Quoting: Taking Risks and Changing Mindsets

Jon again, business coach from Byron Bay where the weather is always warm and streets are full of beautiful European backpackers.

I’ve been talking about how you can spend less time quoting and more time on the selling part – remember, price is only a small part of why people choose one supplier over another – It is mostly about trust.

So if you put all your effort into quoting – giving someone a price – and you neglect to work through the rest of the decision with them, you are doing yourself a disservice.

I think I’ve done it to death a bit, but today I want to tell the story of Adam who changed his approach to quoting and changed his business model quite significantly and got his Monday nights back, got his cash flow dramatically better and made himself a much happier man.

Adam was a TV Antenna guy. Most of his business came from an ad in the local paper and Yellow Pages and from a relationship he had with a TV shop. So calls would come in a people would want to know how much it would cost to install a new antenna or repair the one they had.

Adam would make a time to drop round and scope out the site (measuring up), then he’d go home and write up a quote and email it to the person, call them in the morning and try to book in a time to do the job.

It gets worse. He’d do the job and go home and do all his invoices on Monday night, post them (snail mail) then wait for people to pay. Then, after a week or two, he’d start calling people to remind them to pay him.

It took us a while to get our heads around this – this was before Xero and the automated payment systems that are around now (more about those later) – but this is what we decided to do:

We built a flat rate calculator. This is our made up name for a price list for most of the jobs that he would normally do.

If you need a UHF antenna they cost about $200 (I can’t remember, just go with it). Cable depends on how much you need. It was usually between 10 and 30m. Bits and pieces were always required and the job would take between 1 hour and 2 depending on the site (height of the house etc).

So it was hard to set an exact price.

In fact, it took a pretty big change in Adam’s attitude to make the change – he had to accept that his flat rate pricing tool would win on some jobs and lose on others – this is very different from do and charge, isn’t it?

So we made up some prices that we thought were OK and off he went.

Now he could quote over the phone with a few simple questions, book the job in straight away (saved a visit to the site already) and write an invoice up on the spot too.

He bought a GPRS eftpos machine and took payments straight away too.

So he saved a whole trip to site for the quote, saved his Monday nights from invoicing (looked after the baby instead – his wife was very happy) and made his cash flow loads better.

It also meant he could fit more jobs into a week because he saved the trips to site, so he increased his capacity to do the work – and made more money.

Nowadays, you can do some of this electronically with Xero and Invoice2go and tools like that.

In the Tradies Toolkit, we’ll talk about how to build a flat rating tool, if that is appropriate for your business (or a similar one if it isn’t).

And we’ll talk about the options for automating your invoicing and the rest of your back office, including project management, job and hours tracking and payment systems. There’s a whole new world out there, you know.

Now, I want to hear from you. Have you thought about implementing any of these systems but haven’t yet? What is holding you back?

Tell me in the comments below.

Small Fish Business Coaching
Tradies Toolbox


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