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Create and send estimates in QuickBooks Online

by Intuit Updated 1 week ago

Learn how to set up estimates in QuickBooks Online.

Create an estimate when you want to give your customer a quote, bid, or proposal for work you plan to do. The form looks similar to an invoice, but instead of charging your customer, you’re giving them info about your proposal and what they can expect to pay. Then, when the work is done and you're ready to invoice your customer, you can convert the estimate to an invoice so you don't have to enter it twice.

Your estimates or invoices will look different depending on whether you have the old or new estimate and invoice experience. Find out which experience you have.

Now that you understand which version of estimates and invoices you have, here’s how to create a new estimate and convert it to an invoice.

Step 1: Create an estimate

As you’re creating an estimate, you can customise it to display only what you want your customer to see. Here’s how to create and customise a new estimate:

  1. Select + New, then select Estimate.
  2. Select Add customer. Then select a customer from the ▼ dropdown. Or, to add a new customer, select + Add new, enter the customer info, and select Save.
  3. Select the ▼ dropdown in the Product or service field and add the products or services to the estimate. Or, to add a new product or service, select + Add new, enter the info for your product or service and select Save
  4. If you saved a rate for your product or service, it automatically displays in the Amount column. Add or adjust the quantity or amount as needed. 
  5. The default status of a new estimate is Pending. If you need to edit the status, select the Pending ▼ dropdown and choose a different status. 
  6. To customise the estimate, select ⚙ Manage and select the dropdown▼ on the section you need to customise. Then, choose what info displays on your form by turning the switches on or off in each section. As you make changes, a preview displays on the form.
  7. When you're ready, select Save.
  8. To email the estimate to your customer, select Review and send. Then edit the email message, if necessary, and select Send estimate.

Step 2: Update an estimate's status

When you email your customer an estimate and they accept or decline the estimate directly from the email, QuickBooks automatically updates the status of the estimate for you. 

Or, here’s how to manually update the status of the estimate:

  1. Go to Sales and select All sales (Take me there).
  2. Find the estimate.
  3. In the Action column, select the dropdown▼ and then Update status.
  4. Select Accepted or another status. Then select OK.

Tip: Estimates are non-posting transactions. They won’t affect your books until you convert the estimate to an invoice.

Step 3: Convert an estimate to an invoice

  1. Go to Sales and select All sales (Take me there).
  2.  Find the estimate.
  3.  In the Action column, select Convert to invoice.
  4.  Make any necessary edits to the invoice.
  5.  If you need to customise any invoice fields, select ⚙ Manage and select the dropdown▼ on the section you need to customise. Then turn the switches on or off to change what displays on the invoice. As you make changes, a preview displays on the form.
  6.  When you're ready, select Save to save the invoice, or select Review and send to email the invoice to your customer.

Review open estimates

  1. Go to Salesand select All sales (Take me there).
  2. Find your estimate. Tip: You can sort how estimates are displayed by selecting the date, number, customer, total, or status column headers.

You can also run a report to get more details:

  1. Go to Reports (Take me there).
  2. Look for and open the Estimates by Customer report.
  3. Select your date range and select Run report.

This gives you the customer name, the estimate number, the status, and the amount.

Delete an estimate

If your customer decides they don't want you to do the work, it's better to change the estimate status to Declined rather than delete it. (See Step 2: Update an estimate's status.) This keeps a record of the estimate on your accounts for good bookkeeping.

But if you created an estimate by mistake, you can simply delete it:

  1. Go to Sales and select All sales (Take me there).
  2. Find the estimate.
  3. In the Action column, select the dropdown▼ and then select Delete.
  4. Select Delete to confirm.

Step 1: Create an estimate

  1. Select + New.
  2. Select Estimate.
  3. Select a customer from the Customer dropdown.
  4. If the work has already started, select a status from the Pending ▼ dropdown. This is optional.
  5. Set the Estimate date and the optional Expiration date.
  6. Enter the products or services you plan to sell.
  7. Enter any other info you need.
  8. When you're ready, select Save.

Step 2: Update an estimate's status

When your customer accepts the work, or decides they don't want to continue, update the estimate's status. This keeps your accounts accurate and up-to-date:

  1. Go to Sales, then select All sales (Take me there).
  2. Find the estimate.
  3. In the Action column, select the dropdown▼ and then Update Status.
  4. Select Accepted or another status. Then select OK.

Tip: Estimates are non-posting transactions. They won’t affect your books until you convert the estimate to an invoice.

Step 3: Convert an estimate to an invoice

Convert the estimate to an invoice so you can bill your customer:

  1. Go to Sales, then select All sales (Take me there).
  2. Find the estimate.
  3. In the Action column, select Convert to invoice.
  4. If you have progress invoicing turned on, choose how much you want to invoice: (Skip this step if you don’t use progress invoicing)
    • To create an invoice on the entire estimate amount, select Remaining total of all lines. Then select Create invoice.
    • Or, to create an invoice for only part of the estimate, you can select the option to enter a percentage of each line or the option to enter a custom amount. Then select Create invoice.
  5. Make any changes to the invoice, then select Save and send, or Save and close.

Add an estimate to an existing invoice

Instead of converting estimates, you can also add them to existing invoices:

  1. Select + New.
  2. Select Invoice.
  3. Select the customer from the Customer dropdown. This opens the Add to Invoice window.
  4. In the Add to Invoice window, select Add on each estimate you want to add to the invoice.
  5. If you have progress invoicing turned on, choose how much you want to invoice (Skip this step if you don’t have progress invoicing):
    1. To create an invoice on the entire estimate amount, select Total of all estimate lines. Then select Copy to invoice.
    2. Or, to create an invoice for only part of the estimate, you can select the option to enter a percentage of each line or the option to enter a custom amount. Then select Copy to invoice.
  6. Make any updates or edits to the invoice. Then select Save.

Tip: If you have more than one open estimate for a customer, you can add them all at once. However, your customer may prefer separate invoices for each one.

Review open estimates

  1. Go to Sales, then select All sales (Take me there).
  2. Select the Filter ▼ dropdown.
  3. In the Type dropdown, select Estimates.
  4. Find your estimate.

You can also run a report to get more details:

  1. Go to Reports (Take me there).
  2. Look for and open the Estimates by Customer report.
  3. Select your date range and select Run report.

This gives you the customer name, the estimate number, the status, and the amount.

Delete an estimate

If a client decides they don't want you to do work anymore, it's better to update the estimate status to Closed rather than delete it. (See Step 2: Update an estimate's status.) This keeps the record on your accounts for good bookkeeping.

But if you created an estimate by mistake, you can simply delete it:

  1. Go to Sales, then select All sales (Take me there).
  2. Find the estimate.
  3. In the Action column, select the dropdown ▼ and then select Delete.
  4. Select Delete to confirm.
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