Quote Robot, the Cool New App for Proposals and Quotes (+ 5 Free Yearly Licenses up for grabs)

There are some fundamental questions I ask myself when I am test-driving any new web app: Will it really make my life easier? And, can I get this thing working easily, quickly and painlessly?
They are very basic questions, and will certainly not get you to the root and power of any app, but if these questions are answered with a resounding YES, then I know I will simply love it.

I had originally spoke to Shawn Adrian a few months back, and he told me then about this wonderful new app he was developing, called Quote Robot, that he felt would transform the way freelance designers and developers tackle proposals and quotes. Now, design proposals and quotes do have a bad rep with all designers, nobody likes writing them. So, Quote Robot had better impress.

After having a pre-launch look at Quote Robot, it more than meets my criteria: It was very easy to learn, it was intuitive, it was very very quick (it took less than ten minutes to mock-up a proposal), and yes, I think it will make my life a lot easier, and to top it all of, it was actually really, really good fun to use.

I asked Shawn for a short interview about Quote Robot, and maybe some free licenses for our readers. He happily obliged to both requests, you can read our interview below.

For a chance to win one of five year long licenses to Quote Robot, all you have to is post a comment below and tell us how this new app could make your life easier.
The competition will run for 30 days and the winners will be selected at random.

Quote Robot

Hi Shawn, your new app is looking great, can you tell us where the original idea for Quote Robot come from?

Well, I’ve always found writing proposals to be a bit of a chore. I spent a lot of time creating a good proposal template in Illustrator, and it worked so well I decided to give it away on my blog. I had no idea it would be as popular as it is – it’s by far the most popular page on my web site.

That helped me realize that I wasn’t the only one struggling to create proposals. I talked to my buddy Jon about writing an app that would use my template to create proposals, and we were both stoked, so we started a Basecamp project and start bouncing ideas around.

The parts of quoting that take the longest for me were always, a) coming up with the numbers (what to charge), and b) building the proposal in Illustrator. We decided to focus on trimming the time to accomplish those things.

The name is based on this idea I had of a tractor beam carrying robot who feeds off the collective quoting data of the creative masses and outputs usable quote information. He’s the basis for our logo. Feed the robot!

So, how will this app make our lives easier, tell us all about it and its features?

Quote Robot has been built to basically speed up the quoting process by doing a couple of things really, really well:

1) It allows you to create a great looking proposal without using a graphic design program.
2) It saves quote data from everyone and presents hints on line items so you have to think less about how many hours something takes.
3) It creates a community for the discussion of line items, quotes, hours, and all of the other tedious matters that you can think of.

The rest of the features are just things like being able to duplicate a proposal for a different clients, importing people from basecamp, keeping track of milestones, past proposals and how many are jobs accepted, rejected, etc. There are user generated tips and discussion too.

Basically, the features are all geared toward quoting faster and more accurately. We’re very excited about the potential it offers in our own freelance businesses – really, quoting is a pain in the ass and we’re trying to change that.

What sets Quote Robot apart from the rest?

Well, I’ve mentioned a bit of it, but the creator interface is dead-easy to use, and the social quoting idea is totally unique. The idea is that quotes are made up of line items. Line items are just things that are being charged for, usually based on a number of hours worked, times an hourly rate. So, we figure if we keep track of every line item on every quote from every user, we’ll eventually be able to determine how many hours each item should take.

It’s like a trend on twitter – when enough people talk about something, it becomes a trend. In this case, if enough people use the same or similar line items in their quotes, we’ll eventually see a trend and be able to notify users of the trend. That’s the most unique part of the application, in my opinion, and as far as I know nobody else is doing it, yet ;)

Also, it’s important to mention that it’s not an invoicing app, or a project management app, or a CRM – it’s purely and 100% focused on bringing in new work by improving on and speeding up the quoting process.

Most importantly how much will it cost, is there a choice of packages?

I’d like it to be painless for designers to adopt into their work-flow, so I want it to be cheap. We’re thinking between $9 and $12 per month somewhere. It works so well for speeding up the quoting process that I’m very confident that it will pay for itself within the first month. Quotes bring in new work after all.

For launch, we’re going to offer a free trial, which allows creating a limited number of proposals for a limited number of customers, and then unlimited use for paid accounts.

What plans do you have for Quote Robot in the future?

Well, there are tons of ideas out there, but mostly we just want to continue making it easier and faster to quote on jobs. As more people use it, the data will become more and more interesting, so we might release an API for other people to make use of it in their own apps.

I love data. I’m really inspired by Malcom Gladwell’s books and how he mines data for all kinds of useful, real world information. I think in the future we’ll focus on getting better at producing meaningful information from the quoting data – stuff that will help designers quote even better.

On a side note, I love helping people get into business as designers and developers. Whenever someone asks me what I do, I’m so passionate about when talking about my work, I have to stop myself from blatantly trying to convince them to quit their job and give it a try. I think my natural to help designers succeed, and Jon’s creative coding genius will take Quote Robot where it needs to go.

We really do think you think you will love Quote Robot!

Competition: Five Free Year Long Licenses to Quote Robot

For a chance to win one of five year long licenses to Quote Robot, all you have to is post a comment below and tell us how this new app could make your life easier.
The competition will run for 30 days and the winners will be selected at random.

Author: (588 Posts)

Paul Andrew is the editor and founder of Speckyboy Design Magazine.