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Installations – the b & m words

If you read the last blog post you will know we are going through a series on Installations. In this post I want to focus on the dreaded subject that many people avoid, budgets and money.

Money is one of those topics that is either loved or loaved. Whether you are in a tiny village church or a mega church you will all have budgets. Like everything these budgets will differ on each churches circumstance. Whether you intend to do a self-purchase and install it your self or, to contract the services out to a company, getting a budget sorted early on is essential.


Help the quoters

There is nothing worse than when a potential client rings up about an install and has no idea about how much they have to spend. These clients can often given give a full list of equipment they want and the maximum price they want to pay for it yet, they have no idea of the budget they actually have. Having a pre-discussed budget helps everyone from equipment suppliers to installations firms. It provides a base to work to start working from and seeing what is achievable. A company can at an earlier stage much easily say if a budget is to low for the size of project and what is required or achievable.  I have had clients ring up about a potential install, I’ve done a site visit, quoted a solution and then found out that they only have £100 to spend. Now that does not mean they might not come back with the funds at a later date but quotes typically have a set time scale where a company can hold those prices.

 

Getting a figure

The really hard thing is working a figure out. Experienced installation companies can easily help with this often through some basic information, the only thing with this is how long is a piece of string. A great way to get an idea of potential costs is to talk to other churches and techs. Find churches in your local area who have had recent installs. Not only can you find out rough costs but also see what they have had installed. Talk to them about any unexpected costs  and issues they may have experienced

In many ways this brings me back to my first post about not going crazy on amazon and Thomann and creating shopping lists. A big thing that these figures won’t show is the installation costs and the man hours (labour).
on any large install or equipment purchase I would always suggest to try and keep 5% to 10% back as a contingency for any extra things you may need or that gets missed or even added last minute.


Talk

It’s really important to have conversations with the people who control and set budgets early on. As the person given the task to oversee and manage this project, funding sources need to be identified. Now you could find out rough costs from other churches and install firms and use that to present a possible figure, of course even though you many have this it may be that cash is not available immediately or it maybe avaliable in 6 months, or in staged payments. These things are helpful for install  and suppliers firms to know as it may mean they can plan a staged solution. Similarly if your budget changes during the process and your working with a supplier or install firm let them know as soon as possible. The sooner you can tell them the sooner they can rework things, design a new system, or offer alternatives.

 

Don’t get disheartened

So, the budget you want is declined and you have only half what you think you’re going to need, don’t get disheartened. Budgets are about smart working. With the ‘What’ questions you answered at the start you can align your budget to what is important. Again, what may look important now may actually change. You may think you need some new speakers when in fact they are setup wrong or the projector is dull and it just needs a new lamp and a service.

As well as discussing people’s budgets and installs with them, I too have been the purchaser. When you give your budget to a firm and talk though your project they will much more easily be able to know what is feasible and realistic, if you can give them an idea of the money you have available. It can even sometimes help squeeze them on price to get the equipment or spec you want.

Budgets can sometimes be seen with a negative connotation. Budgets actually help to focus on what is achievable at the present time. In the next blog post I intend to look at this next stage of what is achievable and where to go next.

 

 

Anthony Lear

Anthony lives in Sheffield with his wife Fiona and daughter Naomi. He works for Hawthorn within the event projects team as a Project technician focusing on Video. Anthony is the founder of Church Tech UK, an initiative designed to support, develop and equip those that work and volunteer within a technical capacity in UK Churches.

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