Kevin Johnston reports:
"When you bid on a project, your bid proposal will include many important elements. The most important of these elements is the estimate, sometimes called a quote, that shows how much you will charge. If you take time to make your estimate clear, accurate and relevant to your potential client, your entire bid proposal will carry authority and help you win business...Though you may think of your income in terms of annual earnings, you may find it helpful to look at your value in hourly terms...Once you decide what you're worth on an hourly basis, you can estimate the number of hours you will have to put into a project. If you base this estimate on experience and a thorough knowledge of the amount of work involved, you will have a strong basis for your job estimate...Materials cost you money, and your estimate should pass on those costs to your client. In addition, you must decide whether you will mark up materials as compensation for having to go get them, store them and transfer them to the project site. You may also factor in a lost opportunity cost. If you had to pay for the materials up front before you were compensated, you used money that could otherwise have been earning a profit elsewhere...Your estimate must give details about what you are going to do for the client, which requires a clear understanding of the task at hand. Be careful not to make assumptions that could cause you to either underestimate the work required, or overestimate it and therefore overbid...Failing to ask the right questions beforehand could be a miscommunication harmful to your bottom line...Your estimate should start with your letterhead, followed by the term 'Estimate' or 'Quote.' Give a number for the estimate. Follow this with a statement about payment terms, including any necessary deposits and when you expect final payment. The main part of the quotation should provide all details about materials, services, hours you expect to put in and a description of the final product [you] will provide. This final product is your deliverable, or what the client is hiring you to produce. Close with a statement that explains how long the quote is effective."
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