In the field service industry, we present quotes for jobs all the time. Some quotes get accepted, but not others. Why did we miss a project we went after, only to walk away empty-handed? Was it the way we wrote the quote for the job? What did we do wrong that the other company got right?
How we write a quote for a job is just as important as the information we provide. Successful pros deliver quotes and estimates that are complete, accurate, and simple to understand.
Prospective clients appreciate the attention to detail these professionals provide because it implies the work they perform will also focus on quality. Sloppy quotes composed in a rush tend to imply the opposite.
As the saying goes, first impressions are important. The quote or estimate we deliver will be directly compared to others, so we want ours to make the short stack. To do that, perhaps our goal should be to present a quote that not only meets the customer’s expectations but exceeds them.
Here we will discuss how to write a quote for a job in a way that improves your chances of being selected and performing the project profitably. We’ll discuss why understanding your client’s goals is critical, and how to present a competitive, yet realistic quote for a project.
The Role of Job Quotes in Securing Projects
When we are asked for a quote to perform field service work, we should consider it for what it is, which is our business card.
Often, the delivery of a job quote is only the second (or perhaps the first) contact we have with a prospective customer. As with all first impressions, the quality of the quote will set the stage for the project itself.
If the quote is vague, inaccurate, handwritten, and void of details, the client will often assume the project will follow suit. In many cases, the client would be correct to do so. However, this doesn’t mean we have to dedicate enormous amounts of time to every job quote.
For example, virtually all successful construction and field service companies use technology to some extent to help manage project details, improve accuracy, and avoid delays.
Using automated project management software to create quotes tends to get accepted, flow smoothly, and create profits. These platforms can do the heavy lifting in the back office, like searching for trends, monitoring pricing, and supervising logistics.
The quote serves as a roadmap for the project as well. If the quote is poorly crafted, the road to a successful project will be fraught with mistakes, obstacles, and most likely lead to somewhere we don’t want to be.
Conversely, a well-crafted quote for a job does exactly the opposite. A quote that is concise, easy to understand, organized, and complete will show the customer the quote is important to you. Since we can assume the client shares your interest in doing the best job you can, a synergy is created at the onset.
Business 101 says we should use word-of-mouth advertising to reduce our marketing expenses. Happy clients love to boast about the great contractor they found, and how smart they were to find them.
Stacking the odds in your favor then, is a brilliant move. Establishing a trusting relationship with a prospective client is much easier when the client feels like part of a team. As such, the client will sense that everyone on the team has a common goal, which is to provide the most value.
Example of Great Quotes for Field Service Jobs
Here’s a great example of a quote for construction and field service companies:
Key Components of a Well-Crafted Job Quote
A well-crafted job quote will always have the same traits, whether the job is tiny or big. A great job quote will always be easy to understand, accurate, and complete. The quote will include how billing will work, how long the project will take, and what variables may affect the project.
A good job quote can answer questions before the client asks them. Being transparent and professional goes a long way toward establishing a rewarding relationship with the client.
Here are a few key elements the most successful field service operators include when crafting an effective job quote:
Sometimes we can get so focused on the details of a job quote we make unforced errors. Including inaccurate information in the job quote, like misspellings, incorrect addresses, and other unforced mistakes, is a great way to handicap your efforts.
Most successful construction project managers use project management software to keep a project up to date. The best project management solutions allow the user access to the most current information by allowing multiple users to contribute data to the same project.
Using software developed specifically for managing multiple projects, a user can automate processes, produce reports almost instantly, and rest assured the information they present is accurate and up to date.
Along the same vein, triple-checking the numbers, dates, and scheduling is critical to forming a roadmap the project will follow. A digit in the wrong place can lead to very unexpected deliveries, or a crew arriving at a job to find no materials have arrived.
After we have the draft of a job quote created, we should always make sure we use the most up-to-date information we have. A job quote that is 98% correct is still inaccurate. A well-crafted job quote will have been proofread and triple-cross-checked for accuracy.
Potential clients ask for a job quote because they trust us to do a good job. If a job quote we present is clear, easy to follow, and complete, we help the client make the decision they already want to make, which is to hire our company.
Including the appropriate elements of a job quote upfront implies that we expect to get the job. When we include information like insurance policy numbers, license numbers, photos of past projects, and other supporting documentation, we help establish trust and professionalism.
4 Proven Tips for Making Winning Quotes that Land You More Jobs
Learning to write a quote for a job template is simple if you address the same concerns you might have if your client was the expert and you needed their services. If you’ve struggled to learn how to quote a job that gets accepted, there are ways to improve your process.
Here are a few concepts you can use to improve the structure and content of your quotes in a way that benefits both your client and your company:
Tip 1: Understand the Client's Needs and Goals
To help us shape how we write job quotes in a positive way we need a firm grasp on the client’s end goal. For example, some clients may be in a time crunch. They may be less interested in a particular feature your product offers than in how quickly you can deliver it.
At the outset, most successful contractors try to gain a sense of exactly what the client’s need is, and how they can satisfy it. Most potential clients appreciate the effort, especially if the service they need is time sensitive.
Tip 2: Be Transparent About Costs and Potential Changes
To write a successful quote, you have to understand that potential clients don’t expect miracles. The quotes should be clear, concise, and as accurate as possible. However, we should not assume the client will sacrifice cost over quality, or vice versa.
Most clients simply want to understand the financial exposure. Open-ended contracts can cause anxiety for a client, so savvy contractors put the client’s mind at ease from the start.
Successful contractors can do this by explaining (in writing and verbally) to the client when the quote is delivered. For example, a contractor that specializes in flood damage repairs might explain that mold and other conditions may exist that cannot be predicted in advance.
Many have discovered the easiest way to maintain consistency and accuracy is to create a customized job quote using project management software. This helps the manager to communicate quickly and accurately with those involved when potential changes are on the horizon.
By providing the client with the most accurate, transparent job quote, we relieve much of the worry and anxiety a client may experience. Everyone makes better decisions when in a resourceful state of mind, and being transparent about costs is a great way to create one for the client.
Tip 3: Present a Competitive, Yet Realistic Job Quote
Prospective clients will usually ask for at least three job quotes when they need a service. Many have learned that the lowest quote is often the least attractive, especially if it’s really low. Most clients will not select the most, nor least, expensive quote they receive, in favor of a more moderately priced quote.
Clients also understand the value of a dependable contractor they can depend on. Many understand that unprofitable contractors won’t be around long enough to provide the services they’ll need in the future.
Presenting a competitive, yet realistic, job quote is the best way to ensure that a bid or quote will at least be considered. Providing a non-realistic lowball price is a great way to not only lose the current opportunity but those in the future as well.
Tip 4: Ensure Prompt Follow-up and Communication
A follow-up call takes almost no time or effort, yet implies much more to the client. A prompt follow-up via a call, email, or text ensures the client they made the right choice. It’s also a great way to get a shout-out on social media, which in today’s world is a big deal.
Using Technology to Write a Great Job Quote
In today's fast-paced world, embracing technology is not just an option; it's a strategic move that can set your business apart. Harnessing the power of technology to craft impressive job quotes is a game-changer.
Embrace the power of technology to not only streamline your quoting but also elevate your entire business. Ready to take the next step? Discover the best invoicing software tools available that can seamlessly integrate with your quoting process and supercharge your business operations. Don't miss out on the opportunity to present your clients with exceptional quotes and enhance your business efficiency.