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How to Add, Edit, and Manage Estimates for Jobs

An estimate is used describe a job and calculate its approximate cost to a customer.  However, in Total Office Manager the functionality of an estimate goes well beyond that brief description.

  • A pick ticket can be generated from the estimate, then sent to the warehouse for the necessary parts to be gathered.
  • If changes are made to the estimate, a change order is automatically generated and can be added to the estimate’s details (notes) with a single click.
  • Work orders can be created from the estimate. This makes the process much faster and more accurate.
  • Either an invoice for the full amount, or progress invoices for a percentage of the original amount can be created from an estimate.
  • Sales receipts for immediately paid work, plus credit memos, work orders, and purchase orders can all be created from the original estimate as well, preserving the entire “flow” of efforts involved in the job.
  • All estimating activity can be seen in one place, such as the History form.

Form Access

  • From the main menu, click Customers | Create Estimate.
  • From the keyboard, use the shortcut Ctrl+E.

Field and Button Definitions

For the most part, the field and button definitions in the new estimate form are identical to any other sales form.  Only the definitions which are unique to the Estimate form are described here.  Please see the related topic, “Sales Forms” for descriptions of the common controls founds across all sales forms (invoices, credit memos, etc).

Note:  Some commands may not be available until after the form is saved once.

  • Job Status – Select “None”, “Pending”, “Awarded”, “In Progress”, “Closed”, or “Not Awarded” as applicable. This is not mandatory.  Job Status selections are “hard coded” in the program and are not editable.
  • Menu | Create | Invoice – Opens the “Create Progress Invoice Based On Estimate” window, which is used to invoice for the entire amount of the estimate or a certain percentage.  See the related topic, “Create Invoice From Estimate” for more details.
  • Menu | Create | Sale – Opens the New Sale form used to record the transaction when the customer pays for the work in full at the time when the work is performed.
  • Menu | Create | Purchase Order – Opens the New PO form, used for authorizing personnel to make company purchases.

Extended Information About Estimates

  • The Estimate (AKA Proposal) feature in Total Office Manager does not include information that will help predict the profitability of a job.  This was not our intention.  If you are interested in knowing whether or not the job you are proposing is profitable, this feature will not give you a definitive answer.
  • The Estimate is simply a document.  You can think of it as a sales proposal you may fill out by hand. However, in Total Office Manager it is automated and may be converted to a sale.
  • If you are utilizing Total Office Manager’s powerful inventory features, the Estimate will be able to give you an idea of gross profit (sale price less the cost of direct expenses) but certainly not net profit (sale price less direct expenses and overhead).
  • Remember, in order for you to be able to see meaningful information about your direct expenses (the price you pay for labor, materials, parts, sub contractors, and other direct expenses), you must be using Total Office Manager’s inventory features properly.  That means you must setup inventory items, receive items into inventory, enter bills, and pay bills.  If you skip any of these processes, you will not have meaningful profit information.
  • Will this job be profitable?  The best way to approach this question is to perform a detailed breakeven analysis of labor and MESO (materials, parts, sub contractors, and other direct expenses).  A breakeven analysis allows you to calculate the price that you must charge in order to breakeven.  That is to say; cover all direct expenses and cover all overhead.  You would then add money for net profit.  Once this is done, you will know how much it costs to provide an hour of labor and sell, for example, a furnace.
  • Once you know the price that is required to breakeven, you would add an appropriate amount for net profit.  Total Office Manager includes a number of ways to markup labor and MESO.  These methods may be found under the Company menu.

In Summary

use the Estimate feature to create a comprehensive list of parts, materials, equipment, sub contractors, and labor related duties for the job.  If these items have been marked up properly and the job is performed as predicted, you will have the profit you projected.

Tips on Estimates and Estimating Jobs

  • Invoices can be created from estimates with a few clicks of the mouse.  Example: You offer a customer an estimate to replace their furnace. They accept.  Return to the estimate to create the invoice.

  • An invoice created from an estimate can be edited and changed independently of the estimate.

  • Estimates can be changed at anytime to reflect changes in the actual work being performed.  ie: if a “Change Order” is written up for a job, return to the estimate and change it accordingly.  The program will automatically generate an internal change order which can be added to the estimate’s details (notes) with a single click, keeping everything updated.  See the related topic, “Change Order” for details.

  • Estimates are used for auditing/paper trail purposes and do not actually affect any COA accounts.  It is not until an invoice or sale is created that COA accounts are affected (ie: A/R, Inventory, etc).

Help Topics Related to Estimates and Estimating

Best Practices for Using Estimates in Contracting

Progressive Billing – Create an Invoice From Estimate

Managing Change Orders to Jobs