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Smart Client Never Squeeze Consultant for Lower Fee

Author: Ir. Dr. Justin LAI Woon Fatt | 26 June, 2019

The slowdown of the local economy in recent years has caused professional services difficult to do. Whenever we submit a fee proposal for our services, the client will request for the fee reduction. Some even asked for an unreasonable discount.

There was an interesting case that I would like to share with you all. A walked in client wanted to develop a commercial project, after understanding what he needs, we prepared fee proposal and submitted to this client. As usual, we wait for the client to ask for fee reductions. Two days later I was told that the client agreed with our proposed fee and the project could be kick start immediately.

One day, after the project meeting, I had a chance to lunch with this client. I curiously asked him why he did not bargain for a lower professional fee as what others did. Here is our conversation:

Client: I am a businessman. I look at value, not price.

Me: What value you mean about?

Client: Apart from that, as we have limited knowledge in construction technology, we would certainly need these professionals to safeguard our interests. Successful projects can create huge returns for us. Compared with the project returns, this professional fee is insignificant.

Me: Usually people still habitually ask for a fee reduction isn’t it?

Client: They think they are smart, but this will make them suffer losses.

Me: Can you explain more?

Client: Just think about it, if you can’t make a profit for this job, would you come to serve me personally today? Would we have lunch together? If you don’t make money, would things run smoothly? Would you spend more time to plan for this project? Would you think about how to save money for this project? Would you chase for building plan approval? Would you manage my project with commitment? Yes, I saved the professional fee, but in fact, I am losing BIG money!

Me: Thank you. I have benefited a lot today.

This incident made me realize that in any business deal, we must focus on VALUE, not on price. The price is a one-off payment for owning a product or service. Value is the long-term benefit that can be obtained in the future by having this product or service. Value can also be understood as the long-term cost in the future due to the loss of this product or service.

What values that IPM committed to deliver to our client?

A. Professionalism
We are committed to the highest standard of ethics and professionalism in all that we do. Keeping public safety as our top priority. We use our professional knowledge and skills for the benefit of the community at large.

B. Excellence
We work with international service quality standards to create value that exceeds clients’ expectations. We always put our major focus on generating zero-error drawings to secure a perfect foundation in any construction work.

C. Efficiency
We strive to achieve completion of work within a stipulated time. Through the implementation of our FASTIC® System, our efforts are aimed at improving productivity and efficiency in all areas.

D. Reliability
We take responsibility to ensure fluid project progress. With the implementation of FASTIC® System, clients can rely on us for good coordination and communication, fast response, smooth progress, and speedy delivery of work.

As a smart consumer, we must accept the fact that nobody would like to suffer losses in their business. When the fee is low, the time allocated for the project will be reduced. In professional services, the major cost is the professional’s salary. No white-collar willing to work with a low salary, and that is why the professional fee is always high. Thus, you must compromise on the service quality if you want the professional fee to be reduced.

Lastly, you get what you pay for!

Ir. Dr. Justin LAI Woon Fatt
CEO/ Founder
IPM Group

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