Understanding the Quoting Process for Engineering Projects

Many of our clients have inquired about how our Project Engineering Group determines the quoting and scope of our projects. While the quotes will differ between each client based on the of their project, we typically provide two types of packages: time blocks and fixed costs. Both allot a certain scope of hours for the client, but they still have differences.

Time Blocks and their Versatility 

We have two common time blocks:

  • Mechanical engineering and design: a 40-hour minimum
  • Simulation engineering and design: a 20-hour minimum

Based on the type of project at hand, our team sets loose minimums for blocks of hours as we have a good understanding on what amount of time is typically needed to find value for our clients. For example, Mechanical Engineering projects are typically set at a 40 hour minimum. These prepaid hours grant access to our full range of engineers, usable on any project.

Unlike a fixed cost setup where the contractor is hired for a specific project, the time blocks allow any extra hours left over to be used for different projects. It is rare that these hours are left unused, but there are multiple ways in which our engineers can help to find value in these potential extra hours.

Let’s say a client only needed 35 out of 40 hours – the remaining five hours could be used for another project, practical training for your internal engineers, or saved for future needs. And while it is the client’s responsibility to use their paid hours, our engineers support clients finding value and success in their projects by following up if there is time left unused.

For example, Project Engineer Alain Bucio was recently working on a windloading CFD project, where the client wanted to know the forces on a particular shelter, but then had a separate, more urgent project spring up and they needed the engineers to switch to the new project quickly.

This is the ultimate advantage of time blocks — we are able to allocate to our client’s needs and switch projects when needed, while also being able to switch engineers if needed based on the new focus. By hiring a contractor for a specific issue on a fixed cost set-up, there’s a real possibility of the contractor being unable to adapt beyond the initial project without negotiating new project scopes and driving up total cost

Time blocks are the best option for clients whose projects require lots of back and forth collaboration or may need support with multiple projects over a shorter time period.

Fixed Quoting for Set Expectations

For some projects, time blocks are more optimal as there’s an expectation of collaboration. There are some instances when a fixed cost setup makes more sense, however. When it comes to a project that is well defined with set parameters that require little back and forth, a fixed cost can be set to the scope of the project design. Some companies are required to determine the full cost for a project, and are not allowed to purchase work that is hours-based. If clients engage with us on a fixed cost project that ends up needing additional work, we are able to add scope over time if the initial scope isn’t enough.

A fixed scope is ideal for clients whose companies require a set price for the completion of a project, or who have a well-defined project with all parameters defined.

Time blocks are ideal for clients who would benefit from design-specific collaboration with our engineers.

Contact TriMech if you would like to discuss quoting for a particular project in mind, or if you have any additional questions!

Patrick Madden

Patrick Madden is a Marketing Coordinator for TriMech Staffing
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