How to create quotes, bids and estimates in QuickBooks Online

In this tutorial you will learn how to create estimates in QuickBooks Online. Estimates can be used to provide quotes and bids to clients for propose

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In this tutorial you will learn how to create estimates in QuickBooks Online. Estimates can be used to provide quotes and bids to clients for proposed work.

We hope you find this free tutorial useful for learning QuickBooks Online, our best overall choice for small business accounting software. The tutorial is designed so that you can follow in your own QuickBooks account. For those who do not yet have a QuickBooks Online subscription, you can choose from a free trial period of 30 days or 50% off for three months.

This tutorial is part of our series of free QuickBooks tutorials. The video below and the illustrated instructions that follow provide the same information.

Click on the + New button at the top of the left menu bar and then select Treasure in the first column among customers, as in the picture below.

Arrow pointing to Treasure below the + New button.

Click Treasure under the + New button

The create estimate screen provides fields to be completed that will carry information to the estimate form. The exact fields provided are determined by the sales form settings you have selected in How to Create Sales Form Content in QuickBooks Online. The animated GIF below shows the screen used to create an example estimate for our fictional company, Paul’s Plumbing.

Short video on creating a new estimate in QuickBooks Online.

Create a new estimate in QuickBooks Online

Below is a list of some of the key fields you need to complete in QuickBooks Online’s create estimate screen.

  • Client: Select the client and work, if applicable. If it’s a new customer, select Add new at the top of the client drop-down list and set up the client as shown in How to set up clients in QuickBooks Online. When the customer is properly set up, the fields for email, billing address and shipping should be filled automatically.
  • Estimated date: Enter the date you create the estimate.
  • Expiry date: We strongly recommend including an expiration date in your estimate. An expiration date avoids problems that can arise when a customer accepts an estimate months later when the cost of materials may have changed.
  • Date of service: The service date is when you expect to start working on the job.
  • Product / Service: Select the product or service suggested from the drop-down list. If it’s a new product or service, select Add new at the top of the drop-down list and compile the product or service as explained in How to compile the products and services list in QuickBooks Online. When the product or service is properly set up, the description, rate, tax and class should be filled in automatically.
  • Number: Enter the quantity of goods or services you are proposing. Once the quantity has been entered, the Amount must be automatically filled in as quantity times rate.
Step 2.1: Set the estimation status

Below the customer field in the estimate input screen is the estimate status. Click on the drop-down arrow next to it Pending to change the estimate status. You can choose from four statuses to help track your outstanding estimates.

  • Pending: An estimate is pending after it has been sent to a potential customer until the customer accepts or rejects the estimate or the estimate expires.
  • Accept: Accepted estimates were approved by the customer, and a signed copy of the estimate was received.
  • Closed: QuickBooks will automatically change the status of an estimate to closed when the estimate is converted to an invoice.
  • Reject: If a customer informs you that they do not accept your estimate, or the expiration date of the estimate expires, you must change the status of the estimate to rejected.
Establish the status of estimates in QuickBooks Online.

Set Estimates Status in QuickBooks Online

Take the time to set up your business:

Creating estimates is a great example of why it’s so important to complete your company setup. The majority of the estimate is automatically filled in when your customers and products and services are set up properly. Creating estimates will be even faster if you customize your sales form content to include only the fields you need.

Once you have entered and verified all the information, click Save or Save and send if you want to send the estimate immediately. You can see what your estimate looks like by clicking Print or Preview in the bottom menu bar of the create invoice window and then select Print or Preview again as shown below.

Short video on printing or previewing an estimate in QuickBooks Online.

Print or preview an estimate in QuickBooks Online

When you choose to click Save and send, will open an email template form where you can accept the email default values ​​that you can accept in How to Set Up Messages in QuickBooks Online, or you can type a custom message for this estimate. A copy of the estimate will be automatically attached to the email when you click the green Submit and Close button.

Email template form appears after clicking Save and Send.

An email template form will appear after you click Save & Send

If you want to make changes to the estimate, you can close the print preview window to return to the input screen. Below is an example estimate we created for our affiliate company, Paul’s Plumbing.

Sample estimate created in QuickBooks Online.

Sample estimate created in QuickBooks Online

While the main purpose of creating estimates or quotes in QuickBooks is to clearly communicate your prices to potential customers, it also serves several other purposes:

Estimates are not a required transaction for the sales and revenue accounting process. No money changes hands when you make an estimate in QuickBooks, and estimates have no impact on your financial statements.


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