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Quoting Software

Quoting software enables organisations to accurately calculate cost and price estimates quickly and efficiently. Quote Management software also allows enterprise-wide distribution of quotes, enabling automatic pricing based on historical records as well as easy integration of localised factors, including customer profiles, case-specific terminology and sales tax rates. Quote software can often integrate directly with an organisation's accounting activities, enabling the automatic conversion of price quotes to invoices. Quoting software is related to Accounting software and Sales Force Automation software. Find the best quoting software for your organisation in Australia.

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Quoting Software Buyers Guide

Quoting software, otherwise known as quote management software, is the name used to describe software solutions that have been designed to assist users with the calculation and anticipation of costs, the formulation of pricing, and the distribution of quotes, price estimates, proposals, and similar documents. Therefore, the types of individuals and groups that may use quoting software includes businesses, non-profit organisations, sole traders, and freelance workers.

Many organisations and individuals take on jobs for clients or customers and calculate their pricing based on a number of factors, such as the precise nature of the work, the associated labour costs, the materials needed, the turnaround times expected, and the cost of actually delivering the final product or service to the customer. However, manually calculating the proposed costs and relaying this information to potential customers can be a time consuming and repetitive process, especially in cases where the costs are predictable and follow a set formula.

With this in mind, quoting software can assist users through automation, making the entire process of calculating costs and sending quotes much faster while minimising the manual actions that need to be performed. In many cases, the software can also be integrated with similar tools on the market, which may include billing and invoicing software, customer relationship management (CRM) software, and proposal management software. Integration of this kind can improve workflows and minimise the need to re-enter the same information multiple times.

The exact features that are contained within any given quote management software solution will depend on a number of factors, such as whether the software is aimed at small, medium or large corporations. Furthermore, the quality of the features included and how user-friendly the software is can vary significantly from one application to the next. Nonetheless, the majority of quoting software solutions on the market will have similar core features. As a general rule, users who turn to software of this kind will be able to use it to perform the following actions:

  • Identify the various costs associated with a specific job and then calculate an estimated price
  • Create professional, branded quote or proposal documents, and then send these to potential customers
  • Automate the process of calculating and creating quotes in situations where the prices are predictable
  • Store and manage contact information for all potential customers who seek quotes or make enquiries

What is quoting software?

Quoting software refers to software solutions that have been designed to assist users with the process of assessing costs and providing customers with a quote outlining what the price of a product or service is likely to be. This includes not only the calculation of the price given to the customer but also the creation of the quote or proposal document that is sent to them. Also known as quote management software, such solutions provide automation tools, which can make it quicker and easier to calculate precisely what will go into a particular job and how much the user will need to charge.

Software in this category can be used by self-employed or freelance workers, as well as businesses and non-profit organisations of all sizes. In many cases, the process of manually calculating what a particular product or service will cost can be time-consuming and significant time can be saved in cases where prices follow a set formula. However, quoting software can also be useful for businesses that need to tailor their quotes on an individual basis because the software allows the business to keep contact details in one place and create and store quote or proposal documents.

The documents made using quoting software can often be branded and made to look highly professional, which can be valuable for inspiring trust in potential customers. Pricing can also usually be calculated based on established rules and historical data, while the price estimates given to customers can also be converted to different currencies.

What are the benefits of quoting software?

The benefits of quoting software are primarily focused on its ability to assist individuals and organisations with the calculation of prices and the creation of proposal documents or quotes for potential customers. Without the use of such software, this process can be complicated, unnecessarily time-consuming, and repetitive. Nevertheless, it is important to explore some of the specific benefits associated with acquiring software of this kind, such as the following:

  • Increased productivity and efficiency: One of the most significant benefits associated with the use of quote management software is the ability to make the process of creating pricing estimates and associated documents much faster. This can allow individuals or businesses to improve their overall efficiency, freeing up more time to spend on some of the more complex tasks, which may require a greater level of care and attention. Ultimately, the software can help to ensure less time is spent on predictable or repetitive tasks, like calculating how much a specific job is going to cost, and more time is spent on the tasks that really require a hands-on approach.
  • Greater quote accuracy: Another major benefit that is linked to the use of quoting software is the ability to create more accurate price quotations. This is important, because potential customers need to gain a clear sense of what they are going to have to pay for a product or service, and charging a price that drastically differs from the initial quote they are given can cause significant harm to a business' reputation. Manually calculating the costs associated with a particular job and providing customers with a price can not only be time-consuming, it is also prone to human error, resulting in inaccurate price quotations and the possibility that customers are misled over what they should expect to pay. Quoting software can make use of past data, complex algorithms and advanced mathematical calculations in order to provide the most accurate quotes possible.
  • Improved quote professionalism: Potential customers are likely to make judgements about businesses based on a range of different factors, but one of the biggest factors will be the quality of direct communication between the two parties. With this in mind, quote management software can assist freelancers and businesses by assisting them in creating more professional quote or proposal documents. In many cases, specialist software will facilitate the creation of highly professional, fully branded documents, which can help to instil a sense of trust in potential customers, increasing the chances that they go on to complete an order or make a purchase. Specific options may include the use of company logos, icons, terminology, slogans, and brand colours.
  • Long-term business growth: The ability to provide customers with the information they need, when they need it, is crucial for achieving long-term business growth because it inspires the type of confidence that helps to build lasting relationships. In fact, research from Gartner shows that confidence in navigating a buying decision is one of the most important factors in deciding whether or not B2B customers expand their existing relationships, and those who feel condiment are 2.6 times more likely to increase purchases from an existing business partner. Providing professional, accurate quotes in a timely fashion can play a major role in inspiring this confidence.

What are the features of quoting software?

The features of quoting software can differ based on the specific application in question and precisely what the target audience for the program is. For instance, some solutions aimed at larger corporations may place a greater emphasis on integration with external software and relying on historical data to make calculations, while options aimed at smaller businesses or individuals may have a more basic range of functions and place emphasis on ease of use. Regardless of these differences, most solutions will include the following core features:

  • Quotes/estimates: Calculate the costs associated with an individual job, such as labour costs and the costs of acquiring the necessary tools or materials, and then come up with an accurate price estimate for enquiring customers. From there, a quotation or proposal document can be created, outlining the estimated price for the product or service requested. These documents will have a professional layout and can be branded in order to enhance trust. Quotes can then be exported to various file formats and sent to customers. Crucially, the business using the quoting software can also store all quotes that have been sent to customers for future reference.
  • Contact management: Create a record of all relevant contacts and maintain it over time, adding and removing contacts as necessary. Contacts can be added to the database after they make a request for a quote, and the quote or proposal document they were sent can be stored alongside their contact details so that it can be easily referred to again in the future. Information contained within the contact management component of quoting software may include email addresses, physical addresses, telephone numbers, past correspondence, and more. In many cases, this information can also be integrated with external applications, such as customer relationship management software, with a view to improving, and speeding up any future communication.
  • Pricing management: Develop a pricing index and continually manage prices, so that accurate quotes can be given to potential customers. The management of pricing will typically include setting prices for the use of specific materials or equipment, while labour costs can also be factored in. Prices can be updated based on a number of factors, including changes to levels of demand, the availability of materials from suppliers, and inflation. Additionally, with some businesses, there could be a need to develop different pricing tiers for different levels of service. The careful management of pricing information can help businesses to swiftly provide information to customers so that they can make a purchasing decision in confidence, with all the details they need.
  • Automated quoting: Build a rules-based system for automatically calculating price estimates based on the information that customers provide and the products or services requested. The calculation of prices can be based on a number of rules, such as the cost of equipment, the number of hours required to complete a job, the turnaround times requested, and historical data, such as the prices given to customers who have made similar orders in the past. Manually calculating prices for customers can be unnecessarily time-consuming, and quoting software can often use internal rules to do this job accurately without the need for human intervention. Of course, most software solutions offering automation tools will also allow users to manually adjust price estimates and proposal documents.
  • Discount management: Incentivise purchases or long-term business partnerships through the provision of discounts and then manage all relevant information from within the quote management software. Depending on the nature of the business and the products or services provided, discounts can be calculated in a number of ways. For instance, it could be beneficial to offer a discount for bulk purchases, or it may be useful to incentivise repeat business by offering a discount after a certain number of purchases have been made. Once rules have been established for when discounts are provided and why, it can be factored into price calculations, and the quotes given to customers can also highlight discounts that have been applied for maximum transparency.
  • Third-party integrations: Minimise duplicate data entries and optimise workflows through the use of third-party integration tools, allowing quote management software to be used in combination with CRM software, invoicing or billing software, and a variety of other tools. Integration can help to minimise friction, avoid compatibility issues, and speed up processes. At the same time, avoiding duplicate data can help to keep information more organised and can ensure that updates are applied across the board. This can be crucial for avoiding situations where inaccurate or outdated information is used to provide pricing estimates to customers.
  • Quote templates: Utilise templates for the creation of proposal documents, with a view to speeding up the entire process and creating a level of consistency across an organisation. The best software solutions will provide a variety of templates, with different basic layouts, which can then be modified with branding components. Additionally, these templates may also include some common formulas for calculating the price to charge a customer, based on the costs associated and the ideal profit margins for each individual job. In many cases, users will also have the option to create a proposal document and then save the layout for future use as a template.

Using Capterra's quoting software directory allows users to identify the software solutions that contain the specific features they require. Options can be sorted based on which features are included so that less viable options are automatically removed. This allows buyers to focus on the most suitable solutions for their specific needs.

What should be considered when purchasing quoting software?

