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Quotes or Estimates? Both?

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by Jobber, Sep 16, 2011.


How does your business deal with estimates / quotes

  1. Quotes only

    2 vote(s)
  2. Estimates Only

    2 vote(s)
  3. Both - they're two different things

    8 vote(s)
  4. Both - they're interchangeable

    5 vote(s)
  1. Jobber

    Jobber Sponsor
    Messages: 345

    We had a conversation with a contractor the other day. He'd had a look at our software and mentioned that estimates and quotes are two different things - we've been treating them as interchangeable terms.
    I'm hoping to get some feedback from the folks on here. Does your landscaping business use estimates or quotes? Do you do both (with an estimate and a quote being two different things)? Anyways, as always your feedback is appreciated!
  2. Rednekdaddy

    Rednekdaddy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 38

    To me an estimate is an approximately what a job should end up costing and a quote is an exact price for a job! In other words an estimate give you some wiggle room if you run into something unexpected but that is just my opinion!
  3. dwlah

    dwlah LawnSite Senior Member
    from Argo Al
    Messages: 558

    Ill generally give someone an estimate first then if they want to proceed Ill work up a quote giving them an exact price
  4. tlc1994

    tlc1994 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 290

    When you call about car/home insurance they give you a "quote" of what you will pay based on what you said over the phone, which may be more or less when you actually buy the insurance. I use them interchangeably. I may be wrong, but so would the ins. co.
  5. Darryl G

    Darryl G Inactive
    Messages: 9,500

    I agree.

    For most jobs I give a time and materials estimate based on an estimate of the time I think it will take and the materials I think will be required. I will sometimes give it as a range of approximately 20 percent and tell the customer that I will not exceed the top of the range without their prior consent...so it's basically an estimate with a "not to exceed" price. So for a fall cleanup for a lawn that I have never serviced with the leaves still on the trees, it is likely that I'd give an estimate.

    If a customer insists that they want a firm price (quote) I will provide it but will add a little for a fudge factor. I will also provide a quote for jobs that I have set a minimum on, such as tractor work, when I'm reasonably sure that I will not exceed my minimum to complete the job.

    So no, I don't consider them to be the same thing...as estimate is usually considered to be plus or minus 20 percent and a quote is considered to be a lump sum price...at least where I come from.
  6. bobcat48

    bobcat48 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,176

    Estimates for me.
  7. MarkintheGarden

    MarkintheGarden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,133

    An estimate is accurate within fifteen percent, and provided as an estimate in a situation where I cannot calculate the exact price. The estimate is often used because I cannot tell beforehand how long the work will take, or the cost of the required materials.

    A quote is the exact price that the invoice will be.

    Mostly, I use estimates, I have found that it is a good idea to always inform the customer if there is a variable, and what percentage.
  8. vencops

    vencops LawnSite Bronze Member
    from NC
    Messages: 1,537

    I pretty much agree with Darryl. If you're gonna give an estimate, make darn sure it's a "not to exceed" price.

    Honestly, though......is it really that difficult to (if you've visited the site) to give a quote? I label mine as "proposals". But, they're quotes. I don't do estimates. Will I get burned, sometimes, doing it my way? Maybe. But, those instances have been few and far between.

    Like Darryl, if I'm in doubt, I add some contingency $$. If I don't run into anything unforeseen, good for me. I'm not going to let someone share in my good fortune, if they're not interested in sharing in my risk.

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