A quote is a formal document that details a job breakdown and the amount it will cost. When well written and presented, it demonstrates professionalism and further instils confidence and trust between yourself and the customer.
If a customer asks for a quote, you’ve either been recommended or your marketing efforts have paid off. It’s a great position to be in, but now it’s time to take the next step.
Ideally, every business should have a draft template for quotes that can be personalised for each job. Completing quotes and sending them to the customer quickly is key to increasing the likelihood of a customer hiring you over someone else. Leave it too late, and they may well go elsewhere.
So, what should you include in a quote?
1. Reference Number
You should have a unique reference number for each job, which you should include in the relevant quote. Using a reference number allows you to identify each job quickly and is particularly useful for ensuring accuracy.
2. Removal Of Waste
Removing waste can take a considerable amount of time and effort. So, if you’re providing this service, include it in your quote.
3. Estimate Start & End Date
You can inform your customers when they can expect you to begin and complete work on the quote. Note that this is just an estimate and is subject to change. Unexpected circumstances can cause jobs to run over schedule, whether parts are unavailable or the good old British weather gets in the way.
4. Payment Schedule & Methods
Provide customers with the date/dates you require payment and how you expect them to pay. This could be in one lump sum or several smaller amounts throughout the project. For example, do you accept payment via bank transfer only, or do you accept cash and cheques?
5. Parts & Labour
Some customers will provide materials and parts for you, but should they not, state what parts you will provide for the job and their cost. Don’t forget to include quantities but be sure you can provide the materials and components quoted beforehand. As well as parts, don’t forget to include labour costs. Whether you have an hourly or daily rate, account for it. Some tradespeople choose to combine parts & labour into one whole sum. Find what you prefer and what works for you.
6. Parking Costs
Not something you may first think of when it comes to quoting for a job, and even if you include this in overall parts & labour, it’s worth considering parking costs. A lot of the time, you’ll be able to park at a property or site free of charge. However, other times, you won’t be so lucky, and you’ll be required to pay for parking.
7. Customer Details
As well as the reference number, include details of the customer and the location of the work to be carried out within your quote.
8. Subject To Change
Though prices are fixed once a quote is accepted, sometimes the unexpected can occur. For example, you may discover an existing problem the customer wasn’t aware of that will require further work. Ensure you discuss this in detail with your customer. Should they agree to the extra work, provide an updated quote covering the changes.
9. Quote End Date
Things change, prices fluctuate, and if you’re bound to honour the cost of a quote but material prices increase, you will have to swallow the cost. To avoid that, provide customers with a date when the quote becomes invalid. Plus, they’re more likely to move quickly and accept the quote once they see it has an expiration date.
10. Basic Spec Of What They’re Getting
Be accurate but brief. Include an overview of what you have agreed and what the customer needs to know without including irrelevant and excessive details.
11. Enough, But Not Too Much
URemembeRememberately, if a customer thinks they can get work done cheaper by someone else, they may take your quote elsewhere. If you provide too much detail, it can backfire. Someone else may offer to do the same work for a lower cost.
12. Customer Acceptance
Keeping records of acceptance is a good idea in case of any future issues. Sadly, once a job is complete, the customer could argue the cost, resulting in delayed payment. To avoid this, require a customer acceptance signature on the quote. E.g. ‘I, [name], accept the above terms and conditions’, followed by their signature and date.
What Should You Include In A Quote?
What you include in your quotes is up to you. The most important thing is that you quote quickly and are transparent. If you’re not confident creating one from scratch, they are plenty of templates available online that you can alter to suit your business.