Working with Estimates
Every business owner knows that clear, professional price estimates are key for attracting and keeping clients. But most of them don't have the time or patience for repetitive and tedious paperwork. That's why vCita's Price Estimate Builder makes writing and handling estimates easy, quick and polished, no matter what type of business you run.
The following topics explain everything you need to know about creating and managing estimates in vCita:
vcita Estimates: Overview and Benefits
vcita helps you create estimates that are comprehensive, professional and attractive, while saving you time, effort and money. Plus, the professional look of the estimate and the options for processing it online make a positive impression on clients every time. Here is why the Estimates module is good for your business.
Save Time in Estimate Writing
- Build line items in seconds: vCita's Price Estimate Builder is synchronized with your services, so you can simply select the items you need. If something you want to include isn't listed, just add it as a new item and save it to your items list.
- Make tweaks, corrections and calculations in a snap: Modify the items list, add a required tax or update a tax rate quickly and easily. vCita calculates all totals automatically and displays the values as you work on the estimate. (Click here for more details about building the items list and adding taxes.)
- Clone your estimate and use it again: The Copy Estimate feature lets you duplicate an estimate, make minor changes (if necessary), and send it to another client.
Save Effort in Follow Up
- Set expiration dates and automated reminders: Make follow up simple by having vCita automatically send you or the client a reminder message shortly before the estimate expires. You set the expiration date and the timing for sending the reminder.
- Easily track estimate status: On vCita's Estimates page, you can easily find any estimate by searching for client name, expiration date, or number. You can also filter the list of estimates to view only estimates with a certain status, e.g., Expiring Soon. When a client takes any action on the estimate (replies, approves, etc.), you immediately receive an automatic notification to your inbox and/or smartphone.
- Move the process forward with a click: Once your client approves, there's no need to manually produce an invoice. Simply click Issue Invoice to have vCita automatically create a professional invoice based on the items you listed in the estimate. You can always make modifications to the invoice before you send it to the client.
Make a Great Impression on Your Clients
- Present estimates that are organized, complete and uncluttered: Your estimate's clean design and simple structure ensures that clients will be able to scan it quickly and understand the breakdowns easily.
- Include messages and terms in your estimate: vCita lets you add personal notes to the client, and provides a separate section where you can insert official terms and conditions.
- Allow clients to respond and e-sign immediately online: When clients open the estimate, they will have one-click options to approve, download and print the estimate, or send you a reply via the Client Portal. You can also require an e-signature for estimate approval.
Life Cycle of an Estimate
vCita's Estimates module lets you handle the entire estimate-to-invoice process in one place, so you can stay organized with no duplication of effort. This diagram shows the flow:
Step 1: Build the Estimate
The intuitive Estimate Builder helps you create professional and comprehensive estimates every time. Taxes, discounts and totals are calculated automatically and displayed as you work. For more information about the Estimate Builder, refer to Creating Estimates: Principals and Practice.
Step 2: Send to Client by Email
When you send your estimate, vCita makes sure that your clients see critical information, such as the grand total and the expiration date, right away. They can then open the estimate in the Client Portal or send a message right back to you in one click. The example below shows how an email message would look to a client.
Step 3: Client Reviews and Responds
When clients click the View Estimate button in the email, they open an estimate-handling dialog in the Client Portal. From here they can quickly take any of the following actions:
- Approve and sign the estimate
- Reject the estimate
- Send you a reply by email
- Open the estimate by clicking View Estimate. From the open estimate, they can click to approve it, download it, print it, or return to the client portal.
- Click See conversation to view all previous related correspondence with you.
Step 4: Handle the Client's Reply
As soon as the client responds, you receive a notification in your vCita Inbox. (In the example below, the client has approved and signed your estimate.) You can now take any of the following actions directly from your Inbox:
- Issue invoice: Generates an invoice based on the items and prices listed in the estimate.
- View estimate: Opens a view of the estimate in the Estimates page.
- Download: downloads a PDF version of the estimate, including signature (if enabled).
- Copy estimate: Duplicates the estimate so you can send it to other clients.
- Send a reply to your client by email.