- Price quotes are common among service-based businesses that provide specialized work on a project-by-project basis.
- Using a template or software program to create quotes can save your business time and resources so you don't have to start from scratch every time.
- A quote template does not replace a formal contract or work scope agreement, nor does it serve as an invoice for a prospective client.
- This article is for service-based business owners who want to streamline the process of creating custom quotes for their clients.
Many service-based businesses that work on a project basis provide prospective clients with price quotes for their specific needs. While some quotes are given over the phone or in person, many come in the form of a document that breaks down the price. In these cases, business owners typically use a quote template to organize the information in one place and easily convert it to an invoice later.
If you're looking for quote templates and software to help you deliver your price quotes, you have many free options. Here are some free quote templates and software to consider, as well as basic information about creating and sending quotes to prospective clients.
What is a quote template?
A quote template is a customizable document that helps you break down the estimated costs for goods or services. Business owners create these quote templates for potential clients so they understand exactly what deliverables to expect and what each costs. These quotes often include standard language about project timelines, work processes, and payment terms, with specific details about the requested project.
Using a quote template for your business is a great way to streamline your proposals, especially if you regularly provide job estimates to new clients. With a reusable template or quote preparation software, you don't have to start from scratch each time; you can simply plug in the client's information and job specifications.
Did you know? A quote template or quote software can streamline the process of preparing and sharing project price quotes with prospective clients.
Quote template vs. invoice
Many people mistake quote templates for invoices, but these are two different documents. While they are similar in nature and invoices can be built from a quote, they serve different purposes. ]Looking for invoicing software? [Check out our list of the best invoice apps]
A business provides a price quote (often created from an existing quote template) to a potential client before the client decides whether to invest in a certain project. The business sends an invoice to an existing client to receive payment from them after the business has started or completed the project. As for the differences in the documents themselves, a quote template usually has a section for "terms and conditions" and a signature line for the client to agree to the information listed, while an invoice typically does not. [Read our review of FreshBooks, our pick for the best accounting software for invoicing.]
Tip: Using quote software, you can easily convert a filled-out quote template to an invoice if your prospect becomes a client, saving you time and data entry.
Quote vs. estimate
Another common misconception is that quotes and estimates are the same. Both give a client an idea of how much they will pay for a project or service. However, a quote is typically a fixed, agreed-upon price for a service, while an estimate is an outline of the project scope and materials with an approximate price that external factors may change.
While your business may provide both quotes and estimates, the format you use most often will depend on the nature of your business. For example, a marketing agency might provide a flat-rate quote for the services it will provide, while a construction company might provide an estimate for a project that could change depending on the market price of the materials or additional labor required once the project begins.
Key takeaway: Quotes offer a specific, agreed-upon price before work on a project begins, while an estimate offers an approximate price that can change as the project progresses.
What should you include in a quote template?
A quote template should include spaces for details about your company, the project, and the client that will appear on every quote you create.
- Company name
- Contact information
- Job summary
- Total costs
- Breakdown of costs (so your client knows exactly what they're paying for)
- Quote number and customer ID
- Terms and conditions
- Payment schedule and method (e.g., monthly payments)
- Expiration date for this offer
- Signature line (many templates allow customers to leave e-signatures)
This information will give your potential clients enough insight to make a decision about the project. You can also customize the quote to add special deals that could expire if the client doesn't sign by a certain date, a limit to the number of revisions you can make before the project is complete, and any supplies or information the client should provide.
How do you create a quote template?
You can create a quote template with software like Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets, or other productivity tools, but many business owners decide to use free templates and software made specifically for creating quotes. Whatever tool you choose, you'll simply select a template, then input all the necessary information.
Free quote templates and software
Tons of free quote software are available to businesses. A quote template will help you organize your information while allowing you to integrate other apps and tools, like CRM software, so you can further customize your quotes for each client.
Here are a few popular and free quote software programs:
- PandaDoc's quoting software allows you to create new quotes inside your CRM so you have all of your customers' information in one place, streamlining the entire process. It has a free tier for small businesses looking to send out quotes for signatures, and it includes most major components at no cost.
- Invoice Simple has free downloadable quote templates that make it easy for business owners to input information and send quotes to clients. It also has a free estimate-maker that will calculate costs for you. Once you create a quote template and send it out for a signature, you can easily convert it to an invoice.
- Bitrix24 is a free quote software and CRM program with unlimited quote templates available. This quotation solution is customizable, which many free quoting software programs are not. It also offers tools like automatic numbering, currency support and email marketing.
- YourTradebase is specifically for trade workers, like plumbers, electricians and builders. Through the application, you can write and send quotes to gain customer approval, accept payments, schedule work, and manage your team.
- Odoo allows you to send professional quotes with a simple e-signature feature and offers online payment options for your customers after they review a quote. Since Odoo Sales integrates with other Odoo apps, you can automate your entire process and focus on building lasting relationships with your customers.
There are also more robust paid tools, like Dubsado and HoneyBook, which serve as all-in-one business management solutions for managing important documents, including quotes and proposals, contracts, invoices, and project reports.
Tip: Dedicated quote preparation software is especially helpful if your business is in a specialized industry like construction, with solutions tailored to that type of project-based work.
How do you send quotes?
Most businesses send quotes by email, but some print them out and present them to clients in person. If you're sending a manually created quote template, you can download it as a PDF and email it as an attachment to your prospective client. If you use a software program to create your quote, you typically have the option to send it directly through the software or download it as a PDF to send by email.
Make sure to send your quote shortly after you speak with the potential client, as most prospects are considering multiple options in this phase. If you wait too long to send your quote, you might miss the opportunity.