Sometimes, the hardest part about securing a new customer is giving them an accurate picture of costs. Selling products at a fixed price is very straightforward, but what about businesses that sell services where pricing inputs vary? In many cases, the best way to approach the customer is with a price range or an estimate of costs.
An estimate is a great way to set these expectations with customers upfront. By creating an estimate, you’re giving both you and your customer a written record of what work will be done and what the price may be. But, it is another step to add to your burgeoning list of customer processes. You may already have an ordering system, an invoicing platform, and maybe a fulfillment process. Where do estimates fit in?
Since estimates are precursors to invoices, we believe they belong inside an online invoicing platform. So we’ve built estimate functionality into the Invoiced suite of tools. Using the estimate functionality, you can track yet another step in the customer transaction lifecycle in Invoiced. Here are a handful of ways to use Invoiced estimates to your support your business:
- Create an estimate with the same inputs you use for creating an invoice. Since the inputs are all the same, there’s no need to collect a new set of data from your customer at a later date.
- Request a deposit as part of the estimate form. Choose from a flat rate deposit or a percentage of the estimated amount. Deposits are collected using the same payment methods already available with Invoiced.
- Pull estimate inputs directly from any catalogs and bundles you’ve already created in Invoiced.
- Send the estimate to your customer using the Invoiced email platform, with the option to approve it. Your customer’s approval will be recorded alongside the estimate, which may be critical if the customer raises concerns in the future.
- Once approved, convert the estimate to an invoice. You’ll have a full record of the terms agreed to, the customer’s electronic approval, and any deposits paid.
A handful of Invoiced customers are already using estimates with great success. Here are a few real-life examples:
Amy & Eliav
“We frequently generate quotes for developing a jacket or a pair of pants, and can pull directly from the catalog into an estimate for the customer,” said Eliav Meltzer, co-founder of Amy & Eliav, a Melbourne-based maker of customized, hand-crafted clothing and accessories.
Blue Diamond Painting
St. Louis-based custom painter Ryan Louthan uses estimates for high-level visibility into future projects. ““I can see the dollar value of estimates I’ve sent out in the last 3 months, 6 months, or any other time period I choose.”
Wire Media’s account management staff uses estimates to provide clients with a 360-degree transaction experience. A Wire Media account director creates an estimate and submits it to the client. The client approves the estimate and the account director converts it to an invoice requesting payment. “It’s a nice, efficient process in one place,” said Marcy Rye, Principal and Owner of the Los Angeles branding and design firm.
Find out if Invoiced’s estimates functionality would support your business’s invoicing needs. Contact us to schedule a demo today.