need to dig into the quote and calculate the costs now and over time. This is so you understand what to expect in the long term. Let’s use the same example above, where Vendor A was quoting Standard Duty Door Closers instead of Heavy Duty Door Closers for a high traffic door and Residential Grade Lever Sets for Doors instead of Commercial Grade Lever Sets.

Although Vendor A offered a lower initial price, it would cost the customer more in the long run with the continual maintenance and service calls to repair and eventually replace with the correct application of Commercial Grade. Understanding and knowing which hardware grades your facility needs can prevent a costly mistake!

You can read more about Hardware Grades in this prior article. The sales representative providing the quote should do an evaluation of the property to assess what grades are needed for the different areas of your building. Ask yourself the question “What will this cost me in the first year, the 2nd year, or beyond?”

Knowing what to expect in the long term and being able to compare it to the other quotes is invaluable when deciding which vendor to utilize. If pricing on one quote is significantly less than the others received, it can be a red flag that the materials are different or pricing is askew. Most vendor quotes will be fairly similar in pricing and those that are under priced may end up with the job half done or not at all. There are some unscrupulous vendors that will bait with a low price to secure the client knowing that they will bill them for more. Be wary of lowball quotes.

Tip 3: Compare Warranty Agreements from Different Vendors Compare each vendor’s warranty to ensure that you are protected. Most all product manufacturers offer a one year warranty on their products. Our company, Loc-Doc Security, maintains a warranty period of 90 days from installation or completed work on Labor and Service. This may not be the same for other Vendors so check with each one to ensure you are covered!

Tip 4: Price Honoring & Missing Items “All prices are subject to change without notice” is not what you want to see or hear from a vendor. We’ve come across a few unscrupulous vendors who will add that very line in fine print to quotes so they don’t have to honor their price or they can swap a lower priced product for a higher priced one. Be sure to look at any fine print before deciding on a vendor and signing a contract. When looking at the quote, make sure you know how long it is good for whether it’s 30 days or 3 months. If your facility or board takes a longer amount of time to approve vendors, you want to be confident that the price quoted is still valid when finally approved.

Missing items on a quote is something that you’ll need to keep an eye out for. In our prior example, Vendor A was missing the cost to rekey the cylinders.

Vendor B and Vendor C had accounted for the costs of the rekey and the missing items on Vendor A’s quote stood out. Most vendors’ pricing will be similar so if a product or service is missing from one quote, it could be an additional cost you weren’t prepared to pay.

Tip 5: Research the Company Reputation Matters. Make sure to research and consider the company’s reputation. Do they have a transparent up to date website? Are they reputable? Do they have an online presence? Do they post regularly? What does their work look like? What do online reviews say about them? Do they come with references from customers? How long have they been a dealer for the brand that they are offering? If they don’t have any online presence that might be a red flag. Transparency leads to trust and you can’t have a good relationship without trust! If you’re looking to build trust, check out this post 3 ways to build trust from our archives!

Finally, select the quote and vendor that’s the best fit for your facility. You are making a choice to partner with someone and build a relationship with for the long term. Sometimes the lowest option may not be the best option and the right vendor might not always be the cheapest option. Processing a large amount of quotes from vendors can be challenging when reading through all the fine print. We recommend narrowing down a large amount to just 3 quotes and comparing them.

Be sure to meet with the vendors face to face whether in person or even through video conferencing like Zoom. A trustworthy vendor and representative will have no problem explaining any part of the quote and guiding you to the best solutions. Following these 5 tips will help you make an informed decision and select the right vendor that best fits your needs.

Schedule a free evaluation that works for your schedule with one of our professional account managers.

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