June 14, 2022
A current project has reminded me just how difficult it is to pull cost estimates together. You would think that with business being slow due to the oil slump, sales departments would be eager to get their prices out to viable projects. Unfortunately, nothing seems to happen for my client without multiple nagging phone calls. This discourages companies from trying new suppliers and hurts your incoming order volume. When I first got responsibility for quotes I was very afraid of making mistakes and tended to brood over the numbers for way too long. After being nagged a bit I sought guidelines from upper management and held meetings several times a week to review what was in the quote queue. We settled on some rules regarding type of work, size of project, and customer history. This helped us get quotes to good customers — or potential customers — for “good” projects in a very short period of time. We also politely, but quickly, declined things that were not our type of work and, where possible, directed those inquiries to other vendors. This cleared up time for quoting more challenging parts in greater detail. By setting time aside every day for quotes, we avoided the logjam that irritated customers. You aren’t quoting and you aren’t booking when you are being nagged. Prompt quotes help clients book orders; booked orders mean more work for reliable suppliers. The system rewards those who keep the information flowing and punishes those who can’t make up their minds. Treat quotes as a valuable commodity that have to be tended to every day. It just makes good business sense and will actually reduce your stress level.