So, you’ve gotten two bids on new custom stage curtains, and one quote is lower than the other.  What could be the differentiating factor between two otherwise identical quotes?

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There are many factors that can affect pricing – some good, some bad (at least from the buyer’s perspective):

  • Substitution of a “no-name” fabric
  • Old materials / materials whose flame retardancy is close to expiration
  • Returned / used fabrics
  • Sub-standard workmanship

These all sound like scary reasons for a lower bid.  But there are also some positive reasons that one vendor can offer a lower bid than another:

  • Lower overhead
  • More efficient production methods
  • Greater purchasing power
  • Leaner profit margins

The fact is, there is no easy way to know if a lower price is better, and so in my opinion, decisions should be based on more than price.  Yes, price has to be considered, especially in light of today’s economy.  But it shouldn’t be the only consideration.

Does one company have a reputation of offering superior workmanship?  Has one company provided timely, prompt customer service?  Have you received fabric samples from both vendors and, if so, are the fabrics identical, or does one fabric appear to be of higher quality?

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After evaluating all of the factors – price, product quality, company reputation, customer service – you will then be able to make an informed decision as to which quote to accept.  You may still choose the lower quote, or you may decide to choose the other bid despite the higher price.  Either way, you will feel more comfortable with your decision in the long run.