How To Make a Quote in 5 Easy Steps: Templates and Examples

By Chelsea Williams
Senior Copywriter
Dec 18 2023 read

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 to meet for dinner. 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.

At a minimum, a professional quote generally contains:

  • 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
  • Payment terms and contact information for follow-up

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.

The difference between an invoice and a quote

A price 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.

Benefits of Sending Detailed Quotes

Creating professional and comprehensive quotes is an important part of running a profitable small business. Well-constructed quotes communicate what you provide and what both prospects and existing clients can expect from your team.

When you take your time and ensure that all information in your quotes is accurate and clear, you make it easier to:

  • Demonstrate your know-how before a client commits
  • Answer clients’ questions about project scope
  • Conduct check-in calls at each milestone
  • Prevent scope creep using your agreed-upon project plan
  • Build out future quotes and projects

How To Prepare a Quote

You can create a solid business quote in five easy steps:

  1. Select an appropriate quote template
  2. Add client details
  3. Include an itemized list of services or goods
  4. Specify terms and conditions
  5. Include any extra details

1. Select an appropriate quote template

The easiest way to begin is by choosing a predefined, professional-looking template that covers all the standard elements of a quote. Ensure that the font is easy to read and the layout makes logical sense.

In addition to the elements listed above, a good quote template includes a header with contact details for your company and the prospect or client, a quote number for your team to reference, the date of issue and the expiry date.

TIP: Consider including verbiage like "Valid for 30 days from issue date" to reduce the risk of error and the number of edits you need to make to a new quote. 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.

At the bottom of a business quote, there should be a place for the recipient to sign and accept the quote, which you could have them do via e-signature or client portal.

The best quote templates and examples

We’ve created a free quote template to help you get started.

You might also choose to select from a library of generic Excel quote templates or find one 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 with template functionality, add your chosen template to your account and select it to create your new quote.

While there isn’t one perfect template that will work universally, it’s key to choose one style of quote to send consistently. This helps establish professionalism and brand recognition and ensures your team can easily transition each accepted quote into a project.

➡️ Simplify even further by building out a more detailed quote with a project plan and choosing what you want to display before sending it to the client. See how quoting works in Accelo’s sales journey, and watch this tutorial for converting quotes to projects in one click.

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.

The easiest way to ensure you have correct and thorough client data is to use a powerful CRM featuring custom fields — and ensure that you enter the right information in your CRM during the discovery stage.

3. Include an itemized list of services or goods

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

It should be clear from your list whether you charge a fixed price or vary costs by hour or quantity and if there are any add-ons.

Service providers should always include the expected date of service and time frame for delivery in this section. Even if you suspect it might change, your initial estimate should be clearly communicated.

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 you’re quoting:

  • Subtotal
  • Tax
  • Grand total

4. Specify 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 not be able to complete a project on time if the client has not provided the necessary information for your team.
  2. Additional work: Charges and costs for work beyond what’s included in your itemized list. If you’re a consultant, the total cost could change if the client wants an extra round of data analysis for a report.
  3. Payment methods: How you expect to be paid (check, credit 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.

Use this section as a way to cover your bases and prevent conflict. 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 additional information 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 timelines, additional services or products offered by your company and a more specific project scope. Or, you might simply want to thank the prospect for their time and the opportunity to work with them.‌‌

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

How To Automate Quote Creation

Many of the above steps can — and should — be automated. If you have a reliable and robust client database featuring quote templates you can save for each type of service you offer, you’ll be able to create a new quote in just a few minutes with minimal tweaks. Even better if you have software that automates the transition from quote to project!

Accelo is all of the above and then some. It can help you create professional quotes quickly and with ease using customizable templates. Service professionals love being able to create, edit, customize and track all of their quotes in one place, then send them via the client portal to let clients view and electronically approve them. 

We have cut the time it takes to create a quote by probably 4x, which is huge for our work efficiency.

- G2 Reviewer

Quoting is just the beginning with Accelo. The platform simplifies operations, collaboration, client communication and more from quoting through to payments. 

Book a demo now to see how easy it can be 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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