Stopping End Users from Shopping Quotes

Author: John Honovich, Published on Aug 28, 2012

Nothing is more frustrating to an integrator than spending dozens of hours preparing a design / sales proposal and then having the end user take it and shop it to the integrator's competitors. This practice is increasing, fueled by the ease of sharing across the Internet. Many bemoan it as simply a fact of life. In this note, we look at three practices to help rectify this practice.

The Approaches

We will review each one in order:

  • Charge end users for the design proposal, offer them a 100% credit on purchase of system integration
  • Include terms and conditions restricting sharing the proposal to any third parties
  • Combine these two options together as contrasting offer

Charging

Charge the end user for preparing and submitting a formal design proposal, including camera selection, location, network layout, etc. Often the charge is between a few hundred dollars and few thousand dollars, depending on the scale of the system desired.

If the end user chooses to buy from the integrator who designed the system, the integrator will offer a 100% credit against the system being deployed so the end-user essentially gets the design for 'free'. If the end-user goes elsewhere, the integrator at least gets paid for their design works.

The upside is obvious - it protects the integrator from doing free work. However, the downside can be significant. The end user may simply reject the integrator from the start and find one of the many other integrators willing to do design work for free to increase the chance of winning a deal.

Terms and Conditions Restricting Redistribution

Give design proposals to end users for free but include terms restricting end users from sharing the proposal with any third parties. This eliminates the barrier of having an end-user pay but increases protection for the integrator against being shopped around.

Raising this can be tricky as it is not something a user commonly expects. An integrator could:

Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox
Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox

  • Formal contract: Put it in writing and make the end-user sign. This provides the strongest legal defense but will increases end user fear to commit formally.
  • Verbal agreement: Simply explain and have the buyer agree verbally ('gentlemen's agreement'). While this weakens legal strength, it does set clearer expectations and can encourage the user not to shop. A follow up email from the integrator confirming the discussion can help reiterate the agreement without having to sign legal documents.

Most integrators would be better served with a verbal exchange rather than a signed contract, as it is more likely to be well received and it is imprudent to sue prospects anyway.

The Combo Option

The best approach may be to offer these options in combination, allowing the end user to either pay for the proposal, allowing them to shop it around or to simply agree that they will not redistribute it. What we like about putting them together is that it establishes a clear value for the integrator's design work without forcing the user to pay it. If an end user really wants to shop the design proposal, let them see that it has real value. Encourage the end user to see the design work as a critical differentiator and not something thrown away to get business. Indeed, even the user would be better off as a shoddy, poorly thought out design is likely to cause far more critical problems later.

We believe that many customers are either unaware that this is a problem or, at least, would be more respectful if integrators clearly but politely set better expectations.

Comments : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

ISC East 2018 Mini-Show Final Report on Nov 16, 2018
This is our second (updated) and final show report from ISC East. ISC East, by its own admission, is not a national or international show, billed...
French Government Threatens School with $1.7M Fine For “Excessive Video Surveillance” on Nov 14, 2018
The French government has notified a high-profile Paris coding academy that it risks a fine of up to 1.5 million euros (about $1.7m) if it...
Magos Radar Company Profile on Nov 12, 2018
Magos America General Manager Yaron Zussman admits when he first came across Magos, he asked himself: "What's innovative about radar?" Be that as...
Video Surveillance Hard Drive Size Statistics 2018 on Nov 08, 2018
What is the most common hard drive size for video surveillance? 150+ integrators answered: What size hard drive do you most commonly use? What...
Favorite Video Surveillance Hard Drive Manufacturer 2018 on Nov 06, 2018
Who is the favorite hard drive for video surveillance use? 150+ integrators answered: What is your preferred brand/model of hard drive for...
Worst Products on Nov 03, 2018
Security integrators periodically report on their favorite and worst products to IPVM. These are known integrators who IPVM pays to answer surveys....
Video Surveillance Hard Drive Failure Statistics 2018 on Nov 02, 2018
Hard drive failures can be significant service problems but how common of an issue are they in video surveillance? How long do drives last when...
Cloud Video Storage Usage 2018 on Oct 31, 2018
Storing email and documents in the cloud have long been common, with on-site email or file servers increasingly eliminated. However, what about...
ADT Acquires Red Hawk, Becomes Billion Dollar Commercial Business on Oct 25, 2018
With its ~7th commercial acquisition in the past year, ADT is transforming itself from a residential provider to a commercial player with now more...
Former Manufacturer Axcess Sues Avigilon, Genetec, Others for Patent Infringement on Oct 24, 2018
Axcess International, Inc. has sued Avigilon, Genetec and ACTi, among others for patent infringement. Who are they and what are their complaints...

Most Recent Industry Reports

'Sticker' Surveillance Camera Developed (CSEM Witness) on Nov 16, 2018
The Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology (CSEM) has announced what it calls the: world’s first fully autonomous camera that can be...
ISC East 2018 Mini-Show Final Report on Nov 16, 2018
This is our second (updated) and final show report from ISC East. ISC East, by its own admission, is not a national or international show, billed...
Facial Detection Tested on Nov 16, 2018
Facial detection and recognition are increasingly offered by video surveillance manufacturers. Facial detection detects faces in an image/video...
Throughtek P2P/Cloud Solution Profile on Nov 15, 2018
Many IoT manufacturers either do not have the capabilities or the interest to develop their own cloud management software for their devices....
ASIS Offering Custom Research For Manufacturers on Nov 15, 2018
Manufacturers often want to know what industry people think about trends and, in particular, the segments and product they offer.  ASIS and its...
Hikvision Silent on "Bad Architectural Practices" Cybersecurity Report on Nov 14, 2018
A 'significant vulnerability was found in Hikvision cameras' by VDOO, a startup cybersecurity specialist. Hikvision has fixed the specific...
French Government Threatens School with $1.7M Fine For “Excessive Video Surveillance” on Nov 14, 2018
The French government has notified a high-profile Paris coding academy that it risks a fine of up to 1.5 million euros (about $1.7m) if it...
Integrator Credit Card Alternative Divvy on Nov 13, 2018
Most security integrators are small businesses but large enough that they have various employees that need to be able to expense various charges as...
Directory of Video Intercoms on Nov 13, 2018
Video Intercoms, also known as Video Door-Phones or Video Entry Systems, have been growing in the past decade as more and more IP camera...
Beware Amazon Go Store Hype (Tested) on Nov 13, 2018
IPVM's trip to and testing of Amazon Go's San Francisco store shows a number of significant operational and economic issues that undermine the...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact