Estimates vs. Quotes

Design Positive
4 min readMay 20, 2021


Quotes and estimates are common terms when a request for proposal (RFP) goes out. But if you’re looking for work, such as branding or a website redesign, you should know the specific difference between quotes and estimates. And realize that there are distinct benefits and detractors of each of these.

What Is an Estimate?

An estimate is a general projection of how much a project could cost you. Estimates show an hourly rate for a project with some projections for how long the project might take. But the project could take far longer than what your team is anticipating, which could mean you pay a lot more once all is said and done.

Estimates can be good for open-ended services, almost like hiring a part-time staff to augment your team. But when you’re looking to accomplish a specific project or goal, you might find estimates frustrating and a serious struggle to meet your budget.

Benefits of Estimates

· Can be good if you need general creative support

· Allows for flexibility when you need to scale services up and down from month to month

Disadvantages of Estimates

· You might go way over budget for a project

· You’ll have to pay extra for consultative calls and check-ins

· They’re approximations and can change as a project goes on

What Is a Quote?

Quotes for creative projects vary greatly from estimates. With a quote, the design agency presents its approach to your marketing project with a fixed fee that won’t change after you sign on for the services.

A quote will clearly outline the scope of work. You know exactly what you’re getting when you accept a quote. The quote will detail dates, project milestones and processes that you and the design agency will follow to complete the project.

You’ll also see a breakdown of any technology or services the team needs to accomplish the job or what services you’ll need long-term, such as website hosting, domain name registration, trademarking, etc.

Benefits of a Quote

· Secure a set budget for your project

· Flexible in allowing you to select the services from the proposal that interest you thanks to tier options

· Outlines in clear form what’s included and what is not in the total price that you’ll pay

· No surprise charges for the consultative portion of a project so you can feel you can call your creative team when you need them or have questions

· Can fill project gaps you weren’t aware of thanks to options to scale up or down the project with pricing tiers

· Is more customer-centric in allowing customers to be in control of project budgets and outlines

Disadvantages of Quotes

· You won’t see hourly rates for services, but this is generally better as your budget will be preset from the start

· You must take time to ask questions and clarify details as any services not outlined in a quote could cost extra

How to Request Proposals

Small business owners or in-house marketing teams looking to begin a project with an outside agency or consultant should focus on the outcomes desired, not hours needed. Be as detailed as you can be in your RFP. For example, an RFP for a website redesign might include information about:

· Areas of improvement from your current website’s performance

· Branding guidelines for what the website must include

· Website functionality requirements

· Site architecture for how many pages you plan on adding or removing

· Competitor analysis and the role it plays

· Technology requirements — WordPress, specific plug-ins, third-party integrations

· Which pages need copy rewriting

· Accessibility requirements

· Plans to add different languages in the future

· Improving your SEO strategy and goals you want to meet

· The need for pillar page and landing page templates

· Pre-migration needs and migration concerns

· Website management training for staff

Why Design Positive Provides Quotes and not Estimates

When the Design Positive team is engaged, we’re always thinking about the end user — that includes our clients during the RPF process. We look at the project from your point of view. We’re experts at planning how long a project will take, the different phases it’ll need, and therefore, we’re 100% confident in our quoted proposals.

If we underestimate how long a project will take, that’s our problem and not yours. We’ll outline clearly what’s included in the project and encourage customers to ask questions about exclusions or adding services before signing a project contract.

We believe customers shouldn’t have to make an investment decision every time they need our assistance. You’ll never see added fees for consultative calls or email inquiries. We’re transparent and honest in our interactions with our customers to ensure you don’t experience billing surprises.

Have questions about our quote process or want to submit an RFP? Contact us and we’ll be happy to assist you.



Design Positive

Design Positive is a strategic branding and accessibility agency.