I’m interested in the semantic implications of using the words quote and estimate in a business scenario.
Here’s the situation: When someone wants to purchase a service that I provide, they can fill out a form on a Website with information about the work to be done. Based on that info, they are instantly given a predicted price. This is intended only to be a ballpark. Once I manually review the work order, I will contact them with a personalized, much more accurate guess at the price.
My instinct is to use estimate for the ballpark and quote for the more precise guess, but I’m interested in both your opinions and the more subtle distinctions and implications of the two words.
An estimate is an unofficial ballpark figure, the final cost may be lower or higher.
Once a quote is given for $X, the person who issued the quote is obliged to charge $X. It is effectively the price. If the actual cost differs from the quote the quote is still the amount payed, unless the customer and quoter re-negotiate the price.