Estimates in QuickBooks: How They Work and How to Use Them Effectively

In this article, we'll examine estimates in QuickBooks and how to use it effectively, with tips and tricks to streamline your workflows.

Estimates are more than just numbers; they are the blueprint for client relationships and financial stability. QuickBooks simplifies this crucial aspect of business, turning estimates into a cornerstone for streamlined financial processes. 

In this guide, we’ll explore the importance of estimates in QuickBooks and how mastering this feature can significantly streamline your business finances, ensuring smoother operations and enhanced client interactions.

In this article, you’ll find:

Understanding Estimates in QuickBooks

Estimates in QuickBooks refer to projected costs, timelines, and resources required for a particular project or job. They act as pre-invoices, detailing the expected expenses, services, or products to be delivered to clients.

The Role of Estimates in Financial Management and Accounting

Estimates play a pivotal role in financial planning and management within QuickBooks. They aid in forecasting income, allocating resources, and strategizing project timelines. 

Furthermore, estimates are a foundation for creating invoices and tracking project profitability, contributing significantly to accurate financial reporting and informed decision-making.

Benefits of Using Estimates in QuickBooks


Estimates contribute to accurate financial reporting by forecasting expected revenues, expenses, and project timelines. This allows businesses to compare estimated costs against actuals, providing insight into project profitability and overall financial health.


Using estimates fosters transparent communication with clients. It helps set clear expectations regarding project scope, costs, and timelines. This transparency establishes trust and minimizes misunderstandings, leading to stronger client relationships.


Estimates are a precursor to invoices, streamlining the billing process. They allow for easy conversion into invoices once the client approves the estimate. This simplifies billing procedures, reducing errors and saving time in generating accurate invoices for completed work.

Creating Estimates in QuickBooks: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Set up Estimates

Setting up estimates in QuickBooks involves activating the feature, configuring preferences, and adjusting settings to align with the business’s specific needs. This step ensures accurate and efficient estimation processes.

Detailed Steps to Create Estimates

Before you dive into creating estimates in QuickBooks, it’s essential to activate this feature. Here’s a step-by-step activation guide to enable estimates in QuickBooks, allowing you to seamlessly generate detailed estimates for your business needs:

Accessing Company Preferences:

Navigating to Jobs & Estimates:

Enabling Estimates Feature:

Customizing Estimate Settings:

Check and configure additional settings according to your business needs:

Finalizing Settings:

Accessing the Estimate Feature:

Customer Details:


Now, break down the estimate by adding the relevant products or services your business will provide.


QuickBooks offers customization options to tailor estimates according to specific business needs.

Review and Save:

Before finalizing, meticulously review all entered details.

Customizing Estimate Templates

Set Up New Items:

Manage Items:

Customizing estimates in QuickBooks allows businesses to adapt estimates to unique project requirements and client preferences, streamlining the estimation process for better efficiency and client satisfaction.

Managing Estimates in QuickBooks

Effectively handling estimates within QuickBooks is pivotal for streamlined financial operations and project management. This section delves into strategies and practices that enable users to create, modify, and transform estimates efficiently. 

From structured creation processes to optimizing functionalities and fostering clear communication, these practices ensure accuracy, transparency, and efficient financial operations within the QuickBooks ecosystem.

Tracking and Modifying Estimates

Monitoring Estimate Statuses

Tracking and modifying estimates, correctly converting estimates to invoices, and monitoring estimate statuses ensures a structured and efficient approach to estimate management within QuickBooks. This fosters accuracy, transparency, and streamlined financial operations.

Before deploying QuickBooks for tracking employee time on the job, or any other in-progress expense, remember that QuickBooks products tend to be built for the broadest possible audience, which can mean they may lack specific features your business needs.

Tools like QuickBooks can help track your team’s time on the job – but it’s not always the best tool available to construction companies.

Workyard was built from the ground up to support construction companies. With Workyard, it’s easy to manage the schedules of dozens or even hundreds (or more) of employees while accurately tracking their time on the job with our mobile app’s industry-leading GPS and geofencing capabilities.

Workyard’s laser-like accuracy, tracking employee time to the minute without requiring them to clock in or out manually, can save construction businesses $2,000 in payroll waste per employee each year. Take a look at what Workyard can do for you:

See why Workyard is the best time-tracking app for construction and field workforces using QuickBooks:

Tips and Best Practices

Strategies for Effective Use of Estimates

Common Pitfalls to Avoid

Activation Pitfalls

Not activating QuickBooks estimates correctly may restrict access and cause functionality issues, affecting the estimate creation and management process. Below are some common issues encountered during activation with their respective solutions:

Access Restrictions:

Compatibility Problems:

User-Level Limitations:

Data Integrity Concerns:

System Configuration Errors:

Internet Connectivity Issues:

Addressing these common issues and implementing the suggested solutions can simplify the activation process, allowing users to enable the estimates feature within QuickBooks seamlessly.

Integrating Estimates With Other QuickBooks Features


Key Takeaways

Next Steps

Explore advanced QuickBooks features to further optimize financial workflows. Delve into functionalities like advanced reporting, inventory tracking, or integrations to unlock enhanced business efficiencies. And investigate other apps that can extend QuickBooks’ functionality or replace inefficient QuickBooks processes entirely.

In the end, it’s all about getting the job done right and on time while ensuring “on time” is tracked properly for every employee every time. Tools like QuickBooks can help – but they’re not the only tools available to construction companies.

Workyard was built from the ground up to support construction companies. With Workyard, it’s easy to manage the schedules of dozens or even hundreds (or more) of employees while accurately tracking their time on the job with our mobile app’s industry-leading GPS and geofencing capabilities.

Experience the difference Workyard can bring to your employee time-tracking efforts. Sign up for a free trial today or contact (650) 332-8623 for more details.

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