This article is part of a larger series on Sales Management.
Estimate proposal templates let you quickly and consistently detail pricing information for your leads or prospective customers. Templates also ensure all product or service options are clearly outlined in your proposal, which builds trust and can be the determining factor on whether or not someone wants to work with your firm. Here are seven free estimate templates you can use to precisely lay out the costs of your services.
Freelance Contractor Estimate
Individuals and 1099 contractors who provide freelance work
Contractor Project Estimate
General contractors, builders, or renovation businesses
Products & Services Estimate
Retail or wholesale businesses selling physical products or software
Financial Product Estimate
Insurance agencies, financial advisers, or mortgage brokers who want to present multiple options to one client
Maintenance service and repair businesses that want to provide quotes
Consultative Services Estimate
Businesses or individuals who provide outsourced business expertise services in areas like marketing, human resources, strategic management, cybersecurity, or IT management
Professional Services Estimate
Professional service-providers such as accountants, lawyers, or engineers
1. Freelance Contractor Estimate Template
Independent contractors and freelancers doing retainer work or project-based services—this template is for you. Much of the work will be either one specific deliverable such as a website design, ongoing deliverables like writing weekly articles for a blog, or a combination of both such as producing a video for a company and social media management altogether.
Freelancers typically need a simple way to explain how their pricing works and what quantity they expect. For example, a freelance graphic designer might work hourly for $60 per hour and indicate that they expect the design project to be about 15 hours—estimating $900 total. Alternatively, a freelance copywriter might price their work per word or per writing project, which should be itemized on the estimate based on the client’s needs.
2. Contractor Project Estimate Template
General contractors, builders, renovators, and other trade businesses such as plumbers, electricians, and HVAC specialists are project-heavy and require a combination of labor and materials to satisfy a work deliverable. Therefore, their project template for estimates needs to have sections that indicate the costs of all the materials purchased and estimated labor hours.
When using this template, you should also send references and sample photos of the work you’ve done to make it a full proposal. More detailed information on that can be found in our step-by-step guide for how to write a business proposal, which comes with free templates and examples.
3. Products & Services Estimate Template
This estimate proposal template is ideal for businesses that sell units of a specific physical product such as T-shirts, food, office supplies, cars, or components of a piece of equipment either to individuals or on a wholesale basis to other businesses. It’s also useful for software businesses that sell licenses or subscriptions to a software application and manufacturers who are producing and distributing a product.
While simple inventory estimates only account for the number of units, more complex jobs might need supplemental services to go with it such as installation, delivery, onboarding, or training and be shown in the total cost on the estimate. For example, if a business subscribes to a software subscription, there may be an optional service for user training offered by the vendor for an additional service charge.
4. Financial Product Estimate Template
Often, businesses selling financial products, such as insurance agencies, mortgage brokers, or financial advisers, will provide multiple options for a client to choose from. As part of presenting an estimate, aim to make an apples-to-apples comparison that lets them see the total costs and benefits of each. For this template, rather than show a total cost, you’d be focusing exclusively on a comparative analysis.
This can be used when presenting different life insurance, health insurance, property and liability insurance, mortgage products, or investment product and fund options. To get the most out of this template, make sure you include all information that will impact a comparative decision allowing the clients to look further than just the costs and financial benefits. This includes deductibles, down payments, coverage exclusions, dividends, supplemental benefits and coverages, etc.
5. Repair Estimate Template
While similar to the contractor project template, the repair estimate proposal is used for services involving maintaining, fixing, or repairing something not working properly. This would be in contrast to building, installing, or renovating something from scratch. Mechanics, plumbers, electricians, cable companies, and HVAC specialists can benefit from this template.
As shown in the template, explain all of the components that go into the total cost of the job. While it will mostly be labor costs set at an hourly or fixed rate, the service provider may also need a certain part or tool to complete the job, which should be explained in the estimate. This is especially common in auto maintenance shops, for instance, where a car owner needs both the skills of a mechanic and a piece of equipment specific to their car model.
