Don't forget these for security system estimates

I was on the phone this afternoon with Tim Bigoness, the vice president of sales for D-Tools, a company that has made software for estimating, designing and managing A/V projects and which now offers a version of its project tailored for security systems dealers and integrators. While we covered many of the features in the company's software, I picked up on some common business management tips for handling sales estimate and proposal processes. Consider the following recommendations as ways to improve your own company's processes...

Good tips for making estimates and proposals easier on you:

- Create a list of your top 100 products and detail basic information such as your product cost (from distributor), your MSRP (or MSRP range).
- Create a list of estimated time it would take your installers to install and configure each of these common pieces of hardware. Consider also including estimated time for training the end-user.
- Create pre-configured system packages (4 cameras plus a DVR plus cabling, power supplies and mounting kits, for example).
- Create a number of common pre-configured accessory packages (an accessory list for a standard analog fixed camera might include power supply, enclosure, mounting kit, etc.)
- Create checklists of products that are essential to any system (e.g., single and double-gang boxes, flex conduit, hard conduit, etc.) to make sure these easy-to-forget items are included in your costs when making proposals and bids.

We're sure there are more good suggestions of things to have pre-planned to make proposals and bidding easier. Share your ideas with the industry by posting suggestions on our blog (we've cross-posted this article; simply post a comment to add your tips.)