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5 Ways to Win More Jobs from Your Estimates

Do you know how to quote to win (and beat your competition?)

Let’s delve into why crafting a winning estimate and focusing only on quoting for Class A clients, is simple, yet important.

Estimating is a big part of a contractor’s sales process. The goal is to win profitable work with clients you actually want to work with.

A 10%, 20%, (or more) increase on your estimate-to-win ratio will have a direct effect on your bottom line. Within minutes of reading this article, you’ll be able to increase it with the following proven strategies.

1. Measure your estimate-to-win ratio

Getting a gauge on your estimate-to-win ratio will allow you to see what is working, what is not working, and why. In less than 30 minutes, you can take a look at what you quoted in the last month and compare what you had won vs. what you hadn’t won.

What is the ratio between quotes won vs. not won? Once you’re aware of this number, your focus will be in the right place. As mentioned above, if you can focus on upping the ratio, even just a fraction, it will greatly impact your bottom line in a positive way.

One of the easiest ways to improve your win ratio is by allowing the customer to pay in installments.

2. Look at the details

Regardless of the number of estimates you write, the key to your success is producing a quality estimate that wows your clients.

Customers crave information and transparency. If you were at a restaurant and saw a burger advertised without any description for a whopping $15, it wouldn’t sound very appetizing.

But if the burger description looked something like this: “Two juicy beef patties layered with aged cheddar and bacon, smothered in fresh homemade garlic aioli, all topped on a homemade bun, for $15,” you would probably be more enticed to buy it.

If you are currently estimating without any details (such as the description of the burger on the menu in our example), you are not properly educating your customers on why they should buy from you.

  • Every estimate you send out should contain enough detail to educate your customer, but not overwhelm them. At the end of the estimate, the customer should feel fully confident in all of the services and materials they are receiving.
  • Spell out the benefits of your services and product.
  • Put a description that underlines items when there is something non-standard or custom.
  • Break down your labor rate into hours or the number of people present per job.
  • Include before photos or areas of interest in the estimate.
  • Make it easy for clients to follow up with you by including your office and personal phone and email.
  • Layout instructions for after-care or anything the customer might have to do.

3. Learn how to protect yourself and your customer

One of the most common complaints we hear from end customers is that warranties and terms are not clear enough on estimates. If you offer any form of limited or lifetime warranty on your products or services you need to let customers know! Customers will naturally look to you to fix the issues whether it is your responsibility or not.

This is also a great time to up-sell service work and maintenance contracts. Consider adding a condition that the warranty is void should the customer not use you for maintenance. Set clear dates in the estimate for how long until their next service call will be.

4. Make sure you know your markup

It is often easy to overlook other costs besides labor and material. Check out the easy-to-use Pricing for Profits calculator that will help you figure out exactly how much of a mark up you should be adding to each (and every) job. The last thing you want is to win jobs at low or no profit!

5. Filter fast

One of the first steps in learning to estimate properly is determining who to do estimates for. Do you constantly run around writing up estimates only to have just a handful of them convert into paying customers? It’s important to know that many of these leads aren’t even opportunities worth pursuing. Part of being a great contractor is having the insights on when to stay no.

Knowing the following filtering criteria are non-negotiable before you estimate a project:

  • Is this person the decision-maker?
  • Do they have a budget?
  • When do they need the work to be done by?
  • Is this a want or a need?

Download the Profit For Contractors Filter Fast Tool today and start managing your leads and opportunities before you spend time writing an estimate.

At the end of the day, mastering how to do estimates that ‘wow’ your customers — that ensure you’re profitable, that let you know which strategies are working and which ones are not, is a process. The top contractors who get this process nailed down are able to reduce the roller coaster of having too little work and having too much work.

They’re able to be selective with the customers they work with and they are able to scale their business beyond them because the process is a system that their team can follow without them having to be there.

A big thanks to our friends at Profit For Contractors who provided this guest post. For more resources from them, check out their free monthly webinars that cover estimating and increasing your profitability.

Andrew Houston

Andrew Houston is the founder & owner of Profit for Contractors. He has been dedicated to helping trades-based companies grow profitably over the last decade. Andrew is the go-to coach for contractors and has worked with 100s of companies.

Photo of Andrew Houston

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