How to make a business quotation in 5 easy steps

Let’s say you’ve done everything right in your business — created great products and services, launched a solid website, driven high-quality traffic to your site, and even built word-of-mouth buzz and implemented other marketing that gets you noticed by the right people.

Are you harnessing all that positive attention by making it easy for potential clients and customers to request a quote once they’ve decided they’re interested in your offerings?

Think back to the last time you researched a service online — car insurance, lawn care, website design, or anything else. Was the process of finding out what the service costs simple and straightforward?

If it wasn’t, you likely scurried over to one of the other 87 websites that popped up when you googled, say, “website design.”

That’s why you need an efficient system for providing quotations to potential customers quickly and easily. Because if getting a quote is too complicated, or worse, not an available option, potential customers will leave your website, likely saying “buh-bye” for good.

Pro Tip

Build professional business quotes for free with Jotform.

What is a quotation?

A quotation, or quote, is a document that provides the cost of a product or service to a potential customer.

For example, say a potential customer lands on your website, decides your business might be a good fit for the service they’re looking for, and requests pricing information.

You then need to prepare a quote with a breakdown of all the charges required to fulfill their needs, plus the fixed price for the job. The customer compares your quote to the others they’ve received, and, hopefully, chooses you for the job.

If you’ve made the process of both requesting and fulfilling the quote fast and painless, that puts you ahead of competitors who aren’t operating as efficiently.

The difference between a quote, an invoice, and an estimate

You’ll often hear the terms invoice and estimate used along with quote, and some people confuse the different terms. However, it’s important to note that quotes, invoices, and estimates are all different — though related — things.

Again, a quote is a document that provides the cost of a product or service to a potential customer.

An invoice is a business document that you (as the seller) send to the customer (the buyer) to request payment. It outlines the services and products you’ve provided and details how much the customer owes you in return. The invoice also typically includes other important information, such as the payment terms, payment method, and payment due date.An estimate is similar to a quote in that it also provides a cost of a product or service to a potential customer before a sale. However, an estimate is more of a best guess rather than an exact price, which is what a quote offers. In some industries, a business will first offer an estimate for customer review and feedback. The business then follows up by providing an official quote to the potential customer.

Step-by-step instructions for creating a quote

Because a sales quotation is an important first step in winning business, you want to make a great impression with yours, which means using a simple process like the one below.

1. Pick a template

The quickest way to begin the process is by using a premade quote form or template.

Jotform has online quote form templates that are a great way to get started. Simply select the appropriate quote form, then customize it for your business.

You can also use Jotform’s PDF quote templates to create instant price quotes for your customers. All submitted quote requests will automatically become price quotes formatted as PDFs you can easily share with clients and print for your records.

2. Enter all the necessary information

The information on the quote form will depend on the quote template you choose or your existing quote system (if you already have one), but should include

  • Your company name and logo.
  • Your contact information.
  • Your customer’s company information.
  • Your customer’s contact information.
  • A quote number for ease of reference.
  • Date of issue, which is especially important if your quote has an expiration date, as it usually should.
  • Line items that describe exactly which products or services you’re providing, with the associated cost of each.
  • Anything that isn’t included in the quote, to avoid confusion. For example, if you’re providing web design services, make it clear that your web design package doesn’t include copywriting.
  • The total cost of the project, including tax, if applicable.
  • Quote expiration date. Prices can fluctuate for any number of reasons, so be sure to include a firm expiration date to avoid losing money if the cost of providing the product or services increases.
  • The terms of a deposit, if you’re requesting one, including when the deposit must be paid, and if and under what conditions it’s refundable, etc.
  • Terms and conditions. For example, what happens if you miss the agreed-upon deadline for project completion? Do you keep any deposits if the client or customer cancels the work? Do you want to be paid via check or direct deposit? What happens in the event the client doesn’t pay on time?
  • A thank-you. It’s always a nice touch to add a note that says something like, “Thanks for the opportunity to work on this project! We look forward to working with you.”

3. Edit and proofread

There’s nothing more embarrassing than sending a quote for $1,000 when you meant to say $10,000. So review and confirm your numbers — and check your spelling and grammar too.

4. Send the quote to the client

Whether you’re using a Word file, an Excel spreadsheet, or a premade template, the next step is getting the quote to the potential client or customer.

Sending the quote as soon as possible after you receive the request is best — within 24 hours if you can — and email is usually the quickest and most efficient way to do this.

Jotform’s PDF quote templates can be automatically emailed to clients. You can download and print them for your records as well.

5. Follow up

Did you send your quote and, days later, hear nothing but crickets?

Your potential clients and customers are probably not ignoring you — they’re just busy. They may have requested multiple quotes and may still be in the process of weighing their options.

This is why follow-up is so important, especially if they’ve requested multiple quotes. Stand out from the pack by checking in politely and offering to answer any questions or address any hesitations they may have. You might just be the only one considerate and professional enough to do this, which means you’ll increase your chances of landing the project.

When to send a quote

The timeline for sending a quote depends on your industry and business. 

However, a business typically offers a quote to a prospect near the beginning of their interaction and once a prospect has requested pricing information. It’s unusual to send a quote unless a prospect has asked for one.

For example, a potential customer may visit your website, review your offerings, and send you an email asking about pricing for a specific service. You may then send them a quote based on the type of service they’re requesting. In some industries, you may have to have a consultation or multiple meetings with the prospect to better understand the scope of their needs. You’ll then provide the quote once you’ve gathered this data.

What to consider when creating an international quotation

If your business deals with clients in other countries, there are a number of special factors you may need to consider when crafting a quote, including

  • The currency for payment
  • Import and export license details
  • Shipping methods
  • Shipping timelines and costs
  • Certifications required by the customer’s country
  • Terms of trade between your country and the customer’s country

How to request a quote

If you’d like to request a quote from another business, you can do that by following the process they outline on their website or in other marketing materials. 

For example, if you want to request a quote from a specific contractor to complete some repairs at your shop, check out their website or brochure for process details. Many businesses offer an outline of how they do business, and they’ll let you know how you can request a quote, such as by filling out a form or sending them an email.

Some businesses may request a consultation or meeting with you before giving you a quote. In this case, you’ll need to contact them to schedule a call or meeting and provide the information they require so they can put together a more complete and accurate quote.

How to decline a quote

Asking for a quote doesn’t mean you’re committed to working with the business. If you’ve gotten a quote you’re not happy with, you have a couple of options. 

You can simply decline the quote by letting the business know that the quote doesn’t meet your expectations. Or, you can request adjustments if there are certain aspects of the quote you don’t understand or agree with. They may be open to amending the quote to meet your requirements.

Whatever you decide to do, keep things civil. Offer alternative suggestions only if you want to work with the business under a different agreement. If you don’t, then simply say you’re going to go with a different option and move on.

How to make quotes easy with Jotform

Quote requests and fulfillment are a standard part of most businesses. If you haven’t implemented this option in your business yet, no worries. With Jotform’s templates, producing professional-looking quotes can be fast and easy — which makes turning hot leads into new customers a breeze.

Photo by Djordje Petrovic from Pexels

Kimberly Houston is a conversion-focused marketing copywriter. She loves helping established creative service providers attract and convert their ideal clients with personality-driven web and email copy, so they can stand out online, and get more business, bookings, and sales.

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