Working with Estimates


Estimates in Briefcase are quick and easy, and in this video I'll be showing you the full scope Estimates and some of the advanced features.

There are two ways to create an Estimate.

You can navigate to the Estimates list, and click New. From the dialog select or search for the relevant Job.

Alternatively you can start from the Job record, click the Estimate tab then click New Estimate. This is the recommended way to create an Estimate and is generally quicker.

Estimates are identified by a unique number, this number is used only to identify the record and does not replace the Job number.

The Estimate type can be selected from a list of options which you can edit. Using the type you can identify the Estimate. For example, the type Variation would identify a variation of the original Estimate.

To change or modify the types, select Edit from the menu, a default can be set by editing the first option in the edit window.

The Status options for Estimates are as follows.

  • Pending, this is the status for an Estimate that is not ready to be sent to a client.
  • Sent, is for Estimates that have been submitted to the client.
  • Approved, this status indicates; all or part of the Estimate has been approved by the client.
  • Declined, means the Estimate was not accepted by the client.
  • Cancelled, can mean the request was withdrawn by the client or replaced by another Estimate.

Towards the middle of the window the Job details associated with the Estimate are shown, making it easy to see which Job the Estimate belongs to. These fields can be used to search for an Estimate in Find Mode. The Job Number label is also a quick way to get back to the Job record.

To move an Estimate from one Job to another, click the Job number input and change the selection from the Job select dialog.

The client information is drawn from the Job that the Estimate belongs to and you can also modify it in the same way.

If you intend to use the forecasting features of Briefcase you can enter the expected date of approval. In addition you may like to use the Chance field. The Chance field is a calculation based on historical data and takes into account the number of Estimates issued to the client and the total number approved. This is of course is only a guide and you can edit the value as needed.

You can title the Estimate in the Scope tab; by default the Estimate will inherit the Job Title, but you can edit so that it is more relevant to the content of the Estimate. You can use the title to identify multiple Estimates within a Job, for example, a Branding Job may include separate Estimates for Research and for Creative Development.

The Intro or Body of the Estimate is populated with default content from the Settings area in Briefcase. You can edit this text as required.

Use the optional specifications table on the right to tabulate specifications. You can edit the options listed here and also set them as defaults in the Settings area.

Click the copy button to copy specifications from one Estimate to another, the same button can be used to paste specifications from the Purchases area.

The Line Items tab is used to build your fees in to your Estimate.

Using predefined Rates from the Settings area, you can create line items by selecting a Category and then a Rate from that Category. You can skip the Category menu if you have a small, manageable list of Rates.

Rates are used throughout Briefcase to measure time and costs. Setting your Rates correctly is very important.

The Line item descriptions can as long as you like, you can also set a default description in the Rates area if required.

Lets do a quick run through of the remaining columns.

  • Options are used to create multiple totals in the Estimate.
  • Quantity can be units or hours.
  • Use Unit Cost when items have a cost per unit, this is multiplied by the Quantity to calculate the overall Cost.
  • The overall Cost of the Line Item.
  • The M.U percentage is the Mark-Up, it is applied to the overall Cost to calculate the Sale amount.
  • Use Unit Sell when items have a sale price per unit, this is multiplied by the Quantity to calculate the overall Sale.
  • The overall Sale amount of the Line Item including Mark-Up where applicable.
  • The Gross Profit is the Sale amount minus the Cost.
  • Tax, is by default the Clients setting for Tax as defined in the Company record.

Finally, use the Line number column to order and reorder Line Items. You can also use a Line number to merge lines together. If you have multiple items occupying the same Line number they will merge when previewed in the Estimate.

This is useful if you have line items that you don't want the client to see. By merging lines the client will see the first line only, the Sale value will be the sum of all merged lines.

The Footnotes tab includes default content defined in Settings and you can modify this. If you have fixed content in your Estimates like Terms and Conditions we recommend placing this content in the Terms default found in the Settings area.

Use the From Purchases tab to introduce external costs in to your Estimates. These line items have been entered through the Purchases area and you can add them by clicking the plus icon.

The blue colour helps to identify external costs in your Line Items.

To make reading Estimates easier you can add headings to your Line Items. Simply enter description without a rate, Briefcase will treat the line as a heading.

To preview the Estimate, click Print and select a layout from the menu. The default layout will suit most applications, if required you can create new layouts too. See the guide for Working with Layouts on our support site for more information.

The Estimate Summary layout is great for long Estimates, when previewed it will display only the Estimate Body and Amount without each individual Line Item.

For complex work, you can combine multiple Estimates in to a single proposal; first find the Estimates and then preview them together by selecting the Records Being Browsed option in the print dialog.

You can send an Estimate as a PDF by clicking Email PDF. This will activate your default mail client and attach the PDF ready for sending.

If you need to save the PDF do this by selecting Save As PDF from the File menu.

When you close the Estimate preview you will be prompted to change the Status to Sent. Apply this change to help you keep track of your Estimates.

If the Estimate is accepted by the client you can change the Status to Approved, a green tick beside a line item indicates the line is approved. You can manually deselect lines from an approved Estimate, this is sometimes required when the client has not approved all lines.

When an Estimate is approved the Approval date will appear, if you have an order number provided by the client you can include this below.

Return to the Job window to see how the Estimate appears in the Job. The Estimate tab indicates that the Estimate is approved and it will display the approved amount. If you are quoting time, the approved time will appear in the Time Summary graph. You can also see a summary of the Estimate in the Summary tab.

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