What Are The Tools For Generating Trade Quotes? | Checkatrade
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The now and future of quoting with video

When quoting for any job, it’s important to get the details just right. In this article we look at what quoting tools are out there, and how video quotes can help tradespeople.

How you price up and quote for work can make the difference between getting a job or losing it. You’ll need to include factors such as labour costs, material costs and overheads.

Whatever the amounts you’re looking to charge, you’ll need to display your quote in a way your customer can understand.

From physical quotes through to tools such as our own trade app and Loom, let Checkatrade guide you through the past, present and future of trade quoting tools.

Where were we? – Past quoting tools

Settling on an amount to charge before starting any work is an important part of any business. Many jobs have been and still are carried out based on a verbal agreement and nothing more.

In recent years, tradespeople have been regularly quoting in written form before starting any work. Having a cost confirmed in black and white is beneficial for both business and customer.

These are some of the tried and tested methods that are still regularly being used.

Pen and paper

Simple to create, this is still the most popular way to quote for work. Some businesses like to use branded notebooks or duplicate pads.

This is convenient as the most time-saving method, but may not look the most professional. It seems quick and easy, but a piece of paper can also get lost or damaged.

This method can also prove challenging if you’re not confident with maths. Adding up a lot of line items, such as with a kitchen or bathroom installation, can prove tricky if you aren’t good with sums.

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Spreadsheet

For the more technically minded, a spreadsheet can provide simple-to-use formulas and fields to fill in. This is useful if you provide a set range of services or regularly sell the same products.

However, if you’ve ever used programmes such as Microsoft Excel, you’ll know there can be a complicated setup and you may need training about formulas.

An exported spreadsheet will include the right information but may not look good for your customers.

Word

A simple Word document is a popular choice for tradespeople that want a quote to look good without using a dedicated quoting tool.

Typing out the information needed, rather than writing it on paper, means that the information can be sent easily. Quotes can also be printed and sent. It is a good combination of security and professional look.

However, like pen and paper, you’ll still need to work out your own maths. This could prove more challenging with more involved jobs.

Written Trade Quote

Where are we? – Current quoting tools

There are more choices than ever when it comes to quoting for trade jobs. As we live in a digital world, most quoting methods are now handled digitally.

If you are still relying on a more traditional method for trade jobs, maybe it is time to look around. One of these options could make a big difference to your trade business.

Quoting tools

Business management software provides a variety of services for tradespeople. But did you know you can also carry out a number of tasks on the Checkatrade app? Available only for our members, the easy to use quoting and invoicing tool is designed to help save you time.

Quoting tools can also include reporting, customer management and team features. One app that can do all of this on top of generating good-looking quotes is a great option for both sole traders and smaller businesses.

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CRM systems

For larger and enterprise businesses, there are Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools that as part of much wider functionality can be used to generate quotes.

There are many CRMs out there such as Salesforce, Zoho and Sugar. Some will have the ability to generate retail quotes, but for smaller businesses they can prove expensive.

Zoom

When Covid-19 hit in 2020, many tradespeople began conducting virtual surveys and assessments. The video-conferencing tool Zoom proved to be invaluable, and that technology can still be used for quoting.

Guiding potential customers through options and costs can still prove effective through a Zoom meeting. If the person lives further away, a Zoom call reduces the need for repeatedly travelling.

Loom app

It has regularly been proven that video content gets more engagement online than written words. Giving both the choice of video and screen recording, the Loom app provides a flexible video tool that can be used for creating quotes.

Loom is free screen casting software available via Chrome extension or a desktop app. It allows you to record your camera and screen with audio.

By using a quoting tool, CRM, Word or spreadsheet on your screen, the Loom app allows you to record a video narration as well. So, in addition to the quote, a Loom video can show a customer your reasoning and choices.

Using a video generated by the Loom app will help save further conversations about cost breakdowns. But as something out of the ordinary, it can help you stand out from your competitors.

Video visualisations

Architects have provided drawings for larger projects for many years. With the technology now more available than ever before, video visualisations help your customer see how the finished product will look.

These videos use computer graphics to enhance footage of an existing space. These are a pricey but effective way to help your customer realise the transformation your work will have.

Realistically, these are only an option to be considered with high-end and large jobs, such as complete house renovations, building projects and complete garden overhauls.

Where are we going? – Future quoting tools

Keeping an eye on technology is no longer a ‘nice to have’ for tradespeople: it is a necessity. The digital landscape is constantly changing, and as a result quotes for work could change too.

Virtual Reality (VR)

Going further than video, 3D visualisations and virtual reality headsets will likely become the new normal. Thanks to gadgets such as Meta Quest, VR gaming is already growing in popularity. It won’t be long until businesses follow suit.

VR headsets are coming down in price, and more and more people are adopting this technology. As buyer habits change, you may need to adapt the way you work. The ultimate ‘try before you buy’ will be showing someone exactly how their home/space will be transformed.

For example, in construction and installation businesses, VR will allow every part, process and mechanism to be tested virtually before building starts.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Spreadsheets that include automation are already being used to generate quotes. The development of AI and self-learning tools will mean quoting methods become ever more intuitive.

You may not be aware that both Google and Microsoft are integrating AI in their software. Without even knowing about it, your trade business may already be using AI. As technology changes, your business might too.

While AI has been generating some negative press, at its basic level, self-learning software mimics human behaviours. That means that AI tools could quickly be predicting your quotes and generating them for you.

Conclusions

When it comes to quoting for work, you could benefit from using technology better. From verbal agreements to handwritten notes, tradespeople have been relying on the same methods for years.

With handy tools, such as Checkatrade’s quoting and invoicing tool (available to members) and the Loom App, tradespeople can now easily give great-looking quotes. Having a competitive quote presented well can give you an edge over other trades in your area.

You may not be the most tech-savvy person, but going that little bit further with your quotes could really help you stand out in a harder market. That edge will help you win more work and grow your business.

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