6. Consultative Services Estimate Template
Any time another business is outsourcing a function or department in their company, the service provider is considered a consultant. This is prevalent in areas like marketing, sales management, human resources, high-level business strategy, IT management, and cybersecurity.
Consultants often work hourly either on an ongoing basis or for a set period to roll out a new initiative such as helping a firm adopt a customer relationship management (CRM) software. In addition to advising and assisting these business departments, a consultant can also act as a reseller for software products that help the business be more effective with the function they’re consulting on.
For example, cybersecurity consulting businesses offer roadmaps to get their clients from one security posture to another and partner with dozens of security software vendors to help along the way. That said, the hourly rates, estimated hours, and any additional products should be included in the estimate.
7. Professional Services Estimate Template
Professional service businesses typically require licenses, certifications, or higher education to operate. Lawyers, accountants, architects, and certain engineers who need diligence and a high degree of competence in their services fall into this category. This template, just like the way these services are usually priced, takes into account hourly rates or costs per deliverable.
Best Practices for Writing an Estimate
Using a template to present cost estimates should be complemented with other best practices to get the most out of them and close more sales deals. Additionally, your sales plan should acknowledge how the process of sending a price estimate is handled in addition to tools you can use along the way. Here are some tips to follow when using these free estimate templates:
Store & Track Templates in a CRM
While CRM software is mostly known for sorting lead data and monitoring your sales pipeline, it’s also an excellent tool for storing templates. By keeping your estimate proposal template in your CRM, you can easily customize it with your prospect’s information and then store it in their profile, all from one system.
Most CRM products have the ability to store files and documents. Pipedrive, however, also comes with a Smart Docs feature allowing users to create estimates directly from the deal module. From there, you can automatically insert a lead’s information into the estimate and then add the pricing information. Any template you design can be added to the SmartDocs drive for all members of your team to access.
Clarify Next Steps
Make sure that there is clarity as to what needs to be done next, either in the email you send or directly on the estimate, to follow through with the products or services purchased. If you include it on your sales estimate, you can add print below the total costs indicating something like:
For talking about the next steps in an email message, start with some contextual information, acknowledge the proposal is attached, then go into your next steps in terms of what is required by the client or your business to finalize the purchase. Below is an email template you can use with your estimate:
Hi [lead name],
It was great speaking with you about your [product/service] needs. Attached you will find a pricing estimate for [listed services that will be provided/products that will be delivered/installed]. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions or concerns.
If you are interested in going through with the purchase of these [products or services], here’s what I’ll need from you next. [Description of next steps and what’s needed.]
[Your email signature]
Proactively Anticipate Costs
It’s essential for both reputational and financial reasons to adequately consider all factors in their pricing and include them in the estimate. In regard to your reputation, it looks unprofessional and upsetting to the lead if you sent a proposal with the total costs without including a line item mentioning the possibility of an updated proposal later.
The lead may have seen the original pricing and set their expectations high only to be disappointed later with the new pricing. When evaluating your costs, it’s better to overestimate than lowball them. For a certain work, you’ll want to anticipate delays or changes to the scope of work.
For example, it’s common in construction to have supply chain issues and have late deliveries of materials and equipment. That needs to be considered in the estimate since you still might be incurring labor costs during that time for your employees and need to make sure that expectation is understood by the client.
Supplement With Professional Design
While these templates are great for lines describing costs associated with doing work for someone or providing them services, don’t just send them the way they are. Include a professional design on the documents by adding in color, your logo, and formatting the tables to look more aesthetically pleasing.
Platforms like Canva offer cost-friendly, easy-to-use solutions for professionally designing sales materials, proposals, and other marketing assets. With hundreds of premade designs, you can easily incorporate your logo and color schemes into your template for an estimate to give it an extra touch of professionalism for your prospect.
A sales estimate lays out all of the costs to the client for the scope of work, including labor costs, materials, deliverable fees, hourly rates, and the price of any products or software that will be used. By using these estimate templates designed specifically for certain types of businesses and following our best practices, you can input information relevant to your work, keep your estimates organized, make them look professional, and close more deals.