If you are reading this, it is likely that you have just asked Axia Concepts or Bryan Cole, to provide you pricing for your given project, or need.
In construction, and other highly repeatable trades, there are often very good metrics that can be used to generate pricing very quickly. If you were to build a house, based on the square footage, quality level desired, amenities, zip code, and other variables, a fairly accurate rough estimate can be made as to the cost of constructing the home. This is possible because standards kin home construction do not vary significantly per square foot from home to home.
With a production solution, there are many variables – just like in home construction – but we don’t benefit from near the scale and volume of the home building industry. Additionally, when executing projects on a minimal margin, as Axia Concepts seeks to do with each project, the exact equipment and materials needs to be considered, line item by line item. In many cases, this is down to the component level, considering cables, connectors, and hardware.
In addition, we have to “integrate” the components into a functional system in most cases. This means taking products from multiple manufacturers, and making them “inter-operate” with each other, and with existing systems on-premise. While many products do inter-op well, each system is slightly different from the other, and we often find use-cases between systems (even of the same brand) where there is little known history of those two (or more) devices working together in that way. This is where the industry term for companies like Axia Concepts came from, “Systems Integrator.”
What this all means to you is that in order to price a given solution, we have to design that solution, considering all components needed to execute/implement that solution. In addition to line diagrams, this also involves reviewing manufacturer specifications, consulting technical support personnel, to make sure that the intended use will function properly in the end. System Integration starts with consulting – we need to understand your needs, your people, existing technology, and budgets.
Traditionally, system integrators charge a design fee – because simply coming up with a price can involve many many hours/days/weeks of work to insure that for the given price, the requirements will be met.
Axia Concepts does not usually charge a design fee (except in very large projects.) This is considered risky by our industry, as once presented with a design, a client can easily take that design, and “shop” the design to other vendors, making it so that the original designer can never recoup their time investment in the design, by being awarded the project. That’s the beauty of our relationship with our clients – if you ask us to design a system, we know you are intending to have us implement that system – at some point.
With the exception of some IT-only projects, Axia Concepts will price a project as a complete project – we don’t usually break out hardware and labor costs separately? In most cases, we are working with you and your staff/volunteers for a significant amount of the labor. As a result, we generally just charge a standard product markup, and for most products, this meets our (aggressive) pricing margin minimums, and results in a value-priced solution for you. On a particularly labor intensive project, we may add a labor lifetime – and if so it will be called out explicitly.
We just thought it might be helpful for you to understand what goes into the design and pricing of an Audio/Video/Lighting/IT system. Thanks for your support!