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I have a quote from a company. I would like to get competing quotes. Is it unethical to send the quotes from the first company, with names and costs redacted, to another one and ask for a competing quote?

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In most cases it would be bad form. There is potentially work that goes into the quote beyond just figuring out pricing. Assuming you aren't going to the first company with catalog numbers in your quote request, they put work into determining you need A, B, and C to meet your needs so providing the quote to a competitor is essentially supplying free labor to the competitor.

Additionally work goes into structuring business documents like quotes (especially if you are talking about detailed quotes for services). By providing an example of a competitor's document you are giving them an advantage in learning from the competition.

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    @anotherdave I can kinda glean an idea of what it means, but it seems to be missing some words and punctuation. Like maybe ", they put" is missing between "quote request" and "work into". – Acccumulation Sep 18 '20 at 20:02
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Well, you can send the quote(-ed amounts), but be sure to leave out information that can lead anyone to identify the organization providing the first quote.

However, if you're providing the reference to the amounts, you are essentially allowing them to match those numbers (should the second numbers been actually lower). I'd suggest, ask for quote individually and then have the comparison done yourself.

You mentioned

It involved a lot of back-and-forth to get them to understand our needs

well, maybe the requirements need more clarity then. Learn from the interaction with the first vendor, and refine the requirement in a way that successive interactions with other vendors do not need that much back-and-forth communication. There will be a certain amount of discussion needed anyway, that is unavoidable, but a well-formulated and specific requirement can help that keeping at minimal.

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  • Yes, I would definitely redact the company name and prices. I will update the question. – JOATMON Sep 17 '20 at 13:32
  • yes, the real problem is you're not clarifying your needs well. The quote stuff shouldn't be multiple back and forth. You can send the same needs to multiple companies to quote on. – Kilisi Sep 17 '20 at 13:48
  • That is not the "real problem". The majority of the work comes from floor plans and blueprints and how to run the cables in the most efficient way. I'm sorry I included my reasoning for the question, but it's irrelevant. The question is, "Is it unethical to send the quote to another company?" – JOATMON Sep 17 '20 at 13:50
  • I have simplified the question. – JOATMON Sep 17 '20 at 13:51
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It doesn't matter if it is "bad form", it's not advantageous to you.

This is purposefully basic.

What if quote A was for $10. Now consider that quote B with no further interference would be $7. You send the amount of Quote A to B. They now quote you $9. Now put millions after that.

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    My thoughts exactly. – Steve-O Sep 18 '20 at 18:12
  • In addition, if the quote was asked in a comparatively general way, OP would deprive themselves from potentially getting quotes that use different approaches to arrive at a solution for their problem. – cbeleites unhappy with SX Sep 20 '20 at 18:43
  • You posted this answer after I edited my question to say "costs redacted" so I'm not sure how you arrive at this conclusion. – JOATMON Sep 21 '20 at 21:01
  • What do costs have to do with it? I don't mention, at all, the costs or costs calculations. I assumed you were sending the total amount of the quote to other companies, not how they reached that quote. If that isn't what you are sending, then what, exactly, ARE you sending? – CGCampbell Sep 22 '20 at 11:40
  • As a person working in company B to produce the quote, basically I take our costs and add our profit margin and that is our quote. I figure it to be $7. You send me the quote your received from our main competitor and it was for $10. I can stick with my original numbers and send back our quote, or I can increase our profits, unknown to you, and send you a quote for $9. You just cost yourself $2, unknowingly, assuming you take my quote. I get a bonus because I just increased our profits with no extra cost. – CGCampbell Sep 22 '20 at 13:37
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If it doesn't have a non disclosure appended to it somewhere then it should be ok, but it's not the normal way for many excellent reasons.

Primarily it's essentially useless to ask them to quote based on what another company sent rather than your actual needs/blueprints whatever and usually a site visit as well for cabling with any sort of special needs.

I've done it and would never quote without a site visit even for normal cabling. I'd think it was spam if I was sent someone elses quote. It tells me nothing except materials and time.

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I would never base my quote on another’s quote:

  1. they may have missed something,

  2. they may have a part or similar that they can supply cheap,

So, also considering most quotes that I have asked for have a clause in them along the lines of “ only valid for person xxx and for 1 month from the date above” then you may not have the right to share quotes.

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