You take your car to the mechanic. You tell him you hear some noise up front and it seems to steer a little funny. But other than that it runs fine. Shouldn’t cost more than a couple hundred bucks to fix, right? He calls you that afternoon to let you know that part of the ”noise” was coming from the airconditioner compressor, which “at any time could have come a part and thrown a pulley through your radiator”, and another part of the “noise” was coming from your CV joints which are full of sand and he “doesn’t know how you were even able to drive to his shop!” Total cost $2200! He’s lying! Trying to rob me! I’ll take it to my cousin. Your cousin charges you $200 bucks, the noise quits for a week or so, then the craziest thing happens, you’re driving along and your radiator just explodes, steam everywhere, you can’t see! When you tried to swerve away from the oncoming traffic, something broke upfront, your left front wheel collapsed under the car and you flipped end over end, eye witnesses said at least 3 times. Medical costs, lawsuits, your insurance isn’t quite good enough and then your cousin the accountant tells you, “you owe about $220,000!”
Questions to you: Do you think for a moment that mechanic hesitated when he broke the news to the car owner, knowing he wasn’t going to like what he heard? Have you ever written a proposal for a project and the costs continue to accumulate but you know full well you’re right? You know the recipient of your proposal is not going to like what they see but it is in your estimation an honest bid. In this day of “change orders”, “extra work” and “work outside of scope” should we intentionally make our proposal as vague as possible, minimizing upfront costs, with the knowledge that low bid wins, no matter what the true cost?
I got a bad habit of being honest and upfront with my potential clients. I know it has cost us work. Everybody says they want “an honest bid” until they see it.