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Bidding and closing: Points to consider

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While corporate environments open a world of possibilities for fabric graphic providers, certain aspects of that market should be recognized.

For example, lead times tend to be longer than for other markets. “You might work on a corporate project for months between quoting it and installation,” says Jana McQuilkin of Moss Inc. “A lot of times, if it’s an architecture firm doing a whole new building, they’re going to design the entire project and the graphics go in at the very end. We have bid on projects one to two years out, though probably more typical is six to 12 months.”

Corporations also demand more choices. “We do a fair amount of sampling,” McQuilkin says. “We are required to submit a few different suggestions. Usually, the designer makes the final decision.

“A lot of times, there’s a little more complicated sales process,” she continues. “You might be specified by an architectural firm, but you sell the end product to a general contractor. And that might mean you have to present multiple bids to multiple contractors, which can be a lot of work to win a job that is six months out. So you have to be committed, and you have to manage your quoting process so you are giving consistent quotes to everybody.”

As for finding corporate environment jobs through architects, McQuilkin recommends looking for firms that have their own interior design departments. In fact, when viewing websites, she says, look for those that mention branding services.

“Sometimes those firms are more likely to specify branding elements for corporate interiors,” McQuilkin says. “That’s really where we are finding ourselves being specified.

“A lot of these architectural firms have libraries of suppliers. Get to the resource or materials manager.”

McQuilkin also suggests finding potential client partners through publications such as Contract magazine.

Janice Kleinschmidt is a freelance writer based in Palm Springs, Calif.

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