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When sending a formal quotation document to a customer (i.e. an offer to perform services or deliver goods at a specific price) what information should I include? Do I need unique numbers for tracking? Payment terms? Notes describing the scope of the project? Anything else?

Should I just assume that virtually everything that needs to be on an invoice also should be on the quotation?

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In general you should keep in mind that a quotation is a formal offer and may be deemed to form a contract if accepted. Therefore you should make sure you are clear about what you are providing and the terms under which you are providing it.

In general, anything applicable to the invoice is applicable to a quotation except for things like payments already applied (though it never hurts to put a note in as to how much credit can be applied to the work when invoiced). At a bare minimum, however, you need to have:

  1. A clear description of what is offered, including as appropriate quantity, scope, etc.

  2. A clear description of who is responsible for overruns. This can be further clarified by labelling the document a QUOTATION for fixed bids and an ESTIMATE for estimates of hourly work.

  3. A clear description of payment terms, late fees, etc.

  4. Any other terms of service, either incorporated literally or by reference.

  5. An expiration date, informing the customer how long they have before the rates may need to be rechecked or renegotiated.

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ChrisTravers has a good list above, and I'd like to add a few more things:

  • Dates the quote can be completed. You need a date for expiration (described in above answer), as well as for when the work can be done, from the time you get the OK. Will this project take 3 working days? Make sure that's on the quote! There is nothing good about saying it takes 3 working days, and 2 1/2 days later, the client wants it done right as soon as he says OK!
  • How much notice is needed. For larger projects, you may need to give notice for workers or resources to become available. This can be included with the dates, but should be included nonetheless
  • Depending on the scope or project, you can add a mini-FAQ of questions you believe the client may have, whether it's about the technology or the project itself

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