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Why Most Electricians Mess Up Quotes And What You Can Do To Sort Yours Out

Do you dread doing quotes and worry that you haven't priced it with enough profit in it for you? Do you also worry that the customer might think it’s too high? Or perhaps that someone you did a similar job for last month will find out that you just quoted someone else a lower price? The problem with doing quotes is that too many Electricians make it way more complicated than it should be.

Even if you've come out of the dark ages and stopped using time-consuming spreadsheets or documents, your fancy new software tools will STILL be useless if you don’t look at your general approach to quoting.

You see, there's a much better way to quote that takes minutes (even for a rewire quote!) once you set it up. And if you do this right, then the majority of your quotes can be done without even paying a visit to a customer (Sounds scary I know, but this easily can be done without losing the Human touch). Even when you DO need to visit, you can still reach a price (and confirm it in writing) within minutes.

If you do quotes with the mindset that all jobs are different, then you're giving yourself a total headache. With this mindset you'll feel that you have to visit every quote so that you can spot any differences and then add or subtract a bit accordingly. But is such a slight adjustment REALLY worth paying a visit to site (especially when you have lots of quotes to get through)?

Instead you should have the mindset that all jobs ARE the same. By that I mean that a job consists of a set of tasks. Those tasks will be tasks you have done before. So this means you'll have a good idea from experience how long a particular task should take. The solution to quoting a complex job is to quote with the individual tasks in mind, i.e. You have split the job into it's individual tasks.

In time you'll see that your price for a certain task can be fixed. Both in terms of parts and of labour. And so the solution we are talking about here is to give fixed price quotes instead of variable.

At this point you might fear that fixing prices means that you cannot be flexible. Thankfully this is absolutely not the case. Some examples of fixed prices might include:

Replacements
- Price per socket replacement (customer supplies socket)
- Price per PVC Double socket replacement (Includes socket)
- Price per Polished Double chrome socket replacement (Includes Socket)
- Price per light fitting replacement (Customer supplied the new fitting)

Installs
- Price per new socket (Double PVC)
- Price per new Light position (1 pendant and 1 switch)
- Price per additional light from existing position and switch
- Price to add 2 way switching to an existing position
- Price for shower install (Shower excluded)
- Price for shower installation (8.5kW shower included in price)

So you can see how you can build up a list of fixed prices with and without parts that are unique to you. You can continue to do this as far as you want to go (my own list includes SWA Cable runs, Distribution Boards of various sizes, Hot Tub Isolators even Travel Time per mile for longer distances).

You can see now how easy it becomes to quote anything from a small job to a rewire. It literally becomes a case of placing the right quantity against the right items and getting your total. The descriptions should be clear enough to specify to the customer what they're getting. Then if any two quotes are given, they will always be the same. Although from time to time you should review your labour rates and parts costs and tweak as necessary.

If you found this article useful, you might like to download my free guide on How to Systemise your Electrical Business at No or Low cost.

Systemising is not to be confused with Automation. It's all the other steps involved in making your business great as the free Guide explains.

By Simon Barker

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