When a customer asks for a price quote, you might be tempted to just give them the total cost for their service or product. But a lot more should go into preparing a good price quote. Here’s what you need to know.
It seems so simple, doesn’t it? What’s so hard about giving somebody a price quote? The truth is that there’s a lot more to think about than just the number because a price quote is so much more than just the price. It’s a window into you, your business, and what the customer can expect if they do business with you. Savvy customers can find a lot of information in your quote well beyond price. Here’s how to do it right.
Before the Quote
You receive a call or email, or a customer comes to your store asking for a price quote. They simply say, “Can you give me a quote on some repairs I need on my home?” Before you prepare the quote, get to know your customer. If you’re in the contracting business, you’ll probably end up at their home, but first, qualify them.
Do you handle the type of home improvement or repair they’re looking for? Do they need it done within a certain time frame, and can you meet it? Where is their home? Is it within your service area? Don’t waste their time or yours if it’s not a job you can do, it’s not a product you stock or service, or if it’s so far outside your area of expertise that you can’t get them top-notch service.
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Next, if you have to go to their home, as in the case of our contractor, follow some basic rules. First, show up on time. Be a person of your word. If you say 2:00, be there at 2:00. If another job holds you up, call or text as soon as possible and let them know. Also, call or text when you’re heading to their home. That gives them a heads-up and also helps ensure you don’t arrive to find nobody home.
Look professional. That doesn’t mean suit and tie unless that’s considered professional attire in your line of work. In the case of our contractor, keep an extra shirt and pants in your truck that are clean, fit well, and make you look polished. It won’t matter to some people, but looking clean and neat is a big deal to some of your potential clients or customers.
Finally, ask all the questions you need to put together an accurate quote. Will the customer be purchasing the paint for the rooms they want you to paint, or will you be purchasing it? How many high hats do they want in the ceiling of the finished basement, and how many light switches will they want and where will they be located? Who will be responsible for painting the new deck the customer wants you to build? This helps you and shows your customer that your attention to detail is alive and well. It also helps prevent disputes over what was supposed to be done for the price you quoted.
Along the same lines, practice and polish your general sales pitch. Tell your potential customer about you, your company, what makes you better than your competitors, and the basics of how you do the job. If it applies, have some pictures to show them, offer to give them names and numbers of references, and let them know that you’re licensed, bonded, and insured (or any other designation that comes with your line of work).
At the end of the conversation, make sure you have multiple forms of contact in case one doesn’t work. Let them know when to expect your quote and deliver on it. Don’t be late. You don’t want your customer thinking, “If she can’t get me a quote on time, how will the job go?”
The Actual Quote
Each different type of business will have different information, but, in general, your quote should have more than just the price. Send along some written information about your company — the same things you talked about in your general sales pitch.
Make the quote official. Don’t write it on a piece of paper or simply send a price in an email. Have a quote form that looks official and polished. Remember, everything communicates a message about you and your company. The form should have your business name, any licensing numbers, logo (if you have one), and all of your contact information.
Itemize your quote. List all the details that were agreed to. Nobody wants to see a number without knowing how you came to it. You don’t have to reveal all of your secrets (like wholesale pricing, for example), but if there are materials and labor, break those into line items.
In the case of our contractor, if multiple rooms need work, itemize each room so the customer has options. If you really want to service your potential customer well, give them multiple options. Maybe what they wanted will be out of their price range. Without asking, quote them at a level that fits their budget. That’s going to take more time but your competitors might not be quick to do that.
Give them a hard and fast start and completion date. If you really want to stand out, let them know that if you’re late finishing the job, they get a certain percentage discount.
Consider leaving some room to negotiate. You might quote 5% higher than you normally would in case you have a client that wants to haggle. Along those lines, let them know that if they get a lower quote, you would like a chance to match it.
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After the Quote
Once you give them the quote, ask them when you should follow up with them. Your customer wants to see that you’re serious about working with them. They might wait for you to contact them just to see if you’re serious. If they don’t give you a convenient time to contact them, send a note in five to seven days.
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Don’t see a quote as just a quote. Use it as a way to take your potential customer through a model experience they’ll have with you if they purchase from or contract you. If you see the process just like a transaction, you’ll land more customers. It’s not just about price; it’s about their total experience.
Disclaimer: The content on this page is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.