Before you quote

Giving quotes professionally, accurately and in a timely way makes a good impression on your customers and increases your chances of winning the work.

The first step to quoting well is carefully reviewing your job proposal. Paying close attention to your customer's requests will allow you to make important decisions about whether to, and how to, quote for the work.

Things to consider before you quote

Here are some important questions to ask yourself before you decide to quote for a job:

  • Can I provide the products or services asked for?
  • Can I provide the products or services in the quantities and time frame requested?
  • Can I charge an amount that is likely to be feasible for my customer and make a profit?
  • Can I give my customer a competitive price?

If you choose to provide a quote after answering 'no' to any of these questions, make sure you clearly indicate any conditions and disclaimers in your quote and correspondence.

Naturally, the better your price and your terms are, the more appealing your quote will be. But take care you don't undervalue your goods or services, or overestimate your ability to provide them. Once you've submitted your quote and your customer accepts it, it becomes a binding legal contract.

What to do before you prepare a quote

Before you prepare your quote, take some time to complete these important steps.

Consider your business's requirements

Review your marketing plans and sales plans to determine whether the customer you are providing your quote to matches your target market segments. Look at your sales targets and calculate how much you need to make to break even and make a profit.

Set guidelines to help you price products and services – balance the competition, costs and profit. Consider your business's policy on charging for quotes. Decide whether you'll charge for your quote and, if so, whether you'll deduct the fee if the job is accepted.

Understand the specifics of the job and quote

Get all the details of your customer's request in writing. Ask your customer to provide them or set up a meeting to capture the details yourself. Make sure you've documented all the details so you and your customer can refer to them later.

Ask your customer to clarify details if you don't understand some of the specific requirements. Your customer wants you to be clear on what they want just as much as you do.

Make a note of any details that remain unresolved so you can account for them in your quote – for example, by indicating that you haven't allowed for that item or by providing a choice of options to address that issue.

Don't rush your quotes

Make sure you don't quote beyond your means to deliver, both in cost and time. Be confident in your ability to complete the tasks required. Research and review the proposal and consider your quote carefully before you commit to it.

Hidden costs

Identify and quantify any hidden costs in the quoted activities. Ask yourself how much money you will have to spend to complete the project and then ensure you will make a profit at the quoted price.

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