Quoting for work is an integral part of your job as an electrician, however it is an area which is often overlooked. Providing a quotation is so much more than giving your customer a price and it's the small details that count, and that makes the difference between you winning the job or your competitor.
Getting the basics right
First impressions count. Create the wrong impression at this point and your customer could lose confidence in you. Remember these basic 'impression making' points.
If you have told the customer you will ring them at a set time, don't let them down. Lack of returned calls to discuss quotations can lose you the work.
Turn up as arranged to look at the work. Although your customer won't mind seeing you in your work clothes, you should always look act professional.
Take an interest in what your customer wants doing. Maybe there is a better way of doing things or you could suggest extras to improve your customers comfort. Customers tend to like someone who can offer ideas, particularly if they will save money or add value.
Always leave the job to think about your quotation – never quote a job on the spot, even if you feel under pressure by your customer. Your quote should be written and clearly presented with the job details, and supplied by either post or email. Remember impressions count, a headed quotation with your company logo looks far more professional.
Be realistic in when you can start the job. If you cannot fit your customer in for a while, don't be afraid to say so. Having to let your customer down will be a far greater inconvenience to them than having to wait for a few weeks.
Advice from the professionals
Having mastered the basics, what else can you do to give yourself the edge?
According to more experienced electricians, being clear is what counts. Customer relations can break down simply by not being clear enough about what the job entails. Remember your customer probably has no electrical knowledge, so baffling them with techno-babble is only going to confuse them!
Problems can also arise through mis-conception; so although we recommend being business like, it is equally as important to understand your customer. Treat their home with respect and remember an older person might be more wary of you than a younger person. Adapt your tone of voice and body language to that of your customer.
Many electricians know the importance of detailed job quotations. If you fully itemise your quotation stating what you will install, what materials will be used and from which manufacturer you will find that you will win more jobs from clients who don’t simply go for the cheapest quote.
Price is quite clearly an important factor when winning any job, however you should be sure that you price the job realistically. If you have thought the quote through properly then the job should come in on budget which will ensure you have a happy customer. Most customers won’t simply go for the cheapest job these days. Trust is probably the most important factor for someone looking to employ a sparky. If you show that you know what you are doing by providing a clear and full quote chances are you will win the jobs you want to work on and leave the jobs where the margins are tight and the work less appealing to those who he take a quick glance at the job and pluck a number out of thin air.