If your business sells specialty or custom-made products, there is usually no set price, because they are not stock items. Contractors building an addition onto your house don’t pull out a price list and hand it to you. They can’t—every situation is different and must be quoted or estimated after the contractor inspects or analyzes the entire project. The contractor may have a percentage markup in mind to add to his cost, but he isn’t likely to reveal it.
The printing industry is the same—each job or project is unique and is priced accordingly. The price for 5,000 #10 envelopes might be set, but when you use a different color or multiple colors, the price is usually different. The same goes for brochures, direct-mail pieces, and business forms. The custom order gets custom pricing based on its specifications.
A good salesperson can determine what the customer will pay and whether there are competitors in the picture. If there are four people bidding, you’ll probably need to be one of the lowest unless you can show additional value.
My favorite type of customer is the one who says, “I don’t know anything about this. Can you handle the entire project for me?” Right there, you know that it’s unlikely that there are any competitors, and if you put the customer in his or her comfort zone, there won’t be any. You can then quote a higher price (and resulting profit), which should be accepted because you’re offering more than just dropping a product on the customer’s doorstep.
If you’re presenting a quote to a business, address it to the decision maker, not the secretary or an associate. Also, when quoting for a business, you have to weigh the credit risk with the prospect and whether you will request a deposit.
Always get a signed quote or purchase order when accepting an order in case the buyer leaves the company and you need proof that the products or services were actually ordered.
Although perhaps more time consuming than flat pricing, custom quotes offer the opportunity to make a higher profit if you know your customer and can supply something to meet that customer’s unique situation.