Many businesses need to issue quotes or estimates for their prospective clients. Very often standard systems offer only a basic option that requires you to perform all the calculations externally, and manually, and then transfer the details to a simple form letter or email.
We appreciate that the process of building a quote takes a lot of time and very often needs to be revised before you issue it to the customer. Therefore, we offer significant flexibility over how you build a quote, and how you control margins and profit. This ensures that you only issue quotes that will result in profitable orders.
Here are some of the key features of one of our bespoke quotation systems:
Hierarchical structure to build quotes
The idea is that you build a quote by creating a hierarchy based on your needs. Perhaps you manufacture something, so you have a bill of materials that needs costing by component, or constituent parts.
Think of a recipe … to make spaghetti bolognese you need spaghetti and bolognese (no surprises there!). For the bolognese part you need mince and sauce. The sauce consists of multiple ingredients – tomato, garlic, onion, and so on.
One of our quotation systems will allow you to build the meal up element by element. Each one is costed, linked to a supplier, and allocated a margin that you can default or adjust as required. It can be a fiddly business building a quote this way, but for some businesses it’s the only way to be sure of making money on each and every job. Also, it’s probably less work than all that messing about on bits of paper, especially when someone changes their mind about what they want!
Multiple options on one quotation
Sometimes you need to offer the customer a choice between a standard and premium product or service, or between two different styles and types of product.
That is straightforward in one of our systems, as you can replicate the first option if you want, and then go through it making the alterations to the details. You don’t need to start from scratch every time.
The option becomes the top level in the quote hierarchy, so all the elements for each option are effectively quotes in their own right.
We’re also careful to be aware of the fact that quotes contains options, so you don’t double up on your sales pipeline. A quote for two options worth around £5,000 each is not going to be £10,000-worth of business, sadly!
Adjustable margins and prices
Our systems always allow you to change margins, either on individual elements, or on the entire job. You can also decide on a selling price, so if your system tells you it should be £4,750 you can decide to make it £5,000 and the margins will recalculate accordingly.
Our systems have supported all sorts of requirements from rounding up the selling prices to the nearest £100, and recalculating the margins, to enabling the client to adjust the final selling price, and then changing all the component selling prices and margins to match.
Every business raises quotes in a unique way, it seems!
Paper free process
Our quotes, when complete, are usually output as PDF documents, fully formatted and professionally laid out. These documents are saved on your server, and then emailed to the customer. You can choose to have follow-up reminders, and you can also control the level of detail that the customer receives. You may want a simple letter giving the cost of the work, or perhaps a detailed listing of the prices for each element of the hierarchical quotation.
Integrated and flexible
Obviously our quotation systems come with a full contact management capability – this covers customers and suppliers, and offers a degree of CRM capability, as required.
It is also possible to convert a quotation into a batch of supplier purchase orders, once it has been accepted. Alternatively, we have generated job sheets for the factory floor, all based on the data you have already entered.
The principle we work by is that once you have typed something in, you shouldn’t need to type it again.
So, there are a few of the key elements – in short, it’s a bespoke system designed to meet your requirements, but based on a few tried and tested processes. We are confident that a version can be built for your business, whatever its complexities.
Your accounting system’s quotes option is unlikely to cut it, as it needs to be very generic. It almost certainly won’t allow you to create or control a bill of materials with separate costs, margins and selling prices for every component.
Our systems needn’t cost the earth, either. We work using standard Microsoft Office software that you have probably already got. Generally, this means Microsoft Access for the user interface, and SQL Server for the data storage. Again, we have used different back-end databases, and different ways of hosting the solution, so it’s very much a bespoke offering.
Everyone wants to know the prices, but of course that’s difficult when every project is different. From experience, many projects fall between £2,500 and £5,000 as a very rough guide. We give fixed prices, so you have that security as well. These sums of money are relatively easy to recover in the time saved in manually calculating and assembling quotes, which can be considerable in some businesses.
Why not call us today, or fill in the contact form on this website? We will always have an initial meeting free of charge, to see what ideas we can bring to the table.