The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
When you are dealing with a client, being able to give them an estimate that is timely and accurate can make all the difference. Unfortunately, many businesses fail to take the art of quoting seriously. If you want to avoid many common mistakes associated with quoting, here is how you can give your clients the best and most accurate estimates.
While it will be important for many members of your staff to have the skills and knowledge needed to provide estimates to clients, you will be able to avoid many mistakes beforehand if you assign a lead estimator within your business. By doing so, this person can provide oversight to all aspects of project management, answer questions from clients as well as staff, and take control of situations where estimates may be more complex than usual.
If you don’t make it a priority to gather essential information associated with your client’s project, you have set the stage for giving an estimate that will be anything but accurate. Should you do so and find the final cost is much more than what you quoted your client, you can expect your client to not only take their business elsewhere, but to also give you and your company a bad review along the way. Remember that if you give too many inaccurate estimates, the reputation of your company will suffer tremendously.
One of the best things you can do to master the art of quoting is to use configure price quote software when offering estimates to your clients. By taking the details associated with our project and plugging the information into the software, you can arrive at very accurate estimates, generate various scenarios that may increase or decrease the costs of a project, and find ways the project’s cost may be lessened. The software will also make the estimating process much more efficient for your company, which may allow you to take on additional projects and increase overall profits.
When delivering estimates to your clients, it is essential that as many people as possible be able to provide input regarding the potential costs. For example, if you have a person on your team who has experience in finance and legal rules and regulations, they may be able to point out additional costs that may not have been taken into consideration, especially in the areas of taxes and fees. Even if you have a lead estimator, salesperson, or manager in charge of a project, getting input from as many team members as possible can make the estimating process easier and more accurate for your business.
Even if you have done the same type of project or provided similar services for multiple clients recently, don’t always assume that the total cost will be the same each and every time. Since material costs can change, taxes can increase, and other financial factors can come into play at any given time, always ensure each estimate is always customized to your client’s specific needs. By adding the personal touch to a client’s estimate, you are not only ensuring an accurate estimate, but also demonstrating to your client that you are taking them, their money, and their needs seriously.
In today’s business world, which is always changing due to a fluctuating economy, unique customer needs rising interest rates, and more, the art of quoting should also have you considering the use of a disclaimer when delivering your estimates. As supply-chain issues and other economic factors impact one industry after another, including a disclaimer with your estimate will let your client know that even though you have done your best to give them an estimate that is currently accurate, costs associated with their project may always be subject to changes that are out of your control.
No matter what type of product or service you may be providing to your clients, being able to deliver an accurate estimate is vital to helping your company grow in terms of profits and reliability. Once you start incorporating state-of-the-art software and many of the other tips mentioned here into your estimating process, you can come away with clients who are continually satisfied at the estimates your company provides.