Share this content

Request for Comparison Quote

Request for Comparison Quote

Didn't find your answer?

Hi everyone,

I got a call this morning looking for a "comparison quote". At least the gentleman was honest and said he was going to a meeting with his accountant in 30 minutes and would I oblige him by giving him a quote so he knows what the ballpark is. It was for payroll for X number of employees. I told him I would call back but he wanted an answer right away. I replied that I would need to think about it and asked for his email address. I was preparing for a meeting when he called and told him so, but he was quite insistent on getting the quote immediately. He wasn't interested in having a chat about his business or even getting information on who I was and what my qualifications were.

Anyway, I did respond by email within about 10 minutes, but had visions of him producing my email at the meeting with his current accountant as a stick to beat him/her with.

I have been in situations in my previous job where I have spent hours producing a quote for large jobs having more than a sneaking suspicion that we were one of the three alternative quotes with no hope of getting the business. I was right every time.

So my question is, in these situations are you better sending a quote anyway and not spending time on it, sending a detailed quote and/or requesting a meeting with the client (i.e. doing things "properly" like you would do with a real prospect) or telling them politely that you are not interested in being "one of their quotes."

I am new in business so I don't want to annoy any of my target market. I live in a small town where everyone knows each other. But I still don't want to be treated like an idiot.


Replies (17)

Please login or register to join the discussion.

By Roland195
13th Mar 2012 10:43

Depends on your attitude

In this case it was only because you were told that this was for the purpose of comparison that you knew - in most other cases, you would at best suspect.

The question really is to what extent are you willing to risk losing out on genuine clients to avoid the time wasters?


Thanks (1)
By bernard michael
13th Mar 2012 10:51

 "but he was quite insistent

 "but he was quite insistent on getting the quote immediately" 


If you got him as a client he would be trouble and insist that he always came first. Your correct reaction should have been to stick to your guns and insist on more time/ further information before you gave him a quote. Do not be a soft touch it never pays in the long run

Thanks (1)
By ShirleyM
13th Mar 2012 11:06

I wouldn't have given a written quotation

The people who just want a quote and don't want to discuss the services are deciding on a cost basis only. How do they know the services being quoted are comparable?

I would maybe have given a ballpark figure and said fees start from £xxx, but it depends on the quality of the information you provide and the level of service you require.

Thanks (1)
By Cardigan
13th Mar 2012 12:03

Wasn't prepared

@Roland. My attitude is that I will usually take the risk and end up spending some time on the so called time-wasters. I am new in business and need to let as many people as possible know that I exist. I have a small bit of time to waste at the moment.

I totally agree @BernardMichael, they wouldn't be my kind of client at all.

Maybe the key to it is that I just wasn't prepared for the phone call and the insistence. Normally prospect calls are more open and I end up meeting the client to discuss further.

At the time, I was preparing for another client meeting. I was biding for time by getting an email address. Next time, I will have my spiel ready, something like what Shirley mentioned above.

Thanks for listening. I used to shoot the breeze on these types of issues with colleagues when I worked in practice. Being out on my own now, AWeb helps get these issues off my chest.

Thanks (0)
Man of Kent
By Kent accountant
13th Mar 2012 14:07

I agree with Shirley

Clients deciding on price alone are not worth spending a lot of time on.

My business is relatively new and growing but I refuse to buy work (learnt that the hard way) or get in a bidding war.

Service level is the best way to make your business stand out.


Thanks (1)
By Moonbeam
13th Mar 2012 14:22

You won't ceased to be amazed at who contacts you

If you are new to business, you have lots more experiences ahead of you of people wanting you to spend some time on their business free of charge, before they dump you unceremoniously.

It is difficult to identify them initially but after a while you will begin to notice a pattern. At that point you can be very clear about the way you want to operate and stick to your guns. That will eliminate 50% of them. The others who appear to go along with you right until the last minute after you've had the free meeting will make your blood boil but you may even be able to identify these at the meeting itself and cut it short.

I remember when I first started up in business that I was so worried about getting work I would agree to work for all sorts of shady characters. I got paid back in spades as a result, what with being threatened with violence for trying to get paid and having to go to court etc.

Many people have said repeatedly on Aweb that we want to do things properly and get paid a decent amount for it. You have only to read other peoples' postings to see the aggravation that arises when the client/prospect wants something else.

