Getting customers on board, or working with existing ones on new projects, is always exciting. After all, more business usually helps you grow and build up your reputation (think of reviews, returning customers, an increase in word-of-mouth recommendations, etc).
When you’re in the process of securing work, whether you’re dealing with clients new or old, it’s good practice to give them a written quote rather than only agreeing to a price verbally.
While a written quote isn’t a legal requirement, it’s in your business’s best interests to take every step possible to make sure you get paid. Having proof that all parties agreed to the original price along with a description of the exact services or products it covers can be a big help. Not to mention it’s useful for your bookkeeping records!
What is a written quote?
A written quote is a document issued from your business to a client outlining the goods or services you’ll provide, and at what price. This allows the client to then either accept or decline the offer, or to negotiate further.
What do I include in a written quote?
If you’ve sent invoices to clients before then written quotes are pretty similar! They follow the same structure and should include:
- Your business’s name and address
- Your customers’ name and address
- A quote number that is unique
- A quote issue and expiry date
- Descriptions and prices of the products and services, or work to be undertaken and where
- The total amount of the sale as well as payment terms and conditions
- Any added VAT (if your business is VAT-registered)
- Any discounts you’ve included
- A way for your customer to agree or respond to the quote
Why is a written quote useful for my business?
There are many reasons why written quotes are useful for your business, and we’ve listed the major ones below!
It gives your customers peace of mind
Having everything in writing can put your customers’ mind at ease. They’ll know exactly what they’re getting in terms of your services, without worrying about hidden fees further down the line.
Ensures any deals or discounts promised to customers are fulfilled
It’s good to keep a record of any deals you’ve made with customers. For example, if you offer 20% off for returning customers then including this on the quote is further peace of mind for them, and ensures you don’t charge them the full amount when it’s time for them to pay.
It’s easy for things to get confused without having this in place. Imagine if you’re unavailable the day they try to pay, and your employee charges them full price! There’ll be some awkward emails waiting when you return.
Making the process less confusing means they get a better experience so you’re less likely to receive a negative review, and more likely to have happy returning customers.
Helps protect you from any disputes
A written quote can also protect your business against any potential disputes.
You receive a complaint after the event, claiming that the quote was for five hours work, not three, and they won’t be paying you in full.
If this was a verbal agreement, it’s your word against theirs, whereas having it in writing means you have proof all parties agreed to the quote for three hours of your services.
It’s worth noting that most customers are genuine, but for the security of your business (and for your own bookkeeping records), ensuring written quotes are mandatory can save you a heap of hassle overall.
You can use it to follow up with potential clients
Recording the quotes that you provide means you’ll be able to set reminders to chase up each potential customer without having to remember what they’d asked for and how much you quoted them. Lots of people are busy and may have forgotten they even received a quote from you, so a quick check-in could land you a few more clients.
Can I convert a customer quote into an invoice?
Most good bookkeeping software will include a quotes tool as well as features to make invoicing clients much easier. If you use Pandle for example, you can simply click ‘Convert to Invoice’ once you’ve changed the status of a quote to ‘accepted’, so, you won’t have to spend time making separate documents.
Need good bookkeeping software to make your life easier? Check out our features and sign up for your free Pandle account today.