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How To Create a Quote in 5 Easy Steps

By Chelsea Williams
Senior Copywriter
Mar 20 2023 read

If you think about it, interacting with prospects can feel a lot like dating.

If sales communications are your early text message exchanges, sending a quote is the formal invitation for a first date. The quote is a written representation of your business — a tangible precursor to what will hopefully be a long-term relationship.

What Is a Quote?

A quote, or proposal, is a formal document that details the total price of a given set of goods or services. 

A quote generally contains:

  • Company branding in the form of a logo or letterhead
  • An itemized list of goods and/or services requested by the client or customer
  • Prices for each item including labor costs, taxes and discounts
  • Disclaimers on the scope of the product or project

NOTE: A quote is not the same thing as an estimate. While an estimate gives a general idea of expected cost, a quote includes more detailed information about project scope and exact pricing.

How to Create a Quote

You can create a solid, professional quote in five easy steps:

  1. Select a Quote Template
  2. Add Client Details
  3. Add an Itemized List of Services or Goods Provided
  4. Specify Your Terms and Conditions
  5. Include Any Extra Details

1. Select a Quote Template

The easiest way to begin is by choosing a predefined, professional-looking template that covers all the standard elements of a quote. We’ve created a free quote template to help you get started.

You might also choose to find a quote template specific to your industry. For example, a quote for construction work might contain fields specific to materials and job specs, while one for web design and development may detail the number of pages to be included on a website.

If you're using quoting software, add your chosen template to your account and select it to create your new quote. 

2. Add Client Details

After you’ve selected a template, personalize it with the potential client's information. This includes the contact and/or business name, address, phone number and email address. 

While these seem like basic elements, it’s important to get them right to demonstrate that you’ll be organized and pay attention when this person signs on as a client. Pay attention to the spelling of names, formatting of international addresses and capitalization of company names.

3. Add an Itemized List of Services or Goods Provided

This is perhaps the most important step in the quote creation process. An itemized list is the part of your quote that your prospects will pay the most attention to. You’ll want each line item to be clear and accurate.

A standard line will include:

  • Item description
  • Quantity of each item
  • Unit price of each item (if applicable)
  • Total price of each item (if applicable)

You can also add the expected date of service and time frame for delivery in this section. 

Because quotes are often time-sensitive, it’s smart to explicitly state an expiration date. Include verbiage like "Valid for 30 days," and double-check that this timeline aligns with conversations you’ve had with this particular person or business just before sending the quote. You may want to vary expiration periods for each client, especially if they’re requesting different services or products.

TIP: It might be useful to separate labor and material costs, if applicable. You can arrange these according to the different stages of a project. 

A‌t the end of the itemized list, provide the following for all goods or services that you are quoting:

  • Subtotal
  • Tax
  • Grand total

4. Specify Your Terms and Conditions

A Terms and Conditions section is useful for explicitly addressing unexpected variables, such as:‌

  1. Disclaimers: Conditions that might delay or otherwise alter the terms of the delivery. For example, you may have to delay shipping due to weather conditions.
  2. Additional work: Charges and costs for work beyond what’s included in your itemized list. If you’re a freelance writer, the total cost could change if the client wants an extra round of revisions.
  3. Payment methods: How you expect to be paid (check, credit or debit card, direct deposit, etc.) and when (half-up-front, lump sum, etc.)

You can also specify what’s not included in the scope of the project. For example, if you're a web developer, you may charge for the work of designing and building out a website but leave copywriting as well as the selection of header images and other assets to your client.

Consider using this section as a way to highlight costs you will not be covering or that the client will be responsible for once your contract ends, such as website hosting.‌

5. Include Any Extra Details

Insert any extra details you think might be useful for recordkeeping, such as a section for the client's signature, any discount codes that have been applied or your tax ID number.

You can also add a section for notes. Here, you can add more information regarding timelines, highlight additional services or products offered by your company, summarize the project scope and/or thank your client for their time and the opportunity to work with them.‌‌

READ NEXT: 5 Quote Creation Best Practices for Professional Services Sales Teams


The Difference Between an Invoice and a Quote

A quote is provided to a potential buyer before the work is completed as a notice of how much the selected goods and services will cost. 

An invoice, on the other hand, is a financial document requesting payment, which is provided once the work has been completed or reached an agreed-upon progress milestone. Invoices also include the dates when a set of services was completed or a product was sold, the exact amount owed by your client for each line item and the total amount owed for all items.



How To Transition From Price Quote to Project

Once your recipient has accepted your quote, it's time for the real work to begin. Moving from quoting to project management can be difficult, but it’s easier when you have software that automates the transition.

DID YOU KNOW? There’s a one-click quote-to-project conversion function in Accelo.

The Benefits of Powerful Quoting Software

Creating professional, accurate and comprehensive quotes is an important part of doing business. They communicate what both prospects and existing clients can expect from you and your team. 

It’s critical to take your time and ensure that all information in your quotes is accurate. The last thing you want to do is promise things you can’t deliver, and quotes allow you to clearly define the scope of your offering.

Accelo can help you create professional quotes quickly and with ease using customizable templates. The platform allows you to create, edit, customize and track all of your quotes in one place, while the client portal lets your clients view and electronically approve them. 

Start your free trial or set up a demo now to see what it’s like to standardize the steps above.


About the Author


Chelsea Williams is Senior Copywriter at Accelo, where she shares unique insights with service professionals and tells user stories via blogs, eBooks, industry reports and more. She has over 15 years of B2B and B2C writing experience — primarily in tech, sales, education and healthcare. Chelsea is an AWAI-certified Master Copywriter trained in brand storytelling and microcopy.

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