Keeping up with doing quotes

It's starting already and this is probably the one thing that I don't do very well.  Going round seeing people and then actually producing a quote within a reasonable timescale.

I try to get a feel for timewasters on the phone but sometimes it's hard to tell.  I prefer to reflect on what I've seen (I take photo's every time) and give written quotes so I never give a price while there.

I have quote templates set up in Jobber and I've taken on an admin person to handle some of the initial calls.  People who use the Jobber "work request" links via our webpage and Facebook page are automatically populated into Jobber, so that helps.  However, I'm still on the tools most of the time, so have to fit them around jobs, evenings or Saturdays.  I rarely do Sundays as that is supposed to be my family day.

I'm pushing for fixed monthly cost maintenance mainly, so perhaps I should have a pricelist for my reference only, depending on how many hours I estimate for the year and give them a ball park figure while I'm there?


Any hot tips boys and girls?

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  • PRO

    Hi Darren,

    this is the world of growing a small business - you, yourself, move around being a resource bottleneck for different tasks. At the end of the day, there are only so many hours you can work, keep a life balance, not get drained/injured etc.

    At the moment, it's quoting; once you get the work, it'll be tool-time. It's just shifts...

    So, yes, make existing tasks efficient as possible. If you like, have a pricelist, be able to quote there and then, and quickly, leaving them something thought-out, professional and consistent. Strike quickly, get an immediate decision, but don't be pushy. Most people if happy will decide straigt away. I fill out a 2 sided quote form, leave it with them, fully priced up, and photo it on the smart phone before handing it over for my records. Thats lawn care, but do the same for mowing and garden tidies etc.

    The other thing is delegate/outsource what you can to others to free up some of your time. When doing this, know what you're worth to the business per hour & factor that in. Simple admin tasks eg book-keeping, phone answering, quote follow-ups, payroll, scheduling, customer contact etc

    At some point, you'll need more tool-time resource, then that's another whole world of problems / opportunities. Maybe you're there already though!

  • PRO

    I don't know what sort of range of jobs you are quoting for but I base what I do on the amount of time it's going to take. Most people would say you should over-estimate time if you are quoting for tasks, that's partly why I quote for number of hours which then just allows me to do 4 or 5 hours or whatever and I get done what I can in the time. Clients like this too I find because they can budget for what they are spending each month. Clearly if you are doing a monthly job where you have to do, say, a large lawn, a long tall hedge and maybe a few other tasks like weeding a few beds, that's going to take you a good 4-5 hours depending on the equipment you have. Time to get the equipment in and out is also a factor of course, and whether they want lawn treatments and the like periodically in which case add on an hour or two when you need to do these things. This seems a straightforward system to me. 

    If you have that many enquiries that you have taken on an admin person and so on then presumably you are getting quite a few enquiries. I always try and see clients when I'm in the area working anyway but this may be difficult to do in your case perhaps. Grouping potential clients in a similar area may be one way of getting round the time wasting element if feasible at all, so if one in three clients goes with your quote you haven't wasted your time. Hope that helps in some small way.

  • PRO

    I know the feeling Darren, I have a similar problem following up with doing quotes if I leave them until after the site visit.  Never find time to get them done !  I find it better to give a price on the spot when I can, and then you can tell from the reaction from the customer whether it's worth following up or not.

    To make this easier to do I use a crib sheet of monthly prices based on the number of hours per normal visit would cost, then add in any extras applicable such as a hedgecut twice a year costed at £x divided by 12, extra hours for leaf clearance in autumn costed at £x divided by 12 etc.  Note all these down on your survey sheet, tot these up and present the price to the customer on the spot with a confident smile.

    I picked up a tip from Gary RK to go one step further and have a weighting factor on your crib sheet, so you can have a price template based on easy/average/difficult garden.  For instance, if the garden has easy access/good location/nice customer I might use the 'easy' weighting factor which might be 'average' price x 0.9.  Likewise if the garden has bad access/trampoline to move/poor location I might use the 'difficult' weighting factor which might be 'average' price x 1.1.

    Hope that made sense !

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