Spend Less Time Quoting

Do more quotes in less time.

Spend Less Time Quoting

Quoting takes time. Time that, as a tradesperson, isn’t making money. It costs money.

While it’s important to send good quality quotes it’s also important for your business to spend the minimum time possible doing quotes.

This article is about how to take less time preparing, sending and following up quotes but still ensuring you are sending quotes that customers will accept.

Other articles worth reading might be “Win More Jobs, Do Fewer Quotes” & “How Much do Lost Quotes Cost you?

Those articles will show you how to win a higher percentage of quotes and what the cost to your business is of the quotes you lose.

1. Pre-qualify job leads

  • There’s no point spending time preparing a quote for a customer who:
    • A) doesn’t really know what they want and
    • B) are just wondering how much the job will cost, with no intention to proceed.
  •  That doesn’t mean being unhelpful or refusing to quote
  • Be prepared to give ball park costs or direct customers to places they can find costs for themselves (The HomeForce Website for example). Of course, make it clear that these are guide prices only.
  • If a customer insists they want a “quote” but can’t provide enough information on what they want to make that quote accurate then one of the following might work:
    • Decline – but clearly state your reasons. They will often come back to you anyway,
    • Offer to do an estimate – but be sure to make clear that it’s an estimate (See “the difference between estimates and quotes”) and be clear what assumptions are made and what is not included.
    • Charge a fee to prepare an estimate that could be deducted from a final bill if they proceed.

How do you pre qualify a Job Lead?

  • Just ask; “Are you ready to do the work or just wondering how much it will cost”.
  • Or look out for the tale tell signs of time wasters: –
    • Demand over the phone quotes
    • Stating it’s a two minute job
    • Requesting work started by others to be finished
    • Non-emergency jobs needed in a hurry
    • Withholding information about themselves or the job

2. Use Templates

  • For emails, job descriptions, materials used or even text messages having templates will save a huge amount of time
  • Templates can always be edited to meet specific circumstances. It is much faster to start from a template than to type out the same thing to customer after customer.
  • When describing the work for a job on a quote it’s faster to start with a basic template and edit it. Sure, every bathroom / kitchen / shelf/ electrical installation / boiler is different but the basic process (job description) is often the same or very similar.
  • Templates mean time isn’t wasted checking spelling, correcting typos or even reviewing what’s been written. It’s right from the start because it’s in a template.

3. Include answers

  • Customers will almost always have questions. You can’t guess what they all will be but answer obvious ones:
    • When can you start?
    • How long will the work take?
    • Should I get the materials or will you?
    • What preparation do I need to do?
  • Deal with them by having answers already included in the email / letter template sent with the quote.
4. Retain all versions of a quote 
  • When customers want to alter something on a quote the fastest way to alter it is by over writing what was already sent.
  • However, if they then want to go back to something from the original quote it’s a good idea to have that original stored rather than having to remember what it said and write it out again.

5. Do the quote instantly

  • Doing a quote immediately after a survey reduces the need to refer back to notes (taking time).
  • It’s still fresh in the memory so what has been discussed is less likely to have been forgotten.
  • It will also save time having to explain why the quote took so long to be sent.
  • And it will make it far more likely that a customer will accept a quote.

6. Do admin while out at work

  • More often than not there’s down time on a job or in the day:
    • Waiting for an appointment
    • In a queue at the merchants
    • While something dries
    • When another tradesman is in the way
  • Do admin at these times.
  • Modern smart phones and job management software mean admin can always be done when on the go.
  • It free’s up time at night to spend with friends and family rather than infront of the computer.

7. Use Technology

  • Good Job Management Software will make doing, keeping track of and following up quotes much faster.
  • There are many Job Management Software programmes for tradespeople but not all will actually save you time and help you convert more quotes to jobs (no matter what the makers claim)
  • It’s also important to set the software up correctly as hours can be wasted trying to find the reason why it won’t do a simple task.
  • HomeForce provide accredited tradespeople with an introduction to job management Software.
  • And also:
    • Set up of a Job Management Software account.
    • As much training as is requested.
    • On going support

Providing good quotes is a skill as much as Joinery, Plumbing or Electrical work. It’s vital to any tradesperson’s business to be good at it, but it can take time.

Making quotes easier to do and less time consuming means more time to do things that actually make money or more time available to do things other than work.

This is where HomeForce can really help.

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