Sharing An Experience... Budget Not Available

A city on the San Francisco peninsula wanted a couple of proposals for different sites. Upgrade here and there and a system for their corporation yard. The yard is a fairly straight forward solution.

Hardware from Axis or similar to run on their fiber line back to central monitoring station where an open platform VMS was required to run on existing headend hardware. This would need replacing sooner than later, but, one can only offer advice to a point.

And so, I proposed 4 models from AXIS and a couple of AV12186DN, 2 Raytec POE illuminators, a pair of Ubiquiti M5 nano stations to jump a building, a couple of POE 8 port switches, some AXIS POE midspans and UPS..4 hr backup. Conduit required due to lack of power at cam locations resulting in 750' X 1" EMT.

The solution secured the perimeter and achieved situational awareness for 90% of yard.

Do the math....perhaps you'll understand that after reading the reply to my proposal, from the 'Information Services Manager', I was unsure as to how loud I should laugh??

"Hi xxxx

Thanks for the quote. Unfortunately this is significantly over our budget of $3500. Clearly we will need to move towards a phased solution.

Any progress on a quote for our ________?"

Should I have just emailed him directions to Fry's and suggest he pick up half a dozen Dropcams??

The rest of my day was great, albeit not nearly as funny!!

Cheers! Hope yours was a good one!

So you didn't ask him up front what his budget was? :) Or he didn't reveal it until after you quoted?

Hi Richard

All too often this is the case or they are just getting the background for the real bid package that you just gave to them free of charge.

Way too many integrators go in thinking they will impress the officials and design, show off, convince them of what really needs to happen.

Then the Truth comes out, No Budget, just looking for design ideas.

When and Before I go into a situation like this, I always find out what the budget is 1st, and who are we bidding against .

Who's in the game?

The Small Business on the street does not have the overhead to compete with the Union Scale Professional Shops.

And all the legwork has to be done anyway you cut it.

The Design, Eng, Details should be a separate package for Bid.

The Actual Bid Package you proposed should be just that with a preset budget.

Either the customer is a lunatic, with completely unrealistic ideas of what surveillance of large open spaces involve, or he/she is a scumbag looking for free design work. I hope it's the first one but I suspect it's the second.

Just because someone has 'completely unrealistic ideas' on the pricing of security equipment, does not make them a lunatic. They might simply be naive.

Swap the Axis / AV / Raytec combo for some integrated IR Chinese IP cameras and it might make the number. Obviously the quality will be worse BUT would that be good enough, considering the budget constraints?

Just because someone has 'completely unrealistic ideas' on the pricing of security equipment, does not make them a lunatic. They might simply be naive.

I guess that's true, but this story shows a level of naivete that borders on incompetence. Unless they've simply never bought a surveillance system before, which of course makes them the perfect person to be in charge of, you know, buying surveillance systems of this size and complexity.

Honestly, more often than not the prospects I used to deal with had never bought a surveillance system before. Small cities and towns need surveillance, too, and generally they don't have someone with that sort of experience on staff.

And then there's turnover. The person in charge now might now have been around the last time they bought surveillance equipment - 3, 5, 7, 10 years ago.

Sure I sensed the budget was low but $20K imo is a low budget for a city. I gave them a good solution but it wasn't the best. I felt however it covered all that was requested of me.

I was told directly that no other party was bidding. Kinda strange all of it. The client also called an undisclosed distributor in the Bay Area who also sent him my way.

Frankly, I thought the client was getting a good deal!!

Frankly John, I wouldn't touch any job for $3500 as I know it will cost me somewhere down the road!!

Let's not forget, a one bedroom apartment in San Francisco is $3000 a month!! There is plenty of money around!!