An estimate can be a very effective sales tool, providing that it looks professional and the quoted price is attractive. Here we show you how to create estimates using QuickBooks. Whether you have a plumbing business, auto repair shop, or heating and air conditioning business, or any business, you can present a prospect or two as well as current customers with estimates.
The fact is that an unexpected but attractive estimate (or bid or proposal) may get you a job that you really did not expect. Providing the bottom line price for the precise work to be done is your job. And, QuickBooks will help you with efficient and intuitive ways to create and to modify your estimates.
The first thing is to make sure that the estimate feature is turned on in your QuickBooks. In the Edit menu choose Preferences, Jobs & Estimates, and Company Preferences.
There is a button just below DO YOU CREATE ESTIMATES? Make sure it is clicked.
There is also a checkbox next to Warn about duplicate estimate numbers. Make sure it is checked.
You can open the estimate form in any of three ways.
• On the home page click the Estimates icon.
• Go to the Customers menu and choose Create Estimates.
• From the Customers menu go to Customer Center. Click the Transactions tab, the New Transactions button on the toolbar, and pick Estimates.
If you are not familiar with the QuickBooks Customer Center, please check it out. Much of your sales work, such as creating estimates, can be done right from there.
As the example shows, you are able to create many different kinds of sales forms in the Customer Center and you will find lists of historical and current transactions.
Before starting to work on your first estimate, make sure that the basic form is how you want it to look and has the correct information.
Check the header, footer, and columns to make sure that these contain the fields that you need.
Use any of the three methods for opening a blank form.
Make sure that at the top of the window the Formatting tab is active. In the toolbar click Customize Data Layout and go to the Additional Customization window.
Here you will start to compose your estimate. The Custom Estimate template contains fields that you will commonly use such as Description, Cost, and Markup. As you set up your estimate it may be easier to start by using this template and putting in the basics before trying to compose an interesting or compelling message.
As you enter the necessary information in the form, the message you want to use will become clearer.
The form provides you with check-boxes to determine which fields show up in the Header, Footer, and Columns on the estimates you produce.
Any of the specific fields can be edited. For example, you might choose to change the word Estimate to Proposal or Bid.
In the columns, you can change the order.
NOTE: The Markup field is for your reference only and part of the calculation of the price you are quoting. Make sure this field is NOT CHECKED for printing in the Print column!
As you work and make changes, the Preview graphic on the right changes to reflect the changes you have made. If you want to see a printed version, just click Print Preview.
When you are happy with the result, click OK. This version will now be your Custom Estimate template.
There are various other icons and links in regard to estimate formatting. These are advanced tools that you may find helpful. If you have questions about the basics or want to learn more about advanced estimate formatting, contact us at Exigo Business Solutions for more QuickBooks training. When you master these tools you will be able to save various versions of your master template to use in specific situations.
To learn about ways to create a variety of Custom Estimate templates or how to create and save a totally new one, use this customization wizard.
Customize Design lets you open a wizard that lets pick grid style, font, and a different background.
Download Templates lets you pick from previously designed templates.
Basic Customization provides tools that change fonts and colors as well as adding a logo.
Layout Designer is for those gifted few who are artistically inclined and can do free-form design!
When you get the hang of it, using QuickBooks to create estimates is very similar to filling out an invoice. Enter the data and pick options with drop-down lists. If you need some help getting started or at any time feel free to contact us. We will be happy to go through the process step by step both for basic estimates and for how to use the advanced tools.