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How to make quoting easier for your trade business

Acquiring the right skills for a career in a trade is easy if you know where to look. Specialist trainers like Able Skills offer a whole range of courses in all areas of the construction industry, including plumbing, plastering, tiling and many more. However, getting the right training is only one step on the ladder of setting up a successful business. There are other, non-trade related factors that can throw a spanner in the works.

For example, are you spending your evenings up to your elbows in quotes, estimates and pricing? Perhaps just the prospect of stacks of paperwork is putting you off getting started on your own?

Producing quotations is a vital part of keeping the work flowing for any trade business, but finishing a day’s work on-site only to come home and face a mountain of quotes can be tough. So, it’s no surprise that admin is the number one frustration for tradespeople in the UK. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Here we share our top five tips for conquering your quotes and creating easier estimates.

 1. Quote Quickly

Slow quotes cause customer frustration. In fact, some 83% of 10,000 customers surveyed say that the speed they receive a quote to be their biggest frustration when dealing with trade businesses.

Getting quotes out more quickly doesn’t only save your customers frustration, completing them quickly also means you’re not stockpiling paperwork to finish at a later date, saving yourself stress.

Your quote is your chance to showcase your business, get a head-start on your competition and keep your customers happy. Quicker quoting is better for you and your customers. As part of many AbleSkills courses, our experienced instructors can pass on tips and first-hand knowledge about how to quote accurately and quickly.

2. Quote or Estimate?

Be clear with your customers on whether you are providing them with a quote or an estimate for the work they want completed. What’s the difference? Here’s a quick reminder:

An estimate is your best guess of the price based on experience and industry knowledge. It’s informal and loose, and not used as a legal standpoint for price.

A quote is an exact price for the job. It’s presented formally and acts as a contract. It’s therefore a legal standpoint for price.

 3. Detailed Breakdown

Providing a detailed breakdown of the work you’re completing gives your customer peace of mind that they’re getting exactly what they want and what they’re paying for. It also means you’re avoiding potential disputes later down the line. When detailing the work you’re completing, be sure to focus on the benefits your customer will receive, rather than just the activity you’re selling.

Here’s a quick tip for providing more detail without spending more time: Try to standardise as many of your services as possible. Whilst most work is bespoke, there are common elements for every job. Identify those common services and get them written up in detail. This will save you lots of time and speed up the process of providing well detailed quotes. On Able Skills courses you will get an idea of some of the standard tasks that will be required time after time on jobs, this will help you to identify areas where you can simplify quotes.

 4. Clear Pricing

Being clear with your pricing is better for you and better for your customers. You both want to be clear on what work is expected to be completed, and what payments are required – and when.

Consider these questions when quoting, and make sure your quote answers them clearly:

Does the quoted price include or exclude VAT?

Is there a deposit required to start work? Or a payment schedule?

Are all the required materials and labour costs included in your price?

Being clear with your pricing helps avoid any disputes later and means expectations are set from the get-go. This is something we always encourage at Able Skills. Effective communication is as important as being able to do the job properly in the first place, especially if you want to avoid hassle and stress down the line.

 5. Plan to Follow up

So, you’ve completed your quote, great. What next? Make sure the time and effort you spent quoting isn’t going to waste. Keep the lines of communication with your customer open and ensure your customers know how to get hold of you.

Chasing up with customers with courtesy calls is a great way to stay in touch and stay in your customers mind. Plus it might mean more work for you in the future. Inviting questions about the work you’ve quoted for will also help ensure you start building trust with your customers. All Able Skills courses can provide insight into how to create and maintain successful relationships with clients.

BONUS: Take an Able Skills trade training course and get a discount on online software

Able Skills have teamed up to make paperwork and admin easier for our students. Able Skills students get 25% off from for an entire year. Simply register for any of our construction or trade courses to be eligible. YourTradeBase makes easy online software that helps tradespeople work smarter, do less admin and stay organised.

It’s just another way that Able Skills is helping tradespeople to be successful. From offering flexible courses, including non-accredited training right through to qualification-based programmes, we try to fit in with just about every possible working scenario. This includes passing on our expertise about how to make quoting easier so that your business flourishes without the need to scale mountains of paperwork.