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.
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:
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.
You can create a solid, professional quote in five easy steps:
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.
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.
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:
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:
A Terms and Conditions section is useful for explicitly addressing unexpected variables, such as:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.