These are some questions from real SA Members about Estimates in the system. They cover various basic and setup topics and many include real-life scenarios that you would find in the industry. The list is separated loosely by category.
Is there a way to search for a Service to make sure we do not duplicate it?
Yes, use the Name Filter at the top of the page (on Settings > Services). Make sure the table is viewing the "All" tab (as opposed to Active/Inactive).
What's the difference between quantity and visits?
Quantity - how many mows do you do when you go out to the property? Visits - how many times will you mow a property in a season?
What is the difference between flat rate, hourly, and per unit Services?
Flat Rate is just an amount. On Hourly Services, the total amount billed will be the total time worked times the hourly Rate. Per Unit Services will multiply the Rate field times the Quantity field for the total amount.
Where do I set up a Custom Field so I can use it in the calc field of an Estimate?
You can create new Custom Fields under Settings > Custom Fields.
How do you get the square footage of a property without physically measuring it? I normally look at the property for a first mow and then finalize it later.
If you have the Smart Maps
subscription you can measure properties using Google Maps. Search "measure" in the Knowledge Base for more information.
How accurate the map on Smart Maps?
Depends on how many trees are in your area and the season when Google Maps took the images. The biggest complaint we hear is about trees obscuring property lines.
How does the Rate Matrix work with Master Packages?
The Rate Matrix will work the same on all Services where it is applied, including Master Packages.
Do I have to use a Rate Matrix on my Estimates?
No, just one option available to you for billing your clients.
Is it possible to set up the Rate Matrix based on something other than square footage? Can it be based on the number of bedrooms or bathrooms?
A Rate Matrix can be built on any Custom Field as long as it’s numerical.
Our company doesn't price by square footage, we price "per man day". So, say we charge $100 per man day and we are using 3 men - can we put quantity 3 and it will calculate to $300? Or would we need a Rate Matrix?
If you're updating the quantity based on the number of resources you could just use a Flat Rate Service. You wouldn't need a Rate Matrix for that.
Where do I access the Estimate Grids?
Settings > Estimate Grids
Is it possible to modify the column width on the Estimate Grid?
No. While the columns can be re-ordered, the columns can’t be modified.
Does the grid update the total based on the services that are checked and unchecked?
It does not update the total, just the subtotal.
Is there a way to have the number of Visits appear in the Estimate Grid? Clients often see the quantity (which is a total of quantity x visits) so if it’s 25 visits for 30 minutes each it shows as 12.5 and they get confused because we told them 25.
There is not currently a way to update the Estimate Grid with that information. The best workaround would probably be to put that information in the Estimate Description.
Is it best to have an Estimate for each type of service or create an Estimate that has many Services that you can select?
This depends on your business and workflow. You can create different Estimate Templates for your most common Estimates and then customize from there.
If I build some templates to use within an Estimate and then update the Services (wording, pricing, etc.), do the services within the templates update at the same time, or do I have to recreate the templates?
The templates should update so you don't have to re-build them.
If we modify the name, description, and details of an existing Service or Package to make them fit Estimates properly, will that cause any problems with that existing Service already being dispatched?
If changes are made at the Service or Package level, they will not apply to any Jobs that are dispatched. The changes will only affect Jobs that are in a "pending" status. If you needed changes to apply to Jobs that are dispatched, you would need to cancel the dispatch, make your changes, and re-dispatch.
When are the Document Types I’ll need to create for Estimates?
You will need an Estimate Email and Confirmation Email (both are the Type “Client Email”) and an Estimate Document (Type: Estimate).
If you edit the Estimate Emails after they are connected to the estimate, do you have to update anything on the Estimate?
They will automatically update for any emails you send from that point forward. However, you will have to Reload the Estimate Document on the Estimate to apply updates.
How can I attach "terms and conditions" to an Estimate?
Most commonly, these go into your Estimate Document. Some Members also have a page on their website for their universal terms and conditions and link to it from the Estimate Document.
Is there a better way to handle terms and conditions that don't clutter up the Estimate?
You could create different Estimate Documents - one or mow services, one for fertilization services, etc. if your terms are different for different types of Jobs. Some Members will add a separate link for them in the Estimate Document (going to their website) or attach an additional PDF to the email when it’s sent.
Can you capture a signature on an Estimate?
Yes, the signature line
is a merge tag you can add to your Estimate Document.
My signature line doesn’t work! What could have gone wrong?
Be sure to check Settings > Estimate Settings > Allow Signature Capture on View My Proposal.
Is it possible to use the Salesman Name as a merge tag for the Estimate Email? That way it appears to come from the salesman rather than the office.
Yes, there is a Sales Person merge tag [salesperson].
