Creating Estimates: Principles and Practice
A detailed and attractive price estimate can help you win and keep clients by making a positive impression and eliminating misunderstandings about the proposed services. This article presents best practices for creating estimates and explains how to use vCita's Estimate Builder:
- Creating an Estimate: Tips and Guidelines
- Building an Estimate: Process Overview
- Setting Terms and Conditions in Your Estimates
Creating an Estimate: Tips and Guidelines
Every estimate you create should be comprehensive, polished, and meaningful to your clients. Keep these best practices in mind as you work.
- When preparing your items list, take a little extra time to go over it and make sure you have included every aspect of the job.
- Give the estimate a personal touch, for example by including a short message to the client. For more information, click here.
- Pay attention to details. Always review your estimate for mistakes before you send it. Make sure that there are no spelling errors.
- Consider including terms and conditions in the body of your estimate. For more details, click here.
- Don't necessarily use the same pricing structure for every client. Charge a price that is fair and good for your business, while also considering the needs of your client.
- Try to include a small item for free. It won't cost you much and it will please clients.
Building an Estimate: Process Overview
In vCita, you create a new estimate in four easy steps. This diagram shows the process:
Step 1: Launch the Workflow
To start the workflow, from the vCita console, open the Payments menu and select Estimates. In the upper left corner of the page, click the New button and then click Estimate.
For convenience, the New button also appears in various other pages of the console , including:
- Other main pages of the Payments menu (Invoices & Bookings and Payments Received)
- The Client Card
- The Dashboard
- The Inbox
Step 2: Select a Client
After clicking New > Estimate, the Client Picker opens, prompting you to select a client from the list. (If you started the Estimate workflow from a Client Card, this step is skipped.) Filter the client list by typing part of the client's name, email, or a relevant tag in the Search field.
To add a client on-the-fly, click the Create New Client link and complete the form that pops up. When you click Save, the Estimate Form opens (see Step 3), populated with the details of the client you just added.
Step 3: Complete the Form
After you've chosen a client, the Estimate Form opens. The form is divided into three parts: Details, Items, and Terms & notes.
- Details: General data such as the estimate number, date, and so on.
- Items: A list of proposed services/products and costs, including taxes, discounts and sum totals.
NOTE: For more information about the Details section and how to create an Items List, refer to Understanding Estimate Details and Building the Items List.
- Terms & notes: An area where you can write messages to the client and display Terms and Conditions clauses. (You can leave this section blank if it isn't relevant to your estimate.)
For more information, refer to Setting Terms and Conditions in Your Estimates.
Step 4: Save or Send
Now it's time to decide what to do with the estimate you created:
- Cancel: Discards the estimate. Use this option with caution- you will need to re-create the entire estimate if you need it again.
- Save Draft: Keeps the estimate in Draft status, so you can keep working on it later. Use this option if you are still negotiating with the client, or if the services required aren't yet finalized.
- Send: Sends the estimate to the client by email.