An estimate template is a reusable form that can be sent to customers to provide a breakdown of the costs associated with a project or product purchase. Estimates should include both the materials and labor involved, and these templates are designed to be easy to use for a variety of businesses.
Pipedrive is a customer relationship management (CRM) tool that can help you create and manage estimates as well as stay engaged with your customers throughout the sales process. Pipedrive features contact and deal management, along with email sync and tracking. Plans start at $12.50 per month, per user. Visit Pipedrive to start a free trial today.
How an Estimate Works
The estimate templates included here are simply a place for you to start when sending an estimate to a customer. Usually, an estimate is sent to provide a customer with an approximate cost for a specific project and include the products and/or services that you know will be included. Estimate templates provide you with a standard form that you can use repeatedly by changing the information included for each new customer.
The biggest benefit of using a template is that you can spend your time engaging with your customers instead of trying to figure out the right format or layout or worrying about whether you’re including everything that matters to the customer. Templates already provide you with the framework, and you just add the appropriate information.
Each of the estimate templates below is created in Google Docs and can be downloaded and adjusted to fit your specific business needs. Be sure to add in your own business information and feel free to make changes. These templates are meant to be a place to start, instead of having to create your own templates from scratch.
Because they are designed in Google Docs, go to File > Make a Copy, add the information you need, and share the document via email. Anyone can open the estimate in Google Docs without any special software required, or you can save your estimate as a Word document and email it to your customer. We’ve made it easy to download the templates that work for your business or download them all for future use.
7 Free Estimate Templates
Individuals who provide freelance design or contract work
Professional firms who provide estimates for legal, accounting, or similar work
Businesses that provide maintenance and repair services
General contractors and other building-related businesses
Providing a customer with the costs associated with a large product purchase
Individuals or companies that provide marketing, business, or other consulting expertise
Businesses that need a multipurpose estimate template
1. Freelance Project Estimate Template
A freelance estimate template can be used when sending an estimate to a client or customer for whom you are providing freelance services such as graphic design or content writing. This type of estimate focuses on the time involved in providing specific services and normally does not include specific products. Instead, the completed project is considered the deliverable.
In some cases, an estimate might provide a single cost for a deliverable like the completed website or a delivered design. However, more often, an estimate is based on the number of hours you anticipate spending on the project, multiplied by your hourly rate. In that case, it’s important to provide your best approximation of how much time it will reasonably take to not only complete the project but also allow for revisions that may be requested by a client.
2. Professional Services Estimate Template
This estimate is used for firms that provide professional services and want to provide an advance estimate of the amount of work and cost involved in providing those services. This template is similar to the freelance estimate template in that it focuses on the hours spent working for the client, but often does not include a specific deliverable other than providing professional services.
This template is commonly used by businesses such as bookkeeping and accounting, attorneys, or auditing firms, although it can also be used by other agencies like marketing or architectural design firms. The template allows you to break out the cost of the various services and hourly rates and give the customer an understanding of exactly what services you will be providing.
3. Repair Estimate Template
A repair estimate template usually includes a combination of both parts or products, along with labor costs, and is used to provide a customer with both an understanding of what needs to be fixed and the cost associated with making the repair. These estimates provide a summary of the work that needs to be done, along with the specific parts required and the labor involved in making repairs.
Auto repair shops frequently use this type of template; heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) repair contractors; or other specialized service technicians who evaluate a customers’ situation and offer an estimate for work that needs to be done or parts that need to be replaced. In addition to laying out the strict costs, the estimate should provide the customer with some understanding of what exactly needs to be repaired and why.
4. Contractor Estimate Template
A contractor estimate is used for construction or other building trades, to provide a customer with the approximate cost of a specific project such as a home remodel or plumbing installation. These estimates are similar to a repair estimate, in that they factor in the materials needed to complete a job, as well as the labor involved.
