Why it pays to quote in order
How logical, step-by-step quotes can help you win work

7 November 2019

When it comes to winning work, sometimes it’s the little things that make the biggest difference. Like being clear, logical and transparent with your customers. It builds confidence, trust and long-lasting relationships – and it all starts with that first, easy-to-understand quote…

Your customers aren’t tradespeople. They don’t know the job like you do. So try breaking your quotes down, step-by-step, so they walk them through what you’ll do – in the order you’ll do it.

Whether you’re quoting for a half-day job or a six-month project, the clearer your quote is, the more likely you are to bag the work. Simple really. Potential customers want to know what they’re getting, why they’re getting it and how much it’s going to cost. And why wouldn’t they? 

If they’ve asked for a bunch of quotes and the costs are pretty close, but yours is super easy to understand, they’re going to feel more confident choosing you. Which means a well-organised quote can be great for your workflow, your cashflow and your reputation. Even better, it means you’ll get to work with happy, relaxed customers, who like working with you. Worth a go, right?

One simple thing you can do straight away. Today.

Quotes are meant to be helpful to customers, giving them the information they need to make decisions. But if you ask a few, you’ll soon find they’re pretty baffled by the quotes they get, the jargon that’s used and the costs they include. So let’s help them out.

Your quote’s a list of all the things that go into getting the job done. Listing those things in the order you’ll do them shows potential customers a clear journey through the job. (And it’s a pretty handy way to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything too.)

If your quote walks them through the work, they’ll have a better understanding of what’s needed, they’ll know what to expect and they’ll appreciate the costs you include. They’ll also be able to see that you’re organised and know your stuff. Sounds like a no brainer. So could you do it?

How to get started

First things first, list and cost any prep work you’ll have to do, whether that’s removing existing structures, clearing the site or just stripping off the old wallpaper. 

Include the labour and materials you’ll need to do it and give this part of the work a simple heading. Something like ‘Site clearance’ or ‘Wallpaper stripping’. List all the tasks involved underneath that heading – you could even use bullet points to make it really readable.

Then move onto the next phase of the work. Maybe you’re digging foundations, levelling a floor or skimming walls. Again, give this part of the work a heading and a cost, listing the separate tasks, labour and materials underneath. 

Keep going. Through the brickwork, the fit-out, the plastering, the plumbing. Whatever it takes to get that job done, get it down in your quote so your customer knows how hard you’ll be working. Repeat the whole thing for every phase of the project, right up to snagging. And you’re done.

We’ve all got our own ways of quoting, so shaking things up might feel strange to start with. But go with it. Get that first super-clear, well-ordered quote done and you’ll have an example to follow the next time, and the next, and the next. Until it becomes a habit you’re really comfortable with.

One more thing…

When you’re writing that quote, keep the trade jargon out of it. If your customers were tradespeople they’d be doing the job themselves. They’re not. So write for your audience. Be clear. And make sure anyone could understand that quote. Even your granny. 

Want to see the difference quoting in order makes? Here goes.

This one’s quoted in order…


This one’s definitely not…


With the handy templates we’ve built into YourTradebase, it’s easy to write quotes fast, move items around and send out super-clear, logical costs. But whatever tools you use, give quoting in order a go – it’s a really simple way to help customers, win work and boost your business.

Happy quoting!

By Dean Taylor

Back in 2010, Dean's building business was growing. He was doing great work, making people happy and enjoying being his own boss – but he was worn out. Not by the graft, but by the piles of paperwork taking up every evening. So, he got together with his cousin Adam, a web developer, and came up with a simple way to solve the problem – and help a whole load of other tradespeople too. They called it YourTradebase. Try it for yourself with a free 14 day trial. No strings. No credit card needed.

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