Do This Before You Quote for a Job

In business it is crucial to acquire a steady stream of clients. And many a time this will depend on your quote which cannot change once given to the client.
So before you quote

Speak to the client

Let the client tell you in as much detail as possible what they think needs to be done. If possible, let them show you samples or examples of similar work so you know exactly what they want you to do.
Ask a lot of questions, as people often can be vague about their needs and sometimes won’t actually know what goes into a job but just know what they want the final outcome to be.

Evaluate the work

Before you commit and throw out some numbers, thoroughly evaluate the job the client would like done. In some instances, this means you must actually visit the client’s site to evaluate the job properly.
Make sure you have the materials, the staff and all the in-puts that you will need to get the job done. Leave nothing to chance and make sure that you have understood the assignment and are able to carry it out to best of your ability. And more important, to the client’s satisfaction.

Research your competition

This will help you compare and make sure that your quote is not so little that you end up not making any money or it is too much that you lose the job. This, however, does not mean you cannot make your quote a little higher than someone else-you can. Especially if you have the required experience, a number of positive reviews and the references to back you up.
If you are very new to the business, avoid as much as possible underbidding the competition. You won’t make any money that way, and potential clients may be suspicious if your quote seems too low. Just be confident in your skills and avoid quoting yourself out off a job.

Check your schedule

Always check to see if you are available to do the work on the date proposed. And always ask the date by which the client wants the job completed so that you can fulfill their wish. If you know it would take you 1 or 2 days to complete a job on your own, but you’ve already committed to another project that will take more of your time during the period the client wants the job completed, you may need extra help. Or, you may need to refer your client to someone who can do the job in the time required so you don’t over-extend yourself and risk disappointing.

Make an estimate

Your estimate should include at least a rough figure of what the costs will be to you to complete the project. If the job requires tools that you don’t own or have available to you, find out the cost for purchasing or renting those tools and include these costs in your estimate.
Also, include the number of people you may need (if any) because as mentioned before, it is important to keep to the date which the client wants the job done so you do not miss their deadline.
You can communicate the initial estimate to the client but let them know that it is just an estimate and is not binding. For you as well as for them.

Prepare the quote

Even though some client’s will be satisfied with verbal communication, it is better for you to give a potential client a printed quotation. Yes, this is a binding and states the exact figure of how much you’ll charge but this will also show that you have confidence in your skills and your work product.
Deliver your quote quickly and be sure to thank the client for their business and express your enthusiasm about getting the project. Make sure that you make a follow-up within 2 or 3 days and find out if they’ve made a decision because knowing early whether you’ve got the job can help you plan your work schedule and manage your resources efficiently.


A Zambian site sharing quick read articles around work, money and adulting life with selective interviews and quotes.
The founder, editor and lead writer who left university with a good grasp of public administration, economics, money, banking and international relations is also qualified in journalism and creative writing. She has been published in Drum and The BBC Focus on Africa Magazine and has been featured in several local and international publications.
An avid bird watcher with an extraordinary fondness for chikanda ( a Zambian delicatessen that vegans and non-vegans world-wide are putting on their bucket list ) she often tweets in poetry and short prose @kwachalelo