For freelancers and solo-entrepreneurs, providing a quote is a regular feature of dealing with new and existing clients. Whether the project is large or small, clients like to see just how much it’s all going to cost before work begins.
Quotations help business owners to make final decisions and also allow both parties to keep track of schedules and fees. But what do you need to include in a quote? What needs to be written? Isn’t it just a proposal by another name?
Difference Between a Proposal and a Quote
It’s typical for freelancers and clients alike to use the terms ‘quote’ and ‘proposal’ indiscriminately, as though they are one and the same thing. There is however an important difference between the two and it determines how each is written.
A proposal is a persuasive and in-depth document shared with clients who might not yet be fully on-board with the services you deliver. It details the different stages of a project and how they relate to the goals of the client. Price ranges are included but they are usually estimates. At this stage, the client might well be receiving proposals from other freelancers as well.
A quotation is given to a client who has already been sold on the quality of your services. You may have already discussed the finer points of what you’ll deliver after sending an earlier proposal. With a quote, the client just wants to see the services and the prices laid out in black and white. This makes it easier to give the go ahead for you to begin work, whether on certain parts of the project, or all.
Things to Include in a Quote
In many ways, a quote looks similar to a final invoice or deposit request.
It’s for this reason you need to clearly mark the document as being a quote so it’s not later confused with an actual invoice or deposit. ‘Quotation’ written in large capital letters somewhere at the top of the form will immediately inform the recipient what type of document it is.
At the top of the quote form are your details, as the freelancer, as well as the details of your client. These details include business names, owners’ names, addresses, phone numbers and websites.
Below the details of the freelancer and client, it’s good to have a little summary of the project detailing what it’s about and the core services. This needn’t be more than two or three sentences. For example, a freelance graphic designer might note the project involves the designing of a new logo for a coffee shop in New York.
Details of Services and Prices
The next section involves the detailing of the various services you’ll provide together with the payment breakdown for each. While you don’t need a lot of words per section, it’s important the words you do use are accurate and describe exactly the service being provided (also read: Itemize Your Freelance Invoices for Clearer Billing).
Any misunderstandings can result in tensions, scope creep, and payment disputes later on. The larger the project, the more individual service areas there will be.
A freelance copywriter, for example, could be involved in a number of different types of copywriting for one client project. He or she might be writing copy for a website, brochure, social media profiles and case studies, as well as writing monthly blog content and press releases. These individual services need to be segmented, detailed and priced.
All these individual prices are added up and clearly presented as a total balance at the bottom of the quote form.
Details of Payment
Below this final total you can write your payment details. These might include how much you require for an upfront deposit, when it needs to be paid, dates of staggered payments, cross-currency billing details, whether a retainer is required, as well as any discounts you may be offering.
This section can also include how you want to be paid and through what type of payment gateway. You can even include bank payment details and other information beneficial for a client to make a final decision.
Converting a Quote into an Invoice
Why write an invoice when you can just convert an existing quote into a new invoice instead?
Using our Invoice Ninja software, you can do just that. Once the client accepts your quote, it’s automatically converted into a brand new invoice with all the original details, prices, and formatting intact. Both the quotes and the invoices are linked, organized and easily traceable.
Including Proposal Within Quote (as attachment)
While proposals and quotes are two separate things, there’s no reason why they can’t be combined. With Invoice Ninja you can achieve this by attaching the proposal document to the quotation itself. This allows the client to check both documents at the same time without searching for the original proposal elsewhere.
Using Invoice Ninja
Creating and writing a quote has never been easier. With our invoice software you can write and send a quote within a few minutes. Everything is tracked so you know exactly what’s been sent, seen, or is ready to be paid. Then with a few clicks of your mouse, you can convert the quote to an invoice and send it immediately to your client.