General contractors, plumbers, electricians, carpenters, and HVAC installers all use a version of this estimate template since it allows them to account for both their labor, and any equipment, parts, or products involved in providing their contracting service. This template is useful because it clarifies the scope of a job as well as an understanding of both the labor and materials that are required to complete the job.
5. Product Cost Estimate Template
The product cost estimate template is most often used when you are trying to provide a customer with an estimation of how much they can expect to spend on a large expense. Many times, these are capital expenses for large pieces of equipment that also include installation or other labor or are a highly technical and complex product that requires set up or servicing. The purpose is to lay out the costs of the product, any supporting parts, and the labor involved.
This type of estimate is common in information technology hardware sales, manufacturing equipment sales, and manufacturing device sales as well as other highly technical products like diagnostic testing equipment or medical devices. The estimate template included here can be adapted and allows you to provide the customer with a reasonable expectation of the additional costs that are associated with the specific product they are purchasing.
6. Consulting Services Estimate Template
Consulting services are similar to professional services in that they are mostly based on time spent providing expertise to a client. The primary difference is that professional services like bookkeeping, audit, or legal support, have an indirect deliverable in most cases. Consulting services, however, are often engaged for providing strategic assistance in evaluating a business practice and making specific changes.
A few examples of businesses that might use this estimate template include marketing consultants, human resources consultants, project management experts, and general business management consultants. Each of these provides services, usually at an hourly rate, and a consulting services estimate allows you to provide the client with an expectation of what they will spend monthly in exchange for your expertise.
7. General Estimate Template
This general estimate template can be adapted easily to almost any situation where you need to provide a customer with an estimate of the costs involved with a project or product. While there are more specific templates listed here for a variety of uses, there are often other times when you need to provide a customer with an estimate that doesn’t fit into one of the six other categories. In that case, you’ll find this template to be a flexible and easy-to-use tool.
For example, if you wanted to create a proposal for your business to take on a new initiative, you might not need a customer-facing estimate since—in this case—your estimate is for internal use. Along with your proposal, you can use this general estimate template to provide information about the costs associated with your proposal by breaking out the various tangible items, along with the labor or services required.
Job Estimate Tips & Best Practices
In addition to the estimate templates included here, there are several best practices and tips you should consider when sending an estimate to a customer or potential customer. These principles can help you turn more estimates into closed deals and help you generate more sales for your business. The good news is that none of these are complicated, but they make a huge difference in your sales process.
Here are a few principles and tips you can use with these free estimate templates.
Keep Track of Estimates With a CRM
One of the most effective ways to keep track of estimates you send to a client is to use a CRM that allows you to either create them or upload and store them with your customer records. Many CRM tools even include the ability to provide estimates and track whether they’ve been received by a customer.
A CRM like Pipedrive is a useful tool for both creating estimates, as well as communicating with your prospects about their specific needs and opportunities. Pipedrive has plans beginning at $12.50 per month, per user, and includes contact management, email sync, product catalogs, and a highly visual pipeline tool. Visit Pipedrive to start a 14-day free trial of any plan.
Anticipate Cost Overages
While it’s not uncommon for a project or product to come in at a cost higher than was estimated, that’s never a good customer experience. Your estimate should, therefore, include a reasonable amount of overage so that a customer is not caught off-guard or disappointed to discover that they will be spending more than they planned. This also saves you from looking unprofessional since you weren’t able to meet the cost estimate you provided.
In many cases, a 10% to 15% cost overage is understood to be normal. That doesn’t mean you should plan to charge that extra cost, but it leaves room for your estimate to account for unexpected costs, changes, or problems that arise during your project. It also manages your customer’s expectations and lets them know that sometimes things happen that cause the cost to increase. This way, they’ve at least prepared and budgeted for that possibility.
Always Include a Personal Note
Whenever you provide a customer with an estimate, you should always be sure to include a personal note. Generating an estimate and emailing it is not only impersonal, but it’s also unprofessional. If you hope to turn an estimate into a deal, make sure to express to the customer how much you appreciate the opportunity to work with them and be sure to reinforce any next steps involved in getting the project moving.
