Budgets for Designers—The Hidden Costs of Installation

Learn about budgets for designers at the 2018 SEGD Management for Designers event.

By Mike McCarthy,Vice President, DCL

On April 27, Mike McCarthy of DCL will share his expert insight into budgets for designers at the 2018 SEGD Management for Designersevent. In this blog post, he delves into an important facet of budgeting: the hidden costs of installation.

“Sticker shock” is awful. None of us want to be surprised by how much more a product or service will cost than we had anticipated. It can be worse if you are obtaining prices to bring back to your client. You want to be able to “guesstimate” price ranges so that the entire team is aware of the general cost of the project and how that will translate to the overall budget. However, there are some unseen extras that can quickly drive up the overall dollar value, especially in the area of the installation of an experiential graphic design or dynamic environments project.

Installation is often the "make it or break it" final phase of a project—both in terms of client satisfaction and cost overrun. There are some processes and procedures in the installation that can be quite expensive, but cannot be ignored. For instance, with an exterior installation, a street closure or police detail may be necessary. If so, this will require extra planning and cost. Areas of the job site that are difficult to access could dictate that outsourced, rented equipment is required, such as an oversized articulating boom lift.

Even interior installations can contain hidden extras. Is the installation crew allowed to work during the day, or will the work have to be performed at night? Can all pieces fit through all doorways on site? Will additional blocking be needed or provided? Will power and data runs be brought to the required locations? For content heavy, digital media dynamic projects, has a control room/server center been thought about? All of these things need to be considered when developing a budget.

Whether the installation is interior or exterior, it is good to have knowledge of how many mobilizations will be required. Perhaps a field verification is required to begin work. Additional field verifications may be needed as construction progresses. If multiple mobilizations are necessary, such as a phased installation, it can affect the bottom line installation cost.

All of these items will be reasons for a more expensive installation process for any fabrication/installation contractor you work with. Therefore, all of these extras should be taken into account when developing your budget. If it isn’t accounted for in the pricing, you can bet that it will come back as a change order near the time of installation. That is something everyone would like to avoid, as the only thing worse than sticker shock at the beginning of the pricing process is sticker shock at the end of the job!

Want to hear more? Join Mike at the 2018 SEGD Management for Designers event, April 27 in Chicago. Space is filling up—register now!

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