Every job starts with a quote. You can think of quotes as your customer’s first impression of your business and pricing model.
With this in mind, having a strong quote-to-invoice process strengthens the success and efficiency of your business. But where do you start?
Keep reading to learn how to create quotes that are sure to turn your leads into repeat customers.
What is a quote?
Before learning how to create a quote, it’s important to fully understand what a quote actually is.
A quote is a document that details the total price of a job. It breaks down the costs of the job for your recipient so they can evaluate their budget and needs before making any commitments.
The cost that the recipient sees on the quote is essentially the price you’re guaranteeing for the job.
Estimate vs. quote
Estimates and quotes often get confused for one another, but they have different purposes and consequences.
Put simply, the main difference between an estimate and a quote is that an estimate is a guess, while a quote is an exact price.
For the most part, estimates are subject to change throughout the job, whereas a contractor must deliver the agreed upon services at the price they quoted.
Invoice vs. quote
Here’s a common question, even among business owners: “Is an invoice the same as a quote?” The answer is no.
The difference between a quote and an invoice is that a quote is given before the job begins, while an invoice is given upon completion of the work.
However, quotes and invoices often contain the same information, making the quotation-to-invoice process easy.
Now that you know the difference between quote and invoice documents, let’s explain why quotes are important.
Why create a quote?
It’s important to recognize why quotes are used by contractors before trying to create one.
Quotes are a crucial part of doing business. They let potential and existing customers know what they can expect from you in every job you take on.
Quotes will also provide you with an invoice breakdown for when you complete the job. For this reason, it’s important to know what you need to include in your quotes.
What to put in a quote
As mentioned, the invoice and quotation for a job often include the same information. So, if you know what to put in a quote, you’ll also have a strong framework for the subsequent invoice. All you have to do is add payment information.
Here’s how to break down a quote into its essential parts. It should consist of:
- Your company information and branding.
- An itemized list of goods and services.
- The cost of each good and service.
- The required deposit amount.
- Any relevant disclaimers.
Now that we’ve covered how quotes work and what they should look like, let’s take a closer look at how to create one.
Steps in creating a quote
Learning how to create a quote isn’t complicated. In fact, creating quotes is as simple of a process as you choose to make it.
You can make a quote by following these four steps:
1. Choose quote template
Sure, you can make your quotes from scratch, but doing so is tedious and time-consuming. Work smarter and not harder by using a quote template.
There are many quote templates available online, and you won’t need to dig far to find the best one for your business. You’ll even find an excellent one at the end of this article!
For even more efficiency, choose a quote template that you can easily repurpose into an invoice later on. This is especially important for fast-paced businesses with many moving parts, as is the case with contractors who have to juggle several invoices at the same time.
2. Add your customer details
Once you’ve found your quote template, the next step is to add your customer details. This should include their name and contact information.
It’s important that this information is accurate for your records, and to demonstrate professionalism to your potential customer. So be sure to double check this step!
3. List the relevant services
Your quote should look similar to an invoice breakdown, in that you should put everything you’re charging for on an itemized list, including materials and labor.
Each line of the list should include:
- Item description.
- Quantity of each item.
- Unit price of each item (if applicable).
- Total price of each item.
At the end of this list, you should include the subtotal, tax, and grand total.
4. Include terms and conditions
Chances are, not all of your customers will know how to pay a quote, or whether they’re supposed to pay it at all. So, it’s important to clearly state terms and conditions in your quote. This includes:
- Payment information.
Once you know how to create a quote, the next question is: when do you send your quote?
When to send a quote
Just as important as knowing how to create a quote is knowing when to send it. The short answer is that you should send one any time that you receive a request for a quote.
Regarding the timeframe, you should aim to send your quote within three days of the request. Any longer and your prospect will start considering your competition or lose interest in the project entirely.
Also keep in mind that you might end up having to send quotation reminders if you don’t hear back from a prospective customer.
Avoiding common quote mistakes
Before starting your quote process, make sure you keep these common pitfalls in mind:
- While it’s a good idea to simplify the quote process with templates, make sure to customize each quote to the job. For example, a commercial renovation and HVAC repair will have two very different quotes.
- Don’t send your quote as an invoice without making the relevant modifications and double checking it — quote billing can be trickier than it seems.
- Don’t treat your quote as an estimate. Your customer will expect the quote price to be the final job price, unless you tell them otherwise. Stick to the budget that you promised!
Streamlining the quote process
As mentioned, using a template is a great way to streamline your quote process. Templates minimize the amount of manual data entry you have to do so that you can minimize mistakes and push out quotes faster.
Additionally, consider investing in software to automatically create and deliver your quotes for even more efficiency. Software also makes it easier to keep track of your quotes, approve them, and even capture digital signatures.
Watch the video to see how you can automate your estimates approval process and speed up the quote-to-cash cycle.
To recap, knowing how to create a quote is the foundation of your business. Quotes directly determine your revenue and provide potential customers a first glimpse into your business.
Speed up your quote process by using templates to create quotes in minutes. The quicker you deliver a quote to a prospect, the more likely they are to convert!
How to create a quote FAQs
Can a quote be used as an invoice?
The short answer is yes — a quote can be used as an invoice.
The difference between an invoice and a quotation is that a quote is given at the beginning of the job, while an invoice is delivered upon completion. However, they usually contain the same information; just make sure to review your invoice for accuracy before using it as a quote.
How do you send your clients a quote?
The best way to send your customers a quote is through email. Email allows you to track when your quote was sent, and some platforms even show you whether your quote has been viewed by the recipient.
How do I make a quote for my business?
To create a quote for, it’s a good idea to start with a template that’s customized to your business. From there, you can further evolve your quotes and tailor them to each job.
Ready to jumpstart your quote process? Download your free template today!
Image credit: Pixabay via Pexels