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Quite often, customers ask you to prepare an estimate for them, so they know what they are going to get and how much it's going to cost. Sometimes you might have to prepare more than one estimate. If the customer thinks the first proposal is too expensive or maybe not impressive enough. You can create one or more estimates for a customer in QuickBooks, and then when the customer gives you the go ahead based on an estimate, you can generate your invoices right from the estimate. To create an estimate, on the homepage click Estimates.
The Create Estimates window looks almost identical to the Create Invoices window. You choose the customer or job in the Customer:Job dropdown list. QuickBooks turns on the Estimate Active checkbox, which means that you can choose that estimate later on when you want to create an invoice. QuickBooks fills in the Name and Address box with the information from the customer's record. It also fills in the Date and increments the previous estimate number by one. As you do for an invoice, you build an estimate by adding items to the table.
Depending on the estimate template you use, you will see different columns. In the Retail Estimate template, the first column is Item. Choose the item. Fill in the quantity. QuickBooks fills in the description, the cost, and the tax status from the item record, and calculates the total for that item. To add another item to the invoice, click the first Cell in the next row, and fill in the item, and continue as you did in the previous step.
Like an invoice, QuickBooks totals the amounts and shows the Total below the table. It calculates the sales tax for the taxable items on the estimate. Click Save & Close to save the estimate and close the dialog box. You can create another estimate for the customer simply by repeating the previous steps. QuickBooks keeps all the estimates active so you can play What-If games with the ones you create. When the customer picks one to go with, you can edit the other estimates and turn off the Estimate Active checkbox.
To create an invoice from an estimate, click Create Invoices. Choose the customer or job. If estimates exist for the customer, the Available Estimates dialog box opens. To use an estimate, select it in the table and then click OK. QuickBooks creates a new invoice using the information from that estimate. If the estimate has everything on it, you can just click Save & Close and you are done, or you can add more to the invoice before you save it.
Because estimates don't move money around in your accounts, you can make them inactive or delete the ones you don't want at any time.
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