7 Reasons Why Our Competitors are Cheaper Than Us!

Posted on: April 25, 2022

And why we are proud of it…

Yes, you read that right. This is an article about why other consulting engineers might be cheaper than us, and you know what, we are glad they are.

It allows us to stand out from the crowd and to make sure you understand that you pay for quality, you pay for exceptional service and turnaround time, and you pay for what you get in the end.

We spend a lot of time understanding the market, what it says, what the feedback is, and what the market wants more or less of. We have countless, hour-long discussions with our clients on a regular basis.

We get all the feedback, and we understand what the big issues are when it comes to appointing a Civil and Structural Engineering Consulting Firm.

In a nutshell, there are usually only 2 main topics of discussion, and they are:

Your prices are too expensive” or “The other guy was cheaper.”


But you take twice as long as the other guy” or “the other guy can do it in half the time

Yes, reading that makes the other guy seem amazing, like a much better option and why not go with him?

He clearly knows what he is doing, that’s why he is so sufficient, he clearly wants your business, that’s why he is so cheap. So clearly, he is the right choice, the right “man” for the job.

Or is he?

We understand that time and money are the two most important factors to consider when appointing a consulting engineer, we get it, we really do, but before you appoint that other cheaper guy consider these 7 things, and then, by all means, if your mind remains unchanged, then be our guest, we won’t take it personally.

Being a True Professional.

What happens more often than not, is you get an engineer with a degree and basic drafting skills who know how to use AutoCAD efficiently enough to produce drawings for the project you require.

They have their degree or their diploma in hand and there they are, putting themselves out there as a professional.

Yes, in most cases they “technically” are professionals, we are not arguing about that, what we are arguing about is the actual title of Pr.Eng or otherwise known as Professional Registered Engineer in terms of ECSA (The Engineering Council Of South Africa).

You see, what happens most often is that the guy giving you a very cheap quote for the work to be done, is done and produced by them, but it is not signed off by them, they have an actual Pr.Eng, that signs all the work on his behalf.

This allows him to still be compliant, but without actually ever having to become a Registered Professional Engineer.

One point of advice is to always make sure your engineer has the right credentials. If you are ever in doubt, simply head over to ECSA and look them up.

Our Founder is a Pr.Eng, but you would never say, he is so down to earth and can normally be found in his pair of jeans and a t-shirt.

Industry Experience.

There are more Engineers than there are jobs in the country right now, shocking we know. How is that possible? Well with a contracting economy and a slow down in the construction industry due to a shortage of materials, it was inevitable, it will pick back up again, but for the time being, we all are dealing with it.

D & I Associates’ origins are in the built environment, but not in the consulting aspect, in the on-site construction aspect. Our founder, Innocent Chibvongodze, started his career journey in construction.

Being on-site at 6 am in the mornings, and sometimes only leaving at around 10 pm at night.

He has over 16 years’ experience in the built environment, and our Chief Technical Officer, Shingi, has over 10 years’ experience as a Consulting Engineer.

Our firm boasts a lot of combined brain power, we pride ourselves on solving problems faster, as we brainstorm daily on all current projects.

So the reason why the other guy might be cheaper is that he doesn’t have the necessary experience to charge you a reasonable rate.

Recently we had a situation where we put in a fee proposal on a block of flats for a potential client, and that client decided to go for the other guy.

Want to know why?

The other guy put in a fee for 1/3 of ours. Not because we are overpriced, but because he is inexperienced. There was no way he could complete the work required and not suffer a major loss.

Lack of Detail.

We have a 3-fold internal quality managements system. Every drawing that comes into our office, gets discussed at a high level, then executed by one or more engineers. For some projects, there can be 5 engineers working on it, as each person land up working with a specific section of the project, in a collaborative manner.

We tend to put in as much detail as possible for the contractors as we have had too many instances where there was a duplication of work.

A contractor comes back once construction has started and asks for more detail on the drawing.

This is an extra cost for the client at a later stage and also delays the project unnecessarily.

So, the solution, we decided a long time ago to make sure that we put enough details on the first drawings that we issue to any client.

This way we ensure that there are no delays come construction.

Where most engineers only put in basic gridlines, we go full out and include as much detail as, in our expert opinion, would be needed for when construction commenced.

So yes, the other guy again might quote you cheaper and this might be one of the reasons.

But we refuse to provide our clients with anything less than superior quality drawings that include a great amount of detail. For the client’s benefit.

They don’t listen.

When we send out a fee proposal, we always value feedback. We listen to our audience, our clients.

We listen to what is happening and going on for them.

We listen and we hear that the budget is tight and that they want to finish this construction project, but that the other guy screwed them over, due to a lack of professionalism and now the drawings need to be revised at an extra cost.

We listen when the times are tough for South Africans, we get it. We feel you. We empathize with you.

Yes, as much as we are a business and making money is the name of the game, we also believe in paying it forward and making a difference, and building long-term relationships.

We don’t see the benefit in simply offering an exorbitant quote for a once-off project.

We love to pleasantly surprise our clients and hopefully have a client for life, one that refers other people to us and that is what we pride ourselves in.

We have people.

The other guy can charge you a smaller amount or put forth a proposal for cheaper than us, but he is a one-man-band.

We, on the other hand, employ 9 people. We provide safety and security to 9 families. We contribute to the South African economy, one staff member at a time.

All these people need to sit somewhere. And with that comes overheads, offices, company cars, staff lunches, and annual bonuses.

Sure, the other guy charged you half of what we are charging you, but he is also only one person.

One person who does the work, one person who solves the problem.

We are a team and a great one at that.

We care.

We care deeply about the quality of the work. We care deeply about you and your project. We care that the project will get the best attention possible.

We can charge way less, spend less time on the work and we can in fact abandon you when construction comes. But we don’t believe in that.

We believe in walking the road with you, beginning to end, to ensure that when the project is concluded that you get to walk into your very own amazing dream home, that we helped construct/consult on.

We take great care in making sure that we are available to all our clients for regular site visits.

We take great care in ensuring that we are on the same page as all relevant parties, the architect, the contractor, and the site foreman and we ensure this by sending weekly updates to all relevant stakeholders.

We know our worth.

Do you? Not yet, that’s okay. We are a “young” firm. We have only been in the game for about 9 years, but together we make up over 30 years’ combined experience.

Don’t believe us, come and meet us, we will stick you for a coffee and change your mind forever.


Cheaper isn’t always better.

We believe in quality over quantity.

We have issued over 730 projects since our inception and we are only getting started.

We serve our clients ruthlessly and passionately, without compromise.

If you are ever in doubt, we are only one phone call away .

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