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What is a price quote (and how do you write up a good one?)

A step-by-step guide on how to make a quote and some essential tips for developing an efficient quoting process.
May 24, 2023
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Mukundh Krishna

Have you ever searched for a service online, struggled to get a price quote, and given up because you couldn’t find it?

If customers cannot easily grasp your product’s pricing, they may be quite put off by your company. This is where price quotes or quotations play a critical role.

A price quotation is part of the client's initial exposure to your brand and is crucial to obtaining a contract. And a thorough, expert-looking business quote that is reasonably priced increases the likelihood of clients choosing your company.

Let’s walk you through what a quote is, how to create one, and some essential tips for building an efficient quoting process. Additionally, we’ll introduce you to a robust tool that can help you standardize your quoting process. 

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Let’s dive in. 

What is a price quote?

A quote or quotation is an agreement between a customer and a service provider to provide a service at a predetermined price and within specific timelines.

The quotation is a breakdown of the potential expenses to determine the overall final cost of a job. 

From health insurance and auto insurance to event management and catering companies, quotes are an essential component for most businesses. 

A professional quote is created to meet the needs of the potential buyer as well as the proprietors of the companies offering the required service. 

Once a quote has been agreed upon by both the service provider and the customer, it cannot be modified without both parties' written consent.

Note: A sales quote is used by a service provider to mention a price estimate of their products specifically. However, a price quote could be for products, services, or both.

What’s the purpose of a price quote?

A sales representative usually creates a quotation when they uncover a sales opportunity or receive a quote application from a potential customer.

A price quote helps protect your company against the fluctuating cost of materials and human resources (depending on the industry) with a fixed price for your services. Additionally, it protects a potential client against paying any additional cost in the future. 

Additionally, a price quote:

  1. Helps you and your potential customer stay on the same page regarding the pricing, services, project details, and other essential elements.
  2. Highlights the payment terms and conditions of your services.
  3. Encourages your potential customer to finalize the deal.

Wondering how to make a quote and close another sale? 

Step-by-step guide on how to make a quote

Follow these eight simple steps to create a quote and win potential clients over: 

1. Choose a quotation template

Digital, reusable templates can save you hours of work and streamline your quoting process.

A price quote template covers all the essential elements of a standard quote, including:

  1. Client information.
  2. Itemized costs for products and services.
  3. Payment terms and conditions. 

You can browse online for free, editable quotation templates. They usually have versions for Microsoft Word, Excel, Google Sheets, or Google Docs. 

You can also use an editable, free quote maker to create your own quote in minutes every time there’s a quote request.

However, ensure that the quote template is viewable on Android and iOS devices so clients can check them out on the go. 

With a price quote template, you won’t have to repeatedly create fields common to all quotes, such as company name, phone number, product details, etc. You need to fill in the information within the specific fields that will differ for every quote, but the fields can remain unchanged. 

Your potential buyer should be able to scan your price quote quickly. So ensure your template has a legible font within every text block in your quote form, and avoid using a loud or distracting background image. 

Note: With Rocketlane, you can easily create quote templates to save time and ensure consistency (in terms of font, background image, logo, etc.) whenever a client raises a direct quote request.

The best part?

You can onboard clients and manage your entire project on Rocketlane. This spares you the trouble of switching to different apps for executing multiple client-related tasks. 

2. Enter business-related information

Include all the necessary information related to your customer, such as their:

  1. Business name
  2. Address
  3. Phone number
  4. Fax number
  5. Email address
  6. Business social media profiles
  7. Contact name
  8. Job title

Don’t forget to include your own business details and contact information in the quote form, especially if you aren’t using a quote template with letterheads. 

It will make it easier for potential clients to contact you if they have any follow-up questions about your total price estimate in the quotation. 

3. Add a quote number

The sales team should assign a quote number for every sales quote, whether it’s created in Microsoft Word, Excel, PDF, Google Sheets, or any other format. 

By assigning a unique and sequential quote number to every new quote, you keep the quote distinct, which makes it easier to retrieve the PDF or Word document.

