Estimating in QuickBooks

Are your estimates in QuickBooks?  If you do job or project costing, then I believe some form of your estimate belongs in QuickBooks. Even if you just give your customer a fixed price.  All your other numbers are there – invoicing, job costs, payroll….  Chances are, you’re creating some form of those reports already, but you are probably pulling some numbers from QuickBooks, some from a stack of receipts for the project and then entering them either in a spreadsheet, on the back of a project folder and using a calculator. Doing that elsewhere can be very time consuming and double work.

If your estimate is in QuickBooks, with just a click or two, you can easily run the following reports:

Figure 1:  Estimated vs Actual


Figure 2: Cost to Complete (Premier & Enterprise)


Figure 3: Committed Costs (Enterprise)


Figure 4: WIP Summary (Enterprise)


If you enter estimated quantities (such as labor hours) and run payroll in QuickBooks, you can even get an Estimated vs Actual Hours report!

If your customer wants to make changes along the way, as so frequently happens, QuickBooks will let you do a change order and can keep track of the changes for you.  And, you can easily invoice off the estimate, order materials or even enter orders for work you will sub out, so once the estimate is in, often other tasks can be done with just a couple clicks.

If your estimating is fairly simple, then usually the regular estimate form in QuickBooks works. You can enter your anticipated costs for the various items, mark it up and arrive at a number you want to charge your customer.

I will admit that there are many times when the estimate form in QuickBooks can be inadequate so a spreadsheet or other estimating software often works better. But some form of the estimate still belongs in QuickBooks making it easier to review the job.  How much detail to have in QuickBooks depends on what you want to see in your reporting when you’re reviewing your job reports.

There are several ways to enter an estimate, including Memorized Estimates or importing using 3rd party software.

Let us know if you’d like help with getting your estimates in QuickBooks!

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2 Responses to Estimating in QuickBooks

  1. Tina Marino says:

    Is this possible to do in Quickbooks online?
    I’ve created an estimate to track vs actuals but I cannot find an Estimate vs Actuals report in QBO.

  2. Hi Tina –
    There is no Estimated vs Actual in QBO. That’s one of the reasons why I prefer QB Pro/Premier/Enterprise
    You can do a Budget vs Actual in QBO but why would you want to create an estimate and then a budget?
    Here’s an article I wrote on QBO vs QB Desktop

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