Quoting for a potential job can be a minefield, and as many experienced appliers will know, can make or break not only your chances of winning a job, but your profit margins too.
Every decorator will have a different method and approach to quoting and giving estimates. With so many variables and considerations to take into account, we asked you for your top tips on giving customers quotes, so that you're armed with all the expertise of your fellow professionals before you weigh up your next job.
Rule number one for quoting to an accurate standard is to ask the right questions. This is something you already do, but as Steve Trebilcook of Refresh Property Services reminds us, it's important to guide and encourage your customer to make sure they give you all the relevant information before you start on costings:
'A client will perceive a quote to be good value based on a number of factors. What is involved to provide the client with their request? Is the client looking for a quick refresh because they are moving, for example? Decorators need to ask the correct questions to get the answers needed to prepare a quote. Then you have the other areas of consideration; your overheads, staff wages etc, as well as how long the job will take, the materials involved and the level of skill required. So it's not just time but also experience that needs to get factored in. There are so many different variables that go into making a quote "accurate" and a true reflection of your worth and experience and the service you provide.?
Take your time
Facebook follower Sean Loveridge says; 'Take time to assess the job properly and mention anything the customer may have overlooked.' Talking to your customer and getting to know the requirements for the space in question will give you a fuller picture of what products and systems are needed, so your quote can take into account these materials costs.
And while it's important not to rush your quote, it's equally important of course to get back to your customer relatively quickly. Decorator Neil Armstrong advises; 'Get your quote back to the customer within 48 hours.'
Costing each element on the room based on time taken or size of area is a good way to achieve an accurate and itemised quote for your customer. It'll also help to get your kit, tools and materials prepared and organised at the same time.
Steve Cranenburgh says 'I break everything down to standard prices. For example, price per square metre for painting, paper hanging etc. Skirting per metre, doors and frames, per side, etc.'
Sean Loveridge adds; 'Break the job down into preparation, repairs, order of how the job will be carried out, time it will take, and a list of materials for total costing for quote.'
This follows from the previous point - showing your customer a detailed and itemised quote will give them confidence and trust in your expertise.
Louie Martin's tip is to always include a method statement with your quote 'so the customer can see exactly what you're planning to do.'
But it works both ways - your customer needs to be clear and upfront with you (see point 1!).
As Charlie Budd says; 'It's all about communication. Both the customer and the decorator need to be clear about what needs doing, and the standard of work required. Is it to be minimal preparation and a freshen up? Or, at the other end of the spectrum, do walls and woodwork need stripping, and starting again from a blank canvas? A quick spruce up of walls could take a day. A refresh of ceiling, walls and woodwork could take several days. But to completely renovate a period room can take weeks of work. Clarity of the scope of the work is the most important thing.'
Prepare for the unexpected
Of course, with all the preparation in the world, somethings things take an unexpected turn on a job. Mark Wilson makes a good point around semantics; 'We don't quote we 'estimate' and add a small contingency for unforeseen circumstances.'
Tell us your tried and tested tips and join the conversation on our Facebook page.