What’s the Difference Between Estimate and Proposal on FreshBooks?

Are you opening a small event planning company? Do you create websites as a freelancer? No matter how small your business is, you will need FreshBooks to help you easily create your documents along the way, such as an estimate and proposal.

Once a client explains their idea of what they want, they expect to see how you will be satisfying their demands. So, you will probably be asked to create an estimate or proposal to make sure both of you are on the same page.

What is an Estimate?

A document that outlines your product or service with price details, that is waiting for your client’s approval.

Creating an estimate will help establish clear grounds on budget allocation and cashflow needs.

So basically, it will answer 2 main questions on your client’s mind:

  • What am I getting?
  • How much does it cost?

How to create an Estimate on FreshBooks?

First of all, sign into your account on the FreshBooks app.

1. Head to the ‘More’ tab (3-dots icon) at the bottom right and click on Estimate

2. Go to the (+) sign and press on Estimate again

A new draft will open for you to fill in your details.

3. Add a client

You can either create a new client or choose one from your existing database.

4. Add pricing

This is where you add your product or service that you are providing.

Press on ‘Add a line’ and choose the items.

Create a new item by filling out the name, quantity and rate.
Or you can choose one from your history of items and edit it accordingly.

5. Add notes and terms

Notes and terms allow you to communicate important details for your client to take into consideration. This section is shown at the end of the estimate.

6. Save your Estimate

By clicking the save button on the top right, a draft of your estimate will be created for you to edit or review.

7. Share your Estimate via email or PDF

Share it via email:
Click on the arrow icon, fill out your client’s email (if it’s not already saved in profile) and press send.

Share it as a PDF:
Click on the 3-dots icon, then ‘share as PDF’ and choose the platform you want to use to send it to your client (WhatsApp, Messenger, etc…).

8. Check the status of your Estimate

After sending the estimate, the status will turn from ‘draft‘ to ‘sent’.

Once the client opens your estimate, the status will become ‘viewed’.

If the client has any adjustments or feedback, they can comment through the yellow chat icon.
This will allow you to engage with your customer through an online discussion and accelerate the process of finalizing details.

P.S. your client needs to create a client account to be able to comment back. If they do not have a client account, they can only see your comments. 

9. You will be notified when the client accepts your Estimate

The automation feature allows your client to accept it online, which will automatically send you an email and notification.

This is how your client will view your estimate and accept it:

Estimates are usually drafted without thorough details as they are vulnerable to change.
You don’t want to overwhelm your client with information, but you don’t want to leave out any important detail that may cause you losing a business.

What is a Proposal?

Proposals are filled with details such as an overview, time and scope of work. This will allow you to portray your competitive advantage and provide all the information a client might be hesitant about.
With a proposal, you can add customizable sections which gives you the opportunity to showcase all you got!

Steps of creating a proposal is similar to the above. To learn more about proposals, check out our article on How to Create a Proposal on FreshBooks.

Why Should You Use an Estimate and Proposal?

If the right expectations aren’t established, any project can get off to a good start but quickly turn south. You may come to the realization that you’re doing more than was agreed upon at the time of signing. Unless everyone is on the same page from the start, you’ll waste a lot of time and regret not setting better terms up front.

When to Use an Estimate and Proposal?

Each document has its place, and as a small business, you will continue to use them interchangeably. In any case, you need to understand what your client is expecting in order to provide them with the appropriate paperwork to meet their needs.

Basically, an estimate is a general approximation of your client’s expectation. While a proposal is a more in-depth version of an estimate that allows you to demonstrate your unique value to your potential customer.

With FreshBooks, you can easily pitch in your idea with the estimate and proposal templates. Not only is it a quicker form of communication, but it facilitates the process after. Once your estimate or proposal is approved, you can turn it into an invoice within a click of a button.