We usually send a one-page agreement to be signed for landscape projects. We just want the customer to read, accept, sign, and pay a deposit. Once performed, the ops manager can schedule the Job. Is that all-in-one process going to be possible?
As long as you can get all the information you need onto a single page of an Estimate Document, yes, that is possible.
Are you able to create an Estimate without taking a property measurement first?
Absolutely, especially if your pricing is not determined by a calc field (Custom Field).
Is Budgeted hours for one Resource or the entire Team?
B. Hrs is the total time it takes to complete the Job regardless of the number of people working the Job.
Is the "cost" box that can be filled in next to B. Hrs strictly meant for labor costs? What is the difference between direct costs at the bottom, product cost, and the cost box?
Direct Costs are mostly used for large, unusual costs such as equipment rental or sub-contractors. The Product cost is just that – the cost of the Product that is used. The Cost column is the labor cost for the number of budgeted hours and only accounts for your regular employees.
In the Direct Cost section of an Estimate, how do I get something to stay in that field?
The items that appear in the Direct Cost dropdown list are created under Settings > Job Costing and it should just stay once selected.
Is it necessary to create a new Estimate every time one is requested?
No. After you create one Estimate, you can copy from that one for other clients (CRM > Estimates
). You can also create Estimate Templates
to help expedite the creation process.
When you make a copy of an Estimate can you change the client?
Yes, you can.
What's the best way to differentiate a Service and a Package? Is Package a fixed price?
In SA, a Package refers to a collection of Services that are performed seasonally such as fertilization rounds. If you include a Package on an Estimate it can include various Services and be multiple line items. Adding a Service to an Estimate will be a single line item.
If the Package price is the same per Service, could we just make that one Service? For example, a 6-step fertilizer is $45 per application rather than having six line items?
Yes, you could. Having multiple line items allows the Client the option to opt-out of rounds (if you want that) and allows you more control over what information is conveyed in the Estimate (for example if different chemicals are used in each round). Using a Package would also allow you to schedule the Jobs directly from the Estimate rather than creating them all manually.
Would that mean for mowing that we would have to have 30 line items on an Estimate?
No, typically mowing is a Recurring Job so you would just have the one line item denoting how many visits are included in the season.
How do people offer different packages to customers on an Estimate? For example, a company has three main packages silver, gold, and diamond. How would a company offer multiple options if the total is the same to the customer?
Remember that the subtotal will update but not the total field. One workaround would be to hide the grand total on the Estimate Grid to help avoid confusion for customers.
Is it necessary when creating the estimate to use the “+” symbols next to the Service you are adding?
No, Sub-items, and the Budgeted Hours calculator are both optional tools.
Are you able to attach pictures to Estimates? Are they easily forwarded to other people like for property managers to board members?
Yes, you can include photos in the Estimate Description of each line item. Whoever you send the Estimate to could just forward the email for others to view.
Can you add a 3% fee for paying by credit card? We don't add that 3% into the bid so our prices are more competitive.
You can’t add an Other Charge to an Estimate so it would show in the Estimate Grid. You could modify your Estimate Document so it is clear to clients that if they pay by credit card then a 3% fee will be added to their Invoice.
Is it possible to show a reduced price when all items listed are selected?
It is not possible to add a Discount that only appears when all items are selected, it either appears or it doesn’t.
The price in the Estimate isn't populating at the bottom of the page. Am I missing something?
The totals at the bottom won’t populate if the Status of your line items are set to “Draft”.
Is there a way to change the line item order of products, sub-services, or packages in the Estimate after you have entered all of the information for the Estimate?
Yes, on the Estimate there is a blue, double-sided arrow at the left of each line item on the Estimate. Drag and drop to re-order. Subitems will travel with the item they are attached to and can't be reordered.
What is an example of a Direct Cost?
An example of a Direct Cost would be if you had to rent special equipment to complete a job or hire a sub-contractor to do part of a project.
Are Direct Costs more common for landscaping jobs than for lawn maintenance?
Most commonly, yes.
How do we get our true cost in the Estimate? Not just our labor?
In addition to setting up labor costing on the Employee level, you’ll also want to make sure you have your overhead cost set up in Settings > Job Costing. Those numbers only apply to Estimates. Additionally, you will want to make sure you’re adding any Direct Costs you may incur to the Estimate itself.
Our team size changes from day to day. How do you set the B. Cost as cost per man hour instead of cost of team hours?
The B. Hrs is the total hours you expect your Team to spend on the job regardless of the number of men on the job. The Cost field is the labor cost for the number of B. Hrs. Both are totals and the team size doesn’t matter.
Would you want to include Products on Estimates for Job Costing?
