How To Write A Quote For A Job?

Many contractors are a bit confused as to How To Quote on a Job – that is, how to write the quote up so as not to provoke negative reactions from customers!

You can write up a basic quote in one of the following 2 ways:

  1. You can write on the quote “Garden Makeover – beds cleared and weeded, install drip irrigation, mulch installed, 10 plants installed – Total Cost of Garden Makeover = $1,200”, or
  2. You can itemize the quote as follows:

Garden Makeover includes:

Beds Weeded and Cleared

Mow Lawns

Sweep all paths and hard surfaces at end of job

Parts – Drip Irrigation supply=$100

Supply 10 Plants=$200

Supply Mulch=$150

Remove Waste=$100


Total Cost=$1,200

I think there are merits for either proposal, however, you do leave yourself exposed to “picky” customers if you give a breakdown in price as in the second option.

I would be inclined to write up a quote for a Garden Makeover with all the different tasks listed and materials supplied without the breakdown in prices. The only price you give is the Total Fixed Price for the complete Garden Makeover.

The advantages of Fixed Price Quoting are:

  • You can tell the customer (if and when they require quotes) to use your itemized list for other contractors to quote on (without disclosing the Total Fixed Price)
  • Your itemized list will be very very detailed, so other contractors will be more inclined to be more conservative in their pricing of the job (ie. they are more likely to charge higher)
  • The prospect cannot compare your labour rates with someone else – some customers or prospects get hung up with how much money you are making, so don’t give them an Hourly Rate. With the Fixed Price Quote, the customer cannot work out your hourly rate!
  • Your detailed list of tasks to be completed makes it difficult for customers to argue about what was promised – your promises are detailed in quote itemization

Other things to remember when quoting are:

  • Your quote should only be valid for say 30 days – this would be part of your pro-forma quote/letterhead
  • Only give prices on site, not over the phone
  • Don’t quote hourly rates
  • Use your camera or telephone camera to take photos of jobs before and after – this will help settle disputes very quickly
  • Photos of plants installed – this way if the plants are stolen you are covered
  • Revise your pricing if you are getting more than 65% of jobs you have quoted on
  • Your quote for lawn mowing should be detailed
  • Review a previous post on How To Do Business with Customers and Prospects

If you have any other ideas on How To Write a Quote For A Job please leave a comment with this article.

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