On the surface, low volume, low-value RFQs from unfamiliar customers may seem like a waste of time for your machine shop. They’re too small to bring in as much profit as larger orders, and you don’t want to take time to figure out a quote for a new job. However, these jobs can be a great opportunity for your shop to test out new customers and grow your customer base, especially if you have a quick process for quoting.
Testing the Waters
A small job is a great way for a customer to test your shop, which is often why they send out low-value RFQs for jobs like this. It’s also a great way for your shop to test out new customers. By starting with a smaller job, new customers can understand how your shop works without committing to a large job. New customers are making sure that your shop is easy to work with, gets jobs done on time, and that the finished product meets their specifications. When you work with a new customer, your shop can test if the customer is easy to work with, accepts changes, and if they pay on time. You and the customer can both test each other through low volume and low-value RFQs.
One of the reasons to test out new customers is to have a good variety of customers. If one of your customers goes out of business, you don’t want your shop to struggle as a result. Having customers in a variety of industries helps protect your shop from depending too much on any one customer or industry. The trick is to make sure that you are taking jobs that your shop excels in. Taking a low-value RFQ for a job from a new customer is a great way to make sure your shop can do jobs for them well and profitably.
It can be harder to quote new jobs for new customers because you must write a new quote. However, if your shop has great ERP software, it can make quoting easier and quicker. With ERP software powering your quotes, you can quickly pull up similar quotes and adapt them for a new job. After you’ve created the quote, you can send along a professional-looking fax or email to your potential customer. With a quicker quoting process, you can send out more quotes to new customers, or spend that time on other priorities.
Low volume, low-value RFQs can open doors for your shop. At first glance, they may not seem like a good opportunity for you, but they can be a great way for your shop to test out working with a new customer, add some variety to your customer base, and it’s all easier with a quick quoting process. These sorts of small jobs can be the perfect opportunity to open more doors for your shop and help protect your shop from downturns.