You can include Products for costing purposes but this depends on how much information you want to show to the client. On a fertilizer job the cost of Product might be covered by the rate of the Service but on landscaping jobs you might want to detail all of the costs, particularly if the client will be footing them.
When we quote an initial cleaning, we quote a range like a minimum price/time and a maximum price/time. The range is based on time, for example, 1100 sq ft ifs 6 - 9 labor hours for a range of $250 - $370 (or 2 - 3 hours for a 3-person team). What is the best way to handle this for Estimates?
The best option would be to use two line items, the first one priced at the low end and the second priced at the high end. It would also be a good idea to modify the Estimate Description for each so the customer understands why there are two line items.
What if I have a property management company that wants me to give them an Estimate for 60 properties that are all different sizes but the service I would provide will be the same? How do I get all 60 unique properties each as a separate line item in the Estimate?
There is no way to handle this that isn’t tedious. Typically, those 60 properties would each be set up as its own individual Account with the same Master Property. You would build the Estimate on the Master but you would have to customize every single line item to include the property name and applicable calc field etc.
I have a guy in the field and he comes across a broken valve. How would that be reported in SA and then converted to an Estimate for the client?
If you are using To Dos to dispatch your guys in the field to scout for Estimates, they can make a note on the To Do to mention any parts or Products that would be needed. Then, you can reference those notes when creating the Estimate.
Sending an Estimate and Beyond
How do you send out Estimates in bulk?
To email Estimates in bulk, go to your Estimates List (CRM > Estimates) and filter for the Estimates you want to send. Check the box next to each Estimate then click Email.
If you have more than one open Estimate on the Account, how do you specify which you are sending?
You can email an Estimate from the Estimate itself or from the Estimate List to make sure you're sending the correct one.
Is there any way to save the PDF copies of the estimate that are sent with the Estimate Email? I'd like to go back and see different versions of the Estimate if it has been changed.
For this, we'd recommend creating a test Client for yourself so you can keep track of document changes and test out any changes you want to make. Remember that whenever you update the document it'll be updated for all Estimates using that document.
Is there any way to have the PDF attachment of the signed bid have the date, typed name, and IP address info?
No, the PDF attachment will only display the signature.
Right now, the client signature that shows up for us is tiny and very faint. We are using the old document editor. Is that why?
No, it might vary based on where the client signs it (on a computer versus mobile device) but it is a good idea to start using the new Document Editor.
How can I be notified that I’ve won an Estimate?
You can receive a confirmation email (Settings > Estimate Settings). When an estimate is won online, this will trigger an Alert for the user who created the Estimate.
We have multiple salespeople but only the owner of the company gets the notification email that we've won an estimate. Can the alert only go to one email?
No, it can go to several. Separate each email address with a semicolon.
What is the simplest way to view all Estimates that have been won?
Go to CRM > Estimates and filter by Stage.
Is there a way for a client to know exactly what they selected on an Estimate? We often have people say, "I never checked that box" and we’ve had to refund two people for that reason.
If you have the Pro Plus subscription you could set up an Automation to email your clients what Services they accepted from the Estimate.
How do I schedule a Job from an Estimate?
Once you have won an Estimate, go back to it and click the Schedule button.
What is the best way to schedule if you don't know the resource or Job date yet?
You can always schedule a Job without a Resource. If you don’t know the date, you would either have to wait to schedule, schedule and move the Job later, or create the Job as a Waiting List Job.
Do you have to renew a Package before you can schedule it?
Yes. If you don't see the Package in the selection list it's usually because the Master Package needs to be renewed.
If I don’t schedule from the Estimate, can I mark it as scheduled?
No, until you schedule all the Services from the Estimate, the "Schedule" button will remain active.
What if we needed to turn an Estimate into an Installment Plan?
There's not an easy way to turn an Estimate into an Installment Plan like you can Jobs. You would have to manually create the Installment Plan once the Estimate is won.
Does the Job show up on the Account after it’s scheduled?
Yes, it will appear immediately.
We struggle to figure out our anticipated client value on seasonal Estimates. We commission sales reps 25 mows/year on average but if a client signs on mid-year it would be different. How can we display 25 mows/year to the client but commission sales reps at a different amount?
The best thing to do is once the Estimate is won, make a copy of it and adjust it to the number of commissioned mows you need and assign a Sales Rep to the copied Estimate. Make sure you do not have a Sales Rep tied to the original and this should pull accurately in your commission reports.
How would we handle up-front deposits on an Estimate?
The Payment you accept would be created as a Prepayment to be applied to future services. If you create an Invoice from the Estimate, remember that when you complete the Job it will create another Invoice. Rather than creating an Invoice from the Estimate, create a Document you can email when payment is received acknowledging the deposit and how it will be applied to future services.