Posts Tagged ‘list’
In the penultimate entry in my Freelancing and Small Business Blog, I would like to return to the subject of quotations (or proposals). Having spent the last week sending out a dozen or so quotations, I have been reviewing my quotation template to make sure it is up to speed.
Quotation or proposal templates are great; they provide a base format for providing your prospects with estimates for your work, whilst reducing the amount of effort needed to put them together, and at the same time ensuring that no important element is forgotten (easily done when churning out multiple quotations).
My own template is in the form of two word documents – one called “Quotation Template – Basic” and “Quotation Template – Full Proposal”. The two versions carry almost the same elements, it’s just that the Basic version wording is cut down to a minimum whilst the full proposal has more details, more examples and provides more information.
As an example of the differences between the two versions, the “basic” version has a section called “How we work” which says (in a nutshell), “here is the quote, you order, we confirm order and delivery, we do work, we deliver, you pay”. The proposal has multiple paragraphs about all of this, but includes breaking the project into stages, use of my on-line project management system, staged payments, etc. In both formats, the text is pretty set, and very rarely do I need to amend these sorts of text blocks for a new quotation.
Which brings me to the subject of todays (almost last) post….
10 Things that your quotations may be missing
So as part of my review of my templates, I checked that my quotation templates covered in some way these important but often forgotten pieces of information that a client may need before raising an order:
- Currency – Let’s start with an obvious one, the currency of the quotation. It doesn’t matter if you use a £, $ or € symbol in the prices or state explicitly “All prices are in British Pounds”. A lot of companies are multinational, so prices can get confused as they move around.
- When can you start the work – Rather than putting in a specific date (and so making the quote invalid once the date is reached), it’s better to put something generic like “Generally work can be started within 4 weeks of an order/payment being received. But the exact date will be specified upon order confirmation”
- When the job should be complete – This will vary from quotation to quotation (unless you provide the exact same service each and every time), so you just need to check you have a heading or note for this area – and cover it when you put the quotation together in the format “…and will take approximately 7 weeks to complete”
- How long is the quote valid for – Your prices will change (I hope) from time to time so it’s no good your prospects trying to order a 4 year old quote expecting the same prices. My own templates state that “This quotation is valid up to the first day of September following the quotation date at which time we perform an annual price review. After the 1st September, the prices in the quotation may need review before an order can be accepted”
- Does it affect any support arrangements including cost – I have some customers who pay me a support and maintenance payment each year. For these customers, I have a clause (which I remove for non S&M customers) which says if/how it effects this years or next year’s support.
- Does it need any up front actions by the client- payment, hardware, specs, etc – Be clear as part of the quotation what is needed in addition to the order for work to start.
- Who owns the changes, code, designs – It saves the customer having to ask or make assumptions – if making designs, have template text which says who owns the changes, designs, code, files both before and after payment.
- When will you expect payment – In my quotation templates, I include a summary of my terms and conditions, which includes my payment terms, ownership, late payment penalties and other information. Don’t wait till the time of invoice to tell them what your payment terms will be.
- You have the right to reject the order – This may sound odd, but I have a sentence which states in a fluffy way, that I have the right to reject the order. Just because I quote and they raise an order, does not mean I always want to do the work. I may have fallen out with the customer (lots of bad payments), have more important work to do, or am no longer capable of doing the work (2 broken arms?!?).
- What you need to start work – The final thing worth adding to the very last part of your quotation template is the call to action – or what is the next action that you need in order for work to start. Be explicit, even if you have said it earlier in the quotation. Such as “Thank you for the opportunity to bid for this work. In order for me to get started, please send me a bundle of cash as soon as possible” (or whatever your next action is).
Before I start this, let me first say I am not an Apple basher. Nor am I an Android lover. I have never used the Apple iOS for any length of time, and don’t own an Apple phone or Pad – it’s just that Android seems right for me. Which is why today I present, my list of top freelance or small business applications for Android Users. All of these applications are FREE and work well on both phone and tablets:
Both of these are eBook readers. There is not much to choose between them – both work well both on phones and Android Tablets, both are Free. Both can be used to read your business eBooks on the go, and when used with Calibre, can be used to download your RSS feeds and blogs onto your Droid to read on the go.
It has to be listed – but I am sure you already have it on your Droid – right? Perfect for getting directions and even driving with satnav turn by turn directions to your business meeting.
If you haven’t got a dropbox account, you should really get one now. It’s the perfect Cloud based file transfer and storage system, and it’s free. The Dropbox android application allows you to save, view and open files between your android device, and the cloud.
Evernote is the perfect cloud based solution for recording and storing all those odd notes, code snippets and other useful information. The Android app works very well, allowing you to view your existing notes, add new notes, and take pictures with your phone/tablet to upload to your evernote account. Once loaded, they are OCR’d which means text in photographed business cards or documents is searchable.
There is nothing wrong with the browser supplied with Android devices, and there are plenty of alternative browsers available. But this browser seems to me to be the fastest and best looking – the fact that by default it is full screen means you have lots of space for the web page rather than control buttons etc.
A very good ReadItLater client, which I have previously talked about. When you find something in a tweet, email or web page but don’t have the time to read it there and then, tag it using the Android DroidSave application, and the item is downloaded to your phone into AndReader for reading… later, in offline mode. Update: Recently a new ReadItLater app has been made available which I now prefer – however the ReadItLater needs to be purchased whilst AndReader is free.
This is another RSS reader. My own preference is to download the really good blogs into Calibre and then into Moon Reader/Aldiko (so that I can read them as an ebook), and anything else into BuzzBox. Buzzbox allows me to skim read the headlines, and then click into the items I am interested in. Works very well on both phone and Tablet, and has a full searchable by category list of RSS sources – but you can always add your own.
Project Viewer Lite
If you work with project plans, this application lets you view the project plan on your phone or tablet. Works with most major formats including Microsoft – and can show the resource tables, tasks and of course the Gantt charts.
A useful utility for converting from one format to another. Convert currency, weights, lengths, angles, temperatures, Volumes, Data storage (TBs to GBs anybody), times, dates and almost anything else.
Mobiles are now starting to be hit with spyware and viruses. Lookout is a very low footprint application spy and virus checker. The premium version gives more options – but the free version is really all you need.
Skype on the android is a must for staying in touch with friends and customers over the web. What? You haven’t installed it yet? Why not?
The Android client for the tripadvisor web site provides local search options. Using this client, finding a place to eat or hotel to stay when visiting a customer becomes a snap with prices, reviews and directions.
Finally, I use tweetdeck on Android to keep up to date on my Twitter and Facebook social network. Whilst there are a lot of social applications out there, I love the way that Tweetdeck integrates fully into the Android OS for sharing text, photos, and web pages.