Hello! It’s been a while I know.
I was inspired to write this because I’ve made some pretty lame mistakes when it’s come to quoting customers for items, and I wanted to share some tips that I’ve found useful in my journey.
Tip #1: Don’t be afraid to ask.
Ask your client for all of the information you need in order to estimate costs. For example, my products all deal with size, color, texture, design, etc. I need to know ahead of time if my customer wants gold glitter paper with rhinestone’s because that raises costs. I’ve had clients ask for something and then after I quote them, they start specifying color patterns and textured paper. Having all the deets makes for smoother communication.
Tip #2: Research Comparable Items.
Check out the competition.
If I know my product is easily worth $50 based on my time + material, but most comparable items are being sold for $40, I would have to adjust my pricing to be able to compete with other comparable items. It is important to make sure your item is comparable. If your item is superior in quality and aesthetics, then you may be in a league of your own, and you can set your own price point.
Tip #3: Shipping, Delivery, or Pick-Up.
Selling online through sites like Etsy, eBay or Amazon make it fairly easy to establish shipping costs. However, you must know the dimensions, weight, and destination details in order to accurately estimate costs of shipping. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve overpaid in shipping costs because I was guessing the weight of my packages. Once I got a shipping scale I was able to narrow down the weight by ounces and I’ve been able to reduce unnecessary spending on shipping costs.
If your selling through Instagram, Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist or face to face, you will need to establish how your customer is going to receive their item. Are they going to pick up? Are you going to deliver? Do they want to pay extra for shipping/delivery? Your customer needs to know your location in order for them to determine if they are willing to pick up. And you’ll need to know your customers location in order to determine if you are willing to deliver. When meeting directly with a customer, I recommend conducting these transactions in a public place such as a Starbucks.
Tip #4: Payment Method/ Deposits.
When you sell through an online site, payment is usually received beforehand. However, selling directly through sites like Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist come with challenges. Most people are cautious (and rightfully so) when it comes to paying before receiving their item. This is risky for us as the seller because customers can, and will, cancel orders. When a customer cancels their order, we are taking a loss on time and material. This brings me to the discussion of Deposits.
I was hesitant to ask for deposits at first because I was naive and I thought that if someone made a commitment and placed an order, they would follow through and not waste my time. WRONG! I get it, things happen, but it’s still such a bummer.
If you will need to collect a deposit before you start investing your time and money into the order, make sure your customer is aware of the amount and terms of the deposit. This helps to weed out those people who are just browsing and not seriously considering the item. For large orders I will ask for a deposit to cover materials. I will also let the customer know that in the event of a cancellation, I will only refund the deposit if materials have not been purchased.
Tip #5: Give a Detailed Quote.
Only when you have gathered all of the necessary information will you be ready to provide a detailed quote. I cannot stress this enough, make sure it is SPECIFIC. The customer needs to be able to have a detailed description of what they are getting and what they are paying for. It also lets the customer know that if they want to add/make changes to the order, which they will, it will affect the price that was originally quoted.
A detailed quote protects both the buyer and the seller in the event that an issue is to arise with the order.
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Let’s Help Each other Out:
In the comments; Share your business tips/moments of glory/horror stories. 🙂