For those who job or project cost, it all starts with the estimate. When the estimate is simple, then it’s often easy to create in QuickBooks. But for many of you, you most likely have many of the same types of estimates (such as seasonal maintenance jobs) or have more involved estimates such as construction, landscape design/build projects, etc. So here are 4 ways to get your estimates entered faster.
- Use Item Groups – This is a fast way to pull multiple items onto an estimate. While you might select only 1 item (group), you will see all the items in the group listed on your estimate. Examples – items in a display, components of an outdoor fountain, labor and materials for a shed, what’s included in a maintenance contract… Item Groups are also a way for you to have the detail in QuickBooks for job costing while showing your customer only the summary. Here are a couple screen captures:
Figure 1: Setting up Group Item
Figure 2: What your customer sees
- Duplicate – If you need to create an estimate similar to another one you’ve done, you can duplicate the estimate, change the customer and any other pertinent information. This is also useful when you have a customer wanting to see multiple estimates for pricing or other reasons. Right-click on the document to get the pop-up menu below
- Memorize Estimate – Need to do this estimate (or type of estimate) frequently? Then memorize the entire estimate. This is especially helpful for install or construction jobs where numerous items/cost codes are used or for special types of project – such as backyard “kitchens”, patios, office/home additions, etc. You can either click on Memorize on the ribbon bar or right-click to memorize. Then to use this later, click on Lists>Memorized Transactions. You might also want to memorize the estimate with $0 and/or 0 quantities so you will have to fill it in. You don’t want to accidentally think it’s done when it’s not!
You might also want to use different Estimate templates for different types of estimates. For example, seasonal maintenance estimates might have one format, but design/build types of estimates might look different. So keep that in mind when memorizing your estimates.
- Import – Many of you either do your estimating in a spreadsheet or 3rd party software, which often suggests some level of complexity to the Estimate. Some 3rd party estimating/bidding or industry-specific software can integrate with QuickBooks so you can import the Estimate making this easy once it’s setup and a big time-saver. Even if you use Excel, there are products out there you can use to import the estimate. Usually the biggest issue is the items. In Excel, many times people are inconsistent with how they reference their services, materials or subs, so importing could inflate your Items list. However, if you can be consistent in your terminology, this can be a big timesaver.
You may find you use a combination of these options, but you will definitely save lots of time in entering your estimates.
If you want help with any of these ideas, let me know. I would love to hear which method(s) you have found the most effective for you!