You can also reference each quote by its quote number in your CRM (Customer Relationship Management) for easy tracking.

In fact, with Rocketlane, you can simply add the numbering system to the existing template. You can edit the quote number in your PDF or Word document to reflect the sales rep's name, client name, quote version number, etc.

For longer price quotations, consider adding a page number and a table of contents for ease of use. 

4. Include the date of issue and expiry

Due to potential price changes of the given goods and services, price quotes are often one-time offers. As a result, giving the quote a date of issue and a period of validity is helpful for later use as a reference.

It helps you build a professional quote and informs the client of the valid time frame for the quoted price.  

Include a default field for the sales rep to add this date to your price quote template on Rocketlane. 

This date should be clearly visible to avoid disagreements about the validity of the price quote later on.

5. Provide a detailed list of your products and services

Every high-quality quote must include:

  1. Item description
  2. Quantity of each item
  3. Unit price of each item (if applicable)
  4. Total quoted price of each line item (if applicable)

Further, include the following information for all commodities or services you’re quoting after the itemized list:

  1. Sub total 
  2. Applicable taxes
  3. Grand total

Carefully add the breakdown of costs and variable costs as well. 

6. Mention specific terms and conditions

Here, you should specify both your own obligations and those of your client. 

You can avoid customer disputes and set expectations early on with a precise estimate disclaimer. It can help you specifically address unforeseen situations related to:

  1. Work delays: Mention the restrictions that may lead to project delays and the backup plan in such cases. 
  2. Extra charges:  Inform the customer that ad hoc requests related to specific features or product configuration will come at an additional cost beyond what is specified in the quote. Consider bolding the text about extra charges so your customer can't miss it.  
  3. Payment procedures: Specify when and how you expect the payment, the mode of payment (cheque, credit card, debit card, etc.), and what percentage of the total cost will be paid in advance (up-front fee).

7. Provide a timeline

Here you essentially define the date by which the quote must be accepted. Additionally, you mention when the products or service will be delivered, the duration of the deal, and when the deal will expire and can potentially be renewed.

8. Add other business or client details

The quotes creator must consider any extra information that may be useful for recordkeeping, such as:

  1. Purchase order number (from the client)
  2. Employer Identification Number (EIN)
  3. Sales tax number
  4. A signature section for the client
  5. Discount codes

To further strengthen client relationships, add a thank you note at the bottom of your price quote. While it is optional, a thank-you note builds goodwill and goes a long way in creating long-lasting business partnerships. 

You may use a different font to highlight the thank you note. 

Now, businesses use several terms in relation to pricing — quotations, estimates, invoices, and others. 

However, it’s best not to use these terms interchangeably. 

Quote vs. estimate vs. invoice: How do they differ

Whether you’re a small business owner or the CEO of an enterprise, it pays to know the definition of and difference between these three. 

1. Quote

A quote is a fixed-price offer for a product or solution that a provider gives a potential buyer. The quoted price is only valid for a particular timeframe and can’t be altered once the client accepts it.

Most businesses use CPQ software (Configure Price Quote software) to automate and optimize the creation of quotes.

A CPQ solution also offers enhanced functionality, such as:

  1. Automated pricing management
  2. Integration into CRM systems
  3. Product configuration
  4. Customized reporting, and more

2. Estimate

An estimate only gives your client a rough idea of what the solution or job may cost. It's less comprehensive than a quote, and here the prices mentioned may be subject to change. 

The sales team usually offers estimates to the clients in the initial stages of the sales process.

3. Invoice

An invoice will detail what goods or services were provided, what work has been done, and the total amount due for each line item. 

This financial document is generated only after the work is done. You can use an invoice template to bill for recurring work or a one-off project.

Now:

In the initial stages of pricing, quick response time, personalization, and accuracy are extremely important. And if you want to impress clients with your lightning-fast service, you need a scalable quoting process. 

Read on to learn how you can do this.

8 quick tips for an efficient quoting process

A good quote is always brief, direct, and precise. 

Businesses often struggle to successfully complete the sales cycle — from offering multiple quotes to finalizing contracts — when their quoting process is ineffective.

