When a customer contacts you for a quote, it likely means that they are already interested in working with you. But in today’s competitive market, they probably have a few options to choose from. So how do you quote a client so well that they forget all about your rivals?
Let’s dive into how to quote a client in the best way possible, including:
- What to include in a quote
- How to price your quote
- How to quote better than your competitors
What to include in a quote
A price quotation is a formal document that outlines the cost, terms and conditions, and timelines for the work. Quotes should be accurate and easy to understand, as a good quote might convince your customer to go with you over your competitors.
A quote is similar to a Statement of Work or an SoW. The main difference is that Sow’s include more work details and are typically used when delivering services, and quotes are used when selling items. See our article How to Write a Statement of Work for Any Industry to help you decide if an SoW is right for your business.
Make sure you include all the relevant information on a quote, including:
- Business information
Your quote should include the following business details and client information:
- Your company name
- Company address
- Client name and contact details
- Quote number
- Price and timeline
Obviously, price is an essential piece of information on a quote. But another thing your client probably wants to know is how quickly you can complete the work.
Try not to underestimate the time it takes to finish the job. When you give your client a specific timeline, they expect the work to be completed accordingly and get frustrated if it doesn’t.
Include any applicable taxes that your business is registered for. Find out more about what tax businesses and sole traders pay here.
- Breakdown of costs
A transparent breakdown of costs will help you and your client be on the same page and offer clients the reassurance that their hard-earned money will be spent wisely.
Ideally, the price breakdown is detailed but not so complicated that it becomes confusing to read. You might also want to include items that your price does NOT cover, if relevant.
- The quote expiration date
The expiration date is entirely up to you, but a standard for this is 30 days or one month. Your business costs and operations could change over time, so quotes aren’t designed to last forever. An expiration date could also encourage your client to make a decision faster.
- Your terms and conditions
If you have general terms and conditions, include them in the quote to avoid any future confusion. You might find suitable templates online, but terms and conditions are legally binding, so it might be best to discuss this with a lawyer.
- Payment terms
Payment terms would include how and when payment should be made and if you require a deposit, for example. In addition, include alternate payment options to give clients an opportunity to choose the most convenient payment method.
How to price your quote
If a client accepts your quote, they expect the service they agreed to based on the quote. Usually, the price and other details shouldn’t be changed after acceptance unless specifically discussed. Consider the following to make sure you can quote your client accurately and keep your word:
- Did you include everything in the quote?
Make sure you are aware of everything required for the job. If you’re not sure, double-check with the client. Otherwise, you risk making an incorrect estimate.
- Are you able to meet the deadline?
If the work needs to be done by a specific deadline, ensure you have enough resources to do the job in the required timeframe. Don’t promise anything you can’t deliver.
- Are your prices up to date?
Check the material and other relevant costs and make sure your prices are up to date. Prices of most things change over time, so keep your fees updated accordingly.
- Have you included a fair profit margin?
Your pricing should include a sensible profit margin. Make sure it’s not blown out of proportion and not so small that your business stops being profitable.
How to quote better than your competitors
Your client is likely getting quotes for many similar businesses to find the best price. But in addition to the price, other factors could convince the client to choose you over your rivals, for example:
- Your quotes are clear and structured well
Don’t make your customer read a lengthy and confusing document with detailed descriptions. Instead, make your quote easy to understand and easy to accept by adding a bit more value than they expected and a call to action at the end.
- You offer the best value
Price is important, but so is value. If you’re able to offer something unique or add value to your services, do it! Make sure you communicate your value, so your clients understand what a good deal they’re getting.
- You reply quickly
Don’t leave your client hanging for too long after they’ve shown interest in your services. Replying to their enquiries quickly and professionally will tell them that you can get the job done on time too.
- Your customer service is impeccable
If your quote is the first document, your client receives from you, use it to make a good impression. Be friendly, helpful, clear and give them all the information they need.
Learn more about what makes good customer service here.
- You ask for feedback
Maybe the customer decided to go with someone else this time. But if you find out why they didn’t choose you, you could make improvements and win more clients in the future.
You might have lost this client, but keep finding ways to improve your quote process. The better it gets, the more likely your customers are to accept your quote in the future.
Learn more about customer feedback techniques here.
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