A couple of days ago I got a call from a potential client and met with him yesterday. Pricing didn’t come up during the call but it did during our meeting.

In the past I didn’t give ‘ballpark’ quotes but I’ve recently changed my thinking on this and now I do. Sometimes.

What determines whether I do or not? Frankly, whether I think the prospect has (and is willing to spend) the money. So I’m making a gut call based on my experience over the last 12 years.

If the initial meeting goes well and I think they have a good-sized budget, then I’ll wait and give them a detailed proposal.

But if I get the feeling that the budget is too small for what they want (and what I provide), then I’ll give them a ‘ballpark’ range. If they fall off their chair, then they wouldn’t have been a good client for me anyway. And I will have saved the time and effort of putting together a full-blown proposal. For solopreneurs, our time is our most precious asset.

There is disagreement on this approach and I think it depends on your business. Some services are easier to give a quick estimate on than others.

Here are two articles that favor giving ‘ballpark’ quotes:

Why you must quote a ballpark figure

Should you give the client a ballpark price before you quote the project?

… and two that think it’s a bad idea:

Do you give ballpark quotes?

The curse of the Ballpark quote

So what happened with the prospect I met yesterday? I don’t know yet. He didn’t fall off his chair or tell me it was too much. There were a couple options for what I could do for him so I asked him to think about it and get back to me. And then I would give him a proposal.

If he gets back to me, I’ll know that he has the budget. If not, then I spent an hour talking with a fellow entrepreneur and learning about a business I knew little about.

How about you? Do you give ‘ballpark’ quotes to prospects?


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  3. Setting Priorities ‘3 Words’ at a Time