A quote is the first vital step in a sales process. A competent quote doesn’t just have the right price, but also is a business document with all the details relevant to your bid. Professional formatting, highlighting important sections prominently and visual appeal are important factors that grab the attention of the clients.
Bidsketch is an application that lets you create, track, customize, and design beautiful proposals. The developers claim that with this app you can create proposals in half the time. After the break, let’s put their claim to test.
Bidsketch subscription plans start at $19 a month. It’s good that they have a plan that allows unlimited proposals and the number of quotes that you are allowed to create in the lowest tier is quite generous as well. Surprisingly, there are no free plans, but you can try all the plans for 14 days. Do note that you’ll have to submit credit card information even before starting the trial. Nonprofits can use the app for free.
Bidsketch has a clean, simple user interface. The developers have a done a great job with the color scheme and the background. Dark green never looked better! Landing on an empty space is very common when you sign up for a web app. I usually gauge the smartness of a dev team based on how well they manage to use this empty space to their advantage.
A help wizard or a guide is one regularly used placeholder and Bidsketch has one in place too. A rather stripped down guide it is, but it quickly lets you know that there are only three stages involved in the quote creation process and what each stage is all about.
Every quote in the first stage looks a lot like a standard form with fields like client name, project name and description. But, it all changes to a great extent once you come to the Templates drop down menu.
I would say that the template feature is one of the major attractions of Bidsketch. It comes with three default templates with the option to create customized ones of your own. These templates are a lot of fun to use and is a quick way to mix and match proposal sections, fees and designs.
It’s this feature that has the potential to save a ton of time from the conventional alternatives. The sample content that comes with each template is another major time saver. You could easily edit the existing content to suit your needs and build on top of an excellent foundation. You can even embed images and Flash content for online viewing by your clients.
Based on the template you select, the number of sections available might vary. However, you can add a new section at any stage to make the proposal to suit your needs.
Adding Fees and Final Steps
I didn’t like the user interface of the Adding Fees page. The rich text editor makes explaining the fees and terms in detail easier. But, only when you save a fee, you get to add another one. Any new fee that you add can instantly be saved to the library for using it later. After adding or using the sample Terms and Conditions, you can move forward to customizing the quote.
Customization and Notifications
Bidsketch offers a few different styles to add to your proposal. On of top all this, the ability to use your own custom HTML/CSS designs makes a great addition for those really particular about standing out from the crowd.
Analytics is a cool new feature to have in a quote generation app. Instead of keeping fingers crossed not knowing whether the client actually spent enough time reviewing your quote, you can simply keep an eye on the web app. You will be automatically notified when your client views the proposal, keeping you always in the know.
You’ll also get notified of every comment and proposal status change they make. There is more. You can also see how long a client viewed the proposal, which email they came from and whether they exported it to PDF.
Of late, the quote generation space has become the one that I follow with fervent interest. Not only are the apps from this vertical are targeted at both freelancers as well as businesses, there is fairly less competition when compared to other web app verticals. It’s good that new players are showing up at regular intervals to push innovation forward in this field. Without doubt, Bidsketch cuts down the time taken to generate a quote. Features like optional fees, electronic signatures, custom approval messages, and impressive client landing pages make it a compelling choice.
I wrote this review over a period of few days, with proposals open for hours at a time even when I wasn’t working on it. But, the app never logged me out for inactivity and I didn’t lose any unsaved data. Not much of a big deal, but it’s one thoughtful addition and this attention to detail is what makes Bidsketch a winner.