How To Create Estimates In Quickbooks

Creating estimates in Quickbooks Online is easy to do and has several benefits. It allows you to fully discuss the project with a client, get their approval, and have written documentation of the scope of the job in case there are disputes later.

Estimates also allow for additional marketing opportunities. The estimates can be presented along with additional marketing materials and, if you email them, give you a natural way to get a client’s email address which will allow for email marketing later.

Step-By-Step Guide To Create Estimates In Quickbooks Online

The Estimate feature in Quickbooks Online helps you to create professional-looking estimates for clients and potential clients. After creation, the estimates can be printed on paper or as a PDF.

Note that estimates are non-posted transactions that have no impact on your financial records. Instead, the feature provides an easy way to share the costs of a potential product or service with your clients.

Follow the steps listed here to quickly and easily create an estimate for a customer in Quickbooks Online.

How To Use The Estimate Feature In Quickbooks Online

  1. Click the + or New button on the top of your screen.
  2. Select Estimate from the Customers dropdown menu.
  3. When the estimate appears, click the Customer box and choose the customer the estimate is for.
  4. If all of the details for the customer have been entered into Quickbooks, the email and address fields will auto populate. If not, you can add those details manually.
  5. The estimate date will auto populate to the current date. Adjust if necessary.
  6. Select an Expiration Date for the estimate.
  7. In the Product/Service box, select a product or service from the dropdown, or use Add New to add a new product or service if necessary.
  8. Fill out the Description box if more description is needed.
  9. Fill out the Quantity box with the correct quantity of the product or service.
  10. Use out the Rate box to show the price per item.
  11. Add any additional products or services to the estimate.
  12. Add a Message to the Message Displayed on Estimate box.
  13. Copy and paste that message or add a new message in the Message Displayed on Statement box if necessary.
  14. Include any necessary attachments using the Attachments box.
  15. Click Save to record in your records, or click Save and Send to record and send to the customer.
  16. After you click Save and Send, a popup box will appear so you can review the estimate before it’s sent. You can use this box to review and modify the email message if necessary before sending.
  17. Hit the Print button to print if you want to print out your invoice and mail it to your client via snail mail.
  18. Hit Send and Close.

If you want to go back later and check on the status of estimates you’ve sent, simply hit the All Sales tab at the top of your screen or on the left sidebar of your screen.

From that screen, you do have the capability to update the status or perform other actions as well. Next, let’s talk about other features of using Estimates.

Related Article: How To Set Up Vendors And Customers In Quickbooks

Additional Estimate Features

The Estimate feature in Quickbooks has a couple of other feature boxes you may find helpful too.


Your estimate might have a Tags feature near the top of the invoice. This box isn’t required to send estimates, but may be helpful for organizing your business.

See this Quickbooks article on using the Tags feature for more information.


Right below your Customer name you’ll see a dropdown box with a yellow icon and the word “pending”. This box helps you keep track of the progress of the estimate.

You can change the status to “Accepted” after the client accepts the estimate and decides to go ahead with the purchase. Then you can change it to “Closed” after the client has been invoiced for the work, or to “Rejected” if the client decides not to make the purchase.

Note that it can be helpful to keep estimates even if they’ve been rejected in the event that a client comes back later and wants to accept or discuss the estimate again.

click to enlarge

How To Change An Estimate To An Invoice In Quickbooks

One great benefit of the Estimate feature in Quickbooks Online is that Quickbooks makes it very easy to invoice a client by using the Estimate you created. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do that.

  1. Access your Customer list from the main menu.
  2. Click on the name of the customer you created the invoice for. You’ll see the activity list for your customer.
  3. Click on the estimate you sent to the customer.
  4. In the upper right-hand corner you’ll see a box that says Create Invoice.
  5. When you click on that box, a popup box will appear.
  6. Choose whether you want to invoice for the entire estimate, a percentage of the estimate, or customized percentage for each line (for invoices that don’t need to be paid in full).
  7. Click Create Invoice.
  8. You’ll automatically see an Invoice for the Estimate that is ready for you to Save or Save and Send.

Since you’ve already done most of the work of outlining the job in the Estimate section, you’ll find it’s very easy to invoice your customer after the work is completed.

Now let’s talk about some of the other benefits of using the Estimate feature in Quickbooks Online and why you should consider using the feature in your business.

Related Article: How To Invoice Like A Professional

Why You Should Use The Estimate Feature In Quickbooks

Using the Estimate feature in Quickbooks can have several benefits to your business. Here are some common benefits.

An Estimate Can Be A Great Marketing Tool

Presenting a client or potential client with an estimate can be a great way to open discussions about having your company provide different products or services.

You can use the estimate to get answers about why a client may be hesitating on moving forward. Is price a concern? Is the product or service as outlined not quite what the client is looking for?

Consider the Estimate feature a natural way to market your products and services to potential clients as well as existing clients, but in a way that doesn’t feel “salesy.”

Include other marketing materials along with your estimate. Along with the estimate, include your brochure, client testimonials, and other marketing materials.

Estimates Can Help With Cost Analysis

When you use the Estimate feature in Quickbooks, you gain the ability to run reports that can help you compare your estimated cost vs. the actual cost of a job.

This is a great way to detect any gaps or errors in your estimation process. And having more accurate estimates typically results in more satisfied clients. No one wants to get an invoice for an amount that far exceeds what the estimate stated.

Of course, there are some instances in which that can’t be avoided. However, doing your work upfront and using the reports feature to compare estimates vs. invoices can help your team learn to create more accurate estimates. Plus, presenting the estimate gives you a chance to discuss this possibility with the client.

An Estimate Can Serve As Written Approval For A Job

Another benefit of an estimate is that it can serve as written approval for a job. You can use an online signature transaction tool to get approval or have your client sign the estimate in person.

At the very least, you can use email communications that follow up your email of the estimate to serve as proof that you have approval to do the job.

Plus, if there are any disputes after the job is completed you have written proof of what was promised and what the client agreed to.

Sending An Estimate Is A Natural Way To Get An Email Address

Using the Estimate feature is also a great way to be able to open the door of communication to a potential client. It can be uncomfortable to outright ask a potential client for their email address.

Offering to send them an estimate is an easy and natural way to get their email address. At that point, you can add them to your email marketing list and keep in touch in a personalized and friendly manner.


Creating estimates in Quickbooks Online is easy to do and offers a host of great benefits to business owners. Consider using it as a creative way to market, grow, and streamline your business.

How To Create Estimates In Quickbooks

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