Negotiating quotes is an integral part of a service business. Every service provided is as unique as the job itself, so being able to understand and explain your costs to customers is key to winning jobs and securing business. This is often the hardest aspect for field service businesses to get right, especially since, unlike goods, there’s no market price for labor and services.
For example, while you can charge your clients for the replacement parts you used to repair their air conditioner, it isn’t easy to set a price for the actual repair and replacement procedure. That’s precisely why experts often advise establishments, particularly service businesses, to use quotes.
The following points aim to provide guidance on quoting best practices and how streamlining this process can ensure you win more business and scale and grow as a result:
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Ensure that your customers agree with your pricing
As stated above, it’s more difficult to set a price for a service as opposed to a physical product. Hence, you’ll often come across customers who may challenge your decision regarding pricing––making the argument that it is unreasonably high.
While it’s a common occurrence in pretty much any business, it can become very problematic if this occurs once the service has already been provided. After all, the customer may refuse to pay the amount in full or at all, which can disrupt the cash flow of your business and really cause detriment to the bottom line. That’s where quotes come in.
By giving customers quotes for your services right from the get-go, and being transparent about your costs, you’re providing customers a clear choice of whether they want to engage with you in business or not. So, if they decide to proceed with their request, and your associated quote, you can ensure that they agree with your pricing.
Note that there’s a difference between a quote and an invoice. An invoice has a similar structure to a quote, except instead of giving it to your customers before providing the services they require, you send the invoice after the transaction. (1)
Therefore, while you may already be using invoices for your transactions, that’s not to say you can’t use quotes. In fact, it would be best if you incorporate these two into your sales strategy and operational process. With a quote, if a client disagrees with your pricing, rather than ending the talks right there and then, it’s still possible to continue with the transaction by entering the negotiation stage.
Makes your business more reputable
Although quotes have indeed become a lot more popular than before, there are still businesses that don’t use quotations for their transactions. As a result, whenever a client finds out that an establishment uses quotes, it often gives them an assurance that they’re doing business with a reputable organization that is transparent and straightforward with their costs. This should also mirror the level of service they expect to receive. You can argue that the mere presence of quotes at the initial stage of interest is enough to give a great first impression. (1)
If you want to get your hands on business quotations that can impress customers and make you look even more professional than you already are, you may want to consider using the free estimate templates offered by Jobber which are fully customizable and can be converted into an invoice later down the line.
Track any changes on a customer’s order
One of the main benefits of quotes for businesses is the fact that they’re essentially establishing a base rate for your services, which can be handy in case of unforeseen circumstances.
Suppose your business provides air conditioner repair services. If a client who originally wanted to get their AC fixed decided to get the filters changed instead, you can refer to the original version of the quote and adjust the pricing accordingly without much effort. This will make life a lot easier not only for you but also for your customers, which, in turn, improves acquisition. (2)
Prevent the possibility of overspending on resources
Unlike most types of companies, service businesses invest in resources depending on the demand for their services. For example, instead of having a bunch of AC filters on a warehouse, an AC repair service provider would only purchase filters whenever they get a client that needs them.
With this system, service businesses can easily forecast their profits and cash flow. However, there’s always a possibility of overspending on resources, which can disrupt cash flow. By giving customers or clients quotes for your services, buying the necessary resources should be more manageable, especially since you know exactly what you need. (2)
Protect your business against non-paying customers
Apart from customers that disagree with your pricing at the last second, there are also those that outright refuse to pay their bill on time or at all. While it’s not exactly legally binding, a quotation concerning their request can be your main key arsenal for resolving disputes. (1)
Using quotations might seem like adding undue process to your internal systems, but if done properly, you will be able to produce them quickly and win more jobs as a result. People often decide to choose the providers who get back to them the fastest. If this can be you – then you will reap the rewards from your efforts in the financial gains you will see as a result.
- “What Are Quotes or Quotation In Business?” – https://www.deskera.com/blog/quotes
- “8 benefits of offering business quotes to customers.”, – https://www.yellow.com.au/business-hub/8-advantages-of-offering-a-quote-to-your-customers/