Let's take a look at how you can make your price quotes more effective:

1. Send the quote at the earliest

Ideally, send the quote within 24 hours of receiving the direct quotation request.

The customer typically looks elsewhere if quotations are not provided promptly and are inaccurate.

That’s why big enterprises use the Configure Price Quote application to create error-free quotes at scale.

However, a CPQ solution may not be the right fit for a small business with budget constraints. Instead, they can opt for a readymade quote template or a free quote maker. 

2. Get clarity on the requirements and deliverables

Make sure you’re absolutely clear on the precise requirements of your customer and that they are equally clear on what you’re delivering. 

The general rule of thumb for all service businesses, such as catering, health insurance, auto insurance, etc., is to never respond to a direct quotation request unless you’re positive that you can satisfy the customer.

A good quote should help customers understand what you’re offering and how they benefit in return. 

This can help you remove bottlenecks and streamline your sales process

3. Issue a privacy notice statement

A privacy notice statement specifies the types of personal information you can collect from customers. 

This includes personal information such as their contact number, business or personal social media profiles, email ID, and more. It also states how you process that information and how long you’ll store it. 

To promote trust and transparency, also mention what your organization does with their personal information.

4. Plan your pricing carefully

You should consider the current exchange rates while determining the fixed and variable costs in your price quotes. 

Additionally, every quote creator has to walk the tightrope between offering the best price to their customers and making a decent profit margin. 

To this end, you can adopt the cost-plus pricing model, calculating your product's original unit cost and then adding a markup for your profit margin.  

5. Check for errors

Check for spelling and price errors thoroughly before sending the quotes. CPQ software can help you minimize errors and fast-track the work. 

Using templates should also help you avoid errors in the fixed components of the quote. 

6. Stand out from your competitors

Think about how you may differentiate your quote and company from the competition to win the client's business. To get an edge over your competitors, consider offering different add ons and solutions.

7. Follow up with client 

After submitting your quote, check in with your prospective client 7–14 days later. 

It's not uncommon for your customers to request multiple quotes from different service providers so they can weigh their options.

That’s why you need to follow up with the client and ask if they have any other questions and if they’ve decided to accept your quote yet. 

To avoid following up with leads who aren’t interested in your offering, set an internal deadline, after which you’ll move on to other prospects.

8. Analyze your processes

If the client declines your quote, the Sales Representative should request some feedback on how they could have done better. You can then use that knowledge to improve your quoting processes and sales cycle in the long run.

Also, consider tweaking your marketing efforts based on this feedback. If the client felt there was a gap between your marketing and offering, try to bridge it. 

Want to accelerate deals and simplify the process of generating, negotiating, and finalizing contracts with professional quotes?

Streamline your quoting process with Rocketlane

Time is money, and cutting the time-to-quote process can help you improve your sales efficiency. 

But this can become challenging if you use different platforms to manage communication, document collaboration, and resources.

Fortunately, there’s a simple solution — Rocketlane!

Rocketlane is a dedicated client onboarding tool that helps businesses decrease the time to value of their products and live up to customer expectations. 

Here’s how you can use the tool to create price quotes that make a difference: 

  1. Create reusable templates to maintain consistency and standardize the quoting process. Sticking to a consistent format makes it easier to produce quotes that are appealing to clients and improve customer experience.
  2. Enhance your design by including your business letterhead with a professional background image and logo (above the top left margin) in your price quote template or invoice template. The tool allows you to customize the logo, domain, font style, and theme according to your brand.
  3. Use the tool’s enhanced functionality to automate reminders. This can help you improve client accountability for responding to multiple quotes within the expiry date. 
  4. Have real-time conversations with your clients regarding every project detail, resolving client queries related to terms and conditions, applicable taxes, quoted material, etc.
  5. Set up and assign different tasks related to the quoting process. For example, the accounting team may enter quote numbers, accepted payment methods, etc., and the account manager may take charge of entering accurate business info.

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Niharika Pandey
Content Manager @ Rocketlane
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