Project quotes, best practice for a good start

Talk budget for good project quotes

No doubt getting quotes from vendors is a necessary but painstaking process. Too often vendors either do not fully understand your needs, or their quotes are too different from each other.

It turns out the solution essentially comes from you. Like most things, preparation is key and there is nothing better than a clear brief to frame things your way. Let’s see what are the best practices to get better quality project quotes from designers.

Preparation is key

Preparation is key

Obviously, getting project quotes from your vendor requires some work from you. It may seem counter intuitive at first but see it a bit like ordering at the restaurant. Although the chef is the one cooking, you are still expected to tell him what you are after.

One reason you do not get useful quotes is that you do not spend enough time finding out what you and vendors need. We discussed the 10 things to consider when writing a creative brief in a previous article. It should help you consider your preparation before sending out future quote requests.

Define your budget

As much as it is cliché, “time is money” is true. A project can be simplified into few segments, and 2 of them are  time and money. How much time is allocated to a project is key. With infinite time everything can be done – but realistically a project is always time sensitive. Otherwise why the rush getting a quote!

Money is another significant resource to consider. With unlimited funds you can achieve anything. Again a project always has limits in terms of money, and these shape priorities in terms of man power – tools – etc…

There are other aspects to a project of course, for example innovation, creativity, technique, etc… But it seems clear that unless the first 2 (Time and Money) are well stated, it is hard to define anything else going forward.

Talk money!

You have a clear idea of your budget in terms of time and money? That’s great, now you must clearly communicate it to designers and other vendors if you want good project quotes coming your way.

Vendors will always ask you about your time and financial budget prior to quoting you. If they don’t then they should, or perhaps they have given up asking since they always get the usual answer: ” you tell us”, or “we do not have a budget for this yet”. These are far too often left unmentioned, somewhat to avoid influencing prices and project management (*sigh).

What are you really looking for?

You are trying to get better quality project quotes in the most efficient time. So the question to ask yourself, is if you know what constitute a good price, a high and low price, then why not communicate it right away? Think about this, you want your vendor to help you identify what is best required to achieve what you are looking for – as opposed to guessing the price you are willing to pay for the things you already know.

So consider the positive change in asking vendors to quote their recommendations within your limitations. Of course they can still propose adjustments if necessary. You should get quicker project quotes that focus on value-added elements to attract you within your restrictions.

Feel free to contact me to discuss your project if you need a freelance graphic designer to help you achieve your goal. I am a freelance graphic designer in Hong Kong, building quality branding across media, from print to digital.

Read more on this topic:

10 things to consider when writing a creative brief by Stan Diers.
How to price projects and manage scope creep by Smashing Magazine.

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