Tip #2
The importance of accurate quotes

In the first part of our top tips on making the most of your window cleaning quotes, we covered the true cost of giving free window cleaning quotes (including both time and money). You calculated how much YOU are spending and we gave some suggestions on reducing that cost.

In this section, we're going to discuss the importance of accurate quotes and review the pros and cons of several methods.

The implications of inaccurate quotes

We get it. We're all in a hurry and it's tempting to cut corners and give a rough quote (usually based on incomplete data). But there are implications to your business.

We believe it's crucial to give your customers the most accurate quote possible. Here's what can happen if you don't:

  • If your quote is too high, the customer is likely to go with one of your competitors
  • If your quote is too low, one of the following will need to happen:
    • You'll need to inform the customer of a price increase prior to starting the job. This could appear to the customer as a bait-and-switch, as they may have turned down other quotes which were potentially lower than your adjusted price. At this point, the customer could refuse to have the work done at the amended price. And if the job is cancelled, you will have traveled to the location unnecessarily and now have no revenue generating work for the time allocated for this job. A disgruntled customer could also leave a negative review, which has the potential to be damaging to your business.
    • You could decide to swallow the difference, leading to only a very small profit or even a loss for the job. But what happens next time this customer requests the same work be carried out? Would you take the hit again, or risk losing your client to a competitor?

Below we will go over a few common methods used to give quotes and discuss their pros/cons, especially in terms of accuracy.

Square footage

Probably the most common old-school way of quoting is just using the square footage of the property.

The advantage of this method is that it's simple and does not require travel, which as we discussed yesterday is a bigger factor than most realize. But, it does not tell you anything about the number of windows or their size. And it does not account for the complexity of the job. What types of windows? How hard are they to reach? Do they have true divides?

Asking questions by telephone

Another common option is talking to the customer on the phone and asking questions about the property and windows.

Again, this approach avoids traveling, but customers often do not understand the nuances of the various window types. They may also underestimate or overestimate their window count and the complexity of the job. Overall, the quote is likely to be inaccurate.

Online quoting tools

There are a few tools around that can be integrated into your web site to allow customers to construct their own quotes. They typically work like this:

  • Customer is shown a list of window types
  • Customer is asked to count how many windows of each type they have
  • The tool adds up the windows and (using prices you pre-configured) calculates a quote

These tools are useful since you avoid having to travel to give a quote, but:

  • Customers don't really understand the different window types and frequently choose the wrong one, resulting in an inaccurate quote.
  • Customers often miscount windows. They sometimes:
    • Forget or miss some windows, which results in a quote that is too low (with the consequences described above)
    • Over-count windows. For instance, some customers may count each pane as a "window", thereby ending up with a much higher quote, which would likely result in lost business.
  • These tools put a huge burden on the customer, who cannot easily recognize window types. This task is made even more tedious when only one window type is shown at a time, and the customer realizes later that their previous choice was incorrect and they now have to go back and recount. This experience can be very frustrating and many customers are likely to give up part way through and move on to your competitor.
  • You lose control over the quote. If there are situations that require adjustments (up or down) based on special conditions, the tool will not be able to make that determination.
  • You don't get the opportunity to see what other services they may require (eg: soft washing) and miss out on an opportunity to offer those services (more on that in this post).

Ultimately, you're the window expert and only you can correctly (and quickly) identify and count the windows of each type, as well as adjust as necessary (depending on accessibility, etc)

Going onsite to quote

This is the most accurate approach since you can see first hand all the windows, their type and their location. But obviously the time/money spent is a huge downside as discussed previously.

The Ideal Approach

To summarize what we've discussed thus far, you need a way to:

  • Provide quotes without having to travel to the customer (saving both time and money)
  • Provide accurate quotes (based on true count of windows of the correct type, with the right adjustments based on conditions)
  • Limit the burden on the customer
  • Provide a fast, accurate and professional quote to your customers

Finding the right balance of these points is key to providing the best quote with the least amount of hassle and wasted time. This was the inspiration behind Snappy Bids: by allowing customers to take pictures of their property, you get a chance to provide a fast and accurate quote without having to travel, but also without over-burdening the customer (most people are happy to spend a couple of minutes taking a few pictures).

In our next section, we'll discuss the importance of building trust and how it can dramatically increase your chances of turning a quote into a paying job.