Industry sector: Consumer services

Burglar alarm fitter: Pricing

You need to give some thought to how you will set your prices. First decide on the method or methods of charging you will use. For example, you might:

  • charge for your installation services on an hourly or daily basis, adding to this the cost of any security equipment and other materials (such as wiring) that you supply
  • charge a set price for some jobs. For example, you might charge a fixed price to fit outside security lamps or a basic intruder alarm and to service the different types of alarm that you supply
  • make an additional charge for consultation and design work and for emergency callouts

Business customers might expect you to offer them a special 'trade' rate. Large building firms or organisations such as a local authority that invite firms such as yours to tender for contract work will also expect your rates to be very competitive.

You may decide to use different methods of costing for different jobs, depending on who the customer is and what type of work you will be doing.

It is very important that you set your charges carefully. You must make sure when deciding on what to charge that you will earn enough to cover all of your operating costs including your own drawings.

Also consider the following points when setting your charges:

  • what do your competitors charge for similar security systems and services? Do they calculate their prices in the same way as you?
  • do you aim to win business away from your competitors with attractive pricing?
  • will you vary your rate depending on the type and complexity of the job?
  • will you make a profit on security equipment and materials that you supply or will you pass these on 'at cost'? If you decide to add a mark-up, decide how much this will be
  • what will you include in your prices, and what will you charge for as an extra? Make it clear to the customer what your prices do and do not include

You will often be asked to give an estimate or quote for a particular job. Many customers will want to agree a price before a job is started and will expect you to stick to this.

People will often get quotes from several different firms, so it is important to be able to quote accurately and competitively. If your quote is too high customers will look elsewhere, but if your quote is too low, you might end up working at a loss on that job. Remember that many clients value good quality workmanship and a prompt and efficient service and will be prepared to pay a realistic price for it.