Customers often ask contractors for quotes to get a general idea of the price of certain services. Many Australian contractors will be happy to give clients accurate quotes so they can win the job. However, there are times when it is necessary to refuse to give a quote. In such situations, it’s crucial that you know how to gracefully turn down a customer’s quote request.
Why is it sometimes necessary to turn down customers?
There are many reasons why you may need to turn down a quote request from a customer. For starters, you may be too busy for the project, especially during a surge in seasonal demand. While having a backlog of projects may sound like a good problem to have, it can often lead to rushed work and unsatisfied clients. Some projects may also have extremely tight timelines, which may not be realistic for your team to commit to. In such cases, it’s best to be honest with the customer and let them know that you may not be able to deliver on their expectations.
Another reason you may need to turn down quote requests if the proposed project is outside your company’s scope of expertise. This is particularly common for facilities and maintenance businesses that only focus on specific work orders. It’s important to know your limitations and not overpromise what you can deliver. Not only will this disappoint the customer, but it can damage your company’s reputation and make it difficult to secure future jobs.
What’s more, taking on too many projects may lead to cash flow problems down the road. When evaluating quote requests, be sure to consider whether the project is worth the investment and if it’s something you can realistically handle without stretching your team too thin.
How do you refuse a quote request?
Tactfully turning down a quote can be just as important as being able to deliver a great quote. If you’re able to do so without burning any bridges, the customer may return later with a more realistic request. Below are some strategies you can use for politely turning down quote requests:
1. Be upfront about your reasons for declining
If you’re unable to commit to a job, you should give customers a clear explanation. Whatever the reason may be, make sure to be professional. Don’t just bluntly say that you’re too busy; this can give the impression that your business is disorganised and doesn’t prioritise customers’ needs. Instead, say something like, ‘We’re sorry, but we’re fully booked for next month and we’re unable to take on new requests at this time’. By being honest and upfront, you’re more likely to leave the door open for future opportunities.
2. Keep it short
When turning down a quote request, don’t give a long-winded explanation of your reasons as doing so may feel like you’re just giving excuses. Plus, nobody likes to read a paragraph-long explanation of why you can’t fulfil a quote request. Save the client’s time by keeping your response brief and to the point.
3. Suggest alternative solutions
Just because you can’t take on a job doesn’t mean you should completely write off the customer. If you have to refuse an initial quote request, offer clients alternative solutions that may better fit their needs. These solutions may involve rescheduling appointments, negotiating project requirements, or suggesting a service that is more in line with your expertise.
If none of these alternatives are possible, consider referring clients to a trusted and capable business partner. This is a great way to build relationships with other businesses in your industry and shows that you’re always looking out for the customer’s best interests.
4. Stay in touch with the customer
Even if you can’t provide a quote, thank customers for considering your company and let them know you’d be happy to discuss future opportunities. Give them your contact information and occasionally follow up with them down the road to see if their needs have changed. Using customer relationship management software is a great way to track your email correspondence with a customer. By keeping lines of communication open, you’ll be top of mind when they move forward with a different project.
Knowing when to say no to customer requests is important so your business doesn’t take on more than it can handle. If you need more advice on how to better manage customer communications and job quotes, get in touch with us. WorkBuddy can make your operations more efficient. Book a free demo now to learn more.