Right now, you are probably ignoring this paragraph, or you?ve decided it?s far too much work to either zoom in to 400% or get your reading glasses out, print out a copy, and hold it 3 feet away from your face in order to see what I?ve written here. And I imagine you probably treat the small print of terms and conditions or narratives from laboratory bids the same way. Seriously, how many people actually read ALL of the text of anything anymore – doctor?s privacy and payment notices, auto loan paperwork, etc. In most industries, folks just expect you to skim. Mortgages are a great example. If you were actually going to read every single page of the documents at closing, certainly more than an hour would be blocked out of your day. But really, folks, you should go ahead and invest in that pair of $10 CVS ugly-as-sin spectacles; dare to look like your high school librarian (hey, my mother was my high school librarian, so I?m allowed); and analyze carefully.

Ok, that?s better. Can you see now? It?s important to know what you are getting into. Make sure you are crystal clear on what environmental labs do and do not provide on those bids; otherwise, you might not be comparing apples to apples when you receive quotes. Here are a few things, in my experience, to look out for that affect bottom line pricing:

  • For long-term, fixed-priced contracts, does the laboratory provide fixed pricing for the duration of the potential contract, or can you expect a percentage bump, of say 1.5%, after the first couple of years?

  • Does the lab charge for trip blank analysis and other required QA/QC analyses like matrix spikes and matrix spike duplicates?

  • Is shipment of empty sample bottles included? How about shipment of samples back to the lab? Courier service?

  • What is the lab?s multiple dilution policy?

  • Based on a contract?s turnaround time (TAT), is there any additional cost if the TAT is considered expedited?

  • Does the laboratory have an energy surcharge or an environmental management fee?

  • Is there a minimum transaction charge for smaller shipments?

  • What are payment terms and consequences for late payment?

Environmental consultants: what other factors have you come across that affect the bottom line pricing of your bids? Laboratories: What other factors should consultants be aware of when evaluating the total prices of a received bid?
 


Written by: Karen Baer

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