How quicker quoting can help you win more work

By Adam Austin - 27th August 2014

Quicker quoting wins more work

You’ve surveyed the new work, given a good first impression, and know you can give a great price. You’ve agreed to quote as soon as possible… but is that soon enough and should you be quicker when quoting?

Paperwork can be a tradesperson’s worst enemy. Getting quotes done should be one part of paperwork that you make as easy, and as fast, as possible.

Here’s why quoting more quickly makes sense – for you and your customer – and how to start getting it done faster than your competition.

Why is quicker quoting great for your (business) health?

Do you get your quotes done within 1 day of seeing a new customer?

3 days?

7?

The longer you take to get your quote into a new customer’s hands, the more you could be harming your business.

Here are some reasons why quicker quoting can be better for you and your business:

Slow quotes cause customer frustration…

A quick search around the web shows there are lots of homeowners frustrated by waiting ages for quotes from tradesmen.

Here are just a few… from mumsnet: tradesmen should come back with a quote quickly, from ukbusinessforums: Waiting for builders quotes, from singletrackworld: chasing tradesmen for quotes, and from mybuilder: How long does it take for tradesmen to quote?

If it frustrates customers enough to vent online, we can imagine that this is a very real problem.

Indeed, a survey by Ironmongery Direct shows that 83% of customers are frustrated with slow quotes from tradespeople:

trade customers frustrated with delays in quotes

www.ironmongerydirect.co.uk run a poll of 10,000 customers and found that 83% of customers get frustrated by the time it takes for tradesmen to get a quote to them.

If you’re slow to quote, you could be frustrating customers. Quote quicker for happy customers! tweet this

Beat your competition…

There’s a strong chance that your customer is asking for quotes from several sources.

You will be compared with the competition, and the time it takes you to quote (as well as the professionalism of your quote) is very likely to be considered.

With so many tradespeople taking a long time to quote (or not even turning up) there’s a huge opportunity to beat the competition off the starting block.

Set the bar and the standard for your competitors to meet when quoting.

Quick quotes = efficiency and professionalism. Set the tone and beat your competition. tweet this

Get it off your plate!

You’ve got a lot on your plate and mounting paperwork just adds to it.

Quoting for new work might seem very easy to put off (you could have plenty of work right now, after all) and can easily become a “tomorrow task“.

But… that mounting pile of quotes is very likely to add a huge amount of stress to your days.

A good system for quoting gets quotes out quickly and save you a headache! tweet this

Win more of the work you quote…

If quicker quoting means: happier customers, a great impression and standing out from your competition, then there’s a much improved chance that your business will win more work.

At the very least, sorting your quotes quicker and getting them off your plate will save you time and mean you can earn more during your working day.

Here’s how quicker quoting helped The Loft Boys:

“I’d say that 95% of the quotes we send to customers are now produced on the same day. We use YourTradeBase job management software to easily manage all this. This has led to a time saving of around 1 hour on each quote and we’ve seen our win rate increase by around 30%”

(Disclaimer: The Loft Boys is owned by Dean Taylor, co-founder of YourTradeBase)

If you could send out quotes within 24 hours of surveying new work, how would that impact your business? How could you make sure that always happens?

What slows down your quoting the most?

The first step to quicker quoting is to recognise what makes quotes a lengthy task for you in the first place.

Perhaps it’s due to one of the following:

  • Lack of time. Spending evenings surveying new work and then getting onto paperwork could be your biggest issue. Can you prepare most of quote whilst you’re surveying?
  • Wrong tools for the job. Working on a PC word processor isn’t fun and can take far too long. Are you using the right tools to quote?
  • Waiting on partners. If you’re wife or partner does your paperwork, you could be waiting on them to decipher your notes and type up your quote!
  • Waiting for materials/labour prices. To quote accurately, you could be waiting too long to get prices for materials or specialist labour.
  • Tired after a long day on the job. It’s also likely that after a long day on the job, quotes are taking longer than they need to as your brain is switching off!

Think about what aspects of quoting slows you down the most. Identifying the problem means you’re more likely to solve it.

5 simple steps to start quoting more quickly

Here are 5 tips that most tradespeople could implement to start getting quotes to customers more quickly.

1. Know your prices

Speed up your quotes by knowing what you want to charge for your time.

Calculating an hourly rate is straightforward (here are 5 simple steps to easily work out a tradesman’s hourly rate) and means you just need to be able to accurately estimate how long work will take you.

Quoting then becomes a simple job of working out how long each piece of work will take and multiplying it by your hourly rate.

Once you know your labour charge, work out how much you need to markup materials to cover your time and expense in sourcing, ordering and collecting them.

Knowing – and using – your own pricing strategy in this way can be a quick way to speed up your quoting process.

2. Using quote templates are quick and easy

Why wrestle with Word or handwrite quotes each and every time you need a quote?

The time wasted on typing up your quotations can be spent much more effectively earning money or relaxing!.

Grab yourself a quote template and save yourself hours typing up information for your customers.

By using a template for text like why customers should choose you, your standard terms and conditions and payment schedules, you can save yourself time re-typing information.

3. Email your quotes (…and make sure they land)

Email is a near-instant way of delivering your shiny new quote. So you don’t lose time waiting for post to be delivered.

It’s also less work for you – no printing, envelope stuffing, posting or delivering; instant delivery at the click of a button!

Make sure you get your customers email address and tell them to expect an emailed quote from you and give them a timescale.

But… don’t just email and forget it! Follow up with a call after a day or 2 to make sure it’s been received.

Oh, and check your emails as often as you can to make sure your potential new customers haven’t asked a question about the quote that you’ve ignored!

4. What’s the delay? Quote today!

There’s a reason people say:

“Strike while the irons hot”

Getting a quote created and to your customer the same day has a few advantages:

  • The details of the work will still be fresh in your mind.
  • Customers will be impressed with your professionalism and efficiency.
  • You keep your workload to a minimum by not letting quotes build up.

One way to help quote the same day is to make sure you don’t have to wait until your at home and in front of a PC to quote.

Make sure you can get working on your quote straight away: If you use an app, you can spend 10 minutes in your van after a survey (or after taking a phone call for new work) and create a quote from a template and email it right away.

Even if you can’t quote an accurate price, try to give an estimate or idea of price. this is also a good way of gauging if the price is what the customer was expecting and let’s you set expectations early on.

5. Learn from previous work you’ve won

Try to make a habit of archiving your old quotes for prosperity – and make sure you can easily search the contents of your old quotes.

That way, you can easily search back to similar work you’ve priced.

Chances are, you’ve already done most of the typing for the job you now need to quote, so re-use that wherever possible.

Looking back over previous quotations is also a good way of checking you’ve thought of everything that your customers needs for the work you’re now quoting for.

– – –

Quicker quoting is great for your business and keeps your potential customers happy. Start jobs off the right way taking steps to speed up your quotations.

 

About the author

Adam Austin is the CEO & Co-founder of YourTradeBase.com (The easy way for tradespeople to save hours on their paperwork). Read more of his posts or Follow YourTradeBase on Twitter

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