Bid Quotation Template

The pandemic forced many people to pull up their big boy or girl pants and start their own small businesses. In 2021, 4.3 MILLION new businesses were started in the US, bucking a trend that had been worrying poor since 2005. As a result, there are many new business owners who may not be familiar with the process of putting together a bid or a quote for a job.

Many big businesses try to encourage small businesses by outsourcing manufacture and services. A bid or quote process will usually be involved. Some people might not feel confident that they can put together a professional standard quote or bid and, as a result, might not even try to enter the process. This is a shame, as creating a quote or bid can be made quite simple with the use of easily available and free of charge Bid and Quote templates.

How Does a Bid Differ From a Quote?

The two processes are very similar, and you can usually use the same basic document to prepare each of them. A quote is generally made in response to a specific request. For example, you may be approached by a potential client to give them a quote for landscaping their garden. It is generally the result of personal contact or a referral.

A bid, on the other hand, is a little bit more arms-length. A request for bids for a project will usually be published in a local newspaper, a government publication, a trade publication, or online. The bidding process is open to all qualified companies. The bidding process will operate under rules and guidelines to which bidders have to adhere. It is a more formal process than simply presenting a quote.

What Is a Bid/Quote Template?

A template is a form that contains a number of headings that act as prompts to the person completing it. They help ensure that you don’t overlook important elements of, in this case, your bid or quote. The template is a commercial document, and depending on the restrictions that you place on your bid or quote, it may be legally binding.

Bid and quote templates can be found for a wide range of industries. Industries that commonly require you to make quotes are construction, manufacturing, catering, personal services such as security and protection, vehicle and auto, transportation, delivery and distribution, and agriculture.

It is common for bid or quote templates to be available in Microsoft Excel. This means that it is easy for you to make changes and total up amounts, and it also enables you to store and retrieve your work until you are satisfied with it.

The advantages of using an off-the-peg bid or quote template are:

  • It presents a professional appearance and makes you look as if you know what you are doing.
  • It reminds you of all the cost elements that you must take into consideration when presenting your offer
  • It can be changed easily if the customer decides on any needed variances
  • It means that your document will be clear and easy to understand.

What are the Elements of a Successful Bid/Quote Template?

One of the first things to realize when you are submitting a bid or a quote is that the person receiving it may be evaluating a lot of competing offers. This means that if your form is unclear, hard to follow, or looks untidy, it is likely to be put at the bottom of the pile.

There are many of these templates available online, and it pays to spend some time researching the offerings. You should choose a template that works well for your type of business, is easy to use, and looks good.

Ultimately the bid or quote template should allow both you and your customer to clearly understand what you are offering and the price that you are charging.

You can expect to find included in a professionally prepared bid or quote the following:

  • Your company name and address details
  • Your website, email, and phone number
  • The name of the person who is responsible for the quote and their contact details
  • The name and contact details of the company or person requesting the quote or bid
  • Any reference number for the bid. If you are bidding for a government or large corporation job, then there will definitely be a reference that you need to include.
  • The location at which the work may be delivered. For example, a government contract may be decided at City Hall but may be carried out at or delivered to a completely different location
  • A brief description of the work you are bidding for. For example, “Construction of a new Ranger Outpost at the junction of White Feather Trail and Standing Stones Trail.”
  • A detailed description of the work to be carried out. This may involve the addition of plans and drawings that will be attached to the quote when it is delivered. If additional material is going to accompany the quote, then that should be noted and given a reference here.
  • A description of the materials to be used. Again, it is possible that samples may be required, and this should be noted on the form with a reference.
  • Options for materials. For example, using marble would result in one price, and using a compound material would result in another price. This can be clearly summarized at the end of the quote.
  • Timing of stages. This is especially important in building work.
  • A firm start and finish date
  • All costs, including separate pricing for labor, if appropriate
  • Tax costs should be shown separately
  • A final total, with options clearly shown. For example, using local cedar wood would be one price, using imported pine another.
  • The length of time for which the quote or bid is valid. With inflation on the rampage, this is especially important. You must ensure that your materials and labor costs are relatively fixed before making a major quote.

Some Hints for Successful Quotes and Bids

The bid process tends to be pretty cut and dried, and officials, be they government or a company, may simply refer you to the bid document if you have any questions. Quotes tend to be a different matter. Don’t be afraid to return to the potential customer with any questions you might have. This will make you look like a professional who is interested in getting things exactly right and will only be to your advantage.

Again, if you feel that the customer has missed some vital element in his quote request, pick up the phone and create a dialogue. It may be that you can avoid the complication of a quote with too many options at this early stage. If the client hasn’t specified the kinds of kitchen cabinets he would like in advance; it might be a good idea to go over the options in advance. In this way, you can offer perhaps just a couple of alternatives instead of a whole bunch of them (none of which might be right!)

Be very sure that you have covered your material and labor costs, and factor in a bit of room for sticker shock increases. Don’t forget to allow for your time, including the time spent preparing the quote or bid – which can be considerable. Travel costs to and from the site of the work are another easily overlooked item.

It’s tempting to cut the profit element right down to the bone in order to win work. Sometimes it is necessary to set a sprat to catch a mackerel if you believe that the possibility of more work may be down the line. However, “the laborer is worthy of his hire”, as the saying goes, and you should get a fair return for your efforts.

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