I think the best way is to take the lead as far as any prospect is concerned and be clear about what you will and won't do, either before taking them on or when they have signed up. You won't win every prospect over, but you will avoid the bully boys and people who wouldn't have paid you anyway. More importantly your self esteem will be intact.

Don't do any quote unless you are given the time to talk with the prospect so that you know who they are and they know what you can provide. Anyone who just wants a price quoted can be told that isn't the way you work.

Thanks (2)
By accountsdragon
13th Mar 2012 14:37

On the other hand...

Someone at a networking meeting asked me how much I would charge for XYZ.  I gave a ballpark figure but said I would need to talk to him etc,  expecting it to be something for him to use against his existing accountant.  I followed it up, just to be sure, and was proved wrong.  He preferred my approach, but was wary of making the change, but I now have a new client that I think I will enjoy working with.

So, most of the time it might just be worth going along with it.

Thanks (1)
By Bob Harper
13th Mar 2012 21:35

Charge for the quote

One option to consider (if the prospect just wants a price) is to charge them for it.

At the end of the day there is value because they will use the information. And, you could also offer to provide recommendations on how to reduce the price and the benefits of paying more.

Bob Harper

Crunchers Accountants

Thanks (1)
By The Black Knight
16th Mar 2012 11:25

Ask them

How much they are paying then say that sounds reasonable or otherwise.

If it's just price there is always someone cheaper..........perhaps even recommend someone really cheap and laugh quietly.

Thanks (1)
By phoare
16th Mar 2012 12:54

Was he really a client?

Excuse my cynicism, but was he really what he made himself out to be? Could it not have been a competitor to you trying to gauge what your prices are?

Thanks (1)
Replying to DJKL:
By Cardigan
20th Mar 2012 08:58

Thought of that too

@phoare I though of that too. It was another reason to get his email address. I checked him out on Google and he seemed legit. Of course, his buddy might be an accountant but if I let my cynicism get the better of me, I wouldn't have any clients at all. :)

Thanks (0)
By coverack
16th Mar 2012 15:00

Request for Comparison Quote

The steps are pretty simple really -

1.   Find out the details of the work he's received quotes for already

2.   Get him to explain why he feels said quotes fall short of his expectations

3.   Interrogate him as to whether the work he feels he needs will actually deal with his present and future needs

4.   Ask for some (short as possible) period of time to weigh up whether you can offer him something

5.   Having decided "yes", say that a face-to-face meeting is essential so that any misunderstandings can be ventilated.  If "no", let him know promply, with reasons attached, and if possible steer him in the direction of some firm or persons you know who MIGHT be able to help

6.   If he is still interested, lay out in detail what you would offer to him and and at what cost (hedged around if necessary with caveats about unforeseen events arising etc.)

7.   Deal with his response on its own merits

Thanks (1)
Replying to Donald6000:
By Cardigan
20th Mar 2012 09:09

Thanks @coverack. Having a script for these situations does help enormously. I am going to put a little cheat-sheet together for prospect conversations so I am not caught out again. Having said that, previous new prospect conversations went fine, so maybe this was just not a right fit.

Thanks (0)
By BobEdwardsLandmark
19th Mar 2012 11:03

Do you have a website?

There is an argument for adding a price list of fixed priced services, like payroll, to your website. You could direct enquiries from so-called timewasters to your website and who knows they may find something of interest to buy from you...

At the very least exchange the information you provide, a quote, for contact details and add name to your e-newsletter run. After all marketing is a numbers game.




Thanks (1)
Replying to pauljohnston:
By Cardigan
20th Mar 2012 09:04

Delighted that website was found

@BobEdwardsLandmark I was pleasantly surprised that he found my website at all! The business (and website) is just a few months old and is creeping its way to page 1 of Google. I thought about putting a price list on my website but decided against it as no too jobs are the same. I have a payroll client with 6 salaried employees. On paper, it should be a breeze, but the reality is quite different.

As for adding his name to my newsletter, would that constitute spam?

Thanks (0)
By BobEdwardsLandmark
20th Mar 2012 09:14


Interestingly, business to business email exchanges are excluded from formal, legislated, need to have permission to use email. However, in my previous post I had assumed that you would ask the person seeking the quote if he/she would be happy to be added to your contact list as part of the "exchange"...

Thanks (1)
By Cardigan
20th Mar 2012 14:51


@Bob, that's good to know re spam. I must remember to ask the next time as part of the exchange.Thanks, cardi.

Thanks (0)
Share this content

Related posts