Shawn Cadeau. Image: Jobber
Shawn Cadeau Cro Jobber

Three Quoting Best Practices to Stand Out from the Competition

Oct. 14, 2020
Often, quotes are the first real touch point a customer has with your company—a true make or break situation.

By Shawn Cadeau, Chief Revenue Officer, Jobber

While some professionals are able to set consistent pricing with the services they provide, plumbers are a unique exception. For a scheduled job with easy access to pipes, an hourly rate generally works. When it’s an emergency call-out to an older home with a flooded basement and galvanized pipes, quoting a job becomes a little harder.

Quoting mistakes are bad for business. Often, quotes are the first real touch point a customer has with your company—a true make or break situation. When putting together a quote, you need to make sure it’s both accurate and a professional reflection of your company. To ensure that you don’t let quoting get in the way of landing a job, below are three, easy-to-follow tips that will give you a leg up on your competition.

Price your jobs using a formula

You can provide the best service in the area and still fail to turn a profit because you didn’t price your services correctly. While experience, credentials, and industry standards help in measuring the value of your time and the materials you need to complete a job, there are still many factors to consider.

When you begin mapping out your customer’s quote, start by figuring out your base hourly rate. Write down how much you want to make per week and divide that by the number of billable hours you can work. Once you have that number, add in your “labor burden” (taxes, vacation time, insurance, the equivalent of a pension) and adjust your rate to include these items. Next, calculate your overhead and profit margin and add that to your base hourly rate. This will give you your net billable hourly rate.

Once you have this rate figured out and you are ready to make a bid, make sure you gather all of your costs for that job. This includes additional materials or extra fees such as taxes, permits, subcontracting, or extraordinary expenses like onsite dumpsters or correction of existing plumbing. Add the cost of your materials with the projected amount of time needed for the job. This will give you an accurate quote to share with your potential customer.

Use technology to create professional and timely quotes

Many plumbing operations still rely heavily on a pen and paper to document processes and transactions. The trouble with this method, besides lost notepads, ripped papers, and illegible handwritten notes, is that using pen and paper makes you appear less professional to customers.

Using home service management software that allows you to create quotes on the spot, issue an invoice when the job is complete, and accept electronic payments, not only streamlines your operations and improves efficiency, it helps you look more professional to customers. The advantage of being able to send a quote to a potential customer’s email or by text message from the field also helps speed up the decision-making process.

The ability to add images to quotes allows plumbers to show customers what work will be completed, as well as add clarity on products being purchased for the job. Images can be used to show “add-on” services, which can increase the value of each job by upselling clients with premium products, customization options, maintenance plans, and warranties. Combining add-on options with visuals provides you with the confidence to increase the revenue per customer and grow your business.

Another way to boost job sizes is by segmenting a customer’s quote into tiered packages. By offering a selection of basic to premium packages, you can highlight the range of services your business provides. Combining packages with descriptions, photos, and pricing, gives customers all the information they need to decide what’s best for them and their budget. Features like these, provided through a software solution like Jobber, give homeowners and commercial customers the confidence to approve quotes right away, while streamlining processes and storing information safely in one place.

Following up on outstanding quotes

You’ve priced your job right and sent a prospective customer a professional quote with a breakdown of pricing, pictures, and tiered options, but you still haven’t heard back. This is common, as your potential customer likely requested quotes from a few different providers. Put together a process so you don’t forget to follow up on your quotes. Collect all important contact information upfront and give yourself a three-day reminder to follow up. Using a technology solution that allows you to automate quote follow-ups is a way to come across as professional while cutting down on “phone tag” with customers.

Winning more business and increasing your revenue can be achieved with professional looking quotes. Getting the quoting process right requires that you provide transparency into your pricing, incorporating visuals, offering add-ons or tiered packages, and following-up on any outstanding quotes. It may take time to perfect it, but with the right technology solution, you can get there faster and look better while doing it. 

Shawn Cadeau is the Chief Revenue Officer at Jobber, a venture-backed home services software company that helps small businesses deliver more than $15 billion in services to more than 12 million people. In his current role, Shawn is responsible for the company’s global growth strategy and leads the sales, marketing, business operations, and customer success teams. He has 15 years of experience holding C-level positions at technology companies, including Vena Solutions, FreshBooks, and Corel Corporation.

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