No matter what type of small business you operate, securing and retaining customers is the primary goal. But how do you get there?
First impressions are crucial and can turn a potential buyer into a lifelong customer. For many small businesses, this starts with providing potential customers with a free estimate.
Potential clients will want to know how long the work will take, what they can expect, and what the final costs will be. Although some projects are straightforward, others can get complicated – especially when multiple factors must be taken into account.
Here’s how to create the perfect estimate, so you can be competitive while remaining profitable, and increasing the chances you convert your estimate into a paying job.
Establish a Realistic Timeline and Create Milestones
If you don’t know the specific details for a given project, you will never be able to provide a proper estimate. When a bad estimate is given, you may get the sale, but you will lose future business from the client and people they know.
Bad estimates are bad for business.
Take a step back and examine the full scope of the project. Outline the steps you will need to take to complete the service and be realistic when mapping out the phases.
Once you have a broad understanding of what will need to accomplish, write down a timeline for milestones you’ll hit along the way, based on the agreed upon scope of work. Keep in mind the importance of defining how out-of-scope efforts or changes will be handled and priced.
Consider the Materials Needed and Labor Costs
Outlining the tools and materials you need will be a significant factor in creating your estimate. You may already have many of the items you will need to complete the job, but in some cases, you may need to order additional materials. This will affect your estimate, so be sure to weigh shipping costs and delivery times (be sure to give yourself a bit of wiggle room!).
You’ll also want to predict how many hours of labor the job will take and how many workers will be needed. Depending on the services you offer, you may need to factor in an independent contractor. Add these components to your estimated timeline and cost.
Take Advantage of InvoiceASAP’s Invoicing Platform
Now that you have drawn out an approximate schedule with service milestones, outlined material and labor sourcing, how do you present this information to your client in a way that turns them into a customer?
Many small business owners find the best strategy is to provide a professional, detailed, and easy-to-read estimate to the potential client rather than simply quoting a final cost number over the phone.
With InvoiceASAP, you can breakdown all of the components that go into the final estimated cost so your prospective customer is more comfortable with your quote. You can also include images, detailed notes, and auto-generated reports to create an accurate estimate. When the client can see what they’ll be paying for and how the services will be completed, they’ll trust you to complete the project.
Sign up today for a free InvoiceASAP account and start turning potential customers into sales.