Quotation or Estimate – Weigh up the difference!

By Dean Taylor - 13th September 2009

Weigh it up!

Quotation or Quote:

A quotation/quote is a fixed price offer, provided by you, to a customer, for the works or services they require.  As you have ‘quoted’ the cost of the work you have to stick to it, even if you spend double the time on the job and need to purchase double the materials.

If you provide a quotation always cover yourself by providing a full works description, detailing what the customer is getting for the price quoted.  No doubt you have heard the stories about customers demanding additional work which was not agreed initially.  By breaking down and detailing the work neither party can argue.


An estimate is, basically, a ‘guessed’ price offer, provided by you, to a customer, for the works or services they require.

If you see various problems that may arise whilst carrying out the work or you’re not sure how long the job will take then provide your cost as an estimate.

Personally I find customers prefer to receive a fixed price quotation, but this is not always possible.  If you are convinced you can’t provide a fixed cost then try to consider all the possible scenarios regarding the work and provide multiple estimates based on these scenarios.  At least then the customer is aware of all the different outcomes and what effect this will have on the price.  Again, always provide detailed descriptions to the estimate(s) to cover yourself and remove the cause of any possible disputes.

If you answer Yes to all the below then you should be safe enough to provide a quotation.

Can you list each stage of the work and explain it in detail?

Can you list the exact materials needed to carry out the job or jobs?

Do you know the exact amount of hours,days, weeks or months the job(s) will take?

Are you certain you have addressed any problems which will arise?

Lastly, always make it clear to the customer whether it is a quotation or an estimate, tell them in conversation how you will present it and make sure it is clear enough on the document itself.

About the author

Dean Taylor is a co-founder of YourTradeBase and a skilled tradesperson. Working in the trades all his life, he's grown his business by using the right tools for the job. He's why we built YourTradeBase.com

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