As a small business owner, invest a substantial amount of your valuable time in creating estimates or quotes for a potential new client. However, there often needs to be more clarity between the two.

Contrary to popular assumption, supplying an accurate estimate versus providing an exact quote is a very distinct process.

As a result, questions such as “Should you be sending quotes or figuring up estimates?” “Is it better to estimate all costs or to give a fixed price for the all the work?” and “Estimates vs. Quotes – what’s the difference and which should you use…” start to flow in.

Let’s start with the fundamentals and gain a thorough understanding of professional quotations and estimates:

What is an Estimate? Is it the Same as a Quote?

Some companies need to establish fixed rates for their products and services. It may be the case since every work has a unique set of requirements regarding knowledge, harder-to-get materials, and timing, depending on the needs of more clients.

This condition is common in trades where all jobs are different, such as construction or making custom goods. In cases where providing a typical pricing itemized list is not an option, you must provide a quotation or estimate.

But, depending on the situation, you need to choose one of them.

An estimate is a reasonable guess as to what a task might cost. It is the best guess at a project’s expected costs. ​ To account for potential unforeseen developments, you should provide numerous estimates based on various circumstances, including the worst-case scenario. You’ll avoid your buyer being stunned by the price by doing this.

On the other hand, a written quote is an offer that has a set price and that, once accepted by the client, cannot be modified. You must stick to the fee that was quoted to your potential client, even if you end up completing more work than you anticipated.

Giving a precise estimate when considering all possible factors that are likely to occur makes more sense. You can also list in the professional-looking estimate what has been included and any unanticipated events that will result in extra charges.

How to Write an Estimate?

How to Write an Estimate

Use a professional job estimate to ensure that you are completely honest about unforeseen circumstances and show the consumer the overall cost. Here’s a step-by-step guide to how to create one for your company:

1. Research Your Competition

Constantly evaluate the total estimated cost of services a company or professional provides in your area. You need to fully understand how another business might price its work is necessary to price jobs accurately. You’ll get paid fairly year after year and be able to build the best connections with your clients if you do your research and keep an eye on your pricing.

2. Use a Template

If you’re unsure of your graphic design skills or don’t want to hire a graphic designer just yet, you can always use a professional template. Using free job estimate templates relieves the stress of having to remember where each line item goes. You’re all set to go once you’ve filled out the fields for labor, expense, payment, scope, and kind of task.

3. Customize Estimate Template

You may use a lot of the detailed estimate templates that are available online. You need to keep an eye out for people who improve the reputation of your business. Make sure the most accurate estimate template accurately depicts your business. Make sure to customize the estimate template sufficiently so that it appears to have been written by you.

4. Utilize Estimating Software

Utilize estimating tools to streamline the estimation process. Due to the enormous number of estimates they must generate, large companies typically employ this strategy to expedite the process. If you require perfect consistency, want to grow your business, or require cloud access to previous job estimates and templates, think about adopting estimating software. It also eradicates any possible human error in the costs or job.

5. Backup Your Estimation with other Proof of Quality

Before contacting potential clients and businesses with professional estimates, you still have some work to do. Building a solid reputation and referrals is essential for this kind of business. In most cases customers will seek out images or videos of your work after reading online evaluations to see an example before you start building the project. They will investigate if you claim to be who you are.

What to Include in the Estimation?

Here is all the necessary information you need to keep in mind:

1. Company contact info for your company: Add as much relevant information as the company needs in most cases. If you have a logo, use it! Additionally, you must include all the right elements, company name, your company’s contact information, and business name, including your name, address, phone number, email, and any relevant social media handles.

2. Details about the clients: the name, address, and phone number of the client (including phone and email). If necessary, mention the name of the company.

3. Estimated amount: To help you recall whose work is whose, write a big “Estimate #” at the top of the paper. Any ambiguities can be resolved by clarifying that this is a cost ballpark estimate rather than an exact price.

4. Date: The day you’re delivering the professional estimate to the client, not the day you intend to finish the task.

5. Describe the project: This section will outline the job’s requirements to manage client expectations. Explain the approximate timeline thoroughly with rough completion date, including the number of hours, the type of access you will need to the customer’s property, your delivery options, and any other information required to finish their specific project.

6. Supplies and line item business expenses: The projected material project costs for each line item are broken down. Everything that goes into calculating the total cost, including the expenses for supplies, tools, and labor incurred by workers

7. Information on taxes: Taxes are unpleasant to pay, but if they are anticipated, they hurt a little less. List any taxes you anticipate being incurred as part of the job.

8. The estimated amount of work: This represents the total of all expected total costs. To prevent any confusion, make it stand out by making it bold, highlighted, and stick out.

9. Payment terms and regulations: Include your payment terms for when the job is finished. Any legal language that can help you defend yourself in case of a price list or final cost change should go here.

Tips for Writing an Estimate

Use the following tips when you start writing job estimates and other expenses to comfort any potential clientele. After all, a satisfied client is more inclined to use your services.

A Comprehensive Study Yields a Comprehensive Estimate

A potential customer needs knowledge, particularly when paying for extensive work. Any professional-looking detailed estimate or quote must be highly detailed. The specifics should include additional labor, cost of materials, and any prospective labor costs. By ensuring they are aware of every aspect, you provide your customers with peace of mind. They want to know that you are approaching the project as its whole, just like they do.

Describe the Projected and Expected Costs

Every estimate you provide should include anticipated materials and labor costs. It is advisable to consider both potential costs and expected costs. It could relate to various items or the number of hours you’ll need to put in. Even the most accurate projections might not be accurate. Describe the complete breakdown of potential material costs you expect to incur for the project. Potential customers resent it when a job’s actual expenditures exceed the projections. It is preferable to be more liberal than conservative when more is necessary.

Be an Effective Communicator

Throughout the process, you must stay in touch with a client who has asked for an estimate. They will remain satisfied if you keep them updated on the estimate’s progress. They could also be incorporated into some of the estimating procedures. Giving them options will show them that you care about the work they must finish. Keep in touch with your potential clients for the particular project.

Create a Professional Estimate with Moon Invoice

People want to make informed decisions based on accurate estimations and adequate facts. For your trade organization, having a certified written estimate is crucial. It used to take hours to estimate something manually.

Imagine that we provide you with two estimates, one of which is incomplete and lacks critical details while the other is well-structured.

Which one are you going to pick? The second option, correct?

With technological advancement, we now have automatic software, such as Moon Invoice, that generates estimates with just a few clicks! You can add line items, tax, pricing, and customer notes to Moon Invoice.

With your estimate, you can also include files, photos, and supporting documentation.

Streamline Estimate Creation and Management!

With Moon Invoice, you can quickly make professional estimates and send them to your clients/customers online.

Try it for free!


We discussed the value of actual price estimation for businesses in this blog and hope it will be helpful for your future similar projects. Estimates have a role in more business expansion and employment success. Therefore, to speed up the estimating process, contractors could attempt contractor estimate software like Moon Invoice.

Try Moon Invoice if you need to create and transmit accounting documents including quotes, invoices, purchase orders, and credit notes.