When purchasing quoting software, there are many different components of the software itself that need to be considered carefully in order to arrive at the best possible option. However, beyond this, there are a number of external factors that buyers will need to factor into their decision making too. In the end, the various considerations that buyers contemplate or work through should assist them in finding the best software solution to solve their specific problems. One of the best ways to work through the main considerations is to ask a series of questions, such as:

  • How much does quoting software cost? When making any purchasing decision, the price is always going to be a significant factor. When it comes to investing in quoting software, it is important that the decision-making takes into account all costs and not only the initial purchase price. A good way to understand this is to consider the total cost of ownership and usage. When a buyer adopts this approach, they will need to factor in the purchase price, the costs of implementing the software solution and any subscription fees that may be associated with Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions. Yet, beyond this, they also need to contemplate the costs linked to training employees to make the best possible use of the software, along with the costs associated with keeping software up-to-date and accessing professional support in the event that they encounter technical problems.
  • What is the best deployment option? There are effectively two main approaches to software deployment, which are on-premises deployment and cloud-based software. On-premises solutions will typically require the buyer to purchase a software licence and then install the software on on-site systems or servers. By contrast, cloud-based solutions tend to follow a Software as a Service (SaaS) approach, where the software is owned, delivered, and managed by a third-party service provider. The former approach can provide a greater sense of personal control and may have lower long-term costs. However, the cloud-based deployment model offers much lower upfront costs, shared responsibility for compliance and data storage, benefits in terms of remote accessibility, and more predictable costs, even if they end up higher in the longer term. Ultimately, the decision on which deployment option to go for will depend on the individual circumstances of the buyer and their specific needs and priorities.
  • Is integration with other solutions possible? One of the major benefits associated with quoting software, when it is implemented properly, is its ability to improve workflows. However, for optimal results, the software also needs to be integrated with existing tools and processes. For this reason, buyers need to consider whether or not integration with other software solutions is possible and prioritise options that allow this kind of integration. In particular, it can be helpful for quote management software to provide integration options with customer relationship management software, analytics tools, accounting software, billing or invoicing tools, and dashboard software. Additionally, the best quote management software will allow the associated proposal documents to be exported to a number of major file formats in order to avoid compatibility issues from arising.
  • How user-friendly is the software? While the features provided by a particular software solution are important, and while the software needs to be able to perform the functions that are required by an individual or business, it is also essential that the software is easy to use. The level of user-friendliness on offer is one of the most important differentiators when it comes to quoting software because most options will offer broadly similar core functionality. This means that it can be difficult to separate the best solutions from less optimal options based purely on the features provided. Instead, the features need to be considered alongside how easy it is to carry out specific tasks and the extent to which the software can aid efficiency and productivity.

The most relevant trends related to quoting software are another important component that buyers need to factor in when making a purchasing decision. For individuals or businesses to acquire the best software solution, they need to consider whether or not it has been designed with an awareness of the emerging trends and the way they will shape expectations, processes, activities, and demand in the future. Some of the most important trends include:

  • Rise in demand for remote access: A growing number of businesses have embraced hybrid and remote work models, allowing employees to work from home either on a full-time basis or on occasion. Of course, such businesses need to invest in software solutions that have been designed to assist with remote access. This can be a significant factor in the decision between on-premises deployment and cloud-based deployment, with the latter offering advantages in terms of remote access and access using a wider range of devices. Where remote work does take place, it is important that the employees who need access to quoting software are able to carry out the core tasks wherever they are. Cloud storage can also help to ensure employees are always able to access proposal documents and past communication with potential customers and other business contacts.
  • Improvements to artificial intelligence: Across industries, artificial intelligence is increasingly becoming a relied upon solution, especially as improvements are made to the underlying technology. A growing number of software packages are designed to capitalise on the benefits of artificial intelligence and make it easier for users to turn to. With quoting software, for example, artificial intelligence could be used to automatically adjust pricing based on how it interprets all of the data made available. This could include forecasts for future demand, anticipated changes to global financial conditions, and seasonal factors that may influence where demand comes from.
  • Increased use of chatbot technology: In addition to wider uses for artificial intelligence, businesses are increasingly turning to chatbot technology as a solution for delivering customer service and meeting customer expectations. Chatbots can be beneficial for businesses because they can deliver almost instant responses to customers at all times of the day, regardless of whether an employee is available to personally respond. Information gathered by the chatbot can also be collected and used by employees to deliver a more personal response at a later date. When it comes to the provision of quotes, chatbots can be used to explain the process, provide fast responses, and keep customers up-to-date. Additionally, an underestimated benefit of chatbots is their ability to recognise and respond to different languages, which can help businesses to reply to requests from foreign customers.
  • Globalisation and multi-currency support: Increasingly, business is being carried out on a global scale, with customers approaching from all parts of the world. Quote management software needs to be designed to contend with some of the challenges this can throw up, with one of the most obvious examples being the provision of quotes in different currencies. Ideally, this needs to go beyond simple currency conversion because there may be additional costs associated with doing business on an international scale, and additional modifications to products or services may be required too. Aside from the ability to provide accurate price estimates in different currencies, there is also a growing demand to embrace cryptocurrency within business settings. It may be useful for businesses to find software solutions that have been designed with this trend in mind, too.