How to build job-winning quotes without losing your hardhat

Paul Eyers
By Paul Eyers
6 Min Read

It’s probably one of the most hated parts of running your own trade business.

Time-consuming, stressful, and sometimes all-for-nothing, quoting jobs can leave even the best tradies pulling out so much hair they may have been better off leaving their hardhats on.

For most of us, it’s hard to think of a worse end to the day than putting down the tools just to spend hours quoting for clients that could be price shoppers or time wasters.

But quoting doesn’t have to be more dreaded than a jackhammer early on Sunday morning.

A good quote is the go-to tool for capturing more clients and setting your business apart from the rest of the trade.

So whether you’re a growing company or a one-person band, Build-it is here to help you learn the tricks of the trade to construct job-landing quotes.

Be precise

Quoting accurately builds trust and could be the difference between customers returning or paying on time.

Going back to a client and asking for more cash to finish the job is a sure way to seal their opinion of you as a shoddy workman.

While overcharging is a quickfire way to leave your business with a bad reputation.

That’s why quoting materials and labour right the first time is essential.

You can find some of these market prices online across various building retailer websites, although you will have to spend time shopping around and making sure you use the trade pricing portal if it is available.

An alternative method is subscribing to a construction cost publication, which provides trusted and reliable pricing information updated throughout the year.

Some construction costing guides even come with digital versions, which ensures easy quotes and invoicing compatibility accessible from the office or on the job.

Include finer details

Quoting should be done with a mindset of “the more, the better.”

Customers will appreciate clarity regarding what works are covered and what aspects may cost them extra.

Ensuring customers know your labour and material breakdowns, including all the prep work, clean up, and quantified materials, can help positively manage expectations and leave them with no unwanted surprises on payment.

Don’t be scared to give upgrade options and provide their costing, too; It shows initiative and a drive to provide the best possible service.

Lastly, include terms and conditions for payments, additional costs and job changes to prevent post-job disputes before they arrive.

Give a schedule

Providing a realistic timeline for your work in your quote is another way to diminish problems which could arise further down the line.

A work schedule will give your client an idea of how much the customer’s life will be disrupted and when to anticipate those frustrations.

But make sure to include possible additional time for unexpected job complexity, weather disruptions and other potential delays.

Showcase trust

Another way to write a job-winning quote is to convince clients they can trust your workmanship.

You can include references and customer testimonials with your quote as part of its template, ideally on a separate page or at the bottom of the email.

Ensure the quote includes all qualifications, licence numbers and associated industries that may reassure more wary clients with tradie-phobia after hearing about dodgy deals and scams.

Lastly, encourage the client to get in contact should they have any questions or concerns and include both written (email) and direct (phone) contact options to suit them.

Embrace technology

Using digital tech as part of your quoting process can help eliminate errors, boost efficiency, and increase customer satisfaction.

Embracing the shift to digital quoting is crucial for the future of your business and can be easily managed with the right tools and training.

Many programs and platforms can offer ways to manage jobs and relationships and generate quick quotes all in one place.

While digital cost guides can provide an up-to-date source of pricing data regarding both labour and materials itemised for every trade.

Following up

An area many tradies need to brush up on when it comes to quoting is the follow-up.

Fear of rejection, forgetfulness or a busy schedule can lead many tradies to miss out on work the client is happy to agree to.

Following up can be done as a courtesy call under the guise of addressing any objections or concerns they may have.
Reaching out a few days after sending the quote is the perfect time to touch base with clients.

Showing interest without making potential customers feel pressured shows a commitment to their project that may just win you the job.

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Paul Eyers has worked as a journalist for a range of media publishers including News Corp and Network Ten. He has also worked outside of Australia, including time spent with ABS-CBN in the Philippines. Stepping away from the media, Paul spent five years sharpening his tools in construction - building his skill set and expertise within the trade industry. His diverse experiences and unique journey have equipped him with an insider view of Australia’s construction game to dig deep into the big stories.