For example, you might send an email similar to the following:
Dear [Client First Name],
Thank you for the opportunity to provide you with an estimate for your project. I appreciate you considering us for your needs, and I look forward to the opportunity to provide you with [summary of the project]
Attached to this email, you’ll find a summary of the work that we discussed as well as the deliverables and services included. If you have any specific questions, I’d be happy to walk you through this estimate. Additionally, if there are any items we didn’t discuss, please let me know, and I would be happy to provide an updated estimate.
To schedule your project, please let me know by responding to this email that you’d like to move forward, and we can find a spot on the calendar that works for you.
Thank you again,
This simple email makes a personal connection, explains the purpose of the estimate, and lets the customer know about any specific next steps required to finalize the project or deal. Those are key components of strong communication with your customers and results in clarity and more won deals.
Clarify Next Steps
Make sure the customer knows exactly what you want them to do with the estimate, and how they can move forward. I recommend that you include your contact information both on the estimate itself as well as the email you send with the estimate. Make it clear what you want the customer to do and let them know how they can accept the estimate and get their project or purchase started.
In addition, sometimes a customer will review an estimate to find that it doesn’t completely meet their needs, or that there was some kind of misunderstanding. In that event, the next step isn’t to get started, but to make changes. Often, a customer will simply turn away an estimate that misses the mark unless you are proactive about letting him or her know that you’re happy to review it with them and make any necessary changes.
Clarifying this intermediate step makes it easier for a customer to say yes because it opens the door to have their concerns addressed, instead of having to decide whether to move forward with something that doesn’t quite meet their needs. This is critical since an estimate is meant to be a working document that lays out the costs of a project and should be able to be adjusted if the scope of that project is different or if it changes.
Make a Plan to Follow Up
Just like the customer should understand what his or her next steps are, you should make a plan to follow up as your next step. Be upfront with your customer about when you’ll follow up so that you’re not having to chase him or her down later. Let them know that you’ll plan to give them a call or follow up by email in a few days to see if there are any questions, or to get their project started.
It’s a good practice to establish to follow up within the first two business days. Sometimes, it feels pushy to ask a customer if they’ve had time to look over the estimate, but it isn’t. Often, the customer hasn’t had time. They are busy with work, home, and everything else going on in their life, and your follow up email or phone call can often be the nudge they need to look at what you are offering to do for them.
This is an area where a CRM like Pipedrive comes in handy. Not only can you set up a task reminder to let you know it’s time to follow up, but you can also create email templates for emails you send frequently. That’s ideal for following up with customer estimates, and you can even track when your customer opens the estimate. Be sure to visit Pipedrive to get started with a free trial.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How are estimates & proposals different?
An estimate is usually less formal than a proposal, which often is considered an offer to provide products or services at an agreed-upon price. An estimate, on the other hand, is merely meant to roughly convey the costs anticipated for a specific project, product, or service, and often is provided prior to a signed agreement to start work.
When should I consider sending an estimate?
An estimate is a useful tool for managing customer expectations and providing an approximation of the costs involved in a project or purchase. Because it is less formal than a proposal, it should be used when you already have an engagement with a customer and want to provide them with information about the costs of a proposed project.
Using these free estimate templates can help you win more deals by laying out exactly what a customer can expect to spend on their project or product purchase. It manages his or her expectations and details exactly what they need to do to get started. Be sure to download the free estimate templates that work best for your business and start using them to generate more customers today.
Keep track of the estimates you send with Pipedrive. With contact management, deal pipelines, and product catalogs, Pipedrive is an easy-to-use tool that makes it easy to manage every aspect of your sales process, especially job proposals and estimates. Plans start at $12.50 per month, per user, with a 14-day free trial available for each plan. Visit Pipedrive to get started.